Genetics with a Preliminary Year and Professional Training Year (BSc)

Genetics is the study of the structure, function and inheritance of genes.

Often, there are good reasons why able students may not have the appropriate A-levels/AS-levels to directly enter the first year of a science degree programme. If you find yourself in this position, the Preliminary Year at Cardiff University can provide you with the academic background you will need for a science degree.

The programme includes modules in Biosciences, Chemistry, Maths and Physics. On successful completion of the preliminary year, you will automatically progress into the first year of your chosen degree programme.

Recent breakthroughs such as the completion of the human genome project, the exploitation of genetic manipulation in biotechnology, and the use of stem cells have made Genetics one of the dynamic and broadly relevant areas of life science.

As a student of genetics at Cardiff University, you will study topics ranging from genetic analyses at the population level (e.g. in endangered species), to the genetic basis of disease and the use of genetics in biotechnology. Data handling exercises and laboratory practicals form a crucial part of the course, giving you experience of modern genetic techniques (including genetic manipulation) and providing you the experimental and analytical skills that underpin a career in science.

Year one provides you with an essential foundation, covering core subjects such as: biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology and evolution with optional modules in areas such as plant and animal biology and ecology. In year two, the scheme exposes the students to the breadth of genetics, providing a wide range of optional modules spanning biomedical topics and plant development while retaining a core of genetics modules.

 A particular strength of this course is the opportunity to select research-led final year modules, including: genetic models of disease, genetic engineering in biotechnology, and bioinformatics. All students also undertake a final year project which can be lab based, literature based or based on data analysis. Students opting for a lab-based project are integrated into laboratories active in various aspects of genetic research including cancer biology, conservation genetics and plant biotechnology. This provides students with real experience of the research environment and gives them valuable training that is prised by employers. By studying the Cardiff Genetics BSc, you will be well-prepared for a range of career opportunities at the forefront of 21st century science.

The School of Biosciences 

At Cardiff School of Biosciences you will be joining a large and vibrant community of students and academic staff. We have over 100 dedicated and enthusiastic academic staff across a wide variety of disciplines, including world-renowned researchers in their respective fields including former head of school, Sir Martin Evans, winner of the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2007. The academic atmosphere provides ample opportunity for you to explore your chosen subject in depth, and to discover aspects of the biosciences that you may not have previously encountered.

As a school, we are strongly focused on providing learning opportunities that approach the cutting edge of scientific research and which introduce you to the scientific community. Throughout your course, we will emphasise key employability skills that are both specific to the sciences as well as useful in a wide range of Industries. By working with academic staff, you will develop these skills as you progress through each stage of your course. We aim to produce graduates who are employable, well-informed and enthusiastic ambassadors for science.

Key facts

UCAS CodeC403
Duration5 Year(s)
Typical places availableThe School typically has approx 415 places available
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives approx 2500 applications
Scholarships and bursaries
Typical A level offerAAB-ABB in non-science subjects
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerWBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one non-science A level (at the grades specified above).
Typical International Baccalaureate offer34 points
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.
Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here.
QAA subject benchmark


Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Dr Alvin Kwan , Course Administrator

    Miss Anna Calnan , Admissions Tutor

      Genetic techniques are now the cornerstone for a host of investigations that include studies of inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis, transmissible diseases such as AIDS and BSE, some forms of cancer, antibiotic and insecticide resistance, genetic fingerprinting, detection of bacteria and viruses in the environment, animal population studies, and genetic engineering.

      This makes Genetics an important and advancing field of biological science that will continue to provide employment for graduates well into the future.

      The Cardiff Genetics BSc will give you a broad knowledge of the subject, and is flexible to allow you to tailor your degree to suit your strengths, interests and career aspirations.

      Preliminary year

      The preliminary year programme includes modules in Biosciences, Chemistry, Maths and Physics. The particular modules studied depend on each student's academic background and the requirements of their chosen degree subject, and will be agreed through discussion with staff at enrolment. The preliminary year is not normally a route for students who have failed to achieve the required grades in their A-levels. It is possible to study the preliminary year programme on a part-time basis over two or three years. The science and maths modules are taught in the daytime at Cardiff University. On successful completion of the preliminary year, students automatically progress into the first year of their chosen degree programme.

      Module titleModule codeCredits
      Medical Imaging and The Human BodyCE396810 credits
      Disease in The Developing WorldCE419010 credits
      Structure and Properties of MatterPX010110 credits
      Motion and EnergyPX010210 credits
      Foundations of Modern PhysicsPX020110 credits
      Electricity, Magnetism & LightPX020210 credits
      Elementary Mathematical MethodsPX020310 credits
      Military Surgery Through the AgesBI000710 credits
      Module titleModule codeCredits
      Contemporary French LanguageML110420 credits
      French for BeginnersML619820 credits
      Modern FranceML619920 credits
      German Language A (First Year)ML213620 credits
      German B (First Year)ML213720 credits
      Introduction To German History And Culture For Advanced StudentsML710320 credits
      Introduction To German History And Culture For Beginners' StudentsML710420 credits
      Japanese HistoryML158120 credits
      Elementary Japanese (Autumn)ML158220 credits
      Elementary Japanese (Spring)ML168220 credits
      Italian Language (Year 1) AdvancedML310120 credits
      Italian Language (Year 1) BeginnersML310220 credits
      Modern Italy: Birth of a Nation?ML810320 credits
      Introduction to Lusophone StudiesML411020 credits
      Portuguese Language for BeginnersML411120 credits
      Spanish Language (Year 1) AdvancedML510120 credits
      Spanish Language Year One BeginnersML510220 credits
      Introduction To Hispanic Studies (Advanced)ML511020 credits
      Introduction To Hispanic Studies (Beginners)ML511120 credits
      Introduction to Translation Methods (French)ML810220 credits
      Introduction to Translation Methods (German)ML810420 credits
      Introduction to Translation Methods (Italian)ML810520 credits
      Introduction to Translation Methods (Japanese)ML810720 credits
      Introduction to Translation Methods (Portuguese)ML810820 credits
      Introduction to Translation Methods (Spanish)ML810620 credits
      Introduction to Translation TheoryML810120 credits
      Introduction to Poetry and the NovelSE213620 credits
      Reading and IdentitySE213120 credits
      Texts in Time 1500-1800SE213220 credits
      Literature, Culture, PlaceSE213320 credits
      Epic and RomanceSE213420 credits
      Shakespeare and ChaucerSE213520 credits
      Mind, Thought and RealitySE410120 credits
      Moral and Political PhilosophySE410320 credits
      Four Great Works in PhilosophySE410420 credits
      Darllen AthroniaethSE410520 credits
      Y Da, Drwg a'r GwleidyddolSE410620 credits
      Introduction To Human CommunicationSE110720 credits
      Introduction To Media CommunicationSE110820 credits
      Introduction To LanguageSE110920 credits
      Elementary Number Theory IMA011110 credits
      GeometryMA100410 credits
      Vectors and MatricesMA100710 credits
      Mechanics IMA130010 credits
      Introduction to Probability TheoryMA150010 credits
      Statistical InferenceMA150110 credits
      Experimental Physics IPX112310 credits
      The Universe From Particles To GalaxiesPX112410 credits
      Planets and ExoplanetsPX122510 credits
      How The Human Body WorksPX122610 credits
      Cyflwyniad I'r GymraegCY174220 credits
      Llenyddiaeth GymraegCY174320 credits
      O Destun I DraethawdCY174420 credits
      Diwylliant y GymraegCY175020 credits
      Diwylliant Cymraeg Dinas CaerdyddCY175120 credits
      Mapio’r CymryCY175220 credits
      Sgiliau llafarCY150020 credits
      Defnyddio'r GymraegCY150120 credits
      Astudio BarddoniaethCY150220 credits
      Astudio RhyddiaithCY150320 credits
      Welsh 1CY177420 credits
      Welsh 2CY177520 credits
      Introduction To Irish 1CY401010 credits
      Introduction To Irish 2CY401210 credits
      Spanish Beginners Part 1ML900110 credits
      Spanish Beginners Part 2ML900210 credits
      Spanish Intermediate Part 1ML900510 credits
      Spanish Intermediate Part 2ML900610 credits
      Spanish Advanced Part 1ML900910 credits
      Spanish Advanced Part 2ML901010 credits
      Japanese Beginners Part 1ML910110 credits
      Japanese Beginners Part 2ML910210 credits
      Mandarin Chinese Beginners Part 1ML920110 credits
      Mandarin Chinese Beginners Part 2ML920210 credits
      French Beginners Part 1ML960110 credits
      French Beginners Part 2ML960210 credits
      French Elementary Part 1ML960310 credits
      French Elementary Part 2ML960410 credits
      French Intermediate Part 1ML960510 credits
      French Intermediate Part 2ML960610 credits
      French Higher Intermediate Part 1ML960710 credits
      French Higher Intermediate Part 2ML960810 credits
      French Advanced Part 2ML961010 credits
      German Beginners Part 1ML970110 credits
      German Beginners Part 2ML970210 credits
      German Intermediate Part 1ML970510 credits
      German Intermediate Part 2ML970610 credits
      German Higher Intermediate Part 2ML970810 credits
      German Advanced Part 1ML970910 credits
      German Advanced Part 2ML971010 credits
      Italian Beginners Part 1ML980110 credits
      Italian Beginners Part 2ML980210 credits
      French Advanced Part 1ML960910 credits
      German Higher Intermediate Part 1ML970710 credits
      Spanish Elementary Part 1ML900310 credits
      Spanish Higher Intermediate Part 1ML900710 credits
      Spanish Further Advanced Part 1ML901110 credits
      Japanese Elementary Part 1ML910310 credits
      Japanese Elementary Part 2ML910410 credits
      Mandarin Chinese Elementary Part 1ML920310 credits
      Mandarin Chinese Elementary Part 2ML920410 credits
      Arabic Beginners Part 1ML930110 credits
      Russian Beginners Part 1ML940110 credits
      French Further Advanced Part 1ML961110 credits
      German Elementary Part 1ML970310 credits
      German Elementary Part 2ML970410 credits
      German Further Advanced Part 1ML971110 credits
      German Further Advanced Part 2ML971210 credits
      Italian Elementary Part 1ML980310 credits
      Italian Elementary Part 2ML980410 credits
      C++ Programming ICE265220 credits
      Java ICE333720 credits
      C Programming 1CE334020 credits
      Shell and Perl Programming ICE501120 credits
      C ProgrammingCE514010 credits
      Celtic Folklore in Britain and IrelandCE478210 credits
      Art, Archaeology and Culture in Ancient GreeceCE478310 credits
      The French Revolution - The Greatest of all Revolutions?CE479810 credits
      Introducing Moral ProblemsCE493710 credits
      Exploring Children's LiteratureCE493910 credits
      Ghoulish and Gruesome: Beliefs and the Body in early Modern BritainCE501310 credits
      Medieval France: One Nation, One Power?CE501510 credits
      Victorian LiteratureCE501910 credits
      The Nazi Rise to Power: Weimar Germany, 1914-33CE504210 credits
      Comedy and Our CultureCE507310 credits
      Reporting Sport: Sport, Journalism and SocietyCE507410 credits
      Inside the News: Past, Present and FutureCE507610 credits
      The Celluloid Imagination: American culture, society and identity through film since 1945CE511010 credits
      Introducing the BluesCE511410 credits
      Night's Black Agents: Gothic Mythology and LiteratureCE511310 credits
      Fatal Attractions: A Guide to the VicesCE511610 credits
      Things that go bump in the night: Magic, Witchcraft and the OccultCE511710 credits
      European LawCE110110 credits
      Managing Finance ICE136110 credits
      Managing Finance IICE286110 credits
      Project ManagementCE338910 credits
      Property LawCE359310 credits
      Professional Leadership and Management DevelopmentCE461310 credits
      Employability SkillsCE492310 credits
      Essential Management SkillsCE492410 credits
      Criminal LawCE512310 credits
      English Legal SystemCE512410 credits
      1989: a Pivotal Year for EuropeCE513420 credits
      The Political System in WalesCE513520 credits
      Medical Imaging and The Human BodyCE396810 credits
      Disease in The Developing WorldCE419010 credits
      Coaching and MentoringCE462510 credits
      Hyfforddi, cyfathrebu a chwnsela (trwy gyfrwng y gymraeg)CE512210 credits
      C ProgrammingCE514010 credits
      Education and SocietySI000520 credits

      Year one

      Year one at the School of Biosciences recognises that, as well as making the transition to independence from home, you are also facing new and exciting challenges in your education. You will now be studying in your chosen field and you will need to be fully prepared for the educational opportunities that are waiting for you. During your first week we will start you on this preparation by making sure you know what is different between school and University learning. You will feel part of the School of Biosciences immediately as you will be paired with a student buddy, who will show you the ropes and make you feel part of the student community. You will also meet your personal tutor, who will be on hand to help you with pastoral and academic issues for the whole time you are with us.

      Our common year one modular course gives a broad grounding in the Biosciences, the interdisciplinary nature of this integrated course allows students to explore their interests without committing to a degree scheme until the end of the first year. The benefit of our common year one modular course is that if you are not sure that you have chosen the right degree scheme when you join us then you are sure to have a much better idea at the end of our common year one. You then have the opportunity to change to any of our 12 degree schemes according to your interests and career aspirations.

      We offer a wide range of learning opportunities from lectures, tutorials, practicals, workshops and seminars, where you will come into contact with some leading research scientists. A team of academic staff who are teaching-focused ensure the smooth running of teaching and learning. We also appreciate that some of you will prefer particular assessment methods, and assess in a variety of ways, with emphasis on the practical skills you need to become a scientist. You will receive a range of feedback including written feedback on all coursework, and you have an opportunity to see your exam answer papers so you can improve on your performance next time.

      Module titleModule codeCredits
      Biological ChemistryBI101420 credits
      Structure and Function of Living OrganismsBI100220 credits
      Genetics and EvolutionBI105120 credits
      Skills for ScienceBI100120 credits
      The Dynamic CellBI100420 credits
      Organisms and EnvironmentBI100320 credits

      Year two

      Following on the common year one, where you build a robust basic knowledge and skill foundation within the biosciences, year two allows strengthening and expanding it with natural progression, and crucially the development of knowledge and skills in a context specific to your chosen degree programme. You enrol on modules, which are core to your degree programme, and on optional modules relevant to your degree. Your choice of modules can follow a more generalist approach, or can be rather specific to certain aspects of the discipline. You are given extensive academic advice and support in your choice by personal tutors, degree, module and year coordinators.

      Module titleModule codeCredits
      Medical MicrobiologyBI215610 credits
      Plant Development and PhysiologyBI215710 credits
      Research TechniquesBI200120 credits
      Comparative Cell Biology and Cell DeathBI216320 credits
      Molecular Cell BiologyBI225720 credits

      Year three: Sandwich year

      From year two you progress into the professional training year (PTY), which supports your learning and maturing in a work environment, thus crucially adding to your employability, experience, independence, subject and generic skills portfolio. You will be able to offer both a good degree and relevant work experience, which is what employers seek in new staff. You, helped by the school, will find a placement where you undertake scientific research in industry, a government research laboratory, or some other suitable organisation.  Examples of recent placements include GlaxoSmithKline Research Laboratories; MRC National Institute for Medical Research, London; Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh; NASA Research Center, Florida; and the Marine Conservation Society of the Seychelles.  You start looking for a placement at the start of Year Two and you are assisted by a PTY Coordinator who will also vet potential placements to ensure they provide suitable scientific training.  While on placement, you are assigned a PTY Tutor from Cardiff School of Biosciences, who will keep in close contact with you to make sure everything is progressing well and will visit you, if the placement is in the UK.  At the end of the placement year, you report on the scientific work undertaken as a basis of assessment along with a report from the employer. PTY counts for 10% of your overall degree result.

      Module titleModule codeCredits
      Sandwich YearBI9999120 credits

      Year four

      The final year gives you an opportunity to immerse yourself in your chosen field by following a series of advanced research-led modules. These are designed to develop your ability to critically analyse complex experimental or technical data and to expose you to the central concepts at the cutting-edge of your discipline. You also gain experience of contemporary research through attending a selection of the many seminars given within the school by international leaders in their fields. You are asked to produce an original dissertation based either on a laboratory project, an extensive literature analysis or an exercise relating to science teaching/ pedagogic research or public engagement. Through our mentoring of these projects we nurture a range of transferable skills to ensure that you are not only equipped for today's job market but have the adaptability to be successful in the new career paths that will certainly emerge in the future.

      The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.


      Your degree course will include a number of different types of learning and teaching, with the aim of the course to develop your skills as an independent learner. Much of the teaching takes place in lectures or seminars, supported by small-group teaching sessions. You will also gain extensive practical experience learning key techniques and approaches required for a career in biosciences. Another component consists of workshop sessions, where you work with members of staff on specific skills, such as: using software packages, developing presentation techniques and practicing problem-solving skills. The library and study facilities in the School of Biosciences allow you to access key textbooks, reviews and original research papers. As you move through your course, you will increasingly use more original research material and the teaching will increasingly focus on cutting-edge research delivered by experts in the fields.

      A major component of university learning consists of developing your understanding of the subject and becoming an independent and self-critical learner. To this end, the amount of time spent in self-directed learning increases as you progress through the course and increase your independence. We structure non-contact time carefully to allow you to plan and conduct your personal learning and skill development. The Cardiff School of Biosciences supports this through the use of self-directed learning and also facilitates the development of student-focused learning groups focused on identifying and developing learning resources. These study groups use collaborative ICT tools to develop skills in these current technologies (a key employability skill).

      Our lecturers have an open-door policy during non-contact time, and email exchange is encouraged if you have any questions. Lecturers are also available for you to ask questions about the material before and after the classes. Our students rate this support very highly as a crucial part of the overall student experience, as they are enabled to achieve all learning required to progress toward being an independent and reflective learner, ideally prepared for lifelong learning in a professional environment. This achievement is further supported by a scheme for developing all the transferable skills and competencies recognised as graduate attributes, and thus enhances overall employability.


      The early part of the degree focuses on your comprehension of the key concepts and background information making up the core knowledge of Biology. Early assessments will focus on testing your understanding of the subject and your ability to identify and use information. As you progress through the course, the focus shifts toward applying knowledge by solving scientific problems, assessing information and criticising your and others original work. In your final year, learning and assessment will be focussed on identifying and applying your original research to key questions in science today. You will be guided toward reading original research papers and also undertaking independent research. By the time you graduate, you will be an experienced independent learner and will possess a critical mind that will continue to ask challenging questions and learn new things for the rest of your life.

      As a graduate of the Cardiff Genetics BSc, you have a wide range of potential careers to aim for, depending on the optional modules you choose in the second and third years. These include: employment as a geneticist in the fields of medicine, zoology, agricultural science, microbiology, biotechnology or environmental science. Some of our recent graduates are currently employed in research into the molecular genetics of inherited disease, prenatal diagnosis of human chromosome disorders, design and production of new antibiotics, and genetic improvement of crops. 

      In 2013, 96% of the School's graduates were in employment or further study within six months of graduation while others were taking time out to travel etc. Employers included: universities and hospitals in the UK and overseas, local government departments, museums and organisations such as the BBC and National Museum of Wales.


      • Geneticist
      • Laboratory Researcher
      • University Lecturer
      • Biomolecular Scientist


      5 Year(s)

      Next intake

      September 2016

      Places available

      Typical places available

      The School admits 96 students each year to its undergraduate Biomolecular degree programmes.

      Applications received

      Typical applications received



      QAA subject benchmark

      QAA subject benchmark


      What are the aims of this Programme?

      The Genetics degree programme caters for anyone interested in the study of heredity, the process by which parent organisms pass on characteristics to their young.  It focuses on the ways in which in recent years all areas of biological study have been revolutionised by the application of the newly developed techniques of molecular genetics.

      Students learn how genetic techniques have become the cornerstone for a host of diverse investigations that include studies of inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis, transmissible diseases such as AIDS and BSE, some forms of cancer, antibiotic and insecticide resistance, genetic fingerprinting, detection of bacteria and virus in the environment, animal population studies, and genetic engineering.  Students receive hand-on training in modern laboratory and field research techniques, and gain practical experience of widely transferable skills in computing, statistics, data analysis and presentation.

      This version of the degree programme includes a ‘Preliminary Year’ before the first year of the specific Genetics degree itself. The Preliminary Year is an access course designed for students who do not have the full scientific background required for direct entry into Year 1 of the course. The Preliminary Year provides an opportunity for students, including mature students and those with qualifications in other disciplines, to gain background knowledge in the biosciences, mathematics and chemistry. Students who pass their Preliminary Year may then progress onto the First Year of the Genetics degree.

      In the First Year, students follow the School’s common First Year Biosciences programme.  This gives a firm foundation in all the bioscience disciplines and subject-specific areas that will provide a firm foundation for subsequent years of study.

      The second and final years include advanced courses on bacterial genetics, biochemical genetics, human/cytogenetics, population genetics, genetics and development, evolutionary genetics and biotechnology.  A genetic manipulation module gives students the opportunity to handle DNA in the laboratory and practice genetic engineering techniques.  A choice of optional modules enables students to combine their course with other specific areas of biology such as microbiology, cell biology, evolution or behavioural ecology.  The student’s final year project can be in any of the areas of genetics listed above.

      Students taking the five-year Preliminary and Professional training Year programme spend their fourth year on placement, typically in an industrial laboratory or similar environment, which students must arrange, with the help of the School.

      Programme Aims

      The programme aims to:

      ·        Provide a broad and balanced perspective of a wide range of aspects of science in general.

      ·        Provide a broad and balanced education in the most important areas of Genetics.

      ·        Provide a high quality learning and teaching environment within a research-led institution.

      ·        Produce graduates with intellectual and transferable skills appropriate both for further study and for a range of working environments.

      ·        Provide students with the opportunity to fulfil their academic potential, acquire research and transferable skills, maximise their career potential and achieve personal growth.

      ·        Encourage students to develop a habit of intellectual inquiry and to become independent learners.

      More specifically, the programme aims to:

      ·        Develop an understanding of the principles of genetics including the integration of genetics with other biological disciplines.

      ·        Provide students with relevant practical skills to complement knowledge and understanding of the subject.

      ·        Furnish the student with the opportunity of professional experience of the application of genetics, enabling them to use their technical skills and academic abilities in the context of employment.

      ·        Enable the student to enhance skills in working as part of a team.

      ·        Develop skills of problem-solving, data handling, and critical reasoning, as well as providing training in oral and written presentation, and digital literacies.

      ·        Enable students to gain access (if they so desire) to post-graduate degree courses within the Higher Education Sector or employment within Bioscience-related industries.

      .        Provide students with discipline-independent and generic skills that enable them to find graduate employment either within or outside the Biosciences.

      What is expected of me?

      Teaching during your course will consist of the following learning activities (each module may contain some or all of these activities):

      Lectures: Although these are not compulsory and we do not monitor attendance, it is assumed (and advised) that you will attend all of the lecture sessions for each module you are taking. Failure to do so will mean that you may miss key information or explanations about core material to the module.

      Laboratory Practical classes or Field-work: These sessions are compulsory, and attendance is monitored. Since the Biosciences are practical disciplines, and these sessions will teach key skills that are essential, absences are noted. Persistent absence or failure to engage with these activities may lead to the requirement to resit the module in a subsequent academic session.

      Tutorials/Workshops: These sessions are provided in most modules to support aspects of the subject material. These sessions are not compulsory, but attendance is very strongly advised.

      Clinics/Advice sessions: These are optional sessions that are held to support some of the assignments you will be given (such as statistics assignments, computing packages, presentations and group exercises)

      Academic Tutorials: These sessions are held with your Personal Tutor during Year 1 and are compulsory, with attendance being monitored.

      Research Seminars: These are sessions presented by academic staff or visiting researchers presenting their research work. You are required to attend a minimum number of these sessions per academic year.

      Examinations and In-course assessments: These are either ‘formative’ (i.e. they are for your benefit but do not contribute towards the module mark) or ‘summative’ (i.e. they contribute a proportion of your final module mark). All summative examinations or in-course assessments are compulsory.

      Where there are compulsory sessions, attendance is monitored and any absences are noted. Absences due to unforeseen extenuating circumstances (such as sudden illness or compassionate circumstances/bereavement) will need to be reported to the School, and action will be taken to either provide another opportunity to undertake the activity, or some form of remedial adjustment will be put in place. If you have suffered a severe medical or compassionate circumstance that has caused you to miss a significant number of days teaching, then we would recommend an Interruption of Study (halting your course for a period until the circumstances are no longer in effect), as there is likely to be a long-term effect on your learning. Similarly, you should seek advice regarding the impact on your learning of any likely absence due to maternity. In all cases the School will be as accommodating as possible with these situations, but all students must meet specific learning outcomes for each module and year of study, so flexibility may be limited in some cases.

      Students with disabilities are supported to the fullest extent possible by the University and the School of Biosciences. If you have a disability or a long-term medical condition which may impact upon your learning experience, then you should arrange for a Needs Assessment with the University Disability and Dyslexia Service. The advisor in this service will discuss your disability with you and identify what actions or materials are required to support you.

      All details of disabilities or extenuating circumstances are handled in confidence and are only disclosed to very a small number of essential staff. You may request even stricter confidence if you wish, in which case details are revealed only to the Chair of the extenuating circumstances committee and/or the School’s disability contact.

      We require all students to adhere to a basic standard of behaviour and conduct during their degree, which includes respecting the needs and the dignity of fellow students and university staff. You will also be required to be mindful that there are other peers learning with you; any behaviour by individuals that impacts negatively upon others’ learning is not tolerated. You will be required to follow a code of behaviour in laboratory practical classes, field work and during laboratory research experience in the PTY and final year. This requirement is based on essential health and safety considerations for these environments, and you must follow the instructions of the supervising member of staff at all times. Above all you will be required to be proactive in your learning and to take best advantage of every learning activity that is offered to you. A large proportion of learning at University is self-directed, and the overriding aim of your course is to develop you as an independent leaner. You will need to take responsibility for attending classes, submitting timely coursework, acting on feedback and managing your time effectively. You will be afforded the maximum time possible to complete the coursework assignments for each module, and it is your responsibility to plan your time to accommodate these.

      We will expect you to arrive promptly to all classes and learning activities. Late arrivals are rude and disruptive to your fellow learners, and to the person leading the class. Late arrival will also mean that you will miss vital information at the beginning of the session.

      You will be required to undertake a significant amount of independent and self-directed study at all levels throughout your degree course. Independent study includes the supplementation of your lecture notes and the further development of lecture material through independent reading of textbooks, scientific reviews and primary research articles. Independent study will also include time spent on completing coursework assignments and preparing for examinations and in-course assessments/class tests. It is estimated that you will be spending approximately 70 hours of self-directed study per 10 module credits.

      Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study.

      How is this Programme Structured?

      Please see 'How will I be taught?'

      Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?

      The University will provide all necessary equipment.

      What skills will I practise and develop?

      Transferable Skills.  Ability to:

      ·                  Communicate biological ideas, principles and theories effectively by oral and written means.

      ·                  Work effectively in a team and as an individual.

      ·                  Demonstrate good self-management and organisational skills.

      ·                  Use communication and information technology skills to organise and analyse data (databases, spreadsheets, and statistical packages); present results (word processing and presentational packages); as well as information retrieval (through the Internet for example).

      ·                  Employ numerical and statistical skills to analyse data.

      ·                  Show general problem-solving skills.

      ·                  Demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning through engaging in a process of personal development planning.

      ·                  Apply analytical thinking to problems in other disciplines.

      ·                  Develop independent learning skills.

      How will I be taught?

      Knowledge and Understanding:

      Learning and teaching methods adopt the more didactic approach in the first year with progressively more self-directed learning in Years 2 and 3.

      Year 0 (Preliminary Year) and Year 1 modules involve lectures and supporting tutorials providing background theoretical knowledge as well as practical classes.  Courses provide students with basic IT skills and an understanding of statistical analysis of data.  Coursework is used to develop writing and oral communication skills.

      Year 2 modules continue the didactic approach supported by tutorials.  More extensive laboratory practicals provide practical skills and critical evaluation of experimental data.  Set assignments and directed reading is used to promote self-directed learning and the analysis of primary research literature.

      At Level S (Year 3), students are involved in research projects within the host organisation.  Placements at these organisations are supervised by a member of staff from the host institution, and by a member of staff from the School of Biosciences.

      Final Year (Year 4) requires much more independence by the student.  All students produce one substantial research-based (laboratory, literature, pedagogic or scientific engagement) report.  Research-led lectures are supported by directed reading.

      Students are expected to undertake independent study, and increasing independence of learning is expected as the programme progresses.

      Intellectual Skills:

      Learning and teaching strategies fall within the framework described above under Knowledge and Understanding.  Intellectual skills are developed in particular through problem-solving workshops in techniques-based modules, through interpretation of data obtained in class practicals and during a research project undertaken in year 3, and through self-directed learning in all years of the course, but year 3 in particular.

      Discipline Specific Skills:

      Learning and teaching strategies fall within the framework described above under Knowledge and Understanding.  Discipline specific skills are taught in all years of the course.

      Transferable Skills:

      Learning and Teaching strategies fall within the framework described above under Knowledge and Understanding.  Transferable skills are taught in particular through IT modules and communications modules that require students to prepare both written and oral presentations.  Students learn to work individually and as part of a team in practical modules, and in modules in which teams of students prepare and deliver oral presentations.

      How will I be assessed?

      Knowledge and Understanding:

      At Level 3, there are coursework assessments for each module which usually comprise 30-40% of the final module mark.  These may take the form of written practical reports, structured (short answer) reports, class tests, structured answer tests, group work, poster and oral presentations and computing/statistical problem-solving exercises.  Most assessments are summative and count towards the final module mark, although feedback is provided on all assignments as the module progresses.

      At Level 4, there are coursework assessments for each module which usually comprise 30% of the final module mark.  These may take the form of written practical reports, structured (short answer) reports, class tests, structured answer tests, group work, poster and oral presentations and computing/statistical problem-solving exercises.  Most assessments are summative and count towards the final module mark, although feedback as the module progresses allows students to use them in a formative way.  Final examinations at the end of each module comprise a machine-marked structured answer section and a written answer section.  Students are required to answer all the structured questions (assessing breadth of knowledge) and one of three written answers (assessing depth of knowledge in specific topics).  Final examinations usually count for 70% of the final module mark.

      At Level 5, students submit items of coursework for each module (comprising usually 30% of the module mark).  Most assessments are summative and count towards the final module mark.  Final examinations at the end of each module comprise a structured answer section and a written answer section.  Students are required to answer all the structured questions and one written answer.  The Research Techniques module is assessed entirely by coursework.

      At Level S, students who undertake a Professional Training Year (PTY) submit a report at the end of their placement.  Assessment of the PTY year is based on this report, on the external placement supervisor’s assessment, and the student’s performance in an oral presentation.  This assessment is performed independently by two members of the examination board, who agree a final mark.  During the placement year students are visited twice by their university supervisor and a formative assessment is carried out in conjunction with the external supervisor.

      Level 6 taught modules are assessed by examination (typically, 80% of the module mark), and by extended analytical coursework (typically, 20% of module mark).  Practical/library based research projects are assessed by a number of assessments that include, amongst others, a supervisors’ assessment, a written report and oral presentation.

      Intellectual Skills:

      Assessment of intellectual skills falls within the general framework described above under Knowledge and Understanding.  Development of intellectual skills is assessed in particular through reports detailing the planning, execution and interpretation of practical and project work, through problem-solving workshops and assessments, and through written and oral examinations for which marking criteria (especially those used in the final year) give particular credit to the use of secondary sources and the ability to analyse and synthesise data.

      Discipline Specific Skills:

      Assessment of discipline specific skills falls within the general framework described above under Knowledge and Understanding.  Module examinations and project reports are marked according to criteria that require demonstration of knowledge and understanding of the discipline specific skills listed under the learning outcomes.

      Transferable Skills:

      Assessment of transferable skills falls within the general framework described above under Knowledge and Understanding.  Communications and project modules are assessed through production by the student of written reports and oral presentations requiring the use of information retrieval systems.  Students also produce assessed reports for practical modules and prepare essays and/or deliver oral presentations (either singly or as part of a team).

      How will I be supported?

      All of the academic staff in the School of Biosciences are experienced researchers in their respective fields and our aim is to guide you towards the practice and culture of scientific research and understanding. The primary interaction you will have with academic staff will be during lectures, laboratory practical sessions, workshops or small-group teaching sessions (tutorials). You will also be allocated a Personal Tutor, a member of the academic staff who will provide pastoral support and academic advice during your course. Your Personal Tutor will also run small-group academic tutorial sessions on subjects related to your degree scheme in the first year, and will oversee your general academic progress throughout the whole of your course. Your Personal Tutor is often the person who will write an academic reference for you at the end of your course, and so you are encouraged to develop a close working relationship with your tutor.

      All lecturing staff are contactable by email, and operate either an ‘open door’ policy for students who have specific queries about course material, or a system of booking meeting times. Each degree scheme also has a degree scheme co-ordinator who can also advise on academic issues. Each year of study has a year co-ordinator who can advise on administrative issues related to your course of study. There is also an Undergraduate Office with experienced administrators who can answer most administrative queries immediately.

      Lecture sessions in the timetable are designed to take 50 minutes. However, staff are available during the 10 minutes of time either side of the lecture so that you can ask your lecturer specific questions. Academic staff are always happy to explain any aspects of a lecture that you did not understand or for which you would like to deepen your understanding. Academic staff will also answer queries by email, or will be happy to arrange specific meetings outside of lecture time to discuss any issues relating to the course material.

      You will be provided with a number of opportunities to reflect on your performance during the degree course. These include:

      ·         Specific comments on assessed work identifying areas of strength or areas that require improvement returned with your assignments.

      ·         Generic comments (e.g. common errors or significant points to consider) on assessed work given to all students on a module.

      ·         Regular meetings with your Personal Tutor to discuss your coursework and exam performances.

      ·         Annual appraisals of your performance through our ‘Annual Progress Review and Feedback’ process where your performance, attendance and engagement with the course are rated.

      ·         Diagnostic tests to assess your level of competency in specific key transferable skills, allowing you to identify areas that need support or development.

      ·         Formative and summative assignments and examinations which will allow you to gauge your progress and level of understanding.


      You will also be provided with a number of opportunities to develop study and employability skills during your course. These include:

      ·         Lecture and workshop sessions on study skills, information literacy, digital literacy and exam technique.

      ·         Workshop and practical sessions to support the transition from school to university study.

      ·         Diagnostic tests on key transferrable skills for graduate employment or further study.

      ·         Academic tutorials during Year 1 designed to address key aspects of science and scientific analysis.

      CardiffUniversityoperates a ‘virtual learning environment’ (VLE) termed “Learning Central”. The VLE is a dedicated online resource that is designed to hold electronic materials that will support your learning in a module. These may include copies of lecture slides, lecture handouts; hyperlinks to research papers or learning resources; modelling packages or visual representations of molecules or processes; hyperlinks to items of interest in the media. The VLE may also have assignments linked to it, as well as self-test quizzes and class-wide feedback on previous assessments. Learning Central is kept up-to-date and updated frequently, and is the main medium by which announcements about module events are made. You will also be provided with a University email which you will need to check regularly for notifications or updates.

      CardiffUniversityhas an extensive library and information-support network, including staff who are national leaders in ‘Information Literacy’. The library staff can advise on book and literature searching, as well as the proper use of primary sources and how they should be referenced in your work. The library collection of text books and research journals is extensive, and the majority of research journals subscribed to by the School of Biosciences can be accessed online from anywhere off-campus.

      What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?

      Graduates from this programme will be able to demonstrate:

      Knowledge and Understanding of:

      ·                  Key underlying principles of chemistry, mathematics and biology which underpin the Biosciences.

      ·                  Genetics and its relationship to the organism and evolution including detailed knowledge of specific areas, including relevant experimental methods.

      ·                  The molecular basis of genetics.

      ·                  The application of the basic principles of genetics to relevant disciplines of biology.

      ·                  The impact of advances in genetics on ethical and moral issues.

      ·                  The applications of genetic manipulation technology.

      Intellectual Skills.  Ability to:

      ·                  Plan, execute and present an independent piece of work, in which qualities such as time management, problem solving, numerical skills and independence are evident.

      ·                  Apply their subject knowledge and understanding to address unfamiliar problems.

      ·                  Sustain a critical argument both in writing and through presentation/discussion.

      ·                  Apply the scientific method to formulate and test appropriate hypotheses.

      ·                  Integrate material from a range of different sources and identify material which is of relevance to a particular problem.

      ·                  Analyse, synthesise and summarise information critically.

      ·                  Recognise moral and ethical issues arising from scientific research, and the importance of ethical standards and professional codes of conduct.

      Discipline Specific Skills.  Ability to:

      ·                  Describe the key principles of biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, evolution, anatomy, physiology and biodiversity.

      ·                  Analyse numerical data effectively, and apply the appropriate use of statistics.

      ·                  Apply a knowledge of the structure of matter to chemical problems.

      ·                  Investigate genetic processes including basic molecular biology, cytogenetics, microbial genetics, and population genetics.

      ·                  Recognise the importance of safe working practices, and the need to undertake risk assessments when working in the laboratory or field.

      ·                  Identify ethical issues, and be sensitive to the impact of investigations on the environment, organisms or subjects that may be involved.

      ·                  Apply molecular techniques to the understanding and investigation of biological phenomena.

      ·                  Plan and carry out experimental investigations of biological questions.

      ·                  Recognise the importance of safe working practices, and the need to undertake risk assessments when working in the laboratory or field.

      ·                  Identify ethical issues, and be sensitive to the impact of investigations on the environment, organisms or subjects that may be involved.

      ·                  Organise, plan and conduct scientific studies in an efficient manner.

      ·                  Collect and record data accurately using a range of practical techniques.

      ·                  Appreciate sources of variation in biological data and use appropriate statistical techniques to analyse such data.

      ·                  Analyse, synthesise and present findings from practical work and the published scientific literature.

      ·                  Recognise that scientific knowledge may be questioned and is provisional, particularly in the light of continuing scientific advances.

      Other information

      The distinctive features of the Programme include:

      ·        The opportunity to develop as a learner within a working scientific community.

      ·        Broad coverage of wide-ranging subject material.

      ·        Opportunity to specialise in research-led fields.

      ·        Good range of skills for the non-specialist.

      ·        A specific programme designed to develop core employability skills and competencies for working in the field of science.

      ·        An emphasis on progression towards independent learning in preparation for life-long learning and continuing professional development.

      ·        A design for the Final Year that is research-led, based around research activities of staff involved in delivery of the Programme.

      ·        The opportunity for students to learn, and be taught in a programme that has been judged as “excellent” by independent Government assessment (Teaching Quality Audit).

      ·        The opportunity for students to learn in a research-led teaching institution serviced by staff rated for research of international quality by independent Government assessment (2014 Research Excellence Framework).

      ·        The opportunities to work in facilities commensurate with an internationally rated research ranking.

      ·        Academic staff with a broad range of experience and expertise.

      ·        A very active student society arranging numerous social, sporting and other events for its members.

      ·        Staff-Student consultative committees (the “Staff-Student Panels”).

      ·        Annual induction and enrolment programmes for new and returning students.  Transitional workshops to support the transition between school/college/6th form and University.

      ·        The presence of a modern, well-equipped Learning and Teaching Resource Centre within the School (as well as full access for students to all other resource centres in the University).

      ·        In addition to university-provided PC workstations throughout the campus, a number of which are 24 hr access, the provision of a dedicated Computer Room within the School.

      ·        Recent major refurbishments of teaching labs and lecture theatres.

      ·        Integrated management of teaching and the presence of an “Undergraduate Office” that deals effectively with student issues and concerns.

      ·        A single “Learning and Teaching Committee” that decides on educational policy across the School, that plans educational changes and developments, and that audits teaching activity within the School.

      ·        “Schemes Boards” within Biological Sciences, Biomolecular Sciences and in Biomedical Sciences (with student representation) that are concerned with effective day-to-day running of our science schemes.

      ·        A harmonised “Personal Tutor Scheme” across the School that provides students with appropriate pastoral care and that can provide effective feedback on academic performance.

      ·        A “Classroom Monitoring Scheme” that provides peer assessment of teaching quality for all teaching staff.

      ·        A single Annual Programme Review and Evaluation to assess the quality of all courses.

      ·        The development of a “Pedagogic Research Group” to advance, in a scholarly way, our teaching provision.

      ·        In addition to “Module” questionnaires used by all students, the formulation of an “Exit” questionnaire to enable Final Year students to review the entire degree programme.

      ·        Teaching workshops for staff and a staff development committee responsible for monitoring staff activity are in place.

      .        Criteria-based marking framework for each academic level applied to each piece of assessed or examined work in BIOSI science schemes.

      Admissions tutors

      Dr Alvin Kwan , Course Administrator

        Miss Anna Calnan , Admissions Tutor

          Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.