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Choosing your Major Subject

Application for the Major Subject is part of the Part II Allocations Procedure. The  application needs to completed by the second week of the Easter term. Some departments ask for additional information - check the Allocations Procedure website. Those who want to study BBS should apply for the "BBS only" option if it is their first choice. Places will be allocated after the exams, and students should know if they have a place before the summer vacation.

On this page you will find information to help you choose your Major Subject:

Departments offering BBS Major Subjects

Click on the tiles below to access the respective departmental webpages relating to the Major Subjects on offer.

Major Subjects Course Format


Course format

Modules offered
Pathology (402-407 and 424-426)

Choose 2 Modules out of 5

Module A Cancer and Genetic Diseases
Module B Immunology
Module C Microbiology and Parasitology
Module D Virology
Module E Dynamics of Infectious Diseases

Pharmacology (408)

(Maximum 15 candidates)

Same lectures as the single subject, divided into two sections.

Systems Pharmacology

Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology

Psychology (409)
Students must have taken MVST Part IB or NST Part IB Experimental Psychology to take this Major Subject.
Same lectures as the single subject General Courses
Section A: Cognitive and Experimental Psychology
Section B: Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience
Section C: Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Individual Differences

Biochemistry (411)

(Maximum 7 candidates)

The course is grouped into four 24 lecture modules, one of which has a branched structure to provide internal choice Module A: Structural and Chemical Biology
Module B: From Genome to Proteome
Module C: Stem - The Dynamic Cell
plus either:
Branch 1 - Bioenergy OR
Branch 2 - Molecular Microbiology of Infectious Disease
Module D: Cell Cycle, Signalling and Cancer
Plant Sciences - Cellular (412) Four modules from the single subject M1 Plant Signalling
M2 Microbes: Evolution, Genomes and lifestyle
L1 Genomics, Epigenetics and Synthetic Biology
L3 Frontiers in Plant Metabolism: a focus on food and fuel security
Plant Sciences - Ecological (413) Four modules from Plant Sciences and Zoology M3 Evolution and Ecosystem Dynamics
Zoology M2 Conservation Science
L2 Responses to Global Change
Zoology L4 Applied Ecology

Genetics (414)

(Maximum 10 candidates)

Choose four of the five modules offered in the single subject Module 1 Chromosomes and the Cell Cycle
Module 2 Plant and Microbial Genetics
Module 3 Developmental Genetics
Module 4 Human Genetics, Genomics and Systems Biology
Module 5 Evolutionary Genetics

Physiology, Development and Neuroscience (415)

(Maximum 22 candidates)

Choose any four modules from the list

Michaelmas: N1 Developmental Neurobiology
N2 Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
N4 Sensory Transduction
N7 Neural Circuits and Behaviour
P1 Cellular Physiology
P3 Fetal & Placental Physiology
P4 Development: Patterning the Embryo
P9 Cell Assembly and Interactions
N5 Neural Degeneration and Regeneration
N6 Central Mechanisms of Reward, Punishment and Emotion
N9 Neuronal Plasticity, Modulation and Behaviour
P2 Development and Stem Cells
P5 Bioinformatics
P6 Development: Cell Differentiation & Organogenesis
P7 Pathophysiology of Cancer
P8 Systems and Clinical Physiology

Zoology (427) (Maximum 30 candidates) 2 Modules in Michaelmas and 2 Modules in Lent Michaelmas modules:
Module ZM1: Vertebrate Evolution
Module ZM2: Conservation Science
Module ZM3: Human Evolutionary Ecology
Module ZM4: Neuroethology: The Neural Basis of Adaptive Behaviour
Module ZM5: Evolution and Behaviour: Genes and Individuals
Module ZM6: Cell Assembly and Interactions
Module ZM7: From Genome to Proteome
Module ZM8: Development: Patterning the Embryo
Plant Sciences M3: Evolution and Ecosystem Dynamics

Lent Modules:
Module ZL1: Evolution and Comparative Anatomy of Mammals
Module ZL2: Responses to Global Change
Module ZL3: Evolution and Behaviour: Populations and Societies
Module ZL4: Applied Ecology
Module ZL5: Genetics, Development and Animal Diversity
Module ZL6: Development: Cell Differentiation and  Organogenesis
Module ZL7: Cell Cycle, Signalling and Cancer
Genetics Module 5: Evolutionary Genetics


Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour (428) Choose any four modules from more than 10 modules offered by Psychology, PDN and Zoology

Module 1 Motivation, Judgement and Decision-Making (Psychology)
Module 2 Evolution and Behaviour: Genes and Individuals (Zoology)
Module 3 Neuroethology: The neural basis of adaptive behaviour (Zoology)
Module 4 Developmental Neurobiology (PDN)
Module 5 Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (PDN)
Module 6 Sensory Transduction (PDN)
Module 7 Neural Circuits and Behaviour (PDN)
Module 8 Memory (Psychology)
Module 9 Neural Degeneration and Regeneration (PDN)
Module 10 Central Mechanisms of Reward, Punishment and Emotion (PDN)
Module 11 Neuronal Plasticity, Modulation and Behaviour (PDN)

Human Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour (429)

New for 2019-20

Two core modules B2 and B3, and choose 2 optional modules among B11-B18

B2: Human Ecology and Behaviour
B3: Human Evolution
B11: What Finches Tell Us About Humans
B12: Culture Evolves
B13: Health and Disease Throughout Human Evolution
B14: A Technologically Dependant Lineage
B15: Friends, Relatives and Communities: Human Social Evolution
B16: Genomes: Ancient, Modern and Mixed
B17: Our Extended Family: Primate Biology and Behaviour
B18: Decoding the Skeleton


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Major Subjects Contact Details

Course code


Course Organiser

Teaching administrator

Email address

402-407, 424-426


Dr Nick Holmes

Isabel Starkey



Dr Matthew Harper




Prof. Deborah Talmi

Josephine Simmonds



Dr Darerca Owen

Christine Thulborn


Plant Sciences

Dr Ian Henderson

Rhyanna Halasovski



Dr Christine Farr

Billy Curtis


Physiology, Development & Neuroscience (PDN)

Drs Hannah Clarke and Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri

Linda Silvestri



Prof Andrew Balmford

George Rutherford


Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour

Dr David Belin (Psychology)

Josephine Simmonds


Human Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour

Prof Rob Foley

James Walpole

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