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Comparative Biology Degree

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Click here for the Junior Sophister Functional Biology Guidebook 2014/2015

Click here for the Senior Sophister Functional Biology Guidebook 2014/2015

Click here for more details about Functional Biology, Career potential, course aims etc.

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For further details from the prospectus and about admissions please visit:

The Admissions webpage

Undergraduate webpage

The new BA (Mod) Functional Biology degree is taught jointly by the Disciplines of Botany and Zoology with additional input from the School of Genetics and Microbiology.

The course focuses on comparing and contrasting the comparative physiology of plants and animals and other organisms (e.g. parasites) by comparing the way different kinds of organisms function in the context of their structure (anatomy). Many of the mechanisms organisms use for survival are conserved across species, allowing the revelation of key functional principles. Furthermore, the mechanisms organisms have evolved depend on their interactions with the environment through time.  Finally, functional Biology has important roles to play in elucidating the effects of gene mutations and/or deletions affecting protein function and environmental effects on gene expression.

The Junior Sophister (Third) year provides a broad knowledge and understanding of Functional Biology, while in the final year a major component of the course is a lab-based research project chosen from  Botany or Zoology Disciplines. Final year teaching also occurs through small group tutorials in areas of specialization in plant or animal Functional Biology as well as through lectures.

Functional Biology acts as the perfect springboard for undergraduate students to go on to post-graduate bioscience degrees; e.g. Masters and PhDs in biological/physiological disciplines. Graduates of Functional Biology are also ideally placed to contribute to the knowledge economy/society through careers with biotechnology companies and/or industry, having gained unique and valuable experience and training. The course also provides an excellent background for students who want to pursue a career in teaching biology.

Please contact the Functional Biology Course Director, Dr. Paula Murphy (Zoology) by email ( for further details about the course.

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Last updated 17 February 2016 Natural Sciences (Email).