Biological Sciences: a student's view

My name’s Serge and I’m a third year Biological Sciences student at Christ Church. That means I’ve experienced the majority of the course and I’m nearing the end of an incredible three years at Oxford.

Serge, one of our Undergraduate AmbassadorsStudying at Oxford was an attractive option when I came to choose where to apply to university. Despite it seeming like a daunting prospect, I always look to challenge myself and here is one of the best places in the world to do so. Having visited Oxford a couple of times, I really enjoyed the friendly student atmosphere of the city and the undergraduates I met made a big impression on me – they were always very helpful answering questions, but it was also encouraging to hear how much fun they had in their free time too! My choice of Biology as a subject was down to enjoyment too, as I knew I needed to remain fully interested in the subject throughout my degree. The course at Oxford was always going to be of a high quality, but it also allowed specialisation in areas that I was interested in, coupled with a range of world-leading experts to help along the way.

When it came to choosing which college to apply for, I decided on the basis of accommodation. I applied to Worcester College, which offers accommodation for the whole duration of your course, but I was moved to Christ Church on the day that I received my results. This is actually quite a common occurrence within the University, but it has very little bearing on how much you enjoy your time here. Fortunately, Christ Church also offers accommodation for all three years of my course and it has been a brilliant experience to study here and take full advantage of the free time I have. Every college has fantastic facilities and wherever anybody ends up, they always maintain that their one is the best!

Studying all living things is a rewarding experience and the first year at Oxford gives you the opportunity to sample content from across this vast subject before specialisation occurs in later years. Whether you see yourself as a cellular and molecular biologist, an ecologist or anything else Biology-related, there are plenty of specialist tutors with many years of academia under their belts. As you begin to choose your options, the course takes on a different dimension. Tutorials are always important and usually involve writing an essay before a group discussion with a tutor and a couple of other students. Other than that, early years have around ten hours of lectures a week with two or three practicals as well, whereas the third year consists of a lot more independent learning, as you have a project, extended essay and presentation to give, along with some lectures to take from a larger range of specialisms. That freedom allows you to delve deeper into the subject in those areas you are most interested in and perhaps get rid of the parts you have decided you don’t like so much!

Crucially for me, my subject doesn’t dominate all of my time. It takes a bit of time to adjust to the workload at first, but afterwards you learn how to balance work and social life easily. While at Christ Church I have been able to play football and squash fairly regularly, although sometimes the matches have clashed with my lectures. Oxford is a beautiful place to live and there are plenty of things to do and places to go with friends, be it during the day or in the evenings. Regular activities organised within colleges or across the university are varied and exciting and there are so many clubs and sports you can get involved with that you really are spoilt for choice. That aspect of university life is just as important to me and I am very glad to have come to Oxford and Christ Church as it has been a good educational experience, but also a really fun one!

This obviously only scratches the surface of what Oxford, Christ Church and Biological Sciences is like so if you have any further questions, feel free to email