​What is biology?

Biology is the study of living things from tiny micro-organisms, plants and animals to human beings.  Biologists try to understand how living things work and use this knowledge to do things like try to stop the spread of disease, track down natural resources, improve public health, animal care and conservation and look at the impacts of things such as pollution.

View our biology courses​

What types of biology degree are there?

Biology degrees are extremely diverse – ‘biology’ or ‘biological sciences’ covers a wide array of specialist subjects.  If you enjoy biology but not sure which area of this vast subject to specialise in, a broad-based biology degree course may suit you.  Other biology degrees include:

Animal biology

Also known as zoology, animal biology is the branch of biology which focuses on the biological principles and problems relating to animals.  You will learn about the form and function of animals, their adaptions to the environment, interaction, physiology and evolution.  You will examine animal behaviour from ant to primates and learn how to conduct surveys for a variety of animal populations.


Ecology is the study of the interactions between species and the wider environment.  You will learn subjects including conservation, monitoring and management, ecological theory, environmental change and water and global sustainability

What are the benefits of having a BSc biology degree?

Studying for a biology degree you will learn a range of subject skills including statistical skills and good laboratory practice.  The transferable skills you can develop through biology include advanced numeracy, technical ability, attention to detail, written and spoken communication and problem-solving skills. 

Careers with a biology degree

Biology is a key subject for many STEM careers and there are a wide range of different career options available including:

  • Biologist
  • Ecologist
  • Nature conservation
  • Research scientist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Forensic scientist
  • Government agency roles
  • Science writer
  • Teaching

If you want a career in biology research you’ll need to take a doctorate.  If you only want to do a first degree for now, there are jobs for biologists in science and clinical labs and in the health, food and water industries.  You can get a wide range of jobs with a biology degree from acupuncture to pharmaceutical sales. 

What does a biology degree course consist of?

Make sure that the biology degree you choose contains the modules that you’re most interested in.  In your first year you will be taking modules that are designed to prepare you for the rest of your degree, regardless of whether you’re studying straight biology or a more specialised alternative.  

On a general biology degree, you will normally take a broad range of modules ranging from molecules to ecosystems, which will include the genetic and biochemical processes of animals, plants and microbes.  On a more specialised degree, these general modules will be mixed with specialised ones.

Biology degrees at University of Gloucestershire

Biology BSc (Hons)

This course reflects our internationally recognised research expertise in molecular studies, global change biology, ecology and whole organism exploration.  At its centre is a practical focus to help you develop the industry-standard skills needed to flourish in a biosciences career.  You’ll be guided by approachable, experienced lecturers who are nationally recognised for their teaching excellence.  You’ll also have the opportunity to join us in the savannah of South Africa or the tropical rainforest of Borneo to study field bioscience*.

Find out more about Biology BSc (Hons)

Animal Biology BSc (Hons)

Our Animal Biology degree takes a fresh approach to the study of diversity, physiology, ecology, evolution and behaviour.  Central to the course is a large practical element; many modules include field or laboratory work to explore animals form and function, their adaptations to the environment and how they interact with one another. You’ll have the opportunity to progress from field training in the UK to field research overseas, studying animal behaviour and conservation in South Africa or tropical rainforest biota in Borneo.

Find out more about Animal Biology BSc (Hons)​

Ecology and Environmental Science BSc (Hons)

Blending key themes and issues within ecology and environmental science, you’ll explore how species interact with and are sustained by their environments. Moving between our campus laboratories, field training in the UK, and field research in the savannah of South Africa or tropical rainforest of Borneo*, you’ll be guided by lecturers internationally recognised for their teaching excellence, media work and frontline research.  You’ll also benefit from our links with local, national and international ecological and environmental organisations.

Find out more about Ecology and Environmental Science BSc (Hons)

*Additional costs may apply and destinations are subject to change – see the course page for more details.