Welcome from the Head of Department, Professor Vincent Jansen

Welcome to the Department of Biological Sciences – we are very much looking forward to having you as a student.

The start of a new academic year is always an exciting time and I hope you are looking forward to starting your studies at Royal Holloway. When you get to know our campus, we hope you will discover the strong sense of community and learning that is at our core. As a Department we are passionate about biology, both research and teaching and we want to share our passion with you.

We have worked hard to get everything ready for the new academic year and are excited about the curriculum and courses that we are able to offer. One thing that we are particularly proud of is the flexibility and diversity within our courses. We hope you enjoy them.

Our aim is to support you throughout your studies here and for you to achieve success as a student. One of the highlights of the year is graduation week, when we celebrate the achievements of our students. The sun bouncing off colourful gowns, the quads filled with happy faces and mortarboards flying from the stairs of the Founders Building make for an unforgettable sight. It is also an occasion for reflection and happy memories which will stay with you always. The occasion vividly illustrates not only that our students did very well, but also learned so much and had a great time along the way. I hope you will share that experience as a student here.

Again, I welcome you to the Department and look forward to meeting you. I hope your time with us will be both exciting and challenging and I wish you a marvellous year!


Advice from our Current Students

To help you settle in to your course at Royal Holloway as quickly as possible, some current students in the school have created welcome videos to give you an idea of 'A Day in the Life of a Biological Sciences student'. Click on one of the below boxes to see more:

1 Intro to Labs and Lectures 2 Managing your time3 Advice and Tips


Information for Undergraduate Students

A warm welcome to all new and returning Undergraduate Students. There are a range of departmental activities and events scheduled for Welcome Week, please read through the below information and if you have any questions contact

How to find the Bourne Building: Campus Map
Welcome Week schedules:
Reading lists:

The online reading lists are currently being updated. A full list of key and recommended texts is available to download.

It is not essential to purchase textbooks before you arrive as the library keep a large supply of essential books. If you would like to purchase any textbooks then please note that are offering a 35% discount on all textbooks from their website and are offering a 25% discount. The discount codes will be included in the departmental Welcome Week talk.


Information about Personal Tutors for new students:

When you arrive with the department you will be allocated into a Tutorial Group. Your Personal Tutor is an academic member of staff who is there to support your studies, answer questions, and ensure that you have the best opportunity to learn and grow throughout your studies. Depending on who your tutor is you will be allocated into Group A or Group B, it is important to know which group you are in as this will determine which practical sessions you should attend. Please note that some of our Year 1 Welcome Week sessions are also divided into Group A or Group B, or by tutor group.


Prior to arriving we recommend that you read the Undergraduate Handbook and the Health and Safety handbook:
  • Undergraduate Handbook (2019 version coming soon)

  • Health and Safety Handbook (2019 version coming soon)


Registering for optional courses:

Year 1 and Year 2 Direct Entry students - you will receive an email from the School Helpdesk with information about how to register for your optional courses.

Year 2 and 3 - All returning Year 2 and 3 students should have submitted their pre-registration optional course choices in February 2019. If you would like to alter your chosen courses you will need to complete a Change of Course Form, this document must be signed by both you and your Personal Tutor before being returned to the School Helpdesk, Wolfson Ground 1-18. The deadline for submitting the form is 4.45pm on Friday 11th October 2019.


Information for Masters by Research Students

We recommend that you read through the following documents before arriving: