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UCC Undergraduate courses

Biological & Chemical Sciences

Course Fact File
Duration4 Years
Teaching ModeFull-time
QualificationsBSc (Hons)
NFQ LevelLevel 8
FeesStudent Contribution + Capitation: €3,138. See Fees and Costs for full details.
CAO Points2023: 533
CAO Points Range2023: 533-625

Course Outline

Our Biological and Chemical Sciences degree programme is the largest and most flexible entry route for you in science, with nine degree streams available through it.

Our programme is carefully constructed to foster an interdisciplinary approach across a wide range of biological, biotechnology, medical, chemical and pharmaceutical research areas.

If you enjoy Biology and/or Chemistry as Leaving Certificate subjects, enjoy working in a laboratory environment and like the challenge and excitement of scientific research and development, then Biological and Chemical Sciences, with its broad range of opportunities, might be the CAO entry route for you.

Year 1 Modules
  • BC1001 Introduction to Biochemistry and the Biological Basis of Disease (5 credits)
  • BL1002 Cells, Biomolecules, Genetics and Evolution (5 credits)
  • BL1004 Physiology and Structure of Plants and Animals (5 credits)
  • MB1003 Microbiology in Society (5 credits)
  • CM1200 Fundamentals of Modern Chemistry Part 1 (10 credits)
  • CM1201 Fundamentals of Modern Chemistry Part 2a (10 credits) 
  • MA1001 Calculus for Science Part 1 (5 credits)
  • MA1002 Calculus for Science Part 2 (5 credits)
  • PY1010 Physics for Biological and Chemical Sciences (10 credits)

Year 1 modules will give you an understanding of a wide range of research areas, allowing you then to decide which area you want to specialise in. You chose which degree award you would like to pursue at the end of first year or second year. The degree streams available are as follows:

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year-to-year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

  • This course comprises a combination of lectures, practicals (experiments) and tutorials/workshops.

Why Choose This Course

In secondary school I loved chemistry and biology...

Ailbhe Woods

Listen to Ailbhe's Testimonial
The biology route introduced me to a wide range of subjects from genetics and ecology, to computational and molecular biology...

Ronan Harrington, Graduate

Find Out More
It's very much like the 'Arts' of Science... You go into it as a broad course and then you specialise each year as you go on...

Aaron Blake, Graduate

A unique aspect of the Biological and Chemical Sciences programme is the large degree of flexibility available to you after you have entered the programme. Through this programme, you will have access to nine distinct degree awards, and you will have the opportunity to study a range of different science areas to help you understand and decide where you want to take your education next.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Work Placement

This varies between degree streams with a variety of options for gaining relevant work experience. The Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds and Biotechnology streams have formal work placements, whereas such placements are options in other streams. For the latter, academic departments help interested students secure appropriate summer placements in companies, research laboratories, or research institutes. These are recognised on the academic record and usually take place following the second or third year.

Skills and Careers Information

Graduate Study Options

For further information on further study options from each area of study, please see the information for the relevant degree programme.

Career Opportunities

An extremely wide variety of career opportunities are available to graduates of the degree streams. For further information on career opportunities from each area of study, please see the information for the relevant degree programme. 


Leaving Certificate Entry Requirements

At least six subjects must be presented. Minimum grade H4 in one subject, minimum grade H5 in one subject and minimum grade O6/H7 in four other subjects. English and Irish are requirements for all programmes unless the applicant is exempt from Irish.

The following are considered Lab Science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics with Chemistry and Agricultural Science.

Applicants will need to meet the following minimum entry requirements:

EnglishIrishMathsLab ScienceNote:
O6/H7 O6/H7 O6/H7 or H4* O6/H7 or H4* H4 in either a Lab Science subject, Maths or Applied Maths or Computer Science*

If the H4 is in Maths, Applied Maths or Computer Science an 06/H7 in a Lab Science subject is also required.

EU/EFTA/UK Qualifications

EU/EFTA/UK applicants presenting an equivalent school-leaving qualification should review the EU/EFTA/UK Applicants page for information on equivalent grades and how to prove their level of English.

Mature Students

To compete through the mature entry route, applicants must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the application year and apply online via the CAO by 1 February. The application should include a statement of interest.

Applicants must have studied a Lab Science subject at second level or QQI FET or demonstrate involvement in Science related areas.

Further information on applying as a mature student is available on the Mature Applicants and Mature Student Entry support pages. 


Applicants who meet the required level of distinctions in required subjects can apply for entry to this course using specific QQI FET qualifications. Please review the Programme Requirements on our Information for QQI FET Applicants page for information on related QQI courses, and visit Access UCC’s QQI/FET Entry section for further support. 

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such applicants are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements visit our qualification comparison page and refer to our International Office page for more information.

Fees and Costs

  • Whether you are an EU or Non-EU student will affect the course fees applicable to you. See more information on EU Fees, Non-EU Fees, or Free Fees Status.
  • The State will pay the tuition fees for EU students who are eligible under the Free Fees Scheme. The annual student contribution and capitation fees are payable by the student.
  • See the Fee Schedule to find out the course fee.
  • Check out scholarships that may be available to you.
  • Explore our Nurturing Bright Futures free online course (Module 5) to learn about managing your money as a student and budgeting for university life.

How To Apply

Irish and European (EU/EFTA/UK) Applicants

Apply via the CAO. See the CAO Handbook for useful information on applying through the CAO. 

Mature Applicants 

Apply via the CAO by 1 February. To apply for a place as a mature student, you must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the year of entry.

QQI/FET Applicants 

Apply via the CAOSee our QQI/FET Applicants page for information on the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Further Education and Training (FET) application process. 

Non-EU Applicants 

If you are from outside the EU/EFTA/UK, apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page for more information. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact