Biology and Physical Geography 

(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 Physical Geography.

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: CF18

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 to combined course schedule) 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 Physical Geography, where we take an interdisciplinary perspective that will allow you to embed influences from fields such as geology, environmental science and life sciences into your studies. With our global approach you will discover landscapes and points of view that transcend traditional boundaries. You will learn to collect and interpret evidence in the field and in the laboratory, acquiring skills in surveying, GIS and a range of physical and chemical analytical techniques. You will have the chance to apply your new skills on field courses in the UK and overseas.

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. Geography graduates are highly employable. Your degree from Keele will equip you for future employment or advanced study, and will establish a lifelong appreciation of the world around you. Your skills could take you into directly related careers such as environmental planning or consultancy, or you could apply them in industries such as energy, agriculture, meteorology or construction. Your problem-solving skills and global, interdisciplinary approach will be of value in a huge range of careers.

Indicative modules

First Year

  • Biodiversity, Ecology and Environment
  • Cellular Genetics and Evolution

Second Year

  • Life at the Extremes (includes a field course)
  • Research and Analytical Skills
  • Animal Adaptations
  • Living Together
  • Current Topics in Biology

Third Year

  • Life Sciences Research Project
  • Conservation Biology
  • Trees in Their Environment
  • Applied Fish Biology
  • Applied Insect Ecology
  • Human Evolution Dissertation (Life Sciences)

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.

 

Physical Geography - 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 Physical Geography modules only; please also see the document for your other subject. For Physical Geography Combined Honours:  

Year

Compulsory

Optional

Electives

Min

Max

Min

Max

1

60

0

0

0

0

2

60

0

0

0

0

3*

0

45

60

0

15

* 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

 

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

   

 

Physical Geography Year 1 (Level 4)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Fundamentals of Physical Geography

15

None

 

Geographical Skills

15

   

The Practice of Physical Geography

15

   

People and the Environment

15

   

 

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

 

Physical Geography Year 2 (Level 5)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Dynamic Geographies

15

None

 

Practical Physical Geography

15

   

Regional Landsystems

15

   

Geographical Research Training

15

   

 

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

 

Physical Geography Year 3 (Level 6) (Combined Honours)

Students take either 60 credits from the options below, or 45 credits from this list plus 15 credits from an elective outside this list. Students may take no more than one of the ISPs on this list, and do not need to take a Geography Independent Study Project (ISP) as long as there is an ISP included within their overall combined honours module diet.

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

None

 

Double Dissertation ISP

30

   

Single Dissertation ISP

15

   

Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology

15

   

Inspirational Landscapes

15

   

Global Environmental Change

15

   

Water Resources

15

   

Applied GIS

15

   

Coastal Environments

15

   

Environment and Sustainability Case Study

15

   

Natural Hazards

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 Physical Geography in your final year you will take either 120 credits from the list below, or 105 credits from this list plus 15 credits from an elective outside this list. Students must take one of the two Dissertation ISP options below.

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

None

 

Double Dissertation ISP

30

   

Single Dissertation ISP

15

   

Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology

15

   

Global Environmental Change

15

   

Water Resources

15

   

Natural Hazards

15

   

Inspirational Landscapes

15

   

Applied GIS*

15

   

Coastal Environments

15

   

Trees in their Environment*

15

   

Contemporary Topics in Environmental Science

15

   

Environment & Sustainability Case Study

15

 

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