Improving our understanding of mankind and the world which surround us

In September 2014, UCLy introduces a Bachelor’s Degree in Life Sciences, composed of a major in Biology and a minor in Humanities. Intended for future biologists, this course studies the challenges of the living in our society and includes a reflexive dimension on biology.


Biological sciences and life technologies have experienced considerable growth over the past few decades. This development affects human beings, their health and environment. This Bsc course is built around the current issues raised around synthetic biology, the convergence between nanotechnologies and information sciences, neurosciences and biotechnologies, health, nutrition, ecology and bioethics.

Understanding the role of biological science

The Bachelor’s Degree in Life Sciences is characterised by a three-fold purpose: 1) imparting knowledge, 2) imparting know-how, and 3) imparting fundamental interpersonal skills adapted to a work environment. More specifically, the aim for students is to acquire theoretical knowledge of fundamental sciences, methods applied to experimental scientific procedures and analytical skills allowing to think about the issues and challenges deriving from the fast-growing development of biological sciences. The course strives to improve student’s understanding of the impact of biological science on Human’s identity and environment.

“The Bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences strives to impart knowledge, know-how and interpersonal skills to students”

To this end, we offer scientific students a crossed academic programme combining biology and humanities. Academic staff in biology and humanities departments have collectively designed the curriculum and some modules will be taught jointly by staff from those two departments. The students, coming from scientific backgrounds, will acquire the basic knowledge and skills in Humanities from cross studies. This interdisciplinary approach aims at bringing elements of understanding about what is science (concept of epistemology) and its value (ethics). The main topics raised are the following: the Natural and the Artificial, Man and animal, Genetic identity and human identity, Evolution and chance, Knowing and believing, Bioethics, Transmission of life, Health and disease, Ecology and society, Work, Law, Norm.

The idea is to reflect upon several questions during 3 years, such as the following: What differentiates the living from machines? In what ways are human beings different from animals? Is human identity genetic or cultural? Do animals have a conscience? Can science explain everything? Is chance an explanation? Isn’t faith the outcome of a lack of knowledge? Are there ethical boundaries to scientific research? Is technology dangerous for man? Must man be sacrificed in order to save nature?

Copyright : Faculté des Sciences/UCLy

Interaction between experimental sciences and human and social sciences

The course’s “hourly” distribution is defined by an average of 75% of Biology teaching hours (including professional immersion), 15% of Humanities teaching hours and 10% in cross-disciplinary skills.

Scientific teaching includes chemistry (atoms and molecules, thermodynamics), biochemistry (metabolism and enzymology) and earth sciences. The heart of the programme however revolves around life sciences: the structure and organisation of a cell, biology of organisms, genetics, microbiology, human biology and physiology, immunology, plant physiology, system biology and biotechnology. In the first year (L1), students are introduced to the methodology of experimental scientific procedures used to analyse and interpret experimental results. In their second year (L2), they choose a research module and in the following year (L3), they attend classes in scientific writing which complement their courses. Finally, the 8-week internship enables them to experience professional immersion and discover laboratories in the field of biology.

The Bachelor’s Degree values cross-disciplinary approaches. A close partnership has therefore been established between the Science and the Philosophy and Human Sciences Faculties of the Lyon Catholic University, comprising, in particular, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Ethics (CIE).

Project management and team work

At the end of the Bachelor’s course, students will have acquired scientific, technical and practical skills in their field of activity (major and minor subjects) as well as an ability to formulate and address a problem or a question. Finally, the students will be able to implement the latest laboratory techniques in biology, biochemistry, cellular biology, molecular biology, microbiology and immunology and integrate the concept of deadlines; put into service, check, maintain, improve, manage material and equipments; know and apply rules of biosecurity; research, collect and use documentation in French and English; use basic office equipment tools and new information and communication technologies; enunciate the ethical and epistemological issues of a scientific problem.

“A cross interdisciplinary academic programme combining biology and humanities”

At the same time, students will also acquire the fundamental interpersonal, cross-disciplinary and pre-professional skills which will be essential for their professional life. Not only these skills will allow the students to work in scientific environment but they will also be transferable to other fields. These skills include project management, the ability of working as part of a team, while understanding a company’s social, ethical and environmental aspects.

The course leads to careers in the field of biology, health, biotechnologies, genetics, pharmacy, agribusiness and teaching. This Bachelor’s Degree is an initiative part of the Grand Lyon project, France’s 2nd region known for its potential in public and private research, particularly in infectiology and nanotechnologies applied to health.

Copyright : UCLy

Bertrand Souchard

Holder of the Chair in science and religion

Copyright : UCLy

Dean of the Faculty of Sciences

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