Biological Sciences


Why Study Biological Sciences at St Hilda's?

St Hilda’s takes the largest intake of Biology students in Oxford and so has a vibrant community at the undergraduate, postgraduate, and senior levels. This is a friendly and academically challenging environment in which Biology students thrive and receive the support needed to achieve their full potential. Given the size of St Hilda's Biology community, the College is in a good position to provide strong training in this subject. We aim to make the study of Biology here at all levels both enjoyable and academically rigorous.

Biology students across the University work towards the same degree and all Biology lectures and practicals are taught centrally at the Zoology and Plant Sciences departments. The colleges provide tutorial support and the team of St Hilda's tutors has wide expertise to support students with a diverse range of interests throughout their course. We have a strong tutorial team of two Biology Tutorial Fellows and two lecturers, who provide a range of knowledge on areas from Ecology and Evolutionary Biology to Molecular Genetics and Statistics. Between them, they cover a very diverse range of topics in biology, from plants and animals to viruses and bacteria.

One of the advantages of St Hilda's is that we cover a lot of the compulsory courses in-house through the college tutors especially for the first year, and for the evolution and quantitative methods aspects of the second year. We also cover many of the specialist options through the college and in the third year, students have the freedom to choose from a range of tutors in specialist areas from St Hilda's and from other colleges.

Subject Tutors

The core tutorial teaching team at St Hilda’s consists of:

- Professor Dmitry Filatov
- Dr Aris Katzourakis
- Professor Petros Ligoxygakis
- Dr Aurelio Malo

After St Hilda’s?

Our Biology graduates have gone on to a diverse set of careers, with further research work in the subject being one of the mainstreams. Students graduating with 2.i or better degree are entitled to proceed straight into PhD (DPhil) program, but many graduates choose to do one of the Masters courses available to further their knowledge in the area of interest. Other options, such as work in industry, or teaching are also popular.

Further Information

Biology Teaching at St Hilda's

First year: The first year students read four papers that aim to give each student a strong foundation in a wide range of biological subjects:

  1. Organisms: Overview of the diversity of life, including how the major groups evolved and how they differ.
  2. Cells and Genes: Molecular biology, cell biology, and the fundamentals of genetics.
  3. Ecology: Focusing on population ecology, including a week-long field course.
  4. Data handling: Fundamentals of statistics. The expertise of the core team of St. Hilda's Biology tutors covers all these areas and students have 1-2 tutorials a week in all subjects.

Second year: The second year is built around two compulsory papers: Evolution & Systematics and Quantitative Methods. St. Hilda’s have strong expertise in both of these subject areas, with both biology fellows delivering lecture modules on both subjects. The remainder of the second year course in Biology is fairly flexible, with a wide choice of subjects available to build individual study program, from cells and development to environmental biology.

Third year: The third year Biology students spend a significant amount of their time working on an experimental project of their choice. Data analysis for such projects often proves challenging and Dr Griffiths help proves invaluable in such cases.

Travel Grants

Generous bequests mean that we are fortunate to be able to offer substantial financial help towards the cost of overseas expeditions to conduct the work for ecological, conservation, systematics and other projects. We encourage students to make the most of this opportunity.