BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences

Undergraduate, Part-time

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

  • Napier code:


  • Course type:


  • Duration:

    6 years

  • Award:

    BSc (Hons)

  • Location:

    Sighthill campus

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Course introduction

This course provides you with a broad understanding of biological sciences including biomedical sciences, microbiology, toxicology, 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. This course is studied on a part-time basis and generally lasts six years.

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.

Jay MacKinnon
Our biological science courses give you the option to study the areas of biology which interest you the most. But choosing what to specialise in can be difficult. This course allows you to study a variety of biological sciences, with the flexibility to specialise at a later stage if you wish.

Our dynamic teaching staff have a wealth of experience in teaching and research. You'll benefit from international research conducted across the biological sciences and will have the opportunity to conduct your own research project.

You’ll generally come in to Edinburgh Napier one day per week, and it will take around six years to complete your degree. You'll learn through a combination of lectures, tutorials, laboratory sessions and independent study. With the support and guidance of our tutors you will develop a programme of study that best suits you.

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

Find out more by visiting our Facebook page.

What you study

New Programme from 2017 for first year entry 

Common foundation year

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

Year 2 (from 2018)

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 (from 2019)

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 (from 2020)

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

Project (60 credits) 


2017 Direct Entry Programme (second, third and fourth year)

Year 2

  • Microbiology 
  • Biochemistry 
  • Physiology and the Environment 
  • One Practical Module 

Two optional modules from:
  • Biology of Disease 
  • Animal Behaviour 
  • Microbes and Man 
  • Clinical Care of Exotic Species 
  • Valuing the Earth 

Year 3

  • Scientific Communication: Dissertation and Statistics 

Five optional modules from across the biological sciences including:
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Freshwater Biology
  • Population and Community Ecology
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Marine Biology
  • Life of Mammals
  • Applied Terrestrial Ecology
  • Environmental Toxicology
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology and Pathophysiology
  • Food Microbiology and Biotechnology 

Year 4

  • Honours project 
Three optional modules from across the biological sciences including:
  • Biodiversity: Pattern and Process
  • Advances in Animal Behaviour
  • Environmental Management
  • Human and Ecosystem Health
  • Advances in Aquatic Science
  • Fisheries Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Pathology
  • Applications of Molecular Biology
  • Biotechnology - Industry and Environment
  • Cellular and Molecular Immunology

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

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

A Biological Sciences degree gives you a breadth of knowledge applicable to careers ranging from teaching to laboratory research.

You'll be qualified for work in industrial research and development, production, quality control, sales and marketing and consultancy.

The emphasis on research in this course equips you with the knowledge and skills required to continue on to postgraduate study, including possible PhD study and a further academic career.

Minimum year 1

SQA Higher

Typical Entry Requirement

BBBB including Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry or Physics.

National 5 C in Maths, English, Biology & Chemistry.

Adjusted Offer Entry Requirement

BBCC including Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry or Physics at grade B.

National 5 grade C in Maths, English, Biology & Chemistry.

You may be given an adjusted offer of entry if you meet specific widening participation criteria as outlined in our contextual admissions policy. Click here for further information about our entry requirements and admissions policies.

A Level

BCC including Biology or Chemistry or Physics. 

GCSE grade C/4 in Maths, English, Biology & Chemistry (or Double Award Science at C/4)

Irish Leaving Certificate

Pre-2017 Grading System

B1, B1, B3, B3 at Higher Level including Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry or Physics.

C2 at Ordinary Level in Maths, English, Biology & Chemistry.

New Grading System

Grades H2, H2, H3, H3 at Higher Level to include Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry or Physics.

Grade O4 at Ordinary Level in English, Maths, Biology & Chemistry.

BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

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

GCSE grade C/4 in Maths, English, Biology & Chemistry (or Double Award Science at C/4)

International Baccalaureate Diploma

Award of Diploma with 28 points overall with three HL subjects at grades 6, 5, 4 including a Science^ at minimum grade 5.

4 points in SL Maths, English, Biology and Chemistry.

European Baccalaureate

70% with Grade 7 in three subjects including Biology or Chemistry or Physics.

Grade 6 in English, Maths, Biology and Chemistry.


Animal Care with B in the graded unit for year 1 entry.

National 5 C in Maths, English, Biology & Chemistry also required.


Animal Care with BB in the graded units for year 1 entry.

National 5 C in Maths, English, Biology & Chemistry also required

^Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, or Physics

Minimum year 2


Pass in a related subject* with Grade B in the graded unit.

*Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Applied Sciences, Applied Biological Sciences

SQA Advanced Higher

BBC including Biology

A Level

BBB including Biology

Minimum year 3


Pass in a related subject** with Grades BB at SCQF Level 8 in the graded units

**Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Applied Sciences, Applied Biological Sciences

English Language Requirements

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.

Our entry requirements indicate the 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.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:

BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)

BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We're committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.

Tuition fees
Students from 2018/19 2019/20
Scotland/EU *£305 *£305
England Wales and Northern Ireland *£1,157 tba
Overseas £2,392 tba
Fees for modules are calculated according to the number of credits (multiples of 20). The rate shown in the table is for 20 credits*.

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships