Life Sciences student in the lab

Combine your study of biological sciences with the chance to develop your Spanish language skills in a science context.

Key information

Award

BSc

Duration

4 years

full-time

Typical offer

Three A-level offer: AAA

See full entry requirements

Applications : admissions ratio

6 : 1

Based on 2015 application data

  • UCAS course code: C1R4
  • ECTS: 270
  • Start date: October 2018

Summer School

Applications now open for 2017 Global Summer School.

Overview

Biological Sciences at Imperial aims to understand the behaviour of living systems from the level of cells up to whole organisms and ecosystems.

This degree allows you to combine your training in biological sciences with study of the Spanish language. These classes, taught in Spanish by the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication, focus on the use and presentation of written and oral scientific and technical material in Spanish.

You will also receive an introduction to the theory and practice of translation, alongside further studies in the history, politics, science and technology of Spanish-speaking countries.

In the first year you will cover modules in core areas of biology and key scientific skills alongside these classes. This gives you a solid grounding in the fundamental topics, and prepares you for advanced study.

In the second year you study applied biology and genetics, then begin to specialise through optional modules.

You spend your third year studying in a Spanish-speaking university, where you will attend lectures and conduct a research project.

In your final year you will complete a research project on a topic of your choice, and choose from an even wider selection of modules such as evolutionary biology, plant biotechnology and neuroscience.

Our teaching is enriched by the Department’s internationally leading research programme, so you’ll be learning at the very cutting edge of the subject. You will also benefit from access to our outstanding facilities, including for genomic and cell biology studies, tissue culture suites and the most modern microscopes.

Please note: this course is not suitable for native or near-native Spanish speakers.

Normally only students who are on track for at least a 2:1 by the end of their second year, will be eligible to spend their third year abroad.

Students on a field tripTransfer between courses

The structure of the Department's courses means that transfer between different Biological Sciences degrees is usually possible up until the end of the first year.

  • Transfer onto Language for Science courses must be completed at the very start of the first year.
  • It is not possible to transfer onto one of the Biochemistry or Biotechnology degrees from a Biological Sciences degree.

If you are an international student, transferring to a different course could have an impact on your Tier 4 visa. Please visit our International Student Support webpage for further information.

Structure

Modules shown are for the current academic year, and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Year 1

Core modules

  • Biological Chemistry and Microbiology
  • Biology of Organisms
  • Cell Biology and Genetics
  • Ecology and Evolution

Language modules

  • Spanish History and Politics
  • Spanish Language for Science (Level 4)

Year 2

Core modules

  • Applied Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Tutored Dissertation

Language modules

  • Spanish Language for Science (Level 5)
  • Spanish Science and Technology

Optional modules

You choose one module from each group below.

Group 1
  • Bacterial Physiology
  • Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Resource Management
Group 2
  • Behavioural Ecology
  • Virology
Group 3
  • Ecology
  • Immunology
  • Parasitology

Year Abroad

You spend this year studying at a leading university in either Madrid or Valencia.

Partnerships with universities are subject to continuous review and individual partnerships may or may not be renewed.

There may be limitations placed upon your ability to live and study abroad. If applicable you will need to successfully apply for the relevant visa. This applies to all students, including Home students, in light of the vote for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.

Year 4

Core modules

  • Science Communication
  • Laboratory-based research project or a literature-based dissertation
  • Spanish Scientific and Technical Translation with the use of Translation Technology

Optional modules

You will select one module from each of the below groups.

Group 1
  • Damage and Repair in Biological Systems
  • Macromolecules in Three Dimensions
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Neuroscience Research
  • Plant Biotechnology and Development
  • Population and Community Ecology
  • Stem Cells, Regeneration and Ageing
  • African Biology Field Course
Group 2
  • Advanced Topics in Immunity and Infection
  • Advanced Topics in Parasitology and Vector Biology
  • Biodiversity and Conservation Biology
  • Cancer
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Integrative Systems Biology
  • Mechanisms of Gene Expression
  • Metabolic and Network Engineering
  • Symbiosis, Plant Immunity and Disease
Group 3
  • Biodiversity Genomics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Biotechnology Applications of Proteins
  • Epidemiology
  • Global Change Biology
  • Medical Glycobiology
  • Molecular Basis of Bacterial Infection
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Systems Neuroscience

Teaching and assessment

Teaching

You will spend time in the laboratory, lectures, tutorials and seminars, as well as undertake site visits, a group project and a research project to aid the understanding of real world application.

Assessment

You will be assessed by a combination of:

  • Coursework
  • Essays
  • Individual research
  • Laboratory write-ups
  • Presentations
  • Reports
  • Written examinations

Language for Science

Read more about how our language for science degrees are taught on the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication website.

Staff expertise

At Imperial, you will be taught by a range of teachers of all levels from Professors to PhD students, including some who undertake groundbreaking research and are regarded as experts in their field.

You may also experience peer teaching and be taught by specialists external to the College.


Associateship

As well as your main Imperial degree, you will also receive the award of the Associateship of the Royal College of Science (ARCS) on completion of this course.

The Royal College of Science is one of three historic Colleges that came together to form Imperial College London in 1907.

Find out more about our Associateships.

Compare this course

See how this course compares with similar courses at different institutions using the Unistats Key Information Set (KIS).

You can use the KIS to find out how this course compares in areas such as the proportion of time spent in timetabled teaching and independent study, how the course is assessed, student satisfaction and what our graduates are doing six months after completing this course.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis – see selection process below.

For advice on the requirements for the qualifications listed here please contact the Department (see Contact us).

We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. If the requirements for your qualifications are not listed here, please see our academic requirements by country page for guidance on which qualifications we accept.

A-levels

Typical offer range

As a guide, the typical offer made in 2016 to at least 85% of applicants studying A-levels was AAA.

Subject and grade requirements (2018 entry)

We expect applicants for 2018 entry to meet the following grade requirements in these subjects:

  • A in Biology
  • A in Physics, Chemistry or Mathematics

General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.

Practical endorsement (practical science assessment)

If you are made an offer you will be required to achieve a pass in the practical endorsement in all science subjects that form part of the offer.

Language requirement

Applicants must have a relevant language AS Level minimum grade B.

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer range

As a guide, the typical offer made in 2016 to at least 85% of applicants studying IB was 38 points overall.

Subject and grade requirements (2018 entry)

We expect applicants for 2018 entry to meet the following grade requirements in these subjects:

  • 6 in Biology at higher level
  • 6 in Physics, Chemistry or Mathematics at higher level

Language requirement

A score of 5 higher level or 6 standard level in the relevant language is required.

Advanced Placements

Our minimum requirement for this course is grades 5, 5, 5 to include:

  • 5 in Biology
  • 5 in Chemistry, Physics (B or C) or Calculus (AB or BC)
  • 5 in another subject*

* excluding Art, Music and languages other than English

Language requirement

You must also achieve at least grade 4 in the relevant language.

Selection process

Assessing your application

Admissions Tutors consider all the evidence available during our rigorous selection process and the College flags key information providing assessors with a more complete picture of the educational and social circumstances relevant to the applicant.

Some applicants may be set lower offers and some more challenging ones. It is the College’s policy to not make offers below three A’s at A-level in relevant subjects, 38 IB points with at least a grade 6 at higher level in relevant subjects, or their equivalent.

A typical range of offers made by this Department in 2016 (encompassing at least 85% of applicants who studied A-level or IB) is shown above.

Post-application open day

If your UCAS application indicates that you are likely to satisfy our requirements and you live within reasonable travelling distance of the College you will be invited for one of our post-application open days. These comprise:

  • a tour with current undergraduates of the South Kensington Campus, the Department's facilities and a laboratory.
  • a selection of talks about life at Imperial, the course structure, and our current research
  • opportunities to meet and discuss your application with the admissions team

Generally, we do not hold interviews.

Deferred entry

Applications from school leavers who wish to take a gap year are welcome. Applicants must state in their UCAS personal statement how they propose to spend their time.

Second year entry

For Biological Sciences, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, we sometimes accept transfers from other institutions into the second year. Students should provide us with a transcript of their first year grades and details of their Pre-University Qualifications and the grades attained in them.

Offers are based on the number of places available (if any), the relevance of the modules covered in the first year elsewhere and the grades achieved. If we feel direct entry to the second year wouldn't be possible we may offer you first year entry instead.

We do not accept any transfers into the third year of any of our courses.

Important information (all applicants)

Applicants who are unsuccessful cannot be reconsidered for entry within the same cycle but may reapply the following year without prejudice with a new application. We consider resit students in open competition with all other applicants.

We do not accept Access courses, Foundation years or OU courses.

General studies will not be accepted at any level. Other qualifications, such as Key Skills or Critical Thinking, while useful, will not count towards an offer.

English language qualifications (all applicants)

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the higher College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for undergraduate applicants.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students who apply for this course.

For more information about the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS), please see the International Student Support website.

Tuition fees and funding

We charge tuition fees for every year that your course lasts. The fee you will be charged is based on your fee status, which is determined by government regulations.

Tuition fees (Home and EU students)

2017 entryYear abroad
£9,250 per year 15% of the relevant fee for that year

Read more about funding for year abroad placements.

The above fee applies to the academic year 2017–18 only. This is the maximum rate of tuition chargeable by institutions that achieved a ‘meet expectations’ award under the first year of the UK government’s new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

In its TEF: Year Two specification guidance document, the government confirmed that all institutions achieving a Bronze rating or higher in Year Two will be able to charge the maximum capped amount. These ratings will be announced in spring 2017.

You should expect the fee to increase for each year that your course lasts, subject to UK government regulations on fee increases.

We expect EU students will continue to pay the Home rate of tuition as long as the UK remains in the EU, and for the duration of their course, provided this remains lawful.

Government funding

If you're a Home student, you can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the UK government to cover the entire cost of tuition for every year of your course. You can also apply for a means-tested Maintenance Loan to help towards your living costs.

The government has confirmed that EU students entering university in the UK in 2017 and 2018 also have access to the Tuition Fee Loan for the duration of their course. This will remain the case even if their course finishes after the UK's exit from the European Union.

Tuition fees (Islands and Overseas students)

2017 entryYear abroad
£27,500 15% of the relevant fee for that year

Read more about funding for year abroad placements.

The above fee applies to the academic year 2017–18 only. The fee for the 2018–19 academic fee has not yet been set by the College. We will update this page as soon as this fee information is available so please check back before submitting an application for 2018 entry.

Please note that the tuition fee amount you will pay may increase each year.

Additional course costs

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study which have to be budgeted for in addition to tuition fees and living expenses. This section provides examples of these and it is possible that all, or some, of these will be relevant to you.

Please note that the cost figures given are based on what such costs were in previous academic years and these are likely to change year to year. However, it is useful for you to be aware of the types of things you may have to pay for and their cost in previous years.

This section details whether the additional costs are essential or optional. Essential costs are highlighted as costs that you will need to pay to fully participate and complete your studies. Optional costs are not essential to your studies and you will be free to opt out of these.


Summary
DescriptionMandatory/optionalGuide to cost
Field trip (African biology; food and accommodation) Optional £350
Field trip (African biology; flights) Optional Variable
Field trips (first year) Mandatory Provided
Personal Protective Equipment Mandatory Provided
Please review the information below for more information on the costs listed in the table.

African biology field trip

The optional African biology field trip is specific to Biological Sciences courses, Ecology and Environmental Biology, and Microbiology.

It takes place in your third year and costs £350 (2016-17) and this cost includes food and accommodation.

You will need to pay for and organise travel to and from Africa, and it is recommended to bring spending money of between £25 and £50.

First year field trips

Your first year field trips are funded by the Department of Life Sciences, and are provided free of charge.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Wearing personal protective equipment is compulsory for some activities on this course. Where this applies, the Department of Life Sciences will provide you with the necessary PPE free of charge to ensure you can undertake lab work safely. This includes:

  • Lab coat
  • Goggles

Accommodation and living costs

Living costs, including accommodation, are not included in your tuition fees.

Over 90 per cent of Imperial undergraduates choose to live in our halls of residence in their first year. You can compare costs across our different accommodation options on our Accommodation website.

A rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London is available on our Fees and Funding website.

Careers

Life sciences graduates enjoy excellent career opportunities. Most of our graduates study for a higher degree in life sciences and many follow careers in the field, particularly in the research and management areas of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, biomedical science, food technology, agrisciences, and pest, disease and environmental management.

Similar opportunities exist for life scientists in government and independent laboratories involved in medical research, public health, forensic investigation, disease research, conservation, and pollution. Some of our graduates also go on to work in medical careers, become teachers, or even work in the media.

Recent graduates of the Department have become:

  • Genome Scientist, Illumina
  • PhD student, Sir Francis Crick Institute
  • Communications Manager, Orangutan Project, Borneo
  • Investment Analyst, JP Morgan
  • Clinical Data Manager, Institute of Cancer Research

How to apply

UCAS key information

  • UCAS course code: C1R4
  • UCAS institution code: I50

UCAS Apply system

To apply to study at Imperial you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Application deadlines

All applications, other than those which include choices for medicine at Imperial, must be submitted to UCAS by 18.00 (UK time) on 15 January 2018 for entry in October 2018.

The deadline for medicine courses at Imperial starting in 2018 is 18.00 (UK time) on 15 October 2017.

Tracking your application

Once you’ve completed and submitted your application through UCAS’s online Apply service, you can use UCAS’ Track system to follow its progress and manage your choices.

See our How to apply section for further guidance.

You may also be interested in the following related departments and the courses they offer:

Contact us

Life Sciences

Got a question?

Kate Sharples
T: +44 (0)20 7594 5398
E: lifesciences.admissions@imperial.ac.uk

Read more on the Department of Life Sciences website.

Social media icons

Join the conversation

Connect with us online via our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to join in the conversation about all things Imperial!

Undergraduate prospectus print cover

Order a prospectus

For more information about Imperial and the courses we offer, you can download a PDF of our prospectus or request a printed copy.

Order a free prospectus

Further information

London Eye

Living in London

London’s fusion of culture and charm will give you a student experience unlike any other, and our first-year accommodation guarantee means that you'll have the perfect base from which to explore this exciting city.

Students outside the Union

Student finance

We want to attract the very best students, regardless of their financial background. That's why we offer the most generous bursary scheme of any UK university, as well as a range of scholarships.

Students at graduation

International students

Imperial is proud to be the most international university in the UK, with students from over 130 countries coming to study at the College.