Applied Biological Sciences

BSc, BSc (Hons)

A shared learning approach between a Further and Higher Education College and University is one of the key attributes of this degree. Enhanced technical skills making graduates work-ready, life sciences learners is also a major strength of Applied Biological Sciences. An industrial placement, together with an independent research dissertation, makes our graduates uniquely experienced in fundamental research with industrial awareness.


The BSc Honours Degree in Applied Biological Sciences offers interdisciplinary training in areas that are key to contemporary biological science including animal and plant biology and biotechnology. While the theoretical aspects of the course have a cellular and molecular focus, there is a particular emphasis on employability skills especially in the development of practical skills. This degree is taught jointly at Forth Valley College and the University of Stirling and benefits from the varied expertise located at both of these sites. The degree has also been developed with input from the Scottish Life Sciences employers’ community who recognise the need for highly skilled graduates. This degree will particularly appeal to those with a desire to develop a career in the biosciences industries, within healthcare and in biotechnology.

Key information

EU Applicants
The Scottish Government has confirmed that EU students enrolling in the 2018 and 2019 academic year will be entitled to free tuition fees in Scotland. EU Students will retain that status for the duration of their four year degree.

  • UCAS: 8C93
  • Qualification: BSc, BSc (Hons)
  • Study methods: Full-time
  • Start date: August/September
  • Faculty: Faculty of Natural Sciences
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Download undergraduate prospectus

Fiona Jackson

Curriculum Manager
Forth Valley College
Grangemouth Road,

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Four-year Honours degree 

SQA Higher:

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
28 points.

Essential subjects:
To include one of Biology or Chemistry. Preference will be given to applicants with a strong science background.

BTEC (level 3)


Other qualifications

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 required.
Please note that selection will be made via successful interview and completion of a Maths and practical test.

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

This degree requires participation in all 4 years and there are no alternative routes of entry.

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

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

Scholarships and funding

Scholarship finder

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

In the first two years of the degree, the focus is on the acquisition of fundamental biological laboratory skills and an understanding of the science that underpins them.

Much of this teaching will be undertaken in small classes at Forth Valley College with others at the University of Stirling including:

  • modules in statistics
  • molecular biology and bioscience
  • focussed tutorials in the second year

In the third year of study, the majority of modules are taken at the University of Stirling. These modules focus largely on the cellular and molecular aspects of biological sciences including immunology and microbiology.

In addition, an industrial placement module will give students valuable insight into how the biosciences industries work, and will give them  hands-on experience in the workplace. The final year of the degree focuses on proteomic/genomic aspects of biological sciences, together with an extended research dissertation undertaken in academics’ laboratories and a number of elective modules. Throughout this degree, the emphasis will be on understanding and practicing modern biological techniques with a view to generating “employment ready” graduates. The development and awareness of good health and safety behaviours, and good manufacturing and laboratory practices, are embedded throughout all four years of the programme.

Delivery and assessment

Teaching is delivered in the form of formal lectures and practical classes, tutorials, seminars, computer-based learning, guided reading and research. In addition, a placement enables students to experience biological sciences within an industrial biosciences environment. 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 such as the final year dissertation this is as high as 100 percent.


Year 1

  • Quality and Health and Safety Systems in Science Industries
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Presentation Skills in Science
  • Statistics in Science
  • Applied Science Graded Unit 1
  • DNA: Structure and Function
  • Fundamental Chemistry
  • Information Technology
  • Human Body Structure and Function
  • Microbiology

Year 2

  • Protein Structure and Function
  • Immunological Techniques
  • Immunotechnology
  • Microbiological Techniques
  • Instrumental Techniques
  • Biotechnology
  • DNA Molecular Techniques
  • Animal Biology
  • Plant Biology
  • Genetics
  • Applied Biological Science Graded Unit 2
  • Animal and Plant Cell Culture
  • Minitab

Year 3

  • Microbiology
  • Animal Physiology
  • Enzymes and their Applications
  • Animal Cell Biology
  • Applied Immunology
  • Industrial Experience Placement

Year 4

  • Honours Project
  • Systems Biology
  • Molecular Evolution
  • Phylogenetics
  • Molecular Techniques
  • Cell Birth/Life/Death
  • Genetic Engineering for the Future

Modes of study


Why Stirling?

International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes applications from all countries.


This degree has been developed in conjunction with the Life Sciences Sector and as a direct result of employers requiring skilled, ready-to-work graduates who are currently difficult to recruit. The Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Stirling, as a research-intensive group of divisions, has many connections with the biosciences sector, and many colleagues actively collaborate with industrial partners. The Department of Applied Science and Computing at Forth Valley College already has many contacts within industrial sectors and their students experience placements with relevant partners. This degree offers many of the skills that will make graduates more suitable for immediate employment within the biosciences sectors.

Academic strengths

The Faculty of Natural Sciences is multi-disciplinary and it participates in research and teaching in a broad range of subjects in the biological and environmental sciences. We are a friendly, vibrant and dynamic place to learn and where a great sense of belonging is engendered in our students from their very first days at the University.

Research-led teaching is the key to deep learning and understanding. Many students work closely with academics throughout their time and benefit from actively participating in research programmes. This approach, together with industrial placements, enables students to apply the skills that they develop to 21st Century biosciences careers.

Forth Valley College’s STEM provision is amongst the strongest and most comprehensive to be found at colleges from across the UK.  The College has a strong strategic commitment to STEM and close links with industry in order to deliver the skills required by employers through innovative provision. There is an emphasis on practical skills and simulated learning in industry standard facilities to ensure learners are ‘work ready’ upon progressing to employment. Learner engagement and satisfaction are also major strengths for the College. 

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

Biological sciences and biotechnology are important and growing sectors in the UK and worldwide economies. Practical knowledge of the techniques underpinning these sectors is a key attribute of graduate employees. This degree will afford graduates these skills and guided by the biosciences sector, we anticipate most graduates will be readily employable within these areas.

Healthcare too requires knowledge of complex technologies and many of our graduates will find employment within the NHS and other healthcare providers in jobs such as virologists, haematologists, microbiologists, biochemists and many others.  In addition to these graduate destinations, some graduates will be well skilled to take on employment within University research laboratories, or to embark on a research career of their own in areas such as food security, development of sustainable fuels, novel treatments for diseases and understanding the impacts of climate change on the environment.

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