Biology and Geology 

(2018 Entry)

BSc (Hons)

At Keele, studying a combined honours degree will include some modules from both of the single honours degrees. In this case, your programme will be made up of a combination of modules from both Biology and Geology.

Combined Honours

Combined Honours degrees allow you to study two different subjects in one degree. Find out more about Combined Honours degrees.


Study abroad
Learn a language
International year
3 years/ 4 years with international year

UCAS code: CF16

View entry requirements

Course Overview

Biology at Keele focuses on the amazing world of organisms – from how they’ve evolved to their relationships with the environment and each other. Keele takes a broad approach to biology, examining the diversity of life and its evolution from the geological past. You’ll consider the complexity of biological processes and mechanisms at molecular, cellular, organismal and ecosystem levels, exploring related philosophical and ethical issues. You’ll sample, record and analyse data in the field and in our excellent labs, and learn how biology can help to improve the quality and sustainability of life. Complete this course over three years, or it may be possible (subject combination dependant) to add an extra year with an Applied Life Sciences work placement or a one year Study Abroad Placement between the second and third year.

This degree is combined with the study of Geology. Geology is a science fundamental to modern day living, with geologists discovering society’s major resource needs including metals, minerals, energy and groundwater. The combined honours Geology course at Keele looks at rocks, minerals and fossils, how they were formed, how they might have been deformed or altered over geological time and what they can tell us about the history of the Earth and its past environments. It also covers geological processes such as earthquakes, volcanoes and plate tectonics, and how these processes produce different geological materials. Geology is a practical subject with applied problem-solving laboratory classes and field courses where you will learn how to interpret and map geological features, and explore for future geological resources. Field course transport and accommodation costs are covered by the University.

What will this mean for my future?

Keele enjoys high rates of graduate employment, where in 2016, were recognised nationally as 1st for employability in the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey. Biology at Keele offers both breadth and depth of knowledge, preparing you for a range of directly or indirectly related careers. You might work as a research scientist, as an environmental consultant, conservationist, in quality control areas of the food industry, in the pharmaceutical industry or as a scientific writer. Career opportunities in geology are excellent because industry and modern society depends on geologists to find natural resources such as oil, gas, coal, minerals, metals, aggregates and water. Geologists are also needed for designing foundations, tunnels and other engineering projects. You could go on to work in mining, the oil and gas industry, hydrogeology or geotechnical engineering. Geologists are also required for environmental projects such as radioactive waste disposal or carbon dioxide capture and storage. Degrees studying Geology combined with another science subject are accredited by the Geological Society of London.

Indicative modules

First year

  • Biodiversity, Ecology and Environment 
  • Cellular Genetics and Evolution 
  • Introduction to Mineralogy and Petrology (includes fieldwork)
  • Geology: Time and Space (includes fieldwork)
  • Geology: Planet Earth
  • Introduction to Sedimentology and Palaeontology (includes fieldwork)

Second year

  • Life at the Extremes (includes a field course)
  • Research and Analytical Skills
  • Animal Adaptations
  • Living Together
  • Current Topics in Biology
  • Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
  • Reconstructing Past Environments (includes fieldwork)
  • Advanced Structural Geology and Geological Mapping Training
  • Geoscience Field Techniques

Third year

  • Life Sciences Research Project
  • Conservation Biology
  • Trees in Their Environment
  • Applied Fish Biology
  • Applied Insect Ecology
  • Human Evolution
  • Dissertation (Life Sciences)
  • Independent Fieldwork Project
  • Structure and Geodynamics (includes fieldwork)
  • Natural Hazards
  • Hydrological and Engineering Geology
  • Micropalaeontology: Principles and Applications (includes fieldwork)
  • Economic Geology (includes fieldwork)
  • Advanced Topics in Sedimentology (includes fieldwork)
  • Exploration Geophysics for the Hydrocarbon Industry

 

Course structure

Our degree courses are organised into modules. Each module is usually a self-contained unit of study and each is usually assessed separately with the award of credits on the basis of 1 credit = 10 hours of student effort.  An outline of the structure of the programme is provided in the tables below.

There are three types of module delivered as part of this programme. They are:

  • Compulsory modules – a module that you are required to study on this course;
  • Optional modules – these allow you some limited choice of what to study from a list of modules;
  • Elective modules – a free choice of modules that count towards the overall credit requirement but not the number of subject-related credits.

Modules Summary

Biology - A summary of the total credit requirements per year is as follows, with a minimum of 90 subject credits (compulsory plus optional) required for each year across both of your Principal Subjects. This document has information about Biology modules only; please also see the document for your other subject.

 

Year

Compulsory

Optional

Electives

Min

Max

Min

Max

1

60

0

0

0

0

2

30

30

30

0

30

3*

15 or 30

30 or 45

30 or 45

0

0

* in year 3 there is the option to choose to specialise in one of your subjects, taking a minimum of 90 credits in this subject rather than taking modules from both subjects

Students take four Biology modules at Levels 4 and 5, two in each semester. At Level 5, there is also the option of studying abroad for one of the two semesters, or for a whole academic year between levels 5 and 6.  At Level 6, students take four modules in Biology, of which one must be an independent study module: Life Sciences Experimental Project or Work Placement Year. Combined Honours students combining Biology with Biochemistry must take a 30-credit ISP (Independent Study Project), i.e. a Life Sciences Double Experimental Project (with research skills assessment) or a Work Placement Year Project.

 

Geology - The Geology programme is modular in structure and must be taken in Levels 4 and 5 in combination with another principal subject. Students may select to study only Geology modules at Level 6, or transfer to study M. Geology at Levels 6 and 7 (see M. Geology Programme Specification for details), or continue with the Combined Honours scheme at Level 6.

A summary of the total credit requirements per year is as follows, with a minimum of 90 subject credits (compulsory plus optional) required for each year across both of your Principal Subjects. This document has information about Geology modules only; please also see the document for your other subject.

Year

Compulsory

Optional

Electives

Min

Max

Min

Max

1

60

0

0

0

0

2

60

0

0

0

0

3

15

45

45

0

0

3*

45

75

75

0

0

* at Level 6 (year 3) there is the option to choose to specialise in one of your subjects. These are the credits if you choose to specialise in Geology in your final year.

 

Modules - Year One

Year 1 (Level 4)

Biology Year 1 (Level 4)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional Modules

Credits

Biodiversity, Ecology & the Environment

30

   

Cellular Genetics & Evolution

30

   

 

Geology Year 1 (Level 4)

It is assumed that students have no previous geological knowledge and therefore the programme starts from basics. The programme provides a broad-based introduction to geological topics at Levels 4 & 5 with emphasis on the characteristics of rocks, minerals and fossils, together with the processes that govern their formation and development.

 

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Minerals, Rocks and Fossils †

30

None

 

Earth Structure and History †

30

   

Modules - Year Two

Year 2 (Level 5)

Biology Year 2 (Level 5)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional Modules

NB: students choose 2 modules from:

Credits

Life at the Extremes *

15

Animal Adaptations

15

Research and Analytical Techniques

15

Human Genetics

15

   

Living Together: Behaviour, Cooperation and Conflict

15

   

Nutrition and Energy Balance

15

   

Health and the Environment

15

   

Current Topics in Biology

15

   

Microbes, Viruses and Parasites**

15

   

Study Abroad Modules

30

* This module includes a field course

**This module is a prerequisite for Human Parasitology at Level 6

 

Geology Year 2 (Level 5)

During Level 5 particular attention is paid to first hand observation, recording and interpretation of geological phenomena in the field and laboratory. This year includes a major overseas field course. By the end of the level you will have been given a complete grounding in geology that will allow you to carry out your own independent studies.

 

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Petrology

30

None

 

Field Techniques

30

   

† Module contains fieldwork

 

Work Placement Year

Students taking the 4-year with ‘Work Placement Year’ undertake their work placement between Year-2 and Year-3 of their degree programme.  During the work placement year, students undertake a work placement (minimum 30 weeks full time (1,050 hours) or equivalent) with a geologically-focussed company or organisation. Students take the year-long, non-credit bearing module:

 

Core modules

Credits

Work Placement Year

n/a

 

International Year

Information relevant to students taking the International Year is available in Annex A.

Modules - Year Three

Year 3 (Level 6)

Biology Year 3 (Level 6)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional Modules

NB: students choose 3 modules from:

Credits

Students taking Biology and Biochemistry:

Life Sciences Double Experimental Project (with research skills assessment)

Or

Double Applied Life Sciences Placement1,2

 

30

 

30

Applied Insect Ecology

15

Conservation Biology

15

Human Parasitology3

15

Applied Fish Biology

15

Students taking Biology and a subject outside the School of Life Sciences:

Life Sciences Single Experimental Project (with research skills assessment)

Or

Life Sciences Dissertation

Or

Single Applied Life Sciences Placement1

 

15

 

15

 

15

Trees in their Environment

15

Developmental Biology

15

Human Evolution

15

Communication Skills for Biologists

15

Life Sciences Dissertation

15

1 The Applied Life Sciences Placement modules may replace Life Sciences Experimental Project (with research skills assessment) modules if the nature of the placement is deemed suitable and the work carried out meets the criteria of the research project module.  

 

2 If a student fails the Life Sciences double experimental project module (or the alternative Double Applied Life Science placement module) but has it condoned, then they will not be eligible for an RSB accredited degree, but shall instead be eligible for the award BSc Studies in Biochemistry

 

3 This option is only available to students who have taken Microbes, Viruses and Parasites at Level 5

 

Geology Year 3 (Level 6)

This year starts during the summer vacation when you will carry out an independent field project, which normally takes 3 weeks. During the autumn semester you will prepare a dissertation based upon this field project. In addition, there is a choice of option modules from a wide range of geological subject areas. The method and approach to teaching changes emphasis from staff-centred instruction at Levels 4 & 5 to more student-oriented activities, with components of several modules based upon independent or team-based project work.

 

There is also a change from modules based upon pure aspects of geological study to more applied aspects. It is intended that students should select their option modules according to their interests and career aspirations. Much of the content of these Level 6 option modules is based on research at the forefront of the discipline and helps to strengthen links between teaching and research.

 

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules (Choose 45 Credits)

Credits

Independent Fieldwork Project (ISP)

15

Structure and Geodynamics

15

   

Natural Hazards

15

   

Hydrological and Engineering Geology

15

   

Exploration Geophysics for Hydrocarbons

15

   

Micropalaeontology: Principles and Applications

15

   

Economic Geology

15

   

Advanced Topics in Sedimentology

15

Modules - Year Four

If you choose to specialise in Biology in your final year you will study the following modules:

Core modules

Credits

Optional Modules

NB: students choose 6 modules from:

Credits

Life Sciences Double Experimental Project (with research skills assessment)2

Or

Double Applied Life Sciences Placement1

30

 

30

Applied Insect Ecology

15

Conservation Biology

15

Human Parasitology3

15

Applied Fish Biology

15

Trees in their Environment

15

Developmental Biology

15

   

Human Evolution

15

   

Communication Skills for Biologists

15

   

Life Sciences Dissertation

15

 

If you choose to specialise in Geology in your final year you will study the following modules:

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules (Choose 75 Credits)

Credits

Independent Fieldwork Project (ISP)

15

Structure and Geodynamics

15

Geological Communication Skills

15

Natural Hazards

15

Volcanic and Magmatic Processes

15

Hydrological and Engineering Geology

15

   

Exploration Geophysics for Hydrocarbons

15

   

Micropalaeontology: Principles and Applications

15

   

Economic Geology

15

   

Advanced Topics in Sedimentology

15

   

Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology *

15

   

Global Environmental Change *

15

   

Water Resources *

15

   

Coastal Environments *

15

* No more than two of these Physical Geography modules may be taken

† Module contains fieldwork

 

For further information on the content of modules currently offered, including the list of elective modules, please visit: www.keele.ac.uk/recordsandexams/az