Biological Sciences

Tutors and Lecturers: Dr Stephen Harris, Prof. Kayla King

Places at Christ Church: 5 - 6

Biology students at Oxford are encouraged to ask questions about the living world at all levels of organization from the molecular and cellular, through the whole organism, to populations. How do animals and plants work, how do they develop and how did they evolve? Many such questions are of immediate relevance to infectious and inherited diseases, environmental issues, food production and the organization of animal and human societies. In addition to lectures, practical classes and field work, individual teaching and research projects are arranged with specialists in each field to complement the expertise of Christ Church’s biologists. Kayla King is a parasite biologist, and Stephen Harris is an expert in the genetics of plant conservation. A new course structure started in 2009, designed to give even greater flexibility than previously, allowing all combinations of topics according to personal interests and choices. Courses taken by everyone include the broad first-year course (cells & genes, whole organisms from microbes to vertebrates, and population ecology) and two second-year courses, one in evolution and the other in quantitative methods. In the second and third years there is increasing opportunity to specialize in topics of particular interest, with teaching and new ideas provided by active research scientists across the myriad divisions of biology.

The College has a long and strong research history in the biological sciences going back to Joseph Banks (the botanist explorer who accompanied Cook to New Zealand).

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