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Biology

What is the course about?

Biology is the study of life itself and how it has evolved. Biology at A Level ranges from the most essential molecule of all, DNA, through to biochemistry and the ultrastructure of cells, simple single celled organisms and on to entire ecosystems and the enormous biodiversity they contain. Biology provides an insight into how the human body functions and how disease develops as well as how biological research using the latest gene technology can be used to treat and control infectious and non-infectious diseases including cancer. 

Course content

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in biology

  • Skills of planning, implementing, analysis and evaluation including mathematical analysis and statistics.

Module 2 – Foundations in biology

  • Cell structure; biological molecules; nucleotides and nucleic acids; enzymes; biological membranes; cell division, cell diversity and cellular organisation.

Module 3 – Exchange and transport

  • Exchange surfaces.
  • Transport in animals.
  • Transport in plants.

Module 4 – Biodiversity, evolution and disease

  • Communicable diseases, disease prevention and the immune system.
  • Classification and evolution.

Module 5 – Communication, homeostasis and energy

  • Communication and homeostasis.
  • Excretion as an example of homeostatic control.
  • Neuronal communication.
  • Hormonal communication.
  • Plant and animal responses.
  • Photosynthesis.
  • Respiration.

Module 6 – Genetics, evolution and ecosystems

  • Cellular control.
  • Patterns of inheritance.
  • Manipulating genomes.
  • Cloning and biotechnology.
  • Ecosystems.
  • Populations and sustainability.

Career pathways

Medicine, biomedical sciences, biochemistry, immunology, neuroscience, pharmacy, pharmacology, physiotherapy, dentistry or ophthalmology. Other careers include: agriculture, horticulture, microbiology, brewing, fisheries management, forestry, food science, nursing, marine biology, zoology and plant pathology.

Entry criteria

Minimum of grade 6 in biology and chemistry (or core/additional or further additional science). Also a minimum of grade 6 in GCSE Mathematics and English Language.