The study of biological systems at the cellular, and subcellular, level is key to understanding how organisms develop, how they respond to their environment and how the diseased state differs from the healthy state. Recent advances in cell biology are enabling cell biologists to:
- Detect, prevent and treat disease in both animal and plant systems
- Explore the processes associated with ageing
- Improve the quality and quantity of important food crops
- Develop novel and sustainable fuels
- Assess the impacts of environmental changes on biological systems
The Cell Biology degree at the University of Stirling offers a unique interdisciplinary training in areas which underpin modern biology.
IB Diploma with a total of 32 points.
HNC or HND with Bs in graded units.
Access courses and other UK/EU and international qualifications are also welcomed.
A-levels or Advanced Highers ABB to include Biology and one of Geography/Geology/Environmental Science/Physics/Chemistry.
Scottish HND in certain Applied Science subjects with Bs in graded units.
General entry requirements apply.
International students can study our Undergraduate Certificate if they do not possess the necessary entrance requirements to be admitted directly to the first year of an undergraduate degree course.
If examinations are taken over two sittings, or there are repeats or upgrades, the entrance requirements may be higher.
One of Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics at Higher (B), A-level (C), IB Higher Level at 4 or equivalent.
Other qualifications not mentioned above must include science-based subjects.
Mathematics at Standard Grade (2), Intermediate 2 (C) or GCSE (C) or equivalent.
Mathematics at Standard Grade (3) is considered on an individual basis.
English Standard Grade (2), Intermediate 2 (C), GCSE (C) or equivalent, although alternative entry conditions may be made in this case.
Modes of study
Full-time (three modules per semester).
Part-time (one or two modules per semester).
Find out more
Semesters 1 - 4
In Years 1 and 2 you will take core modules in:
- Cell Biology, Physiology, Genes and Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity
- Practical Skills in the Biological and Environmental Sciences and Quantitative Techniques
- Additional modules in other disciplines. The majority of students select from the core modules offered in Environmental Science and Aquatic Sciences
Semesters 5 - 6
In Year 3, you will take modules in:
- Animal Physiology
- Laboratory and Field Techniques
- The Animal Cell
You will also take two modules from the following options: Animal Ecology, Marine Biology, Plant Ecology and Physiology.
Semesters 7 - 8
In your final year you will undertake an independent research project and a number of advanced modules from a range of options which currently include:
- Immunology and Disease*
- Molecular Techniques*
- Molecular Evolution and Phylogenetics*
- Proteomics & Systems Biology*
- Cell Birth, Life and Death*
- The Evolution of Sex
- Conservation Biology
- Conservation Genetics
* These modules are required
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 but you are encouraged to develop your own ideas during the project. Some students have organised projects with other research organisations, usually when they have already established a relationship with the organisation during vacation work.
Examples of relevant projects include:
- Expressing genes involved in Golgi secretion
- Study of immunoglobulin M and monoclonal antibodies from Cod
- PCR analysis of marine microorganisms in a changing climate
- Why and how the fly immune system degenerates as flies age
Teaching 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.
Teaching provision in Cell Biology has been assessed by the Scottish Funding Council and rated as 'highly satisfactory'.
Biological and Environmental Sciences (BES) within the School of Natural Sciences is a multi-disciplinary department that participates in research and teaching in a broad range of subjects in the biological and environmental sciences. The principle focus of the research is at the interface between the environment and society. Within BES, staff conduct research in areas as diverse as the reconstruction of past landscapes; conservation, environmental impact assessment and environmental management; evolutionary ecology of plants and animals; and cellular biology and immunology. BES is a friendly, vibrant, and dynamic place in which to learn and research with a great sense of belonging engendered in our students from their very first days at the University.
Research-led teaching is the key to deep learning and understanding. The academic staff in Biological and Environmental Sciences at Stirling are typically world leaders in their respective fields, thus ensuring that research-led teaching is at the core of all of our courses. Many students work closely with academics throughout their time and benefit from actively participating in research programmes. We have strong contacts with external conservation and environmental organisations who also contribute to the undergraduate experience. This approach ensures that our students appreciate the transferable nature of a science degree and see how their learning can be applied to the real world.
A variety of assessment methods are employed throughout our degree course.
I chose Cell Biology at Stirling because of the interdisciplinary training which provides a good combination of practical and theoretical courses. It provided me with the option of choosing a diverse range of topics within the first two years of study and then focusing solely on my chosen degree. The staff have a wealth of knowledge which they are enthusiastic to share with their students, and combined with the smaller class numbers this ensures a higher level of individual attention. The new and improved laboratories and facilities have created an excellent place to learn, and all of these factors have equipped me to leave feeling fully prepared for a successful career.
Niki McAllister, 4th year Cell Biology student 2012
Cell Biology graduates from Stirling may follow careers in the pharmaceutical, healthcare and biomedical, biotechnology, and agricultural industries. Other career paths may include the civil service, forensic science, teaching, the food industry, and government and industrial research laboratories.