What does the course involve?

Biology is a stimulating course. You will develop a sound working knowledge of all the major themes in biology: cell biology and biochemistry, genetics, physiology, ecology and the impact of humans on the environment. Further, you will develop important skills such as problem solving, research and independent learning.

The Biology course followed is the AQA GCE Biology course, with units as follows:

  1. Biological molecules
  2. Cells
  3. Organisms exchange substances with their environment
  4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
  5. Energy transfers in and between organisms (A Level only)
  6. Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments (A Level Only)
  7. Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems (A Level only)
  8. The control of gene expression (A Level only)


What qualifications do I need?

This course is suitable for students who have achieved grade ’5’ in double science or the separate sciences. GCSEs in English and Mathematics at grade ‘5’ or above would also be extremely advantageous, as this course demands good literacy, a wide range of vocabulary and competency in maths and statistics.


Students will be supplied with a copy of the relevant core textbooks to support their studies and can supplement this further from the supplied list of recommended reading.


Assessment for those who wish to do AS is by two written papers covering the appropriate units of study, including relevant practical skills.

Those wishing to study the full A Level in Biology will be assessed through three written papers at the end of the two years of study.  Paper 1 assesses the first four units, paper two, the next four units and paper three assesses all eight units; and each paper assesses relevant practical skills.

General Comments

If you choose to study biology, it is because you wish to sustain enjoyment and interest in the study of living organisms. Presentation of topics in lessons is aimed at understanding ideas and processes and developing practical skills. Ultimately, learning facts is very important and pupils are expected to carry out a proportion of their work in their own time by reading resources other than their core textbooks and formulating their own notes. Careful guidance is given by staff and use of resource material in the department is encouraged. At this level you should further your recognition of the value and responsible use of biology in society. We hope that you develop the key transferable skills required to enter into higher education, professional studies or employment.

Future Prospects

The field of Biology is undergoing a dramatic expansion in terms of research and commercial worth. If you are studying for a post-16 qualification in biology, then a variety of subjects are open to you for study at university. These include; biochemistry, biological sciences, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, cell and molecular biology, ecology, genetics, food production, microbiology, nutrition, pharmacology, physiology and sports science.

Life after university offers a range of rewarding careers applying the variety of transferable skills that, as a science graduate, you can offer. These include; conservationist, dietician, ecologist, forensic scientist, marine biologist, medical researcher, nutritionist, pharmacologist, scientific journalism, research scientist, teacher or lecturer, to name but a few!

Videos from the Department

Mr Ambrose asks a couple of our current Y13 students about the Biology course, why they chose Biology and what advice they have for students considering Biology as a subject.