Natural Sciences

BSc in Biology and Earth Sciences within the Natural Sciences programme (CFG0): 2022-2023

Entry requirements: See the Essentials

The current course structure is shown in the table below that consists of modules which must be studied in the appropriate year - click on the module code for the current module content. After Year 1, students focus solely on studying Biology and Earth Sciences. If students don't wish to take a particular module or include a third subject then it may be possible take up the option of the more flexible "BSc in Natural Sciences degree. The subjects in which modules have been taken successfully in the final two years are as follows: Biology and Earth Sciences". As the rules below permit, students may take up to 80 credits in one subject and no less than 40 credits in the other subject and always take precisely 120 credits in one year.

Year 1
Biology40 credits: Organisms And Environment (BIOL1161) and Genetics (BIOL1171)
Earth Sciences40 credits: Understanding Earth Sciences (GEOL1101) and (Earth Materials (GEOL1021) or Environment And Resources (GEOL1111))
Year 2
Biology60 credits: Evolution (BIOL2451), Ecology (BIOL2461) and Behaviour (BIOL2511)
Earth Sciences60 credits: Modules taken from the Level 2 Earth Sciences list.
Year 3
Biology40 credits: Modules taken from Ecology In The Anthropocene (BIOL3541); Conservation Biology (BIOL3551); Advanced Topics In Ecology, Evolution Andbehaviour (BIOL3561).
Earth Sciences40 credits: Modules taken from the Level 3 Earth Sciences list. If 60 credits or more are taken, 20 credit module can be at Level 2.
Students must take no less than 20 credits and no more than 60 Capstone Modules from the following list:
Capstone modules20 credit Literature Review (BIOL3451); 20 credit Contemporary Issues in the Biosciences (BIOL3641); 20 credit Science Enterprise (NSCI3001); 40 credit Dissertation (GEOL3022); 20 credit Science Enterprise (NSCI3001);
Further details about the modules in the Biology list.
Further details about the modules in the Earth Sciences list.

Below is an example of modules that are timetabled to satisfy these rules except in Year 3 where the set may not include a capstone module. Click on the single digit numbered link on the left to see a sample timetable and the module code to see details about the module such as content, contact hours, teaching methods and assessment methods.

1Organisms And Environment (BIOL1161)Genetics (BIOL1171)Earth Materials (GEOL1021)Field Studies (GEOL1051)Understanding Earth Sciences (GEOL1101)      
2Evolution (BIOL2451)Ecology (BIOL2461)Behaviour (BIOL2511)Sedimentary Environments (GEOL2031)Isotopes And Climate (GEOL2171)Ancient Life And Its Environment (GEOL2301)     
3Ecology In The Anthropocene (BIOL3541)Conservation Biology (BIOL3551)Advanced Topics In Ecology, Evolution Andbehaviour (BIOL3561)Volcanology And Magmatism (GEOL3051)Environmental Geochemistry (GEOL3041)Environmental Management (GEOL3281)     

Note that:

  • You can vary the balance between the two subjects in all years assuming the rules below and timetable will allow it.
  • In Year 3 students are required to take no less than 20 credits and no more than 60 Capstone Modules from two subjects. The minimum number of credits is reviewed on an annual basis as we are working towards students being required to take 40 credits, when this change happens students will be informed explicitly.

  • Not all combinations of the modules which make up the degree rules are guaranteed to timetable, but one set will.
  • If no student is following the Joint-Honours degree in a given year, then we do not ask for modules to be timetabled for that cohort in the following year.
  • The timetable changes each year.
  • Future changes in the Joint-Honours rules are either flagged up in the programme regulations in the Faculty Handbook or in the Biology/Earth Sciences advice.
  • Students are welcome to suggest to the Director better guaranteed combinations, but due to the quality assurance process and timetabling the lead in time is one year.

For more information about the Natural Sciences degree programme, please contact:

Dr. James Blowey
Deputy Head of Faculty
Faculty of Science Office
Level 3 Chemistry Building
Durham University

Email: Natural Sciences Director

WWW: Natural Sciences home page

The Natural Sciences web pages are maintained by James Blowey