Gain a greater understanding of the living world, with Hartpury’s new biological sciences degree


Hartpury University has added a brand-new BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences course to its portfolio of animal degrees that will welcome its first cohort of students in September 2024. The new qualification is intended for students wanting to advance their understanding of living systems, from the smallest microbes through to large-scale ecosystems. 

The degree is aimed at those individuals pursuing a wide range of biology careers including research, clinical laboratories, pharmaceuticals, environmental science, teaching, or animal health professions.

A wide range of topics includes modules such as Genetics, Biodiversity and Evolution, Cell Biology, Animal Disease and Parasitology, Plant Science, Behavioural Ecology, Epidemiology, Environment Health and Climate Change, and Biochemistry and Toxicology.

Students studying this degree will be able to take advantage of external field trips as well as being able to attend talks with visiting guest speakers. Previous field trips have included The Royal Veterinary College and the Three Counties Equine Hospital, and guest speakers have included conservationists, sustainability experts, plant breeders and academic researchers. Alongside their studies, students can also develop real-world experience on site, either through the 11 commercial businesses that include equine and canine therapy and hydrotherapy centres or through Hartpury’s state-of-the-art facilities that mirror industry.

These include an animal collection that houses more than 70 domestic and non-domestic species including meerkats, prairie dogs, skunks, rabbits, rodents, and tortoises, as well as a commercial farm and Agri-Tech Centre that is actively engaged in using technology to address environmental challenges. In addition, an extensive campus provides a rich habitat to an abundance of wildlife, providing further research and observation opportunities. Staff and students have recorded badgers, foxes, hedgehogs, great crested newts, deer and at least four species of bat on campus.

For applied industry experience, Hartpury’s highly regarded Innovation, Careers, and Enterprise (ICE) Centre has bolstered its regional, national, and international links, giving students an opportunity to connect with more than 3,000 employers for work placements, research, or graduate job opportunities, as well as offering CV and interview preparation. Students have previously completed placements and secured roles at a range of zoos, wildlife charities and conservation organisations, farms and diagnostic laboratories.

This programme will see students make use of Hartpury’s modern and well-equipped laboratories for microbiological culturing, microscopy, and analysis.

Dr Wanda McCormick, Head of Animal and Agriculture at Hartpury University said: “With this new degree we are giving students the opportunity to study a wide range of biology topics in a highly applied way and with an industry relevant focus. They’ll be able to experience studying plants and animals in real life, survey real habitats on our campus estate and how explore techniques in our labs that directly relate to the world we live in.”

Research remains an integral part of Hartpury, and students will get to undertake their own research project and could even be part of some of the bigger projects already running at the university. Events such as the Hartpury Research Conference provide an exciting opportunity for students to present their findings, gaining valuable experience for future careers.

Recent investment in campus facilities will also benefit BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences students including the addition of a £12.75m state-of-the-art University Learning Hub set to open its doors during the 2023/24 academic year. The two-storey sustainable building is the first to be built solely for use by higher education students, serving both study and social needs as well as providing access to support and guidance.

In the latest data released by HESA’s Graduate Outcomes Survey 2023, 97% of Hartpury graduates are in employment, further study or other purposeful activity, placing the Gloucestershire institution first in the South West and in the top 10% of UK universities for graduate employability. Hartpury was named the number one university in England for academic support, and a top 10 university for teaching, learning opportunities, and assessment and feedback (National Student Survey 2023, English Universities).

Hartpury also ranks 1st in the South West and 6th in the UK for Teaching Quality, according to The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide for 2023.The BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences degree will welcome its first cohort of students in September 2024.

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