Biological Sciences (Human Biology) MBiol (Integrated Masters)
|Program start date
What makes an Integrated Masters in Human Biology at Worcester special?
We are living through an age of unprecedented scientific discovery, with the mapping of the human genome and the potential of stem cell research revolutionising the understanding of how our bodies work and how we can have completely novel approaches to treating disease. We cannot even imagine the likely changes that we will see in our ability to treat disease and perhaps even prolong the human lifespan by the end of the century and even in the short term the current revolution in our understanding will begin to impact our daily lives. By studying at Worcester, you can help shape this future.
For this course, we have adopted a practical approach to learning, with brand new laboratories equipped with the latest technologies, so you can get hands-on with the topics that interest you the most. In your final year, you will carry out an independent research project to showcase your development and set you apart from other graduates.
If you have a passion for the subject doing a Masters year to gain an MBiol qualification gives you the opportunity to explore the subject in greater detail by undertaking an extensive research project which can be used to gain a job at a higher entry level or help towards entry to PhD programmes.
- Study for a four year Integrated Masters degree in Human Biology in a friendly and supportive environment with a strong emphasis on practical work
- Explore the wonders of the human body from genes, proteins and cells to physiology and disease.
- Shape a degree to suit you - build a firm foundation in core principles, whilst selecting from a wide range of optional modules such as microbiology, genomics & bioinformatics, parasitology and pharmacology.
- 90% of Human Biology students are in work or further study 6 months after graduating
- Follow your interests and career aspirations by choosing your research project. Recent topics have included studying binding properties of proteins in treatments of basal cell carcinoma, the effect of learning styles on children’s performance and understanding in learning, the effects of black tea on cardiovascular performance and the expression of proteins in response to cytomegalovirus infection.
What will you study
Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative.
In your first year you will develop a comprehensive understanding of the structure and functions of living organisms appropriate to the course. Subjects central to Human Biology such as Cell Biology and Physiology are delivered in double modules to allow for suitable development of the subject and for the delivery of important subject-specific and generic skills. In Years 2 and 3 the modules become more specialised. In Systems Physiology I, you will gain detailed understanding of the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal and renal systems. In Systems Physiology II, we cover neurophysiology and neuroendocrine physiology in detail.
In Year 3, you will undertake an independent study which is a double module, designed in Year 2. Past topics have included amplification of ancient human D, the antimicrobial effects of mouthwash against oral biofilms, relationship between caffeine consumption and memory retention, intake of essential fatty acids and cognition in young and aged individuals, and second to fourth digit ratio and correlations with aggression, memory retention and handedness.
Year 4 modules are common to a range of Biological Science Integrated masters courses but each subject specialisation will be achieved by students varying their selection of topics from within menus of material within each module. For example, a Human Biology student will undertake an appropriate research project which will differ from the choices available to a Plant Scientist. Although there will be generic material, the individual skills delivered within the Applied and Commercial Research and Research Methods modules will also be tailored to deliver the individual needs of each Integrated Masters course.
Applied and Commercial Research is a unique aspect of our Integrated Masters programme compared with other institutions. It will offer students valuable insights into applied and commercial rather than just pure research. Most of this module will take advantage of current commercial and applied research expertise in our Charles Darwin Laboratories including the
National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit.
How will you be taught?
We enable you to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement. A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful. In year 4 you will interact with other students from other disciplines to produce a commercial research proposal which you will 'pitch' to customers. This module will also allow you to reflect on your role. Year 4 will also involve independent learning via a 60 credit dissertation.
You are taught through a combination of lectures, practical work, field work, video presentations, group tutorials, discussions, directed reading, and formative assessments. The first year also includes study skills sessions. The course is very practical and offers you the opportunity to undertake an independent project in your third year. The emphasis on the development of 'hands-on' practical skills will provide you with useful skills for your future career.
In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 4 occasions in the first year and three occasions in each of the other years of a course.
You have an opportunity to take a work experience module in your second or third year, to engage with an Erasmus scheme and spend a semester abroad, or to become involved in staff research through the Vacation Research Assistantship Scheme. Year 4 will involve much more independent work and group work and the chance to engage in a substantial piece of research.
In a typical week you will have around 16 contact hours of teaching. The precise contact hours will depend on the optional modules selected and in the third and fourth years you will normally have slightly less contact time in order to do more independent study.
Typically class contact time will be structured around:
- 4 hours of lectures
- 11 hours of supervised laboratory practicals
- 1 hour of group workshops
- 1 hour of Study Skills (first year only)
In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 27 hours of personal self-study per week. Typically, this will involve going over your lecture notes and reading around the topic in order to reinforce the content, completing online activities, reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library and online, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations. Independent learning will substantially increase in year 4.
Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.
You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. You will mainly be taught by senior academics, but visiting speakers with specialised expertise may deliver some sessions. Technicians support practical sessions. Research assistants post doctoral researchers will support pure and applied research in year 4.
Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader. Teaching is informed by the research and consultancy. All lecturers in Biological Sciences are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy or working towards this. 20% also have Teaching Fellowships from the University of Worcester. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our
The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments. Each module has one or more formal or 'summative' assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.
Assessment methods include practical reports, presentations, posters, on-line activities, essays and examinations (which may be practical, written, data analysis, seen exams or open book exams).
You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.
We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.
For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please
download the latest programme specification document.
It is becoming increasing difficult for graduates to obtain PhD positions with only a BSc (Hons) degree. Graduates with an Integrated Masters degree would have significant additional research expertise that would enable them to progress straight to an MPhil/PhD position. There is an increasing need for graduates in the UK economy as skilled researchers for UK PLC. Such graduates have much to offer within the general area of applied biological research but also, critically, to drive forward the innovation that is vital for the UK economy.
The Biological Sciences courses have a strong applied component. We have retained a great deal of practical and field work, both of which have been greatly reduced in many universities; these give our students an advantage when seeking employment or continuing their studies through a higher degree. This has suited students well for careers in the laboratory or the field. Some are engaged in research or education and some undertake medical qualifications or complete higher degrees.
Careers and Employability
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