Biology is the scientific study of life, from a single cell to whole ecosystems. It plays a crucial role in understanding the everyday existence of all living things and is an important subject in the modern world, where biologists are at the centre of finding solutions to the challenges faced by our global environments.

Biology courses encourage the development of knowledge, skills and the resourcefulness needed in confident individuals. Students of biology think creatively, analyse and solve problems. Studying relevant areas of biology such as health, environment and sustainability produces responsible citizens, able to apply their knowledge to evaluate biological issues, assess risk, make informed decisions and develop an ethical view of complex issues.

The study of biology is of benefit not only to those intending to pursue a career in science, but also to those intending to work in areas such as in healthcare, conservation, teaching, sports or lab-based industries such as food science and forensics.

National 5 Biology

The purpose of this course is to develop candidates’ interest and enthusiasm for biology in a range of contexts. An experimental and investigative approach is used to develop knowledge and understanding of key areas of biology. The skills of scientific inquiry are developed and integrated by studying the applications of biology in everyday life, using an up-to-date selection of technologies, concepts and ideas relevant to the central position of life science within our society.

The course includes the following areas of biology:

Cell Biology:

In this unit, topics covered are: cell structure, transport across cell membranes, DNA and the production of proteins, proteins, genetic engineering, and respiration.

Multicellular Organisms:

In this unit, topics covered are: producing new cells, control and communication, reproduction, variation and inheritance, transport systems in animals and plants, and absorption of materials.

Life on Earth:

In this unit, topics covered are: ecosystems, distribution of organisms, photosynthesis, energy in ecosystems, food production, and evolution of species.

Higher Biology

This course develops candidates’ interest and enthusiasm for biology in a range of stimulating, relevant and enjoyable contexts. The skills of scientific inquiry and investigation are further developed throughout the course. This will enable candidates to become more scientifically-literate citizens, able to adapt their learning to new situations, solve problems, make decisions based on evidence, and evaluate the impact of scientific developments on their health and wellbeing, society and the environment. By setting the acquisition of knowledge and skills in the context of Higher Biology, candidates are prepared for further education, training or employment, in areas associated with life sciences.

The course includes the following areas of biology:

DNA and the genome:

In this unit, topics covered are: structure of DNA, replication of DNA, gene expression, cellular differentiation, the structure of the genome, mutations, evolution, and genomic sequencing.

Metabolism and survival:

In this unit, topics covered are: metabolic pathways, cellular respiration, metabolic rate, metabolism in conformers and regulators, metabolism and adverse conditions, environmental control of metabolism, and genetic control of metabolism.

Sustainability and interdependence:

In this unit, topics covered are: food supply, plant growth and productivity, plant and animal breeding, crop protection, animal welfare, symbiosis, social behaviour, components of biodiversity, and threats to biodiversity.