The Course

Biological Sciences at Oxford is a broad course taught jointly by the Departments of Plant Sciences and Zoology. The study of living things has undergone tremendous expansion in recent years, and topics such as cell biology, developmental biology, evolutionary biology and ecology are advancing rapidly - all of these areas are covered. Practical laboratory and fieldwork sessions are an integral part of teaching and there is a field trip for all first-year students to Pembrokeshire to study ecology. Optional field courses are run in later years to Tenerife and Borneo. 

Biology Experiment

First year students conducting an experiment they designed to test optimal foraging theory in ducks. Biology tutorials don't always involve sitting in an office!


Cotswolds Field Trip

Our summer field trip to a Large Blue Butterfly breeding site in the Cotswolds. 

Why New College?

Evolutionary biology is foundational to the Biological Sciences course at Oxford and this is a special strength of New College, both historically and from the expertise of current tutors and lecturers. 

"Ashleigh gives us such a broad range of tutorials in first year, on such cool topics - from giant sperm to pirates! Through all of this, she carefully trains you how to write scientific essays in an engaging style, which is an incredibly important skill for the course."

- Dan, 3rd year student

What We Look For

The sort of person who thrives here is curious about biology, interested and engaged in the subject, ready to ask questions and push themselves. This is what we look for in admissions interviews and, based on our brilliant students, we think we're good at finding it! 

Tutor's Research Interests

Professor Ashleigh Griffin is interested in the evolution of cooperative behaviour because it poses a special problem for evolution - how can natural selection favour a behaviour that may reduce reproductive success? The question is important, not just so we can gain an insight into striking examples such as colonies of social insects or meerkat groups, but because it is fundamental to understanding life as we know it: the evolution of the genome, the eukaryotic cell and multicellular organisms. 

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