Biological Sciences BSc (Hons)

Develop your knowledge and research skills in a variety of biological sciences and specialise in areas which interest you the most


Our course provides you with a broad understanding of biological sciences including biomedical sciences, microbiology, animal and marine biology and immunology. The Biological Sciences degree allows tailored learning to your individual interests. There will therefore be some aspects that are similar to the other degree structures, but allowing flexibility.

You'll benefit from studying in Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside which is rich in biodiversity, and visit local sites of outstanding natural beauty and special scientific interest.

You’ll develop biological skills relevant to your chosen area, such as good laboratory practice, competence in microbiological techniques and field surveying.

In second year, students do have the option of undertaking 'Volunteering and Employability'. This can include an element of work placement.

Edinburgh Napier is ranked Top Modern University in Scotland by the Sunday Times' Good University Guide 2022.

We have a 92% satisfaction rate for our Biological Science course (National Student Survey, 2023).
Students looking down at their experiment on the table during a Lab Skills course at Napier University's Sighthill Campus

Mode of Study:

Full-time (available as Part-time)


4 years

Start date:


UCAS code:




Study Abroad:


Course details

Our biological science courses give you the option to study the areas of biology which interest you the most.

Our dynamic teaching staff have a wealth of experience in teaching and research and area currently active in their research and this help to shape the course. You'll benefit from international research conducted across the biological sciences and will have the opportunity to conduct your own research project.

The applied nature of this course develops skills that make you more employable including team working, problem solving, research, communication and IT. As well as specialist analytical and numerical skills, you will be able to collect biological data and communicate scientific information.

The skills you will gain prepare you for work in a number of areas. You can also continue on to postgraduate study, including possible PhD and further academic study.

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    How you’ll be taught

    You will learn through a variety of different methods, including lectures, tutorials, field studies and laboratory classes.  Most of our staff are members on the Higher Education Academy and have received formal training in teaching undergraduate students.
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    A variety of assessment methods are used, including examination, assignments and practical assessments.  These are balanced across the Programme to provide a challenging assessment experience, which allows you to do your best.
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    Work placement

    In second year, students do have the option of undertaking 'Volunteering and Employability'. This can include an element of work placement.

    Placement and Study Abroad opportunities are subject to UK and Scottish Government health and travel advice.

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    Study abroad

    Erasmus and International Student Exchange Programs opportunities are available in the second and third year of study for one or two trimesters.

    Placement and Study Abroad opportunities are subject to UK and Scottish Government health and travel advice.

Popular modules

Year 1

  • Foundation in Science
  • Life on Earth
  • Comparative anatomy and physiology
  • Scientific enquiry
  • Introductory Microbiology
  • Cell biology

Year 2

Genes and Inheritance

Trimester 1

Select 2 option modules from:

  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Microbiology 
  • Ecology and Sustainability 
  • Practical Skills in Biodiversity and Ecology
Physiology, Adaptation and Disease

Trimester 2

Select 2 option modules from:

  • Symbiosis
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Clinical Care of Exotic Species

Year 3

Research Methods

Trimester 1

Select 2 option modules from:

  • Habitat Assessment and GIS
  • Ecology Field Studies 
  • Molecular Biology and the Cell
  • Immunology
  • Food Microbiology and Biotechnology

Trimester 2

Select 3 option modules from:

  • Applied and Environmental Microbiology 
  • Infection and Immunity
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pathobiology and Therapeutics
  • Conservation Biology
  • Freshwater Biology
  • Marine Biology
  • Terrestrial Field Ecology

Year 4

Professional Practice

Trimester 1

Select 2 option modules from:

  • Advances in Animal Behaviour
  • Current Topics in Ecology
  • Research Methods in Biomedicine
  • Trends in Biomedical Sciences
  • Microbial Biotechnology
  • Fish and Fisheries Biology

Trimester 2
  • Research project



Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Biological Science?

Our entry requirements indicate both Standard and Minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

Can you go straight into second year of university?

Advanced entry into Year 2 or Year 3 is possible for students with suitable qualifications. See the individual year tabs for more information.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the undergraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.

Minimum Year 1

SQA Higher

  • Standard Entry Requirement: BBBB including Human Biology, Biology, Chemistry or Physics.
  • Minimum Offer Entry Requirement:BBCC including Human Biology, Biology, Chemistry or Physics.
You may be given an adjusted offer of entry if you meet our specified minimum entry requirements within our widening participation criteria, and outlined in our Contextual Admissions Policy. Click here for further information about our entry requirements and admissions policies

A Level

  • BCC including Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Applied Science.

BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

  • Minimum grades DMM (Distinction, Merit, Merit) in a related subject.

BTEC (QCF) National Diploma Level 3 plus A Level

  • Minimum grades DM (Distinction, Merit) in a related subject.
  • A Level grade C

Irish Leaving Certificate

  • Grades H2/H2/H3/H3 including a Science subject (Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Physics)

International Baccalaureate Diploma

  • Award of Diploma with 28 points overall with three HL subjects at grades 6, 5, 4 including a Science (Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry or Physics) at minimum grade 5.

T Level

  • Grade M
  • T Level must be completed in a Science subject or A Level Science may be required. Please contact to check if you meet the subject specific requirements.



Minimum Year 2

SQA Advanced Higher

  • BBC to include Biology

A Level

  • BBB to include Biology


  • Pass in a related subject* with B in the graded unit.
  • *Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Applied Science, Applied Bioscience, Applied Animal Biology, Wildlife and Conservation Management


Minimum Year 3


  • Pass in a related subject* with Grades BB at SCQF Level 8 in the graded units.
  • *Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Applied Science, Applied Animal Biology, Wildlife and Conservation Management


If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English. Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2023/24 2024/25
Scotland £1,820 £1,820
England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £9,250 £9,250
Overseas and EU £17,580 £19,340
Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland will be invoiced the tuition fees for 3 years of their 4 years of study. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
If additional compulsory costs other than the tuition fees are applicable, these will be detailed in the course details.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.


Two students collecting aquatic samples in a river on a field trip

What can you do with a Biological Sciences Degree? 


By studying Biological Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University, you will become competent in a range of practical skills within this discipline, from field work to microbiological techniques to molecular analysis. You will be knowledgeable in a range of different disciplines (depending on your module selection) and have the ability to apply your knowledge in a practical way. The programme will help you become an effective communicator, troubleshooter with strong digital and analytical skills.  If you are interested in Biology but do not want to focus on a single discipline, this may be the right course for you. There is a range of careers you may consider on completion of your degree such as becoming a biological scientist, further education, industrial research, development or production, regulatory roles such as quality control/assurance, project management, sales and marketing or a consultancy role.  


Gaining a degree in Biological Sciences gives you a range of biology-specific knowledge and skills, but it is not restrictive. You will gain many highly desirable transferable (meta) skills, including teamwork, communication, numeracy, computer literacy and data analysis, which are valued by employers within, but also outside the Life Science sector.



What does a Biologist do?


As a biologist, you will study living organisms and how they interact with one another and their environment. You could work within a wide range of sub disciplines, which will vary based on your area of specialisation. Biologists may work in the field, in the lab or, even with large data sets and augmented technology to investigate, inform and communicate the latest developments in the sector.


Tasks you may carry out within this role include:

  • Lab and fieldwork, in industry, academia or publicly funded bodies

  • Analysis of big data sets/bioinformatics

  • Public education and outreach

  • Development and manufacturing

  • Sales and marketing

  • Advising on government environmental and public health policies

  • Project management

  • Regulatory roles, quality control/quality assurance



Student working with his hands inside a fume cupboard in a science lab