Mathematical Biology BSc (Hons)

  • For Entry: September
  • Duration: 4 years
  • School: School of Engineering, Physics & Mathematics

Mathematical Biology involves using mathematical techniques and computational tools to answer problems that arise in Biology.

New and exciting challenges in the life sciences are now being met using mathematical modelling, which is having a direct impact on health, social and ecological aspects of modern life.

Why study Mathematical Biology at Dundee?

The BSc in Mathematical Biology is the only dedicated undergraduate mathematical biology degree offered in the UK. We also offer a four or five year MSci.

Our course offers a unique blend of modern mathematics applied to important biological processes. For example, mathematics can be used to understand how cells in a tumour grow.

When you study here, you'll benefit from all the advantages of being a Mathematics undergraduate and will also be part of the world-renowned College of Life Sciences at Dundee.

The BSc (Hons) Mathematical Biology is a degree programme certified by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.

Research-led teaching

We believe that undergraduates are best served by studying in a division that is active in research to the highest level, and we are fortunate in having an excellent international reputation for our research work, with a dedicated Mathematical Biology Research Group. Our courses are taught by those who have great enthusiasm for their subject, a dedication to it, and an appreciation of the needs of students.

What's so good about Mathematical Biology at Dundee?

We are a relatively small division and operate with an excellent staff/student ratio. One advantage of this is that we can get to know each student personally, and so can offer a friendly and supportive learning experience. Staff are ready and willing to help at all levels, and in addition, our Student-Staff Committee meets regularly to discuss matters of importance to our students.

Computing facilities

Computing power is used extensively in modern mathematics. You will have access to well-equipped PC suites, and be able to use specialist Mathematics software packages.

Student society

You will be able to join DUMaS (Dundee University Maths Society), an active society open to all students studying Mathematics or Mathematical Biology.

Degree Combinations

  • Mathematical Biology MSci

Related Courses

The Mathematics degrees are taught by the Division of Mathematics.

You will learn by traditional methods such as lectures, tutorials, and workshops as well as via computer assisted learning. From Level 2 onwards we teach the use of professional mathematical software packages in order to allow you to explore mathematics far beyond the limits of traditional teaching.  This also prepares you for the way in which Mathematicians work in finance, industry and research.

Our excellent staff student ratio allows for close contact between students and lecturers and provides a lively learning environment.  For example, we run "Maths Base'', a drop-in facility in the Division, which provides another source of help with your studies over and above what you can expect from your lectures and tutorials.

MSci Honours Degree

An MSci honours degree normally takes five years, full time, you study levels 1-5, as described below.

BSc Honours Degree

An honours degree normally takes four years, full time, you study levels 1-4, as described below.

Advanced Entry Honours Degree

It is possible to study for the MSci or BSc honours degree in one year less if you have the required grades and subjects as listed in the Entry Requirements section. You study levels 2-4 for the BSc or 2-5 for the MSci. There are definite advantages to considering this route as the time needed to study is reduced by one year which enables you to start working and earning earlier.

Typical Degree Programme

Level 1
The Mathematics modules at Level 1 provide you with an introduction to university mathematics, following on from material that you will have studied at school. Two thirds of your time is spent studying Life Science modules to give you the Biological background required. Modules:
  • Mathematics 1A: Topics include Functions, Differential Calculus, Polynomials, Series, Trigonometry.
  • Mathematics 1B: Topics include Application of differentiation to curve sketching, Integral calculus, Vector and matrix geometry, Matrices and linear equations, Three-dimensional geometry, Complex numbers.
  • Life: Building the organism
  • Life: The underlying structures
  • Introduction to the Life Sciences: The Early Years
  • Introduction to the Life Sciences: Why go multicellular?
  • Laboratory and Research Skills 1-4
Level 2
At Level 2 students taking a degree fully within Mathematics take either 4 or 5 modules in Mathematics, with the remaining 1 or 2 modules being taken in a subject of their choice.  Joint degrees typically involve a 50-50 split between Mathematics and the other subject. Modules:
  • Mathematics 2A : Vectors and vectors spaces, inner products, matrices and linear equations, introductory differential equations, further differentiation and integration.
  • Mathematics 2B: Independence and bases, determinants, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, linear transformations, functions of several variables, multivariable calculus.
  • Discrete Mathematics: Sets and graphs, combinatorics, recurrence relations, difference equations, Markov chains, and game theory.
  • Computer Algebra and Dynamical Systems: This module provides an introduction to the computer algebra software Maple and then subsequently uses this software to explore some simple dynamical systems.
  • The Gene and the Cell
  • Biological Sciences
  • The Evolution of Modern Life
Levels 3 and 4
Third and fourth year modules are designed to cover both Mathematical and Biological topics related to Mathematical Biology. Mathematics topics will include:
  • Differential equations
  • Mathematical methods (Vector calculus; integrations over curves, surfaces, volumes; potentials)
  • Mathematical biology I
  • Mathematical biology II
  • Ordinary differential equations and their approximation
  • Partial differential equations and their approximation
  • Personal transferable skills
  • Personal project in mathematical biology

Two further maths modules can be chosen from the following topics:
  • Real analysis
  • Operational research
  • Fundamentals of scientific computing (using the software package Matlab)
  • Differential geometry
  • Mathematics of fluids and plasmas I (Fluid dynamics)
  • Complex analysis
  • Graph theory

You will also take six modules in Life Sciences:
  • Genetics
  • Gene regulation and expression
  • Bioinformatics
  • Practical project
  • Two advanced Biology modules
Level 5
This year is only followed by the MSci Honours students. Students undertake a year-long personal project as well as studying the following modules:
  • Dynamical systems
  • Computational modelling and programming
  • Mathematical oncology
  • Mathematical ecology & epidemiology
  • Mathematical physiology

plus one of
  • Statistics & stochastic processes
  • Inverse problems

Assessment for most modules involves a final examination and takes into account varying amounts of continuous assessment, including assignments and class tests.

Mathematics is central to the sciences, and to the development of a prosperous, modern society. The demand for people with mathematical qualifications is considerable, and a degree in mathematics is a highly marketable asset.

Mathematics graduates are consistently amongst those attracting the highest graduate salaries and can choose from an ever-widening range of careers in research, industry, science, engineering, commerce, finance and education.

Exciting new applications of mathematical biology are opening up yet more career options in the biotech industries. Here you could be involved in designing new anti-cancer drugs or new treatment regimes for patients with diabetes.

Even if you do not take your mathematics any further than university, employers know that mathematics graduates are intelligent, logical problem solvers. With this training behind you, the career options become almost limitless.

The following are the minimum requirements, please note qualifications have to be obtained at the first sitting of examinations.

Please note that the entry requirements in our printed prospectus may be subject to change. The entry requirements listed below are up to date and should be referred to in case of any discrepancy.

Courses starting September 2015

Level 1 Entry

Qualification Minimum Grade Typical Grade
IB Diploma 30 points (including 5, 5, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects Mathematics at grade B (SQA Higher, GCE A-level, ILC Higher or IB Higher Level); Either Biology or Physics at grade B at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level, ILC Higher or IB Higher Level; Chemistry at grade C at SQA Higher, GCE AS-Level, ILC Higher or IB Higher Level
EU & International Visit our Your Country webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country
Other Qualifications
SQA A relevant HNC with B in the Graded Unit including Mathematics for Engineering 1
Scottish Baccalaureate Pass with BC at Advanced Higher in Mathematics and a Science/Engineering subject
SWAP Access Relevant science subjects with ABB grades including Mathematics and Physics Units at SCQF Level 6
EDEXCEL A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDM
Advanced Diploma Grade B with ASL-A Levels at AB in Mathematics and a Science/Engineering subject
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A level at AB in Mathematics and a Science/Engineering subject
European Baccalaureate 70% overall with 7 in Mathematics

Courses starting September 2015

Advanced Entry (to Level 2)

Qualification Grade
SQA Advanced Higher AB (Advanced Higher) and AB (Higher) in different subjects
GCE A-Level Minimum Grade: BBC
Typical Grade: ABB
IB Diploma 34 points (including 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects Mathematics at A at SQA Advanced Higher, GCE A-Level or IB Higher Level; Chemistry and Biology at B grade, at least one at SQA Advanced Higher, GCE A-Level or IB Higher Level, the other at SQA Higher, GCE AS-Level, ILC Higher or IB Higher Level
EU & International
Other Qualifications
SQA A relevant HNC with A in the Graded Unit including Mathematics for Engineering 1 and 120 SCQF points
A relevant HND with BB in the Graded Units including Mathematics Engineering 2
Scottish Baccalaureate Distinction with AB at Advanced Higher in Mathematics and a Science/Engineering subject
SWAP Access
EDEXCEL A relevant HND with Merits in appropriate Science/Mathematics modules
A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDD
Advanced Diploma Grade B with ASL-A Level at AA in Mathematics and a Science/Engineering subject
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A level at AA in Mathematics and a Science/Engineering subject
European Baccalaureate 75% overall with 7.5 in Mathematics

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application. Find out more about fee status.

Fee categoryFees for students starting September 2015 or January 2016
Scottish students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2014 entry). Fees for September 2015 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2015.
Rest of UK students £9,000 per year, for a maximum of 3 years, even if you are studying a four year degree. See our scholarships for rest of UK applicants."
EU students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2014 entry). Fees for September 2015 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2015.
Overseas students (non-EU) £15,950 per year of study. See our scholarships for international applicants."

Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Rest of the UK students can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loans Company.

Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students are guaranteed for the length of your course. This means that the tuition fee you pay in your first year (shown above) is the same fee you will pay for each year of your course. We guarantee that this will not increase while you are studying with us. The only exceptions to this are our MBChB Medicine and BDS Dentistry degrees which charge a different tuition for the clinical years.

  Degree UCAS Code KIS Data
Apply NowMathematical Biology BSc (Hons)CG11
Apply NowMathematical Biology MSciGC11