It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the School of Life Sciences. Now that you are a member of Keele University you are entering on one of the most exciting times of your life and I hope that you will take full advantage of all the opportunities you will be offered over the next three or four years. Certainly, you will learn a whole range of academic and practical skills that will be of value not only in your studies and future career, but in your whole life.

Many students find that the Biology field course part is one of the most enjoyable and memorable parts of the Biology programme. The field course is the practical part of the Level 5 module ‘Life at the Extremes’ and it is your chance to visit some local extreme environments in Anglesey, off the coast of North Wales. It is provisionally scheduled to take place from 11th to 14th June 2018. Please keep these dates free of other commitments as this field course is a compulsory part of the Biology programme. More information will be provided about this field course during your first year.

My colleagues and I look forward to meeting you at the start of the new academic year and we hope that you will enjoy your time at Keele.

jhoole Best wishes

Dr Jan Hoole

Biology Programme Director

Preparing to Arrive

It is not necessary to carry out any specific preparation for your degree studies in Biology during the summer vacation as all aspects of the subject will be covered from basics. If, however, you are keen to get started or have not studied A-level Biology, then we recommend you prepare by reading chapters from the following textbook or from earlier editions. The most relevant sections are those on the cell, plant form and function and animal form and function.

Biology: A Global Approach 11 th Edition, (2017) Campbell, Urry, Cain, Wasserman, Minorsky and Reece.

It is not essential that you buy this text as multiple copies of this and earlier editions of the book are available in the library.

Other essential equipment to bring or purchase when you are here:

  • An electronic calculator (with basic scientific functions, such as log, ln and ex).
  • Equipment for taking notes in lectures, including pens and a pad of paper.
  • Basic drawing equipment, including pencils and a rubber.

Welcome Week

When you arrive at Keele to study Biology, both Single and Dual Honours, you will spend the first week getting to know your way around and being introduced to the people, places and protocols that will be important to you over the next three years.  On Monday 25th September at 12 noon there will be an introduction and welcome to the School of Life Sciences talk by the Head of School Professor Dave Hoole, followed by an introduction and welcome to the Biology programme by Dr Jan Hoole, the Programme Director. The venues for these will be confirmed later.

On Tuesday 26th between 11am and 1pm you will meet your Personal Tutor. Don’t worry, the meeting will not last two hours, but you should receive an invitation to meet at sometime during that period.

There will be a social event for Freshers on Wednesday afternoon, which we will notify you about nearer the time.

Thursday is the day that the work begins. There will be an introduction to the laboratories at 2pm on Thursday,

In between all this you will have time to check out the Fresher’s Fair and the electives drop in sessions. Dual Hons and Major Route students will also have activities relating to their other subject.

If you have any queries or worries about Welcome Week, please contact Dr Jan Hoole at



For many Biology students, the field course is the highlight of their biological education. In fact, fieldwork is an essential part of a biologist’s training and is intended to supplement formal class teaching and develop the skills of observing, recording and investigating.

Fieldwork Costs. All direct costs for the field course are covered by the School, including accommodation fees. However, you will be required to cover your living costs (food etc) and your travel costs to get to Bangor, Wales.

Fieldwork Equipment. The following equipment is essential for biological fieldwork and it is recommended that you try to purchase these items before the field course in June 2018.

  • Waterproof jacket and over-trousers.
  • Walking boots.
  • Wellington boots.
  • A clipboard (A4-size with a plastic map case for protection against the weather).
  • Pens and pencils for writing and drawing.
  • A digital camera (the one on your phone is fine) is useful for recording habitats and species of interest.

Additional Info

Feel free to contact the Biology Programme Director, Dr Janet Hoole , if you have any specific questions.