Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
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Loughborough University

Programme Specifications

Programme Specification

BSc/MSci Biological Sciences

Academic Year: 2020/21

This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if full advantage is taken of the learning opportunities that are provided.

This specification applies to delivery of the programme in the Academic Year indicated above. Prospective students reviewing this information for a later year of study should be aware that these details are subject to change as outlined in our Terms and Conditions of Study.

This specification should be read in conjunction with:

  • Summary
  • Aims
  • Learning outcomes
  • Structure
  • Progression & weighting

Programme summary

Awarding body/institution Loughborough University
Teaching institution (if different)
Owning school/department School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
Details of accreditation by a professional/statutory body
Final award BSc (Hons)/ BSc (Hons) + DPS/ BSc (Hons) + DIntS; MSci (Hons)/ MSci (Hons) + DPS/ MSci (Hons) + DIntS
Programme title Biological Sciences
Programme code PSUB18/PSUM08
Length of programme BSc 3 years; BSc with DPS/DIntS 4 years; MSci 4 years; MSci with DPS/DIntS 5 years
UCAS code C102, C100, C103, C101
Admissions criteria

BSc - http://www.lboro.ac.uk/c102

BSc + DPS/DIntS - http://www.lboro.ac.uk/c100

MSci - http://www.lboro.ac.uk/c103

MSci + DPS/DIntS - http://www.lboro.ac.uk/c101

Date at which the programme specification was published Wed, 01 Jul 2020 16:06:34 BST

1. Programme Aims

  • To develop students’ scientific knowledge and understanding of scientific processes underlying  life on earth from the molecular to organism level, with particular focus on those relevant to human health 
  • To develop students’ programme relevant practical skills, application of these skills to address a problem, and their critical awareness of practical techniques 
  • To develop students’ intellectual skills to research and synthesise scientific information, to apply their knowledge to develop arguments and to critically evaluate material, to equip graduates with the skills necessary to update their knowledge and understanding over a future career. 
  • To develop research skills to enable students to design and test hypotheses and to interpret and present data. 
  • To provide students with the opportunity to apply intellectual, research, and practical skills to design and conduct an independent piece of research 
  • To facilitate students’ engagement with emerging research in selected specialised areas to further their depth of understanding of life processes and develop their appreciation of the provisional nature of scientific knowledge 
  • To enable students to demonstrate an understanding of the importance of biological sciences in an industrial, economic, environmental, social and ethical context 
  • To equip students with transferable and independent learning skills for relevant employment 
  • Through providing the above skills, to advance students’ understanding of the breadth of biological sciences to support a variety of potential careers in both academia and industry through study, research and the opportunity to specialise via a dedicated research project in a chosen scientific area 
  • To support students with knowledge and skills acquisition  in the current and relevant areas of Biology, Biochemistry, Cellular Biology, Molecular Biology, Physiology, Genetics and Evolution  

Additional Aims at Part D: 

  • To foster in students a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights at the forefront of biosciences research 
  • To equip students with a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship 
  • To develop students’ ability to show originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge for the interrogation of complex life systems 
  • To provide students with an understanding and ability to work between disciplines, including an awareness of techniques, methods and protocols used across the scope of the Biosciences.

2. Relevant subject benchmark statements and other external reference points used to inform programme outcomes:

  • The Benchmark Statement for Biosciences
  • The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications

3. Programme Learning Outcomes

3.1 Knowledge and Understanding

On successful completion of this programme, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding in the following areas: 


Key subject specific terminology, nomenclature, conventions and units;


The fundamental experimental techniques which inform the discipline;


Some major issues currently at the frontiers of research and development;


Safety, risk, hazard and ethics assessment as relevant to the discipline;


The main types of biological reaction and the key chemical characteristics associated with them;


The complexity of biological phenomena and how this is associated with evolutionary theory;


The diversity of structure in biology and the interrelationship between structure and function;


The rules of inheritance as governed and influenced by the structure of DNA;

  K9 Cellular types and key stages of cellular metabolism;
  K10 The association between societal developments and biological advances with an emphasis on the ethical landscape of biology;
  K11 The principles and methods used in understanding life and its relationship to health;
  K12 The link between cellular and molecular changes and physiological adaptation in health and disease;
  K13 Fundamental laws underpinning physiological function and adaptation;

 Additional knowledge and understanding at Part D:

  K14 A systematic and comprehensive understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at the forefront of scientific research;
  K15 Knowledge and awareness of the accepted norms and professional expectations associated with the generation and publication of scientific results;

3.2 Skills and other attributes

a. Subject-specific cognitive skills:

On successful completion of this programme, students will be able to:


Apply their knowledge and understanding of essential facts, key concepts, principles and theories to solve problems and debate critical issues within the subject area;


Identify and analyse novel scientific problems and plan strategies for their solution, and apply acquired knowledge and understanding to inform individual research;


Solve quantitative and qualitative problems and collate, evaluate and interpret scientific information and data;


Research, justify and critically evaluate scientific material and arguments in a coherent and organised way appropriately adapted to the audience;

Additional subject specific cognitive skills at Part D:


Select appropriate research and enquiry strategies to solve complex problems or problems with incomplete data;


Demonstrate advanced analytical thinking skills and be able to handle complex information in a structured and systematic way;


Critically evaluate current research, appropriate to the speciality;

b. Subject-specific practical skills:

On successful completion of this programme, students will be able to:


Apply a broad range of practical investigative techniques including data collection, data analysis, statistical evaluation, hypotheses formulating and testing, current contextualisation and external referencing and validation;


Record, describe and critically evaluate data sets;


Extract, manipulate and interpret data from scientific databases;


Handle materials safely by taking into account their physical and inherent material properties, e.g. biological activity or chemical hazards;


Conduct standard laboratory procedures including the operation of standard instrumentation for the analysis of materials and recording of results;


Appropriately, monitor, record and document events and changes by observation and measurement;


Plan, design and execute practical investigations from the problem recognition stage, to the selection of appropriate techniques and procedures, through to the evaluation and appraisal of the results and findings;


Conduct thorough hazard/risk assessments associated with scientific investigations covering the materials, equipment and laboratory/field environment and comply with relevant ethical approval procedures for working with humans, human tissue samples, and mammalian cell culture;

Additional subject specific practical skills at Part D


Apply appropriate research techniques to develop new insights to investigate and solve problems;


Explain experimental results in terms of a broad range of theoretical mechanisms and concepts;

c. Key transferable skills:

On successful completion of this programme, students will be able to:


Apply numeracy and computational skills including error analysis, order of magnitude estimations, correct use of units and modes of data presentation;


Generate, organise, analyse and interpret quantitative, numerical, statistical and other forms of data effectively;


Select and apply appropriate technology from the range available to collate, present and evaluate results and ideas to a professional standard;


Work independently to solve problems, find alternative solutions, reach end goals and evaluate outcomes;


Deploy critical judgements and evaluations to arrive at supported conclusions;


Effectively manage time and effort in the organisation of work to ensure independent and pragmatic learning;


Work effectively in a team by co-operating and negotiating with peers, making decisions and resolving issues, difficulties and conflicts, as applicable;


Communicate in a variety of formats, both written and oral;

Additional transferable skills at Part D


Exercise initiative and demonstrate personal responsibility including in the making of decisions;


Demonstrate an advanced ability to handle and interpret complex information in a structured and systematic way;


Develop the independent learning skills required for continued professional development and lifelong learning;

  T12 Understand and be able to interrogate and apply a variety of theoretical and interpretive positions and be able to weigh the importance of alternative perspectives.

4. Programme structure

Compulsory and optional modules must be taken such that the total modular weight for the year is 120 credits.

Year-long modules have equal credit weightings per semester.

4.1    Part A - Compulsory Introductory Modules:


Module Title

Modular Weight



Laboratory Skills for Biology I 20 1&2
PSA602 Biochemistry and Cell Biology 20 1
PSA604 Study Skills, Research Design and Data Description 20 1&2
PSA606 Anatomy and Physiology 20 1&2
PSA603 Genetics and Molecular Biology 20 2
PSA605 Human Evolution and Adaptation 20 2


4.2a    Part B - Compulsory Degree Modules:


Module Title

Modular Weight



Functional Genomics 20 1
PSB611 Laboratory Skills for Biology II 20 1&2
PSB403 Research Methods: Data Analysis 20 1&2
PSB614 Growth Development and Ageing 20 1&2
PSB613 Cellular Signalling and Transport 20 2


4.2b    Part B - Optional Degree Modules

20 credits from optional modules listed in the table below:


Module Title

Modular Weight



Physiology of Exercise and Training 20  1&2 


Biochemistry of Exercise and Nutrition 20 1&2


Interdisciplinary Science 20 1&2


Epidemiology of Human Nutrition 20 1&2


4.3       Part I (4-year/8-semester programme only) Candidates pursue ONE of the following streams:

(i)          Placement Stream (DPS)


(ii)         Study Abroad Stream (DIntS) where applicable


Candidates will study at an approved academic institution overseas.


4.4a    Part C - Compulsory Degree Modules:

Candidates must take the compulsory 40 credit Bioscience Research Project module which is divided between semesters with a permitted modular weight distribution of 10:30 or 20:20.


Module Title

Modular Weight



Project  40  1&2 


4.4b    Part C - Optional Degree Modules:

80 credits from the optional modules listed in the table below to bring the total credit weighting for each semester to 50, 60 or 70:


Module Title

Modular Weight



Physiology of Sport, Exercise and Health 20 1&2
PSC219 Human Performance at Environmental Extremes 20 1
PSC621 Cellular Adaptation and Degeneration 20 1
PSC505 Forensic Genomics 20 1
PSC624 Virology and Oncology 20 2
PSC623 Regenerative Medicine 20 2
PSC020 Sport Nutrition 10 2
PSC208 Body Composition 10 2
PSC032 Physical Activity and Health of Children 20 2


4.5    Part D - MSci Compulsory Modules:


Module Title

Modular Weight



Part D Bioscience Research Project 80 1&2
PSD631 Contemporary Health Issues 20 2
PSD632 Advanced Laboratory and Research Methods in Biology 20 1

5. Criteria for Progression and Degree Award

For BSc

In order to progress from Part A to Part B, from Part B to C and to be eligible for the award of an Honours degree, candidates must satisfy the minimum credit requirements set out in Regulation XX and Regulation XI for programmes with DPS and DIntS (if applicable).


For MSci

For MSci students commencing Part A prior to 2019, in order to progress from Part A to B, from Part B to either Part I or Part C, from Part C to Part D and to be eligible for the award of an Extended Honours degree, candidates must achieve 120 credits and an average mark of 50% at each part.

For MSci commencing Part A or joining a cohort commencing Part A from 2019/20 onwards in order to progress from Part A to B, from Part B to either Part I or Part C, from Part C to Part D and to be eligible for the award of an Extended Honours degree, candidates must achieve 120 credits and an average mark of 55% at each part.

Candidates who, after reassessment, fail to achieve this mark at Part C will not progress to Part D, but may, at the discretion of the Examiners, be eligible for consideration for the award of BSc with a classification based on the candidate’s performance in Parts B and C and determined on  the basis of the Part weightings for the BSc programme (40:60).

Candidates who, after reassessment, fail to qualify for the award of Extended Honours Degree in Part D may, at the discretion of the Examiners, be awarded a BSc with a classification based on the candidate’s performance in Parts B and C and determined on the basis of the Part weightings for the BSc programme (40:60).

Subject to the exception specified below, provision will be made in accordance with Regulation XX for candidates who have the right of re-assessment in any Part of the programme to undergo re-assessment in the University's Special Assessment Period (SAP).

Candidates who have accumulated fewer than 60 credits in any Part of the programme may not undergo re-assessment in the University’s SAP. Re-assessment in the SAP will also not be available for certain modules and this is indicated in individual module specifications.

6. Relative Weighting of Parts of the Programme for the Purposes of Final Degree Classification

Candidates' final degree classification will be determined on the basis of their performance in degree level Module Assessments in Parts B and C (and D if applicable). For BSc (Hons) degrees, the percentage mark for each Part will be combined in the ratio Part C 60%: Part B 40% to determine the final percentage mark. For MSci degrees, the percentage mark for each Part will be combined in the ratio Part D 40%: Part C 40%: Part B 20% to determine the final percentage mark.

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