Human biology is crucial to the continual development of the fields of medicine, sports science, nutrition, and other areas.
The Human Biology MSci course builds on the content and structure of the 3-year BSc Human Biology degree, promoting the development of a broad and systematic understanding of biological principles, and the skills to place this understanding in the context of the human condition.
Students on the MSci Human Biology course can take all the modules available to students on the corresponding 3-year course. The Masters year has an extended research project at its centre piece, for which you will join one of the research groups in the School of Biosciences.
Our Human Biology MSci degree course draws on our research expertise in this area.
The flexible modular course structure allows students in the second and third year to tailor their programme of study to individual interests and ambitions. The course particularly emphasises practical training and research skills, as well as the development of transferable skills that can be deployed in a wide range of professional settings. The Masters year, which extends the 3-year BSc programme into a fourth year, is devoted to developing research competence through a multi-faceted teaching and research programme.
Humans are arguably the most complex living species on this planet. From genetics to embryonic development to mechanisms of disease, studying human biology entails many facets. As a degree course, Human Biology is a platform from which you can embark on diverse careers, not limited to the life sciences. The research-focussed Masters year offers a great opportunity to gain skills that are vital for a career in research, while expanding and deepening your knowledge of Human Biology.
The School of Biosciences encompasses over 60 academic staff with research interests across the full spectrum of biology. Immunity and infection, cancer biology and cellular signalling are represented as well research into human blood disorders, such as leukaemia or cardiovascular disease.
With a Human Biology degree, you will acquire a wide range of skills that enable careers not just in the life science, but across a wide range of professions. Taking advantage of one of the 4-year course options will add value to your CV and help you to stand out. However, a University degree course is not just about a professional education, it is first and foremost about studying was fascinates us most.
Why Study this Course?
There are many reasons to study Human Biology MSci at Newcastle:
- Employability – We are ranked 5th in the Russell Group for graduate prospects.
- Accreditation – All UG programmes are accredited by the Royal Society of Biology as containing a solid academic foundation in biological knowledge and key skills, and preparing graduates to meet the needs of employers.
- Research-led teaching – Our world-leading research feeds directly into our programmes, meaning you will learn from academics who are experts in their field.
Regional accreditation is an institution-level accreditation status granted by one of six U.S. regional accrediting bodies. Accreditation by more than one regional accrediting body is not permitted by the U.S. Department of Education.
University of Newcastle is accredited by the DETC Higher Learning Commission (DETC), www.detc.org.uk Since , University of Newcastle has been continually accredited by the DETC Higher Learning Commission and its predecessor.
Human Biology MSci (Hons)
Undergraduate, Single Honours
How long it takes:
Undergraduate (4 Year)
Distance learning/ Campus
Find out more about
Newcastle Law School
The Human Biology course begins with an introduction to key concepts in biology, from molecular and cellular features to the concept of evolution, including genetics and physiology. Skills training is an integral part of the course at all levels. You also take a Widening Horizon Module, which allows you to access to content from other Schools, from Humanities to the Sciences to Engineering.
First year modules
Human Nutrition and Metabolism – Exploring four broad themes: nutrition, energy metabolism, practical biochemistry techniques, and regulation and deregulation of metabolic pathways.
Introduction to Evolution and Animal Biology – An overview of introduction from the pre-biotic era to Darwin and his impact. Natural selection, the origins of altruism and sexual reproduction, genetic determinants of evolution.
Cell Biology and Physiology – Tissues, organelles, reproduction and development.
Genetics I – Storage of genetic information, gene expression and regulation, mitosis and meiosis, gene linkage and chromosome mapping.
Fundamentals of Biochemistry – Fundamental biochemical processes taking place inside cells
Introduction to Microbiology – Broad introduction to microbiology with a focus on infectious disease, covering bacteria, fungi, protists, archaea and viruses
Personal and Academic Skills: Communication and Data Analysis
Personal and Academic Development
Widening Horizon Module (WHM) – allows you to explore content from other academic programmes of this university in the form of a stand-alone module.
The second year features a combination of core modules that all students on the Human Biology course follow, and elective modules, where you can start to define your personal direction in the course.
Second year modules
Core modules (taken by all students on the Human Biology programme)
Molecular Biology and its Applications – Genetic analysis and gene cloning, DNA fingerprinting and forensics, genomics and computational approaches to genetics.
Communications and Skills in Biosciences – Science communication in videography, writing and speaking, ethics in science, analysis of the scientific literature.
Human Structure and Function – Human anatomy and how it relates to its function and evolutionary origin.
Evolution of Humans and Other Animals
Choose four optional modules
Example optional modules may include:
Cell and Developmental Biology – Development of multicellular organisms, interaction between cells and the cellular matrix, regulation of stem cell function.
Evolution of Humans and Other Animals – The primary aim of this module is to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of comparative animal biology in an evolutionary context.
Topics in Medical Biosciences – Neurobiology and neurotransmitters, pharmacology and anaesthetics, blood constituents and haemostasis, complement and immunity.
Genetics II – Organisation of genes and genomes, generation of genetic diversity, gene transmission and analysis of problems in transmission and molecular genetics.
Microbes and Man – The impact of microbes on humans, bacteria, fungi and viruses, common themes of infectious disease mechanisms.
Animal Biology: Principles and Mechanisms – This module explores how the central nervous system translates sensory stimuli to behaviour. Topics include comparative neurobiology, biological timekeeping, sensory biology, learning and behaviour and others.
A key component of the final year is the Research Dissertation, which covers 40 of 120 final year credits and stretches over both Semester 1 and 2. In dialogue with a lecturer or professor, you will do your own research and be led to intellectual independence. A diverse spectrum of elective modules allows you to explore individual facets of human biology according to your personal preference and interests.
Students choose their disserations from an extensive list near the end of their 2nd year. Some even arrange a project independently in collaboration with an academic member of staff. Whichever path you choose, you will find that the dissertation provides valuable skills training.
Third year modules
Evidence-Based Literature Review
Critical analysis: Developing a research proposal
Introduction to Teaching Biosciences in Schools
Choose four optional modules*
Example optional modules may include:
Human Evolution – Genetics and genomics, development of bipedalism, development of society and how humans’ activity applies selective pressure on the evolution of HIV.
Human Health and Disease – This module builds on the 2nd year module ‘Human structure and function’, and discusses advanced concepts in anatomy and physiology. It also gives students an insight into how clinicians approach problems relating to diagnosis and management of disease.
Cancer Biology – Regulation of cell division and aberrations in malignant tumours, genetic bases of tumourigenesis, programmed cell death.
Cellular Signalling** – Signal transduction in and between cells, G-protein coupled receptors, phospholipid and Ca2+ signalling, ligand-gated ion channels and electrical responses.
Structures of Destruction: the structural biology of pathogenicity – Bacterial and viral pathogens explored from the perspective of their molecular structures, protein misfolding and amyloid diseases.
Eukaryotic Gene Expression – The central processes in gene expression are transcription and translation. Control of gene expression plays an important role in development, homeostasis and disease. This module explores the molecular mechanisms used to control gene expression, including transcription initiation, post-transcriptional control and epigenetic.
Advanced Topics in Animal Behaviour
Molecular Basis of Bacterial Infection
Living in Groups: Collective Behaviour in Animals
Exercise and Diet; Mechanisms of action in exercise performance, promotion of health and longevity
Current developments and advances in Eukaryotic Genetics
Introduction to Teaching Biosciences in Schools
Research Methods in Microbiology
* Modules run either in Semester 1 or Semester 2. Particular combinations of modules may not be advisable, especially if all 4 choices were to run in the same semester.
Fourth year (Masters year)
The final year is devoted to developing and honing research skills. The central element to achieve competence in research is the research project, which extends over both semesters of the year and which takes up the majority of your work effort. In addition, you will attend a research training module, as well as a taught module drawn from the specialist modules of the third year.
The research training module is a combination of research seminars given by external researchers visiting the School, data handling and problem solving sessions, and finally developing a grant proposal and a business plan.
The research project is arranged individually between the student and a supervisor of the student’s choice. During your project you will work along with postdoctoral and postgraduate students on a project drawn from current research activity of the supervisor.
Applicants should normally have one of the following:
- A non-law bachelor’s degree (from a UK university or recognised by the BSB if you wish to study the BPTC), or
- A ‘stale’ law degree, where five or more years have elapsed since graduation, or
- An academic or professional qualification at degree equivalent level
If English is not your first language, you will also need to demonstrate your English Language proficiency. For example, you should have IELTS 7.5 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in all components.
If you intend to become a Solicitor
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has reduced its requirements for pre-authorisation this year. For details of the current arrangements, see the SRA website. You should pay special attention to the Character and Suitability section. If you think you may have a character or suitability issue, you may wish to clarify with the SRA before proceeding with the GDL.
See further details of our English Language requirement
USA,UK & EU students, 2019/20 (per year)
International students starting 2019/20 (per year)
You’ll show your progress through a combination of written essays, problem-solving assignments and presentations.
All students take our core modules, but please note that the availability of optional modules is subject to demand.
Advances in the biosciences are having a profound impact on our daily lives in areas from human health to conservation. Biotechnology, biological pharmaceuticals, and personalised medicine are key growth areas in the health sector. Environmental remediation, climate change and related themes pose multi-faceted challenges for the coming decades. Expert knowledge in biology and the life sciences will be in high demand for the foreseeable future, with bright prospects for exciting and rewarding careers in research, teaching, industry, the NHS and the public sector.
A significant number of our graduates choose to take a further degree, a postgraduate Masters or PhD. For many career paths, a further degree is an essential stepping-stone, including (but not limited to) careers in research. Our graduates are highly sought after by universities around the world, many stay in Birmingham and join one of our prestigious research groups. Did you know that PhDs are fully funded and that postgraduate students receive a tax free stipend equivalent to a salary?
We are ranked 5th in the Russell Group for graduate prospects.
Careers Network, our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.