BSc (Hons) Biology

Study Biology at Stirling and you study life. Our course will give you the skills and knowledge needed for any of the diverse careers in biology.

Key facts

  • Award BSc (Hons)
  • Start date September 2024, January 2025
  • Duration 48 months
  • Mode of study full time, part time
  • Delivery on campus
  • UCAS Code C100
  • Study abroad opportunities

Overview

Are you interested in the evolution of animal behaviour, the genetic engineering of crops or the hidden worlds of molecular and cell biology? Are you curious about how plants and animals will respond to climate change?

Our course will teach you the full scope of life through multiple biological disciplines: from bacteria to blue whales, from enzymes to ecosystems. For the first two years you’ll develop an in-depth understanding of the general processes that govern life on Earth, before specialising according to your interests in the latter half of the degree programme. As you develop your practical skills you’ll become involved with research, giving you the opportunity to contribute to biological discoveries.

Laboratory technical skills and fieldwork will form an essential part of your training. You will learn key techniques and methods for the life sciences early in the degree and then have opportunity to apply them when identifying your own research questions of interest. You will also receive training in fieldwork techniques both at our stunning University of Stirling campus and during on-campus and residential field courses. 

Our staff, active in international research, will ensure you have the skills and in-depth knowledge required for any of the diverse careers in biology. All research (100%) from Biological and Environmental Sciences was rated as having either outstanding or very considerable impact (REF 2021).

We're also ranked top 5 in Scotland for Biology (The Guardian University Guide 2023).

Top reasons to study with us

* Rankings are based on institutions within the Guardian University Guide

Entry requirements

Year 1 entry – Four-year honours

SQA Highers
AABB - by the end of S5
AAAB - by the end of S6

GCE A-levels
BBB

IB Diploma
30 points

BTEC (Level 3)
DDM

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

Widening access students
Widening access students may be eligible for an adjusted offer of entry. To find out if this applies to you go to our widening access pages.

Care-experienced applicants will be guaranteed an offer of a place if they meet the minimum entry requirements.

Year 2 entry – Three-year honours

SQA Advanced Highers
ABB

GCE A-levels
ABB

IB Diploma
35 points

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

Other Scottish qualifications

Scottish HNC/HND
Year one minimum entry - Bs in graded units.

Access courses
University of Stirling access course - for mature students only. You must pass the course with 50% or above.

SWAP access course - for mature students only.

Email our Admissions Team for advice about other access courses.

Foundation Apprenticeships
Considered to be equivalent to 1 Higher at Grade B

Essential subjects
To include one of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics at Scottish Higher level or equivalent at Grade B, if HNC or Access course is not science related.

Other qualifications

English, Welsh and Northern Irish HNC/HND
Merits and Distinctions

English, Welsh and Northern Irish access courses
Access to Higher Education - 60 credits, minimum 45 at QCF Level 3, pass at 60% or above.

Email our Admissions Team for advice about other access courses.

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

International entry requirements

Advanced entry

Year 2 entry
Entry into Year 2 may be possible depending on your HNC/HND course. To find out more go to our articulation pages.

Other qualifications
Advanced entry may be possible depending on your qualifications. For more information, contact our Admissions Team at admissions@stir.ac.uk.

Other routes of entry

If you don't currently meet our academic requirements, INTO University of Stirling offers a variety of preparation programmes that can earn you the qualifications and skills you need to progress onto some of our courses. Explore INTO University of Stirling to see the Foundation and International Year 2 routes available.

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 Academic or UKVI 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-skill.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 56 overall with a minimum of 51 in each sub-skill.
  • IBT TOEFL 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these requirements.

Pre-sessional English language courses

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.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses

Course details

Training is provided in laboratory and field skills across the entire scope of biology, from cell biology through physiology to ecology.

During Semesters 1-4 you’ll take core modules in Cell Biology, Physiology, Genetics and Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity. You’ll learn practical skills in Natural Sciences and Quantitative Techniques and do a field course for ecology and identification skills. Additionally, you can select from modules offered in Ecosystem, Environmental and Aquatic Sciences.

During Semesters 5 – 6 you’ll take a core module in Plant Ecology and Physiology and you’ll also take five modules from a range of options in animal and human biology.

In Semesters 7-8, our range of specialist half-modules allows you to specialise in an area of biology that particularly interests you. You’ll undertake an independent research project and study between four or six advanced modules from a range of options. Final-year projects are a challenging yet valuable part of our degrees. 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. Projects are supervised by our staff, but may also be carried out in conjunction with an external organisation.

Modules

The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the academic year that starts in September 2024. Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course details

Teaching

The University of Stirling achieved five stars for teaching in the QS Stars University Ratings 2024.

Our academic staff are involved in international research, so our teaching reflects the latest thinking and knowledge in Biology. You’ll learn through lectures and practical classes, tutorials, seminars, computer-based learning, guided reading and research.

Fieldwork

Our BSc (Hons) Biology course places great emphasis on practical training, hands-on experience and preparation for a wide range of careers in conservation. Fieldwork is an essential and enjoyable part of this degree course – we have a wide range of habitats on our doorstep and regularly use the campus for practical work. Some modules also conduct short excursions to visit sites and species close to the University.

Fieldwork will be an essential part of your training. In addition to fieldwork in Scotland, we run an optional residential fieldtrip in Year 4. The 7-day field ecology and animal biology course introduces students to the process of designing, conducting and analysing your own scientific project.  We are currently seeking a new location for this, likely to be in continental Europe. Travel, accommodation, and subsistence on residential field courses is not included in the course fees. 

Assessment

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.

Work placement opportunities

Students can build strong links with industry through summer placements with local employers and large corporates.

Our Careers Service can help you secure placements and offer the support and advice you need to plan your career, develop your employability, or think about further study.

Study abroad

You can study abroad through our well-established connections with North American, Australian and European universities.

Find out more about studying abroad.

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

Academic year: 2023/24 2024/25
Scottish students £1,820 £1,820
Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland £9,250 £9,250
International students (including EU) £20,300 £21,300

Scottish students

This fee is set by the Scottish Government and is subject to change.

Although you’re liable for annual tuition fees, if you are domiciled in Scotland you can apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government on your behalf.

You will be charged the annual tuition fee each year when you enrol.

If you need to take additional modules or resit modules, you will be liable for an additional fee.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

This tuition fee may be subject to change depending on guidance provided by the UK Government.

You can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of your tuition fees, from your relevant funding body. Students from the Republic of Ireland are eligible for a tuition fee loan of up to £9,250 from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

We also offer additional funding – such as our Honours Year Scholarship – for students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. See our funding opportunities section below for more information.

You will be charged the annual fee each year when you enrol. Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course.

If you need to take additional modules or resit modules, you will be liable for an additional fee.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

International students (including EU)

Eligible students will automatically receive a scholarship worth between £8,000-£30,000 over the duration of your course. See our range of generous scholarships for international undergraduate students.

You will be charged the annual fee each year when you enrol. Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course.

If you need to take additional modules or resit modules, you will be liable for an additional fee.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

We subsidise costs for fieldtrips but you’ll be required to make a financial contribution towards your travel, accommodation and subsistence for all residential fieldtrips. You’ll also need to pay for any optional overseas field classes in Years 3 or 4.

Funding

See what funding opportunities and loans are available to help you with tuition and living costs.

Students from Scotland

Find funding opportunities for Scottish students.

Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

Eligible students will automatically receive our Undergraduate Welcome Scholarship, Undergraduate Merit Scholarship, and our Honours Year Scholarship, which are worth between £1,000 and £9,250.

International students

Eligible international students will automatically receive a scholarship worth between £8,000-£30,000 over the duration of your course. Find funding opportunities for international students.

Cost of living

If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

International (including EU) students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling.

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay.

After you graduate

From life science jobs to research and teaching, there’s a great deal of variation in jobs available to graduates with a Biology degree. Biologists can work in a variety of industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, health science, conservation, energy and the environment. Other career paths include the civil service, hospital analytical laboratories, and government and industrial research laboratories.

About one-third of recent Stirling Biology graduates have continued their studies to obtain a further qualification, such as an MSc or PhD.

Discover Uni

Discover Uni provides official data on each university's undergraduate courses, including satisfaction scores from the National Student Survey, details of graduate jobs and salaries, and other key information for prospective students.

What our students said

Catriona Henderson
BSc (Hons) Biology
Studying Biology at the University of Stirling has been one of the best decisions I have made; the courses are interesting and well thought out, the staff are very approachable, and I feel fully prepared for graduate employment.
Read Catriona's story

Flexible study

Are you interested in more than one of our courses? You might not have to choose between them. Here at Stirling, we believe in choice and offer more than 170 course combinations.

Biology can be combined with any of the following courses:
Course nameUCAS code
Mathematics UCAS code for this combination: CG11
Education (Secondary) UCAS code for this combination: CX11
Psychology UCAS code for this combination: CC18

For a combined honours degree where the two subjects have different entry requirements, you will usually be asked to meet the higher entry requirement.

Find out more about degree flexibility and how you can take combined courses.