University of Stirling Biology

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University of Stirling Biology

As a biology student you will study a wide variety of living organisms which inhabit the planet around us. This degree course begins by keeping the broadest possible perspective through the first two years. Then towards the end of your degree, whether your interests lie at the level of the biosphere, the whole organism, the cell, or the biomolecule, you can specialise to reflect the strengths and interests you develop.‌

The questions of biology are of great importance today. How can a pathogenic virus such as influenza spread from pigs or birds to be transmitted between humans? DragonflyHow can we work out the evolutionary history of living organisms and decipher what their most ancient ancestors looked like? How will different species respond and adapt to global climate change?

As you develop your practical skills and stimulate your curiosity with project work you will become involved with active research, giving you the opportunity to contribute to the biological discoveries of tomorrow.

Entry requirements Academic requirements
Four-year Honours degree
SQA Higher:
AABB – one sitting.
AAAB – two sittings.

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
32 points

BTEC (Level 3):

Essential subjects:
To include one of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics.

Three-year Honours degree

SQA Adv. Higher:

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
35 points

Essential subjects:
To include Biology and one of Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology or Physics.

Other qualifications

Year one minimum entry
Scottish HNC/D – Bs in graded units
English, Welsh and NI HNC/D – Merits and Distinctions.
Advanced entry
Year 2 entry may be possible with HND in a Science based subject. For information on accepted courses please consult our Advanced Entry

Access courses:
Access courses and other UK/EU and international qualifications are also welcomed.

Foundation Apprenticeships

considered to be equivalent to 1 Higher at Grade B

Essential subjects:

As listed above or equivalent.

Additional information

General entrance requirements apply
Mathematics Standard Grade (2), National 5 (B), Intermediate 2 (C), GCSE (C) or equivalent.
If examinations are taken over two sittings, or there are repeats or upgrades, the entrance requirements may be higher.

INTO University of Stirling offers an International Foundation programme for those international students who do not meet the required academic and English-language criteria. This course offers a route to study at University of Stirling through an excellent teaching and learning experience located in the high-quality study facilities on campus. Successful completion of the International Foundation in Science, Computing and Engineering to the required standard provides guaranteed progression to this degree.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

More information on our English language requirements

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Alternative routes

Year 2 entry may be possible for applicants with suitable qualifications. Please contact Admissions with queries.

Fees and costs

Fees 2018/19

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 14,460
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £9250 – with a generous package of scholarship options

From 2016/7 onwards, the fees for overseas undergraduates will be held at the level upon entry.

If you plan to commence your studies at the University of Stirling in January 2018, please note you will be subject to our 2017/18 fees. Please contact us for more information.

Please note: Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

Please note there is an additional charge should you choose to attend a graduation ceremony. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

Semesters 1 – 4

student working in a science labIn Years 1 and 2 you will take core modules in:

  • Cell Biology, Physiology, Genes and Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity
  • Practical Skills in the Natural Sciences and Quantitative Techniques
  • Year 2 field course in ecology and identification skills
  • Additional modules in other disciplines. The majority of students select from the core modules offered in Ecosystem, Environmental and Aquatic Sciences

Semesters 5 – 6

In Year 3 you will take a core module in:

  • Plant Ecology and Physiology

You will also take five modules from the following options: Animal Ecology, Marine Biology, Animal Cell Biology, Microbiology, Animal Physiology, Population & Community Ecology.

Semesters 7 – 8

In your final year you will undertake an independent research project and study between four or six advanced modules from a range of options which currently include:

  • Immunology and Disease
  • Molecular Techniques
  • Molecular Evolution and Phylogenetics
  • The Evolution of Sex
  • Proteomics
  • Cell Birth, Life and Death
  • Conservation Biology
  • Conservation Management
  • Conservation Genetics
  • Tropical Ecology
  • Statistics Using R

You can also choose to go on the ecology and animal biology field course to southern France during the vacation between Year 3 and Year 4.

students with a water sample

A research project is a major component of the final year course. The variety of project topics offered to students reflects the active research interests of academic staff in Biological and Environmental Sciences, but you are also encouraged to develop your own ideas during the project. Some students organise projects with other research organisations, usually when they have already established a relationship with the organisation during vacation work.

In recent years, students on the Biology course have completed projects within the broad disciplines of Animal Behaviour, Plant Physiology and Ecology, Animal Ecology, Molecular Cell Biology, Parasitology, Molecular and Population Genetics.

The 10-day field course in ecology and animal biology takes place in the Cévennes in France, a rugged mountain landscape of exceptional natural beauty and tremendous biodiversity. The organisms that live there include over 2,300 flowering plant species, 2,000 invertebrate species and 300 vertebrate species. Notable among these are wild boar, otters, vultures, and grey wolves. The region exemplifies the deep historical connection between humans and the natural world, and is recognised as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site. During the field trip students learn various techniques in field sampling, identification, experimental design, data analysis and presentation.

Please note that costs for travel, food and accommodation for a 2nd-year compulsory field course in Scotland and any optional overseas field classes in 3rd or 4th year have to be paid by students.

Delivery and assessment

Teaching is delivered in the form of formal lectures and practical classes, tutorials, seminars, computer-based learning, guided reading and research. Modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and examination completed during the semester. For many modules the marks awarded for coursework contribute 40–50 percent of the final grade but for some modules this is as high as 100 percent.

Combined degrees

Combined degree courses are available linking Biology to other subjects. You can find more information on our website at:

Biology can be studied with:
Course UCAS Code
Mathematics CG11
Professional Education (Secondary) CX11
Psychology CC18
Professional Education (Primary) with Specialism in Environment XC11

(For a Combined Honours degree the specific entry requirements of both subjects apply. See individual subject entries.)