This is undoubtedly the best course I’ve taken in Natural Sciences and I would certainly recommend it to all ‘bio’ natsci’s! The course covers a lot of ground from the origins of life, natural selection, plant and animal evolutionary paths and behaviour as well as focussing on specifically on human evolution in the last term. As such it is almost impossible not to find something that really grabs you as you explore so many areas and the lecturing style is on the whole very interesting, drawing on exquisite examples from the natural world to illustrate any theory. The fortnightly practicals help you get hands on experience and were often good fun, especially the behaviour practical’s which take place in the psychology department and the human evolution practical’s which allow you to handle various primate and Homo skulls.
The alternative to this course is usually Chemistry which (as you will be told) can keep your ‘options more open’. However I think if you consider yourself a ‘bio’ natsci, especially if you are interested in more whole organism level studies or plants, then you should seriously consider E&B. Biology of Cells covers more than enough microbiology to keep most doors open, and I personally have not found myself at a disadvantage having not taken Chemistry in my first year (I took 1B Physiology, Animal Biology and Ecology) .
Not only is the course hugely interesting but very useful as well. I found the lectures on plants complemented well with the Physiology of Organisms course which deals with plants in its second term and can often be daunting to students who are mainly accustomed to studying human physiology. For anyone considering taking Animal Biology for second year this course will serve you very well indeed. E&B covers almost all of the Animal Biology topics to some degree and certainly gives you an edge compared to students without this grounding.