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Biological Sciences

Please note: the Biology structure has changed, and there is now the opportunity to study for a fourth year and graduate with a Master's degree (MBiol), in addition to the existing BA degree.

If you are applying to start in 2019 please go here:

Oxford has a world-wide reputation in Biology for both teaching and research.  Biology is a major growth area in science at present and the Biological Sciences degree course covers modern developments and techniques, and makes full use of Oxford's major research expertise in animal, plant and molecular biology.  Faculty in the Departments of Plant Sciences and Zoology have excellent links with government, national research organizations and industry in Britain and throughout the world. In a recent audit of the Biological Sciences course by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), we were awarded maximum points (24 out of 24).

Advantages of Keble

We are close to the where the Department of Zoology (temporarily relocated) and Plant Sciences, and are immediately adjacent to the Radcliffe Science Library (the Science division of the Bodleian) and the Hooke Lending Library.  The University Museum, famous as the site of the Huxley-Wilberforce debate, and housing its very fine zoological collections, is immediately across the road from Keble.

Careers for biologists

About one third of Oxford biology graduates go on to higher degrees, either in research or to obtain further biological qualifications before continuing as professional biologists. Over 95% of Oxford graduates find employment within 6 months.  Biologists are particularly employable, since their skills of data handling and of integrating different sorts of information are recognised as valuable by employers in a wide range of fields.

Course structure

Complete and up-to-date information on the new course and how to apply can be found on here.

Typical pattern of teaching

The teaching in the Departments comprises lectures, classes and practicals, organised in a series of blocks.  This is backed up by an intercollegiate system of tutorials, where you will meet your tutors usually once a week.

Field classes or field courses supplement these, in Oxford (for instance at the University's Wytham Wood) or further afield, such as the higher plants field course in Portugal and a third-year course on tropical forest ecology in Borneo.  In addition, many Oxford biology students organise expeditions of their own to different parts of the world (Indonesia, New Zealand and Siberia are three recent examples), making use of the expertise of members of the Departments of Plant Sciences and Zoology to help in planning these.

Qualities sought for entry

We look for people with a genuine enthusiasm for biology, who can prove their interest and commitment by showing they have undertaken relevant extra-curricular activities or reading or projects.  Biology candidates have a particularly wide range of academic backgrounds, since syllabuses are very varied, which we take into account during selection.

For candidates taking A levels, the recommendation (as in the University Prospectus) is as follows:

Essential: Biology (full A level)
Recommended: Another Science or Mathematics
Biology tutors across the University have agreed that conditional offers for those taking A levels, are going to be A* A A , with A* in a science or maths, unless there are unusual educational circumstances. For IB candidates the requirement is at least 39 points, with 7 in Biology (preferably) or another science or Mathematics.

For entry from 2020, A-level Biology (or equivalent) will be required and a second A-level (or equivalent) must be in Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics.

Interview: Candidates will not be required to do a written test after they have arrived for interview.  The interview will be concerned solely with academic matters, to assess your interest and enthusiasm in the subject, and to discuss biological problems.

For further information see the Biology page of the Oxford Undergraduate Prospectus.

biology

Approximate yearly intake Keble: 4
Department/Faculty:100
Department Website Biological Sciences
Zoology

Enquiries

Via the College Office.

Tutors

Professor Stephen Kearsey, MA DPhil, is our Fellow in Zoology, and holds a University Lectureship in the Department of Zoology.  His research group studies eukaryotic chromosome replication and cell cycle control. (see his departmental website for further details).

Dr Grant McDonald, DPhil, is Stipendiary lecturer in Biological Sciences, with an expertise in evolutionary biology.