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Subject Summary: Part II Biological and Biomedical Sciences

The aim of Part II Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) is to provide a rigorous and intellectually challenging alternative to a single subject biological Part II subject, for both third year Natural Scientists and Medical and Veterinary Science students. NST Part II BBS allows students to maintain some breadth in their study at Part II, rather than specialising in a single subject, and requires the submission of a dissertation rather than a practical laboratory-based research project.

Each candidate must take a Major and a Minor subject and a dissertation. The dissertation topic may be proposed by the candidate or chosen from one offered by the relevant Department and should be not more than 6,000 words, on a subject associated with either the Major or Minor subject. The dissertation must be prepared in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Faculty Board. Further details and a link to permissible combinations of Major and Minor subjects can be found at: NST BBS


Programme Specification: Part II Biological and Biomedical Sciences

This course consists of material borrowed from other courses offered within the Natural Sciences Tripos and elsewhere.


  1. to provide a route for students who would prefer a broader biological curriculum than that offered in single subject Part II courses;
  2. to provide an education of the highest calibre in biosciences leading to graduates of the quality sought by the professions, the public service, and industry;
  3. to provide an intellectually stimulating and challenging learning environment in which students have the opportunity to develop their skills and enthusiasms to the best of their potential;
  4. to provide training in scientific principles and experience in evaluation of research;
  5. to contribute to the national needs for practitioners and leaders in the sciences, medical and veterinary professions.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students should have

  1. an advanced, in depth, understanding of the core principles and their experimental basis of a chosen major subject
  2. additional advanced understanding of the a more limited area of a chosen minor subject
  3. experience of independent work, including an introduction to aspects of scientific research skills;
  4. developed skills in analysis of arguments and data from research papers;
  5. developed skills of reasoned argument in written and oral scientific investigations and exegesis;
  6. verbal and written communication skills.

Teaching and Learning Methods

These include lectures, supervisions and seminars.


Students offer the written papers of a chosen biological science subject in Part II of the Tripos together with one additional paper chosen from another Part II biological science or another Tripos. Students also offer a 6000 word dissertation. Students are advised to review the pages of the programme specification in the subjects offered.

Additional Information

Further information is available on the Course Websites pages.