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Comparative Biology Degree

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

This course will no longer be available from 2017-2018

Click here for the Senior Sophister Comparative Biology Guidebook 2017/2018

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

Course content

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, Comparative 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.

Comparative 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 Comparative 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 Comparative Biology Course Director, Dr. Trevor Hodkinson (Botany) by email ( for further details about the course.

Course Structure

The Junior Sophister (Third) year provides a broad knowledge and understanding of Comparative 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 Comparative Biology as well as through lectures.