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 January 2023, September 2023, January 2024
  • Application deadline For January 2023 entry: students who require a visa must apply by 30 September 2022
  • Duration 48 months
  • Mode of study part time, full 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 at residential field courses in Scotland.

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).

Top reasons to study with us

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. Please check the SWAP progression routes document for details.

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 by possible depending on your qualifications. To find out more go to our advanced entry page.

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

Additional information

General entrance requirements apply

If you’ve taken exams over two sittings, repeated an exam, or been upgraded, the entrance requirements may be higher.

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 5.5 in each skill
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 169 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
  • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 60 overall with a minimum of 59 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
  • IBT TOEFL Special Home Edition 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing
  • Trinity ISE II Pass overall and Pass in each sub-skill, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills
  • Aptis (4 skills) CEFR B2 overall and B2 in all sub-skills
  • LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator -  Pass with minimum 33 in each sub-skill

Last updated: 23 August 2022

You must also check the specific English language requirements for your country.

For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language 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 current academic year (September 2022). 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 2021.

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. Currently this is based in the UK but we are currently seeking new locations, likely to be in continental Europe. The 7-day field ecology and animal biology course introduces students to the process of designing, conducting and analysing your own scientific project. 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 and Employability Service is ranked 1st in Scotland and Top 5 in the UK (UK International Student Barometer (ISB) Benchmark and Global ISB Benchmark 2018). They will not only help you to secure placements but also offer all 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: 2022/23 2023/24
Scottish students £1,820* £1,820 *
Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland £9,250 £9,250
European Union students £18,800 £20,300
Overseas students (non-EU) £18,800 £20,300

Scottish students

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

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

Although you’re liable for annual tuition fees, students domiciled in Scotland can apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government on their behalf. If you’re unsure of your fee status, you can check your eligibility.

If you need to take additional modules or resit modules, you’ll 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 will be charged the annual fee each year when you enrol. Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course.

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 below for more information.

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.

European Union students

For EU students starting studies in academic year 2022/23, we will award an automatic scholarship of up to £30k over the duration of your course. This is subject to eligibility criteria.

Students from the Republic of Ireland should see the fee and funding information under England, Wales, NI and Republic of Ireland.

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.

Overseas students (non-EU)

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 opportunities

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

Students domiciled in Scotland

The University of Stirling offers undergraduate funding opportunities for students domiciled in Scotland. To find out if you’re eligible to apply for an award, use our scholarship finder.

EU students

For EU students starting studies in academic year 2022/23, we will award an automatic scholarship of up to £30k over the duration of your course. This is subject to eligibility criteria.

Students domiciled in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

The Undergraduate Choice Scholarship provides a £1,000 cash award to all students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland who meet the conditions of their offer and select the University of Stirling as their Firm or Insurance choice on UCAS.

The University also offers the Undergraduate Merit Scholarship, which is awarded to selected students and provides a £1,000 cash award per year for years 1-3 of study. To be considered for the Merit Scholarship, students require a minimum of AAB at A-level or equivalent.

In addition, students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland who enter in year 1 and progress successfully through years 2 and 3 will receive our Honours Year Scholarship, which covers the cost of undergraduate tuition fees in the Honours year of study.

You don’t need to apply for the awards listed above - we'll automatically identify your eligibility as part of the admissions process.

To explore other scholarships and learn more about funding opportunities, use our scholarship finder.

Students domiciled overseas

The University of Stirling offers generous undergraduate funding opportunities for overseas students. To find out if you're eligible to apply for an award, use our scholarship finder.

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.

EU and overseas 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

What jobs can you get with a Biology degree?

From life science jobs to research and teaching, there’s a great deal of variation in jobs available to graduates with an Animal Biology degree including:

  • research scientist
  • science writer
  • medical writer
  • biotechnologist
  • higher education lecturer
  • microbiologist
  • nanotechnologist
  • conservation
  • pharmacologist
  • secondary school teacher
  • soil scientist
  • statistician
  • zoologist

Animal biologists work in the agricultural, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and in conservation management and environmental agencies. Other career paths include: forensic sciences, teaching, the food industry, commercial analytical laboratories and, with further study, professions allied to medicine, and in academic, 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.

Employability skills

Our graduates have a wide range of transferrable skills for employment that include (but are not limited to): writing reports that distil complex ideas for a non-specialist audience, making and editing short videos, experience with a basic coding language, identifying knowledge gaps and designing an extended project to fill them.

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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 220 course combinations.