Course specification and structure
Undergraduate Course Structures Postgraduate Course Structures

UDNSCBFY - BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences (Biology) (including foundation year)

Course Specification


Validation status Validated
Highest award Bachelor of Science Level Honours
Possible interim awards
Total credits for course 480
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Human Sciences
Subject Area Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Part-time 6 YEARS 8 YEARS
Full-time 4 YEARS 8 YEARS
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

The BSc Natural Science (Biology) degree enables students to maintain a breadth of science subjects not afforded by a typical Biology degree, reflecting the increasingly multidisciplinary nature of scientific research and enterprise. Consequently, this breadth of scientific knowledge and related technical and transferable skills and competencies will equip students to progress to further study in various post-graduate degree programmes or into several areas of the biological, biochemical or pharmaceutical industries. The increased flexibility within this course allows students to more easily tailor their module pathway towards a unique degree suited to their personal interests and future employment.

The course is designed to be fully inclusive, ensuring that all aspects of teaching, learning and assessment are accessible for all students and promote an understanding of the multi-disciplinary areas of the Natural Sciences. Students will develop knowledge and skills which will empower them to be autonomous professional practitioners and be inclusive in their own careers and practice. The course will foster high level reasoning skills and promote lifelong learning and continuous professional development (CPD). Our graduates will go out into the world as confident, values driven and successful individuals, making a positive contribution to society. Teaching and learning activities are integrated with assessment processes in line with the School of Human Sciences learning and teaching strategy and the Education for Social Justice Framework (ESJF). A blended learning approach is utilised, accommodating different learning styles and enabling students to reach their full potential.

The BSc course in Natural Sciences promotes a broad understanding over a range of subjects allied to the chemical and biological sciences. Practical and technical techniques are developed through varied mechanisms designed to allow the student to maximise the use of their preferred learning style (traditional lecture/tutorial sessions, guided independent learning, use of IT-based material such as VLOs, peer-assisted sessions). Utilisation of the University’s VLE, WebLearn has become an invaluable tool with which to disseminate information and to support and assess student learning. Online progress tests will be used to provide students with feedback on their progress. Exams in several modules are delivered as online exams. Feedback will be delivered online and through provision of tutorial question and answer sessions and other formative exercises. Practical skills exercises at each level are used to monitor proficiency at experimental work. Assessment of data handling skills are embedded in practical reports, problem solving exercises, information abstracting and reviewing exercises, poster presentations and seminar presentations.

The level 6 Research Project provides the ultimate measure of experimental and other practical skills. The excellent Science Centre provides an unrivalled facility in which to carry out the level 6 Research Project module. BSc project assessment will culminate in the presentation of a dissertation and a viva exam, designed to allow the student to demonstrate their depth of knowledge and understanding.

Students have access to the Learning Centre situated on the North campus. This has recently been comprehensively refurbished. It provides specific group study areas as well as access to a comprehensive and regularly reviewed range of textbooks, journals and online learning resources. In addition, there are ‘all access’ areas on the ground floor of the Tower building, the green lounge in Benwell Road and the newly fitted interactive teaching spaces in the Roding building. These areas come with comfortable seating and IT facilities.

This four-year course includes a Foundation Year (level three) which introduces you to the fundamentals of science, enabling you to study Natural Sciences (Biology) at level four. It makes no assumptions about prior scientific study. You will gain a solid grounding in biology, chemistry, biochemistry and numeracy relevant to these subject areas. Practical sessions in the Science Centre will help you gain proficiency at experimental work and are delivered within PR3001 (Scientific Studies). The project module teaches you how to conduct research into a topic relating to the Natural Sciences, and to report your findings accordingly, thus providing you with fundamental subject-specific knowledge and relevant skills

Course aims

The programme aims to provide students with biological and biochemical knowledge and practical skills, as well as the ability to solve theoretical and practical problems especially at the interface between Biology and Chemistry. The range of knowledge and the variety of skills are a preparation for further study in Biology, Chemical Biology or multi-disciplinary areas within the Natural Sciences where Biology forms a primary component. The course aims to enhance the intellectual and practical skills necessary for the collection, analysis, interpretation and understanding of biochemical data in order to produce value in future employment. More generally, the course aims to develop an awareness of the ethical implications of modern scientific work and promote skills of self-evaluation and analysis to enhance career development. This approach will enable students to feel a sense of belonging at London Met and encourage student engagement with their learning and the opportunities offered by the University. It will also give students opportunities to share experiences whilst encouraging reflection on individual values, developing understanding of their response to wider world issues.

Course learning outcomes

On the BSc Natural Sciences (Biology), the QAA outcomes for Biosciences and Chemistry have been referred to generate the generic area(s) for each specific outcome.
The learning outcomes for the BSc Natural Sciences (Biology) course are indicated below.
By the end of the course the student is expected to have developed:
1. A knowledge and understanding of the physical and chemical properties of elements and compounds and the ability to analyse critically how they react and interact on a molecular basis.
2. A knowledge and understanding of analytical techniques and the ability to apply them in the collection and analyses of biochemical data, and the structural determination/composition of a chemical compound, including regards to validity, accuracy, calibration, precision and reproducibility.
3. The practical and analytical skills necessary to safely carry out, interpret results, and draw conclusions from, experimental work such as might be required of a competent professional within the areas of biology, chemistry or biochemistry.
4. Higher order skills that are reflected in their ability to construct logical and reasoned arguments to support their position on the social and ethical impact of advances in biochemistry.
5. A knowledge of the diversity of cell types, and an understanding of the relationship between cellular structure and function, and of the mechanisms by which individual cells interact in complex organs and multicellular organisms.
6. An understanding of the structure and chemical function of biological molecules, of information storage, transfer and processing in living systems and of metabolic processes and their control.
7. The ability to analyse different situations and devise approaches to solving problems showing a high level of understanding and reasoning, incorporating the skills of self-reflection and self-management, to offer their own interpretation of provided information.
8. The analytical skills to provide a realistic assessment of their own level of achievement and devise strategies for ensure their personal development is fitted to their career goals.
9. The ability to communicate a subject clearly and accurately orally, and in a variety of forms of written English.
10. Employ a full range of investigative skills which can be applied to any set task; use analytical and reviewing skills in order to produce accurate summaries based on a body of literature.
11. An appreciation of the fundamental concepts in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, numeracy and laboratory skills.
12. Demonstrate confidence, resilience, ambition and creativity and will act as inclusive, collaborative and socially responsible professionals in their discipline.

Principle QAA benchmark statements

No explicit statement exists for Natural Sciences. Chemistry/Biosciences content (where appropriate) would relate to QAA threshold statements.

Assessment strategy

Assessment and feedback are key means through which to engage students in processes that support their development, success and employability, while connecting with their own identities, experiences and cultural capital. The assessment strategy is aligned with those of the School of Human Sciences and the ESJF.

Students are assessed through a variety of methods including problem solving exercises, in-class test, data analysis, practical reports, case studies, oral presentations, extended essays, examinations, research project interim report, oral examination and dissertation.


Practical skills are summatively assessed through coursework assignments, including those in the project module. Data handling skills are summatively assessed by practical reports, problem solving exercises, oral presentations and examinations. Formative assessments include group activities in tutorial classes, mini-tests and project workshops.

All assessments are second marked by an appropriate member of staff and discussions are held if any discrepancies are highlighted. Once agreed, samples are verified by an external examiner who completes the quality control loop.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

The course includes the option to take a 15 credit Work Placement module at level 6.

Course specific regulations

Level 3 Year 1 - September entry: All modules are core: PR3002, PR3003
Level 3 Year 2 - September entry: All modules are core: PR3001, PR3051, PR3P50
OR
Level 3 Year 1 - February entry: All modules are core: PR3002, PR3003
Level 3 Year 2 - February entry: All modules are core: PR3001, PR3051, PR3P50
Level 4 Year 1 - All modules are core: CY4051, BE4052, CY4070, CY4080
Level 4 Year 2 - All modules are core: BE4053, BE4055, CY4071, CY4081
Level 5 Year 3 - Core modules: CY5051, CY5062. Optional modules: BE5058 (Default), CY5071, BE5059 (Default), CY5081.
Level 5 Year 4 - Core modules: CY5072, BE5060. Optional modules: BE5061 (Default), CY5082 (Default), CY5083, BC5K55.
Level 6 Year 5 - Optional modules: BE6057 (Default), BE6056 (Default), CY6071, CY6059, BE6061, BE6058 (Default), BC6059 (Default), CY6081, CY6061.
Level 6 Year 6 - Core modules: CY6P01/BC6P01. Optional modules: BC6062 (Default), BE6W67, BC6052 (Default), CY6083.

The course conforms to both the University’s Undergraduate Scheme and the University Academic Regulations.

Modules required for interim awards

The cores for the award of BSc (Hons) are listed in course structure section. For intermediate awards, any combination of the modules from the course spec would be appropriate.

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

During the induction phase of the programme students will be introduced to structured reflection on their development of Undergraduate Skills which constitute much of the substance of personal development planning. Students will undertake to produce their personal development plan (PDP) during their undergraduate career or in the workplace. PDP can include other activities outside of the academic aspect of university life.

PDP is designed to allow students to articulate the skills developed during their undergraduate career and encourages them to critically reflect on their learning experience, to set new personal and academic goals and evaluate progress made in achieving those goals. PDP activities will be specifically incorporated into core modules on the course to ensure all students undertake reflective practises throughout their course of study.

Progress with Undergraduate Skills will be articulated to students as the programme progresses through feedback from tutors and peers enabling them to reflect on their progress based on the evidence available. This process assists students in developing as independent learners, identifying their strengths and weaknesses. This will be of benefit throughout their future career. One module at each level will be used to specifically develop employability and reflective activities. At level 4 this is CY4080 – Laboratory Techniques with Data Handling and at level 5, CY5062 Spectroscopic Methods. At level 6, CY6P01/BC6P01 Research Project is used – which requires research of the topic, planning and executing practical activities, analysis of results and re-evaluation of the direction of the work provides an appropriate forum to emphasise the importance of reflection and of the skills (both transferable and subject-specific) gained during the course. The project competencies section provides students with the opportunities to reflect on their learning, this is also included in the Graduation Statement as part of their PDP submission. The end task is to complete a “mock” job application including CV, cover letter and personal statement. The option exists for students to undertake an additional 15 credit module BE6W67 work placement module to enhance employability.

Students at all levels will take part in tutorials designed to facilitate discussion on what has been learnt in order that reflective learning will contribute to identifying objectives, success criteria, and action plans that can be included in PDPs.

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

In line with the University Careers Education Framework (CEF), careers, employability and enterprise information and guidance is provided to students in a timely manner, to facilitate students taking maximum advantage of extra-curricular opportunities and help to develop, student self-awareness, self-belief and confidence to achieve realistic career goals.

There are a wide range of career opportunities relating to the natural sciences, or postgraduate studies, which students can enter on completion of the course. Employment opportunities include research and development in the biochemical industry, education and healthcare, with roles such as developer or lab technician. The analytical and communication skills developed on the course are also in demand in non-science-based careers such as teaching, accountancy, journalism and marketing.

Career opportunities

A degree in science can lead to a wide range of hugely rewarding careers, with opportunities to work in biological research, public health laboratories and hospitals, as well as a wide range of other industries.

Entry requirements

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • at least one A level (or a minimum of 32 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification, eg BTEC Subsidiary/National/BTEC Extended Diploma)
  • English Language and Mathematics GCSEs at grade C (grade 4) or above (or equivalent eg Functional Skills at Level 2) – if you meet the UCAS points criteria but have obtained a D (grade 3) in English and/or Maths at GCSE you may be offered a University test in these areas

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2019/20 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 16 Aug 2019 Last validation date 16 Aug 2019  
Sources of funding HE FUNDING COUNCIL FOR ENGLAND
JACS codes
Route code NSCBFY

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 03 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
PR3001 Scientific Studies Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR FRI AM
PR3002 Biology Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR TUE AM
PR3003 Chemistry Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR TUE PM
PR3051 Biochemistry Core 15 NORTH AUT WED AM
PR3P50 Foundation Year Project (CPS) Core 15 NORTH SPR WED PM

Stage 1 Level 03 January start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
PR3001 Scientific Studies Core 30        
PR3002 Biology Core 30        
PR3003 Chemistry Core 30        
PR3051 Biochemistry Core 15        
PR3P50 Foundation Year Project (CPS) Core 15 NORTH SPR WED PM

Stage 2 Level 04 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
BE4052 Biochemistry for Life Sciences Core 15 NORTH SPR THU AM
BE4053 Cell Biology (for Life Sciences) Core 15 NORTH AUT MON PM
BE4055 Fundamentals of Molecular Biology (for Life Sci... Core 15 NORTH SPR MON PM
CY4051 General Chemistry Core 15 NORTH AUT THU AM
CY4070 Introduction to Laboratory Skills Core 15 NORTH AUT THU PM
CY4071 Fundamental Chemical Concepts Core 15 NORTH AUT MON AM
CY4080 Laboratory Techniques with Data Handling Core 15 NORTH SPR THU PM
CY4081 Key Principles in Chemistry Core 15 NORTH SPR MON AM

Stage 3 Level 05 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
BE5060 Molecular Biology Core 15 NORTH AUT THU AM
CY5051 Quantitative Analysis Core 15 NORTH AUT WED PM
CY5062 Spectroscopic Methods Core 15 NORTH SPR WED PM
CY5072 Kinetics and Surface Chemistry Core 15 NORTH AUT TUE AM
BC5K55 Ethics for Science Option 15        
BE5058 Metabolism Option 15 NORTH AUT WED AM
BE5059 Microbiology Option 15 NORTH SPR WED AM
BE5061 Human Immunity Option 15 NORTH SPR THU AM
CY5071 Coordination and solution chemistry of d and f ... Option 15 NORTH AUT WED AM
CY5081 Solid State and Organometallic Chemistry Option 15 NORTH SPR WED AM
CY5082 Thermodynamics and Electrochemistry Option 15 NORTH SPR TUE AM
CY5083 Principles of Pharmaceutical Science and Drug D... Option 15 NORTH SPR TUE AM

Stage 4 Level 06 Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
BC6P01 Project Alt Core 30        
CY6P01 Research Project Alt Core 30        
BC6052 Virology Option 15        
BC6059 Genomics Option 15        
BC6062 Clinical Biochemistry Option 15        
BE6056 Bioinformatics & Molecular Modelling Option 15        
BE6057 Toxicology Option 15        
BE6058 Biochemical Pathology Option 15        
BE6061 Fundamentals of Biotechnology Option 15        
BE6W67 Work Placement (for Life Sciences) Option 15        
CY6059 Advanced Physical Chemistry Option 15        
CY6061 Advanced Bioanalytical Science Option 15        
CY6071 Advanced Inorganic Techniques Option 15        
CY6081 Topics in Inorganic Chemistry Option 15        
CY6083 Formulations and Quality Assurance of Solids an... Option 15