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Biology is a subject that provides you with great enjoyment of and respect for all living things. It introduces you to some of the exciting new advances being made in modern Biology, including environmental issues, the influence of genes on our development and some of the ethical and technological aspects of the subject.

Biology is a practical subject so you will be developing experimental skills and an understanding of how to plan, analyse and evaluate experimental procedures. A separate certificate will be awarded if you pass your practical endorsement.

You will develop your mathematical skills to analyse data and develop your English skills to enable you to use specialist scientific terminology correctly. Biology is a fascinating subject but to do well you will be expected to work independently outside of the lessons and you will also need to have a good memory.

There is an opportunity to participate in the Biology Olympiad competition and/or to develop forensic and biomedical practical skills in the ‘Lab Rats’ enrichment programme. We also offer a field trip to Braunton Burrows to study sand dune succession.


In your first year you will study cell structure, biological molecules, DNA and cell division, enzymes, gas exchange, transport in plant & animals, communicable diseases, disease prevention & the immune system, biodiversity, classification, and evolution.

In your second year you will study homeostasis, excretion, nervous and hormonal communication, plant & animal responses, ecosystems, photosynthesis, and respiration as well as some of the newer areas of biology such as cloning, biotechnology and manipulating genomes.

You will need (or equivalent to);

  • GCSE Mathematics grade 6/B or above
  • GCSE English Language or Literature grade 5 or above
  • GCSE Biology/Double Science at grade 6/B or above
  • plus two more GCSEs grade 4/C or above

Assessment takes the form of three written exams.

Two of these are two hours and 15 minutes, whilst the third is one hour and 30 minutes long. The practical endorsement is awarded based on laboratory skills observed during practical lessons and written evidence recorded within a lab book.

Biology is highly valued by universities and there are many possible career routes with an A Level in Biology. These include Medicine, Veterinary Science, Health Care, Forensics, Pharmacy, Food Science, Marine Biology, Conservation and Sports Science.

Is there a Human Biology course?

No however, a large proportion of the course content is made up of human or mammalian biology. Universities like to see you have studied some plants and micro-organisms too.

Is there much practical work?

Yes! As much as possible. We offer a wide range of practicals to consolidate your learnt theory and this helps our students to perform particularly well in exam questions based around practicals.