Highfield / Highfield - Life Sciences


Our flexible, interdisciplinary programmes include the option of working in the pharmaceutical industry for a year.

From DNA to proteins, from single molecules to cells, biochemistry answers the ultimate questions about how living organisms work. Teaching staff on our BSc Biochemistry and MBiochem Master of Biochemistry courses are actively engaged in research on the molecular basis of disease, genetics and the control of gene transcription, oncology, structural biology, DNA recognition and cell signalling.

Our four-year integrated MSci Chemistry and Biochemistry provides an ideal opportunity for those with interests at the interface between biology and chemistry, providing an excellent training in interdisciplinary research that reflects the nature of modern science.

Biomedical Sciences

These flexible, interdisciplinary biomedical sciences programmes provide a good foundation for graduate entry to medicine.

Our BSc Biomedical Sciences and MBioSci Master of Biomedical Sciences allow you to combine interests in biochemistry, physiology, neuroscience, cell biology, genetics and pharmacology. The emphasis is on the science that underpins and advances clinical practice rather than the technical basis of routine laboratory tests.

Human disease is studied at all levels, from genetic mutations through organ degeneration, such as the brain in Alzheimer’s disease, up to whole-body metabolic disorders like diabetes. The programmes offer an ideal preparation for a graduate career in medicine, clinically related professions or a career in clinical or medical research.


You will study life at several different levels in our BSc Biology and MSci Biology courses, from molecules and cells to whole organisms and species, right up to communities and ecosystems. You can choose between a laboratory-based or field research project, with fieldwork undertaken in the UK or abroad.

Our MSci Biology and Marine Biology combines modules from Biological Sciences and Ocean and Earth Science, at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS). You will undertake a balanced programme where you will gain the relevant skills and knowledge for a career in biology and marine biology.

Natural Sciences

Our MSci Master of Natural Sciences offers the opportunity to carry out original research on a six-month placement. You will learn from leading scientists tackling some of the world's most important challenges.

This four-year integrated MSci Master of Natural Sciences is built on a foundation of key multidisciplinary modules. These use real-life case studies to help you acquire and use knowledge from different scientific disciplines to address major scientific challenges: genetic engineering, novel energy sources, detection of specific chemicals, biodiversity and drug discovery.

Science Foundation Year

All science subjects at Southampton are highly ranked in the UK. You will be able to choose from 10 undergraduate science disciplines on successful completion of this foundation year.

The Science Foundation Year is suitable for UK, EU and international students without traditional entry requirements. Successful completion guarantees progression to the next stage of your degree. The year will develop your understanding of the principles on which the sciences are based and the mathematics underpinning these disciplines, and will enable you to apply scientific principles to solve problems. 


We offer state-of-the-art facilities and our integrated approach will help you develop the skills of a doctor, as a scholar, professional and practitioner.

In our BMBS Medicine and BMedSc (BM5), you will learn from contact with patients in various clinical settings from the outset. In the first two years, you will learn about the major physiological systems of the body, integrating your knowledge of anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, physiology, pharmacology, the social sciences and public health medicine in a clinical context. In year three, you will undertake a research project from a range of disciplines and work in research labs, hospital wards, general practice or the community. You will be attached to clinical teams on a developing apprenticeship basis in your fourth and final years, acquiring the skills required for your foundation programme.  

Graduates in any subject can achieve a BMBS degree in four years on our BMBS Medicine (BM4, graduate entry) programme. In the first two years, you will undertake clinical placements, group work and lectures directly linked to a series of clinical topics. Three themes – communication; teamwork, leadership and patient safety; and diversity – underpin the curriculum and relate directly to medical practice. During years three and four, you will work alongside BM5 students on clinical attachments.

Our BMBS Medicine and BMedSc (BM6, widening access) programme, identified as an example of good practice by the Department of Health, aims to widen access to the medical profession and has achieved national recognition. It involves studying for an extra year on a specially designed year zero course, during which you will receive extensive support. Year zero consists of modules on Human Structure and Function and Professional Practice, including day placements in primary or secondary care. On successful completion of year zero, you will join our BMBS and BMedSc programme.

Some teaching for these courses also takes place at University Hospital Southampton, as well as 2nd and 3rd year themed attachments. 


Our flexible, interdisciplinary programme gives you the option of working in the pharmaceutical industry for a year.

Our BSc Pharmacology provides broad training in pharmacology and related subjects. You will be introduced to the major concepts and principles in years one and two, and have the opportunity to specialise and conduct a research project in year three. There is a particular focus on the structural basis of receptor function, cancer sciences and how drugs act on the brain to modify behaviour and treat psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. You may take a year out in industry between years two and three.


Based in our state-of-the-art Life Sciences building for the majority of your degree, you will take part in a field trip to Spain in year one and participate in a research team working at the cutting-edge of zoology.

Our BSc Zoology and MSci Zoology courses provide broad training in the zoological sciences, while allowing you to select modules from other disciplines, including oceanography, computer sciences and languages. You will have the opportunity to specialise in cell/developmental or ecological/evolutionary zoology in year three. You can also choose between a laboratory-based or field research projects, with fieldwork undertaken in the UK or abroad.


Our BSc Ecology and MEcol Master of Ecology degrees build on our successful Biology and Zoology degrees.

The courses give you the opportunity to develop a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of life from the molecular, through cells and whole organisms, to ecosystems.

Compulsory and optional modules in your first and second years will be followed by original research in the third year. Those studying for the Masters programme will also have an advanced in-depth project in your final year. The programmes also include a two week residential field course in Spain.

Biological Sciences and Medicine at Southampton

From global warming to life-threatening infections, the biological sciences focus on today’s key challenges. The RIBA award winning Life Sciences Building is home to the Centre for Biological Sciences and Medicine teaching at Southampton.

Biological Sciences
Working in collaboration with different disciplines and with other universities, private industry and the public sector, Biological Sciences at Southampton sees science as a means to achieve real-life benefits.

A firm foundation of academic excellence enables us to support and inspire the bio scientists of the future. We offer undergraduates a broad-based training with specialist options across the discipline and access to state-of-the-art facilities in our £50m Life Sciences Building.

Medicine at Southampton is a national leader in medical education, with an outstanding reputation for combined expertise in research and teaching.

We lead innovative learning and discovery across the lifecourse, from before birth to the elderly, by investing in multidisciplinary research teams, creative educational programmes and external partnerships and collaborations. Our research encompasses the full spectrum, from fundamental discovery science to clinical innovation, and it has a particularly strong reputation for translating new discoveries into clinical practice.

Some courses in Medicine are also taught at University Hospital Southampton, as well as 2nd and 3rd year themed attachements.

Biological Sciences - taught courses

The Master of Research (MRes) programmes includes introductory modules plus an extended research project. They form an excellent preparation for further research work.

MRes in Advanced Biological Sciences

The flexible Master of Research (MRes) in Advanced Biological Sciences degree from Southampton offers graduates the opportunity to develop their knowledge and practical skills in an area of Biological Sciences of their choice. The one-year course, tailored to your particular interests, is a stepping stone to further study at PhD level or a gateway to many careers in industry (e.g agriculture, pharmaceutical and the healthcare sector), scientific services, science communication, the teaching profession or in scientific policymaking.

MRes Wildlife Conservation

This course is jointly delivered as a unique collaborative programme with Marwell Wildlife. It is the only current Wildlife Conservation programme in the UK to offer the opportunity of such a high degree of interaction between a University and an action-oriented Conservation organisation. Through the combination of time spent at Marwell Wildlife’s UK base for module delivery and working alongside conservation biologists throughout your research, you will spend a significant proportion of this one year course playing an important role within Marwell Wildlife’s dynamic conservation team. It is the ultimate aim of this MRes to produce individuals who have the skills, experience and academic credentials required for employment as Conservation biologists.

Biological Sciences - research

Biological Sciences provides an excellent environment for postgraduate study and personal development, with first-class research facilities.

Our team of academic staff is committed to high quality, rigorous research and teaching and we have the first-rate facilities you would expect from a leading research centre.

During the course of a biological sciences research degree you will work with a personal tutor who will make sure you have all the support and advice you need to make your project a success.

Medicine - taught courses

In Medicine, we offer opportunities for postgraduate masters level (HE7) study. We have strong links with the NHS, both in teaching hospitals and the local community. Our postgraduate programmes are based mainly at Southampton General Hospital.

Southampton is ranked in the top 75 universities in the world - one of only 15 UK universities to make the top in the 2011 World University Rankings, published in the Times Higher Education Supplement. Sustained investment in development across the University ensures that all our students continue to enjoy the world class facilities and learning resources which make Southampton one of the best learning environments in the UK.

Our reputation is founded on the outstanding achievements of our academic staff. We offer a high level of support, both at Southampton General Hospital and at the University's main campus.

Medicine - research

Medicine at Southampton is one of the UK’s leading centres for biomedical research and offers a range of postgraduate opportunities in both basic and clinical science.

Our postgraduate programmes are delivered in the multidisciplinary academic units, ranging from Cancer Sciences, Human Genetics, Infection and Inflammation, to the study of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease and epidemiology.

Our research encompasses the full spectrum from fundamental discovery science to clinical innovation and we have a particularly strong reputation for translating new discoveries into a clinical setting.


Our four year Integrated Master of Neuroscience gives the necessary breadth across disciplines to inform the specialist taught modules.

The modules cover all levels from the molecular to the behavioural; encompassing molecular, cellular & systems neuroscience, neuroimmunology, neurodegeneration and pharmacology. The taught modules are the foundation for independent research projects that are a major component of the final year.