What’s a Biology degree like at Oxford?

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kannmnn
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So I’ve managed to do a bit of research, and from what I’ve found, the first year gives you a huge variety and you essentially look at everything. However, how much specialisation is there after the first year? Essentially, could you only do molecular biology/genetics or something like cell biology for most of the degree if you wanted to? And when you graduate, is there a big difference in different peoples degrees or does everyone get a standard ‘biology’ degree? Although I find ecology and evolution interesting, I’d prefer to specialise in cells/molecules/genes and that side of things- would this be possible at oxford?
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OxFossil
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(Original post by kannmnn)
So I’ve managed to do a bit of research, and from what I’ve found, the first year gives you a huge variety and you essentially look at everything. However, how much specialisation is there after the first year? Essentially, could you only do molecular biology/genetics or something like cell biology for most of the degree if you wanted to? And when you graduate, is there a big difference in different peoples degrees or does everyone get a standard ‘biology’ degree? Although I find ecology and evolution interesting, I’d prefer to specialise in cells/molecules/genes and that side of things- would this be possible at oxford?
Most Biology/Biological Science degrees in the UK are broadly similar. As the name implies, their aim is to provide an introduction to higher level study in any branch of Biology, so they will include both micro- and macro- level stuff. Typically, after a first year that covers a lot of the groundwork common to all biology such as genetics, evolution, classification, basic biochemistry and statistics, later years give you a range of more specialist options. The Oxford course follows this model pretty closely, and you can find the details of the course options on the webpages of the uni and of the Department. This year, Oxford is also - for the first time - offering an option of a fourth year of study for the MBiol. This is supposed to allow you to spend the whole year on a single specialist research project - but since it hasnt yet been run to completion, no-one knows exactly how it will play out.

So overall, the content of the Biology course at Oxford is similar to the same course at other RG unis. Its the teaching methods (weekly tutorials) and the collegiate structure that is the big differnece. If you are determined to focus solely on cell biology, you'd be better off looking at those more specialist dgrees elsewhere
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kannmnn
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(Original post by OxFossil)
Most Biology/Biological Science degrees in the UK are broadly similar. As the name implies, their aim is to provide an introduction to higher level study in any branch of Biology, so they will include both micro- and macro- level stuff. Typically, after a first year that covers a lot of the groundwork common to all biology such as genetics, evolution, classification, basic biochemistry and statistics, later years give you a range of more specialist options. The Oxford course follows this model pretty closely, and you can find the details of the course options on the webpages of the uni and of the Department. This year, Oxford is also - for the first time - offering an option of a fourth year of study for the MBiol. This is supposed to allow you to spend the whole year on a single specialist research project - but since it hasnt yet been run to completion, no-one knows exactly how it will play out.

So overall, the content of the Biology course at Oxford is similar to the same course at other RG unis. Its the teaching methods (weekly tutorials) and the collegiate structure that is the big differnece. If you are determined to focus solely on cell biology, you'd be better off looking at those more specialist dgrees elsewhere
Thanks this was really helpful! I’m not dead set on any particular part of biology at the moment, I just feel like it probably won’t be to do with large scale ecosystems or evolution (but who knows I might find out that’s what I love the most). The structure you described sounds ideal, as you can get a real idea for all aspects of the subject in first year and then decide what to specialise in later. Thanks for the taking the time to respond
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