Crazydavy
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Hi,

Can any past or current students tell me how strong the biology department at Durham is and perhaps any other relevant information concerning applying and what my chances may be on getting an offer ? Also if you enjoyed your time there etc. I'm a bit concerned because it's 4 hours away from my home town so I'd want to be happy!

I didn't study chemistry for A levels (but I am only applying for the straight biology degree and got A in GCSE double science which they seem to want). I took Biology, geography, maths, physics and critical thinking at AS (achieving AABBC retrospectively). Their typical offer is ABB.

I will carry on with biology, geography and maths. Hopefully have a strong PS with work experience on a research team, a couple of biology books read (+ my biological sciences review magazine subscription), my Cambridge university laboratory visit, and volunteer work at a local hospital.

Also went to a state school encase that makes them hate me :p:

Thanks, sorry for the long post.
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purple-girl
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I do Biology and Chemistry, and I think on the whole the Biology department is fairly strong, though it has it's flaws (which I've noticed more having dealt with the Chem department too), but on the whole it's a good department, and very much a "what you put in you'll gt out" department, if that makes sense. They don't give you much set work, and if you want advice generally you have to ask. Whereas Chem gives you problems and the tutorials are a lot more helpful. Anyway, I don't mean to put you off, it's still a great department .

Don't worry about the lack of chemistry - it just means you'll probably have to take a "chemistry for biosciences" module in 1st year meaning you don't have any free choices.Your subjects are fine and you have plenty of work experience - if you have good grades so far and a strong PS/reference you should get an offer, but nothing's guaranteed. And they don't care about what school you went to =).
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Johnny Luk
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(Original post by Crazydavy)
Hi,

Can any past or current students tell me how strong the biology department at Durham is and perhaps any other relevant information concerning applying and what my chances may be on getting an offer ? Also if you enjoyed your time there etc. I'm a bit concerned because it's 4 hours away from my home town so I'd want to be happy!

I didn't study chemistry for A levels (but I am only applying for the straight biology degree and got A in GCSE double science which they seem to want). I took Biology, geography, maths, physics and critical thinking at AS (achieving AABBC retrospectively). Their typical offer is ABB.

I will carry on with biology, geography and maths. Hopefully have a strong PS with work experience on a research team, a couple of biology books read (+ my biological sciences review magazine subscription), my Cambridge university laboratory visit, and volunteer work at a local hospital.

Also went to a state school encase that makes them hate me :p:

Thanks, sorry for the long post.
Hey, I am 4 hours away. And I turned out okay. If you don't mind the slog up the hill, its pretty good. Sure, a few lectures are rock ass dull, but many are are gem and the early mornings pretty tough after a night out, but you can share some good stories with your mates, the lecturers are mostly awesome (we got like a pirate, I love him), practicals are chilled out, unlike those crazy chemist! No extra work between summer holidays either =).

Options to switch to natural science as well as the other biological degrees and placement. the fact that your in a state school is a advantage. My chemistry sucked and I did the chem for biosciences module and loved it because the people were awesome. Reputation is strong.

Its pretty good actually now i think about it. I learned a lot. Those december exams are cruel though!

=) xxx
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queen_georgie
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(Original post by Crazydavy)
Hi,

Can any past or current students tell me how strong the biology department at Durham is and perhaps any other relevant information concerning applying and what my chances may be on getting an offer ? Also if you enjoyed your time there etc. I'm a bit concerned because it's 4 hours away from my home town so I'd want to be happy!

I didn't study chemistry for A levels (but I am only applying for the straight biology degree and got A in GCSE double science which they seem to want). I took Biology, geography, maths, physics and critical thinking at AS (achieving AABBC retrospectively). Their typical offer is ABB.

I will carry on with biology, geography and maths. Hopefully have a strong PS with work experience on a research team, a couple of biology books read (+ my biological sciences review magazine subscription), my Cambridge university laboratory visit, and volunteer work at a local hospital.

Also went to a state school encase that makes them hate me :p:

Thanks, sorry for the long post.
All I can tell you is biology at Durham is HARD. Obvs any uni degree would be but at my college every straight biologist in first year failed at least one of their bio modules except two (and one of those ended up failing their optional.) I don't know whether the same is true of other colleges, maybe we just go out more...

The lectures themselves are quite interesting (except diversity of life - ick.) I think the department is supposedly fairly strong. However, if you're on course for better grades then ABB I would recommend applying for nat sci. It's much more flexible and you can even out how hard bio is with some geography and earth sciences (basically what I do.)

With experience like that AND coming from a state school (a MASSIVE plus - you tick boxes) you shouldn't have any trouble getting in. I know that the year before me for nat sci out of the 800 applicants they gave out 600 places, so the odds are pretty decent.

Your enjoyment of university is rarely dictated by the course (I reckon 80% of what you learn is life skills) and Durham of course has a colligate system, something which I think facilitates making friends and having a good time, so I wouldn’t worry about that.

Hope this has sort of helped. Best of luck in applying.

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Crazydavy
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(Original post by queen_georgie)
All I can tell you is biology at Durham is HARD. Obvs any uni degree would be but at my college every straight biologist in first year failed at least one of their bio modules except two (and one of those ended up failing their optional.) I don't know whether the same is true of other colleges, maybe we just go out more...

The lectures themselves are quite interesting (except diversity of life - ick.) I think the department is supposedly fairly strong. However, if you're on course for better grades then ABB I would recommend applying for nat sci. It's much more flexible and you can even out how hard bio is with some geography and earth sciences (basically what I do.)

With experience like that AND coming from a state school (a MASSIVE plus - you tick boxes) you shouldn't have any trouble getting in. I know that the year before me for nat sci out of the 800 applicants they gave out 600 places, so the odds are pretty decent.

Your enjoyment of university is rarely dictated by the course (I reckon 80% of what you learn is life skills) and Durham of course has a colligate system, something which I think facilitates making friends and having a good time, so I wouldn’t worry about that.

Hope this has sort of helped. Best of luck in applying.

X
Thanks for the advice to you, and the others!

I heard if you're doing natural sciences then you can switch to biology in your second year. Does that work both ways (so If I apply for biology then I could move to NatSci in second year If I wanted to?).
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Crazydavy
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(Original post by purple-girl)
I do Biology and Chemistry, and I think on the whole the Biology department is fairly strong, though it has it's flaws (which I've noticed more having dealt with the Chem department too), but on the whole it's a good department, and very much a "what you put in you'll gt out" department, if that makes sense. They don't give you much set work, and if you want advice generally you have to ask. Whereas Chem gives you problems and the tutorials are a lot more helpful. Anyway, I don't mean to put you off, it's still a great department .

Don't worry about the lack of chemistry - it just means you'll probably have to take a "chemistry for biosciences" module in 1st year meaning you don't have any free choices.Your subjects are fine and you have plenty of work experience - if you have good grades so far and a strong PS/reference you should get an offer, but nothing's guaranteed. And they don't care about what school you went to =).
Do they study evolution in biology? I can't seem to find it in the programme structure which is a big disappointment!
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purple-girl
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(Original post by Crazydavy)
Do they study evolution in biology? I can't seem to find it in the programme structure which is a big disappointment!
In first year there's a module called Diversity of Life which has a bit about evolution, but not much, but in 2nd year there's a module called Evolutionary Biology which is, I assume, basically about evolution . You do this module if you do Biology, Zoology or Ecology, but not if you do MBB or Cell bio. As for 3rd year...there's a module called "Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology" which you do if you do Ecology or Zoology...I think that's about it though. Hope that helps!
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Crazydavy
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(Original post by purple-girl)
In first year there's a module called Diversity of Life which has a bit about evolution, but not much, but in 2nd year there's a module called Evolutionary Biology which is, I assume, basically about evolution . You do this module if you do Biology, Zoology or Ecology, but not if you do MBB or Cell bio. As for 3rd year...there's a module called "Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology" which you do if you do Ecology or Zoology...I think that's about it though. Hope that helps!
Ah good settled me a bit lol, thanks.
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queen_georgie
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(Original post by Crazydavy)
Do they study evolution in biology? I can't seem to find it in the programme structure which is a big disappointment!
http://www.dur.ac.uk/natural.science...subjects/biol/

That's most of the bio modules and it gives you them all in lots of detail.

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queen_georgie
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(Original post by Crazydavy)
Thanks for the advice to you, and the others!

I heard if you're doing natural sciences then you can switch to biology in your second year. Does that work both ways (so If I apply for biology then I could move to NatSci in second year If I wanted to?).
To switch to nat sci you have to get a 2:1 in all your first year modules I think (which is VERY hard.) It's very easy to switch from nat sci to straight biology though I think.

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Jhyzone
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(Original post by queen_georgie)
Your enjoyment of university is rarely dictated by the course (I reckon 80% of what you learn is life skills) and Durham of course has a colligate system, something which I think facilitates making friends and having a good time, so I wouldn’t worry about that.

Hope this has sort of helped. Best of luck in applying.

X
Hello I am thinking of applying to do biological sciences with industrial placement 2011 entry at Durham too.
Thanks for enlightening me about Biology at Durham.

I just want to ask what I've quoted above, is there a significant difference in terms of social life between a collegiate university like Durham and a campus university (in general) eg Warwick? Which do you think in better? Since I haven't visited any open days yet, I think social life is important for me because I tend to work hard and I get stressed out and people would say I've no social life. I want to change this at uni.

many thanks

x
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purple-girl
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(Original post by Jhyzone)
Hello I am thinking of applying to do biological sciences with industrial placement 2011 entry at Durham too.
Thanks for enlightening me about Biology at Durham.

I just want to ask what I've quoted above, is there a significant difference in terms of social life between a collegiate university like Durham and a campus university (in general) eg Warwick? Which do you think in better? Since I haven't visited any open days yet, I think social life is important for me because I tend to work hard and I get stressed out and people would say I've no social life. I want to change this at uni.

many thanks

x
I have no idea what social life is like at campus unis, but at Durham it's pretty good. Socially it's not really any different to living in halls...colleges are essentially halls, but with more of a community feel, with each one having it's own JCR, societies, and general community. Unless you shut yourself away in your room, you will make friends and have a social life, even if it's just hanging out in someone's room most nights with a group of people, occasionally going out.

Societies are a big part of a lot of people's social lives...there are college societies that may have socials occasionally and regular meetings, obviously sports and music make up a lot of these but there's a big selection, as well as university societies so you get to meet people from other colleges, years and courses. These vary socially, some may just meet once a week or so, others a few times a week...I'm in the scout and guide group which is very social and a fairly smal society, so I know most of the members fairly well, and some I'd consider some of my best uni friends. I'd definitely advise getting involved with at least one society, even if it's through being dragged along by someone in college.
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Johnny Luk
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(Original post by Crazydavy)
Do they study evolution in biology? I can't seem to find it in the programme structure which is a big disappointment!
Trust me, there are stacks of it, especially in the latter two years if you choose the whole biology route.
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Jhyzone
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(Original post by queen_georgie)
All I can tell you is biology at Durham is HARD. Obvs any uni degree would be but at my college every straight biologist in first year failed at least one of their bio modules except two (and one of those ended up failing their optional.) I don't know whether the same is true of other colleges, maybe we just go out more...

The lectures themselves are quite interesting (except diversity of life - ick.) I think the department is supposedly fairly strong. However, if you're on course for better grades then ABB I would recommend applying for nat sci. It's much more flexible and you can even out how hard bio is with some geography and earth sciences (basically what I do.)

With experience like that AND coming from a state school (a MASSIVE plus - you tick boxes) you shouldn't have any trouble getting in. I know that the year before me for nat sci out of the 800 applicants they gave out 600 places, so the odds are pretty decent.

Your enjoyment of university is rarely dictated by the course (I reckon 80% of what you learn is life skills) and Durham of course has a colligate system, something which I think facilitates making friends and having a good time, so I wouldn’t worry about that.

Hope this has sort of helped. Best of luck in applying.

X
Hello.

I am also interested in applying for Biology with industrial placement at Durham. I would like to know why you said Biology at Durham is hard, is it because of the content/modules, the teaching or the teachers themselves, the exam board? Will it help me if I am really passionate about Biology and is prepared to put in all the effort? I do not want to end up with a lower degree especially from a top uni.

Thanks.
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angelmxxx
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(Original post by Jhyzone)
Hello.

I am also interested in applying for Biology with industrial placement at Durham. I would like to know why you said Biology at Durham is hard, is it because of the content/modules, the teaching or the teachers themselves, the exam board? Will it help me if I am really passionate about Biology and is prepared to put in all the effort? I do not want to end up with a lower degree especially from a top uni.

Thanks.
I know some people doing Bio, and they all passed everything so don't panic!

There's no exam board - each uni sets their own exams. Hardly anyone fails their degree at any top uni, the avg was about 70% of people getting 2.1s and 1sts in the social sciences & sciences last year (or the year before, the most recent figures anyway), much higher for humanities.

I don't do biology so can't help you further, but really don't worry about it at all! If you get the grades and are offered a place then that means the uni believe you can do well on the course, as long as you do some work and don't laze about all day obviously!
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Jhyzone
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(Original post by angelmxxx)
I know some people doing Bio, and they all passed everything so don't panic!

There's no exam board - each uni sets their own exams. Hardly anyone fails their degree at any top uni, the avg was about 70% of people getting 2.1s and 1sts in the social sciences & sciences last year (or the year before, the most recent figures anyway), much higher for humanities.

I don't do biology so can't help you further, but really don't worry about it at all! If you get the grades and are offered a place then that means the uni believe you can do well on the course, as long as you do some work and don't laze about all day obviously!
Thanks for your reassurance, I've just being stressed lately choosing unis I want to go to for Biology and I've been hearing some bad things about biology at Durham lately. Then again, I stress about everything! I also would like to know, if you know how much support they get for Biology at Durham, is the professors passionate about their subject and stuff?

Thanks for answering
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Johnny Luk
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(Original post by Crazydavy)
Thanks for the advice to you, and the others!

I heard if you're doing natural sciences then you can switch to biology in your second year. Does that work both ways (so If I apply for biology then I could move to NatSci in second year If I wanted to?).
I saw this article and I just want to defend the case that Biology is quite hard in the 1st year, but loads of people got a 2.1 average but most don't switch. Apparently it gets better after the 1st year.

Also c'mon, its the first year, most people got wasted 24/7 of course the grades aren't that great. My notes were ****.

But yeah its easier to get a offer if you apply for Biology, Nat Sci is competitive!
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purple-girl
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RE NatSci: They give a LOT of offers for the number of applicants, so getting an offer isn't as hard as you may think.

And 1st year is hard...I think for me it was just because the exam style etc was so different to A-Level and I hadn't changed my revision technique etc accordingly. Still *just about* passed everything though...but I have a friend who failed all the bio modules she did...
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tiny hobbit
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I have a friend who took 2 Biology modules in her first year last year (her other modules were Chemistry). She got a first in one and a 2.1 in the other. There is a lot to learn for the exams, but I think that that would be true for Biology wherever you go.
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L. average
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Hi i was just wondering how you are assessed in biology at durham? Ive looked online and can't really find a set answer, is it all exam? and how are they structured? Is it all essay questions? thank you!!
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