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A beautiful and diverse environment for learning and research

The School of Biological Sciences at Reading is located on the beautiful Whiteknights campus, a 13 time winner of the Green Flag Award. More than 130 hectares of woodlands, lakes, gardens and meadows provide an inspiring and useful environment for biological scientists.

Our new Health and Life Sciences building is purpose-built for teaching and research. It houses a flexible teaching lab that can be subdivided to create up to four separate spaces. It is also home to seminar rooms, specialist research laboratories for undergraduate, master's and PhD students, the Cole Museum of Zoology, a cafe and a social space.

View our Museum and Collections brochure to learn more about some of our facilities

Elephant skeleton in the Cole Museum of Zoology

The Cole Museum of Zoology

The Cole Museum of Zoology is a unique resource to teach undergraduate zoology. Containing more than 3,500 specimens and multiple satellite collections, the museum is used in multiple practical classes and for outreach.

Our specimens include an Indian elephant skeleton, a camel skeleton, two giant spider crabs and a five-metre long python.

Our student volunteers help to maintain and develop the collection and some have gone on to careers in museums.

Learn more about the Cole Museum of Zoology

Students looking at pressed flowers in the herbarium


Established in 1900, our Herbarium has one of the largest and most diverse collections in the country. It hosts 300,000 plant specimens in one place and around 1,000 new specimens are collected every year.

The Herbarium is a vital resource, both for undergraduates learning specialist information and identification skills, and for postgraduate students and academics to access a crucial set of raw materials.

Learn more about the Herbarium


The Harris Garden

The Harris Garden is an amazing teaching and research resource for biological scientists. This 12 acre botanic garden contains meadows, water features, wildlife, various landscapes and innumerable species of plant life, providing a wonderful place for both study and relaxation.

The garden is home to hundreds of plant species, and many birds, insects and mammals. It is used as a living laboratory for classes and student research.

Learn more about the Harris Garden


Whiteknights Campus and EcoValley

Alongside our award-winning campus, we are planting a new woodland on one of our farms for carbon offsetting. It will be used as a research and teaching platform, including species monitoring programmes for animals, plants and fungi. 

Aerial view of Whiteknights campus

Campuses and facilities

Our main campus, Whiteknights, is a thriving community and features the Students' Union, Library, places to eat, and a student club. You’ll have everything you need right on your doorstep. 

Read Matthew's story

I chose Reading for a number of reasons. The Cole Museum was a selling point, as was the campus itself. It came down to where I would rather be studying and the green nature of campus really appealed to me.

Matthew Greenwell, PhD student


Our research

We engage in world-class evolutionary biology and ecological research and staff advise government on biodiversity strategy.
Athena SWAN Silver Award