What are biological sciences?

two students in a science lab

Biological sciences are the study of living things and how they work. Scientists in this field explore how living organisms, such as animals, plants and bacteria, adapt, evolve and thrive.

Biological sciences also help us understand how these organisms work together, allowing us to see how life has evolved over time and how living things continue to thrive and survive in their environments.

Why study biological sciences?

Choosing to study biological sciences allows you to delve into the fundamental workings of living organisms. Careers in this field explore the mysteries of life, from the smallest cells to the largest ecosystems. With each discovery, we gain insights that allow for biological innovations that will shape our future.

Understanding life’s mechanisms

Biological sciences allow us to learn more about genes, cells and ecosystems. The study of living organisms allows us to better understand growth, reproduction and adaptation. This knowledge not only satisfies our curiosity about the world, but also paves the way for advancements in medicine, environmental conservation and agriculture. These allow scientists to improve lives and enhance environments we live in.

Conservation and biodiversity

The study of biological sciences helps us take care of our planet’s creatures and plants, keeping our environment balanced and safe for all living things. It allows us to protect animals, conserve and restore ecosystems and develop systems for sustainable resource usage.

Innovation and biotechnology

Biological sciences drive advancements in biotechnology, offering solutions for a wide range of industries, including agriculture, medicine, and energy. This knowledge is used in biopharmaceuticals and genetic engineering to make better crops and find new medicines.

Food security

Biological sciences ensure that society has enough high-quality food to eat. Through their research, scientists can learn how to make plants grow better, ensure animals are healthy and develop farming solutions that don’t harm the planet.

Impact on health

Biological Sciences form the foundation of medical research and healthcare. Through extensive research and analysis of biological processes such as genetics and cellular function, scientists gain insights into the complexities of the human body. This knowledge forms the foundation for medical breakthroughs, including the development of treatments and diagnostic tools.

Careers in biological sciences

Studying biological sciences can lead to many interesting and diverse careers. You could explore the natural world as a research scientist or educate young minds as a biology teacher; biological science jobs can be fulfilling and have a lasting impact on society.

Research scientist

Research scientists are at the forefront of discovery. They design experiments, conduct investigations, and analyse data to advance our understanding of various aspects of life. Some research scientists work on projects with a definite end, such as developing new products, while others conduct research to broaden general scientific understanding.


A microbiologist is a scientist who studies small living things called microorganisms. Their work includes the study of the growth, characteristics and interactions of microscopic organisms such as algae, fungi and bacteria. The aim of their research is to solve a range of problems affecting the environment, agriculture and human health.

Natural sciences manager

A natural sciences manager oversees research projects and manages teams and resources to ensure effective scientific outcomes. They direct activities related to research and development, including testing, production and quality control.

Biology teacher

Biology teachers educate students on the scientific principles and concepts used to better understand the living world. They plan and deliver lessons, manage a classroom, monitor student progress and prepare necessary teaching materials.


Ecologists study the relationship between the environment, animals and plants. They contribute to conservation efforts, assess the impact of human activities on ecosystems, and devise strategies for sustainable land and resource management.

Biomedical scientist

Biomedical scientists focus on understanding the underlying causes of diseases and developing innovative therapies. They carry out a range of laboratory and scientific tests on biological samples to help clinicians diagnose and treat diseases.

Study biological sciences at the University of Leeds

Start your international study journey at the University of Leeds. The University is ranked 27th in the UK (The Guardian University Guide 2024) and ranks 75th in the QS World University Rankings 2024.

The University is dedicated to research with an impressive 90% of its research being rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the Research Excellence Framework 2021. The University of Leeds is also one of 24 world-class research-intensive universities that make up the prestigious Russell Group.

The University of Leeds offers high-quality teaching in the field of biological sciences as it is ranked 4th in the UK for Pharmacy and Pharmacology by The Guardian University Guide 2024.

To begin your education in Leeds, you can study at Leeds International Study Centre for progression to the University of Leeds. Here, you will develop the skills and knowledge needed for UK university life through pathway programmes.

Both the International Year One in Biological Sciences and the International Foundation Year in Science, Engineering and Computing prepare you for a variety of science-related undergraduate degrees at the University of Leeds. Both programmes have core and subject-specific modules designed to enhance your English language skills and academic knowledge in alignment with your chosen field of study.

Learn more about the entry requirements, fees and visa information for your chosen programme at the International Study Centre.


Are there good careers in biological sciences?

Yes, biological sciences offer intellectually rewarding career paths with opportunities in healthcare, research, technology, and environmental conservation.

What are the benefits of biological sciences?

Biological sciences provide avenues for understanding life's intricacies, contributing to health advancements, innovation, environmental conservation, and addressing global challenges.

How long does it take to study biological sciences?

The typical undergraduate degree in biological science takes three years to complete, however, if you wish to gain further knowledge and experience, you can study a postgraduate degree. This can take an additional one to two years to complete.