About our school

With cutting-edge facilities and a focus on practical skills, the School of Applied Sciences staff, students and researchers tackle global and local issues affecting health, society and the environment.

We continually develop our courses to meet the needs of employers and society. Recognition of our forward thinking and problem solving approach includes:

  • We were ranked the top Scottish modern university for sports science (Guardian League Table 2013 and Times League Table 2013), psychology (Guardian League Table 2013) and sociology (Sunday Times League Table 2013).
  • Our psychology course achieved 93% student satisfaction in the 2012 National Student Survey.
  • We are the biomechanics partner for the R&A, the governing body of golf for most of the world.
  • We joined with public sector bodies to set up a new mountain biking centre at Glentress in the Scottish Borders which acts as a focal point for training, research and support for commercial opportunities in mountain biking.

Group of life science researchersLife Sciences

Life sciences aim to improve the quality and standard of all life. They have applications in health, agriculture, medicine and the pharmaceutical and food science industries.

Life scientists study living organisms such as microorganisms, plants, animals, and human beings, as well as related considerations like bioethics.

Biology is at the centre of life sciences. Biologists help society face challenges such as environmental crises, changing demographics, the emergence of new diseases and the persistence of old ones.


Psychologists in our school are fascinated in how people think, feel, act and interact, individually and in groups.

We study and teach in eight areas of research and practice which underpin the study of human mind and behaviour: forensic, health, clinical, educational, occupational, counselling, sport and exercise, and neuropsychology.  

Our staff's research and teaching expertise ensures that we give an applied focus to our work, forging links to disciplines including law, criminology, nursing, and cultural studies.

Social Sciences

We offer opportunities to gain knowledge and skills that you can apply to communities and individuals. We also investigate complex social problems such as crime and addiction, meaning our degrees have never been more important.

Student using weight training facilities at our Sighthill campusSport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Sport sciences explore the science used to help the body perform to its full potential.

Sport scientists use our understanding of the physical, technical and mental factors limiting human ability to design ways to enhance performance.

Exercise science is concerned with the role of exercise and physical activity in maintaining public health.

We’re committed to designing and delivering interventions that make a difference in sport performance or public health.

Industry partners

We review and develop courses in partnership with industry. For example, our MSc Biotechnology for Environmental Sustainability is supported by well-established expertise at Edinburgh Napier in the field of environmental biotechnology, including contributions by the Biofuel Research Centre and the associated enterprises Celtic Renewables and Recyclatech.

Our new interdisciplinary MSc in Applied Criminology and Forensic Psychology was designed with input from employers, and features sought-after work placements with Police Scotland, HMIC, and other organisations linked to criminal justice.  Staff who deliver the programme are research active and experts in their field.

Edinburgh’s position as a hub for life sciences research offers the opportunity to collaborate with cutting-edge business and pioneers in the field.

Practical experience

Many of our courses include field trips in the UK and abroad. All are taught by experts who are involved in a wide range of research. You’ll have opportunities do a project abroad and carry out innovative research that will make a real difference.


Our psychology and sociology degrees are professionally accredited by the British Psychological Society.

Our veterinary nursing graduates are eligible to register with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as a vet nurse.

Award-winning students

Our school produces award-winning students. Run annually the WorldSkills UK competition is designed by industry experts and assesses indviduals knowledge, practical skills and employability attributes against a set criteria, with a view to equipping young people with the right skills to help UK businesses compete globally. In 2016 our forensic biology student Laura Mackay won bronze in the Forensic Science category and was joined in the final by Aileen Freer and Roisin Stout, who both came in the top 8. All three students had their laboratory skills and knowledge evaluated by colleges and universities from all over the UK as well as various industry experts. 


Our modern, fully equipped laboratories are perfect for developing the practical skills you’ll need after university. We have specialised labs for molecular and microbiology, biomedicine, environmental, animal and marine biology, and medicinal chemistry.

Our facilities

Research excellence

Through our research we aim to make a major positive impact on health, the environment and society in Scotland and across the world.

Our research