Biology, BSc

Biology, BSc

Introduction

Our programme starts with a foundation in animal, plant and marine biology. You can then specialise in the areas that interest you most, taking advantage of the breadth of courses available in biological sciences. Common areas of specialisation include conservation ecology, disease biology, physiology, behaviour and evolution.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
BSc
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
Location of Study
Aberdeen
UCAS Code
C100
Pathway Programme Available
Undergraduate Foundation Programme
Degree marketing image

Our Biology degree, accredited by the Royal Society of Biology, provides you with a broad and deep understanding of the science of living things, from molecules and cells to organisms and populations, communities and biomes. Crucially, the programme allows you to specialise in the areas that are of most interest to you. We offer a flexible degree that allows students to study a very broad range of life-science subjects.

As you progress through your degree, you’ll carry out experiments in the laboratory, study organisms in the field and analyse data using specialised software and analytical techniques. You will also carry out and present your own research, perhaps even publishing it, as some of our undergraduates do. As well as hard science skills, we make sure that you have plenty of opportunities to develop allied skills that employer’s value highly including:

  • communicating science to the public
  • developing strong working relationships with staff from external organisations
  • meeting renowned scientists
  • working in local schools
  • organising events, and
  • developing your own products with our business innovation team.

What You'll Study

Each year you take a selection of compulsory courses and optional courses. The first two years lay a foundation for the more specialised third and fourth years. In addition, the following opportunities are offered to you as part of your degree:

  • Residential field courses in the Cairngorms, Shetland, Spain or at our own field station at The Lighthouse on the Black Isle
  • A wide range of laboratory practical sessions that introduce you to established and recently developed techniques.
  • Gradual development of your computer-based analytical skills throughout your 4 years.
  • Development of communication creative skills e.g. making movies, presenting to an audience and exploring innovative ways to reach the science community and the public.

Other highlights and opportunities that are open to you, but are not compulsory include:

  • A tracking and trailing field course in the South African bush
  • Regular meetings with leading scientists from across the UK
  • Placements with scientific research establishments and non-scientific organisations
  • Teaching placements at local schools
  • Study abroad in your second year via our partnerships with institutions in the USA, Canada, Australia, China and numerous countries in Europe.

We also have an enviable range of research areas, which you can take advantage of during your time with us. During your final honour’s year, you will carry out your own research with the assistance and supervision of our academic staff.

Year 1

In year one you take eight courses, including five Biology courses and an additional non-credit bearing skills course aimed at improving your employment prospects. This leaves a choice of three further courses which would normally contribute towards enhanced study.

Compulsory Courses

Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD1002)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

Frontiers in Biological Sciences (BI1009)

15 Credit Points

Five themes, critical to understanding biology and life, will be explored – Developmental Biology, Microbiology and Disease, Evolution and Behaviour, Immune Systems and Environmental Physiology. Each theme is structured to provide you with core knowledge, insight into how science is practiced, an introduction to current research topics and skills that are useful for investigating, recording and analysing information. The course will be delivered using a blended learning approach and can be taken by students who will be on campus in first semester, or those who may choose to stay at home

Diversity of Life 1 (BI1012)

15 Credit Points

A walk through the evolutionary tree of life, examining the amazing diversity of major groups of organisms from plants through fungi to invertebrates. Learn about how each group of organisms arose, their characteristics, and how they achieved success. Practical activities provide hands on experience of materials demonstrating the diversity of plants and invertebrates. You will be assessed by a combination of exercises based on practicals, on which you will get feedback to help you develop your skills, and online tests, each based on a particular section of the course, which will be spread throughout the course.

The Cell (SM1501)

15 Credit Points

• Cells are the fundamental unit of life – without them life could not exist, and as such understanding how they function is crucial to our understanding of biology and medical science.• This course provides theoretical knowledge in a diverse range of topics covering the fascinating world of cells, from molecules like DNA, to how different cell types function within our bodies.• All practical classes are research based and will provide theoretical knowledge and skills training in many areas of molecular and cell biology.• Employability skills will also be explored through a highly interactive enterprise session and our online mini course.

Ecology and Environmental Science (BI1511)

15 Credit Points

This course begins with study of the physical workings of the Earth and the interactions between living organisms and their environments. We then look at the effects humans are having on the planet, potential solutions to global problems and thoughts on the future.

Teaching is by staff with different subject specialisms who give both variety and immediacy to course material.

Exposure to the problems we are facing both now and in the future will help you make informed choices in your everyday life.

A range of ‘wet’ and computer-based practicals enhance the classroom teaching and develop generic scientific skills.

Diversity of Life 2 (BI1512)

15 Credit Points

• A walk through the evolutionary tree of life, examining the amazing diversity of advanced invertebrates and vertebrates. • Learn about how each group of organisms arose, their characteristics, and how they achieved success. For example what are the key evolutionary steps enabling life away from the water? How do birds fly? • Practical activities provide hands on experience of materials demonstrating the features of invertebrates, amphibians, fish, birds and mammals. • You will be assessed by a combination of laboratory reports, on which you will get detailed feedback to help you develop your skills, and an exam .

Optional Courses

Plus 45 credit points from courses of choice.

Year 2

Year two consists of eight courses, including a skills course in Life Sciences. This leaves a choice of two further courses for enhanced study.

Compulsory Courses

Introduction to Genetics (BI2023)

15 Credit Points

Genetics and evolution are inextricably linked and provide the foundation for all other biological concepts. In this course we introduce the subject of genetics from an evolutionary perspective that is informed by genome analysis.

A series of lectures and computer workshops will introduce you to the fundamental principles of evolution, genetics and molecular biology. In practical classes you will have opportunity to practise modern molecular techniques.

You will also explore ethical dilemmas that arise as a consequence of our potential ability to manipulate genomes.

Biological Enhanced Skills Training (BEST) (BI2018)

15 Credit Points

The course will help you develop or consolidate skills in experimental design, sampling, analysis, presentation, and interpretation of data. You will be encouraged to seek to improve your academic writing and develop other transferable skills.

Each week, there are one 1-2 recorded introductory lectures to help you prepare for the computer practicals. In two 2-hour sessions you will work through a series of computer-based data tasks, using relevant and realistic biological and environmental themes.

Teaching is informal and friendly. During sessions, staff will chat to you about your progress and provide help where necessary.

Assessments are two online tests (each 25%) and an individual project (50%).

Ecology (BI2020)

15 Credit Points

This course builds on themes from introductory ecology courses. You will develop your abilities to interpret data by applying theory discussed in classes to real-life data sets using short problem-solving exercises linked to each topic. Feedback will help you improve writing and interpretation skills. Extended problem-solving exercises will improve your communication skills, scientific writing and introduce you to valuable approaches to summarising complex datasets in Excel. You will also consider issues around experimental design.

Comparative Physiology 1 (BI2524)

15 Credit Points

Do you know how your body functions? The body is analogous to a complex machine that depends on appropriate functioning of all of parts. Physiology is the study of how the parts work and interact with other parts to support the normal functioning of the organism.

This course introduces the basics of animal physiology, highlighting similarities and differences in animals across the tree of life.

Lectures provide theoretical understanding of the processes that underpin the functioning of and communication between cells, tissues and organs.

Practicals allow you to apply concepts and develop lab skills.

Through the study of examples from across different phyla, you gain an appreciation of processes fundamental to all animals, and of differences across groups.

The assessments give you the opportunity to consolidate your learning, explore a topic of interest in more depth and develop transferrable skills.

Plants, People, and the Environment (BI25P4)

15 Credit Points

A course in which students explore both core and emerging issues in the plant sciences, focusing in particular on the inter-dependence of plants, people and environment.  Students are encouraged to develop a range of important generic and applied skills, through lectures, practicals and seminars. One practical and two seminars contribute 60% of the course mark. An online assessment contributes 40% of the overall course grade and consists of short, structured questions.

Fundamentals in Marine Biology (BI25Z5)

15 Credit Points

This course introduces the biology of the open oceans, shelf seas, coastal waters, estuaries and shores. The focus is mainly on the diversity of lifeforms in different marine environments and the adaptations of these organisms to their living conditions, taking account of the physical and chemical characteristics of the environment. The course also aims to develop skills in marine biological research methods, data analysis, reading scientific articles, critical thinking, and scientific writing. The knowledge and skills developed through these activities provide a strong foundation for further study of the functioning of marine ecosystems and the impacts of humans on them.

Optional Courses

Plus select 15 credit points from first half-session courses of choice.

Choose one of the following field courses:

Plants and Their Habitats in Northern Scotland (BI15F1)

15 Credit Points

The two week-long course is based in Scotland. We shall visit coastal and inland sites in Aberdeenshire, including some National Nature Reserves in stunning locations, where we shall see a range of plant communities. The course is largely non-residential, but during the second week we shall stay in Ballater for two nights so that we can visits sites in Upper Deeside.

Most of the time is spent in the field visiting a wide range of habitats and learning how to identify the species found. An important emphasis will be recognising key features of plant species and how to use plant guides to identify them: these transferrable skills can be used to help identify plants all round the world. We shall also look at the relationships between sites and the plant communities found in them.

In 2022/23 this course will run from 21st May – 2nd June 2023 (tbc).

Please note that the information provided is subject to change due to the ongoing Covid-19 government guidelines

Freshwater and Terrestrial Ecology Field Course (BI25F1)

15 Credit Points

This is a residential field course designed to provide you with training in field identification and sampling techniques based in Kelvinside Academy John Duff Lodge, Corgarff, Strathdon. Group based project work provides skills in team working, data collection, analysis and presentation.

Dates for 2022-2023 are Friday 12th to Thursday 18th May 2023.

Coastal Biodiversity (BI25F2)

15 Credit Points

This is a residential field course that uses the University of Aberdeen Lighthouse Field Station up in Cromarty to introduce a range of terrestrial, coastal and marine habitats, and the techniques that are being used to student and manage the diverse species in these ecosystems. The field course explores how natural and anthropogenic environmental change can influence different coastal ecosystems, provide an insight into how scientific research and long-term monitoring underpins our understanding and management of biodiversity.

Dates for 2022/2023 are TBC

Parasitology (BI25F3)

15 Credit Points

Residential field course designed to introduce you to the main groups of parasitic invertebrates and protozoa in our indigenous wildlife and provide you with training in field identification and sampling techniques.

Field work provides opportunities to observe, identify and collect host and intermediate host species, and training in field identification and sampling techniques.

Lab work provides for the morphological and molecular identification of parasites, and experiments on parasite physiology and manipulation of host behaviour.

Group based project work provides skills in team working, data collection, analysis and presentation.

We aim to pack as much experience into this course as we can in 6 days, so we work long and quite intensive days to allow you to develop deep understanding of parasitology, but there is always time at the end of the day to unwind with peers and staff in the excellent social facilities and to enjoy the unique environment of the Isle of Cumbrae.

Dates for 2022/2023 are Sunday 21st May - Sunday 28th May.

Field Biology (BI25F6)

15 Credit Points

During day trips from Aberdeen, you will learn and practice a variety of techniques for sampling and identifying organisms in the field.

We will take opportunities to interact with scientists from NGOs and research institutes, who will give instruction on techniques and provide overviews on the remits and opportunities within their organisations.

Group based project work provides skills in team working, data collection, analysis and presentation.

You will develop skills in biological recording by maintaining a detailed record of the field activities in a field notebook.

By visiting and working in a variety of environments you will become familiar with common species, the ecological characteristics of local habitats and have opportunities to apply your classroom learning to the field.

Dates for 2022/2023 are 29th May - 2nd June 2023 TBC

Littoral and Sublittoral Marine Biology Field Course (BI25F8)

15 Credit Points

This is a marine biological field course to the Millport Field Centre on the Isle of Cumbrae in the Firth of Clyde. The course normally includes surveying one or more rocky shores and a scientifically renowned sandy shore, sampling seabed organisms from a research vessel, and a short group project carried out over two days.

Through the various field and laboratory activities and close interaction with course staff, you will deepen your knowledge of marine environments and associated biota, and strengthen your field skills and your abilities in species identification, data collection, analysis, presentation and teamwork.

Dates for 2022-23 TBC

Year 3

In year 3 you have the opportunity to follow a more focused curriculum or maintain breadth in the programme. Additional courses are selected from the range of courses offered in biological sciences.

Compulsory Courses

Statistical Analysis of Biological Data (BI3010)

15 Credit Points

You will utilise a robust approach to statistical analysis, a skill highly valued by employers and researchers. Lectures provide context, background and step-by step guidance on how to conduct and interpret a selection of statistical analyses. Through a series of exercises, you learn to explore data, to specify appropriate linear models for your research question and to interpret their results. A set of online tests structured around the exercises and the lecture content allow you to demonstrate your achievement of course learning outcomes. With a group of students, you complete tasks and strengthen your understanding of applications of statistics.

Animal Evolution and Biodiversity (ZO3011)

15 Credit Points

This course emphasises how evolution has shaped the patterns of biodiversity we see around us, and how we can use molecular genetic tools to gain a better understanding of what biodiversity means and how we can measure it. In lectures you are guided through the theory of evolution, complementing your other biological sciences courses and helping you make sense of the diversity in the living world. In practical sessions, you gain insight into the processes of evolution and some tools used to study biodiversity. Through a poster presentation you gain specialised knowledge and experience communicating complex ideas and synthesizing information.

Gateway to Honours Project (BI3511)

This non-credit bearing course will facilitate your preparation for your Honours project.

Lectures and workshops will clarify expectations for project work and provide training in risk assessment, consideration of ethical issues, environmental impacts and project planning.

Resources to help you define and plan your project will be made available through MyAberdeen, helping you to be confident that your project planning is sufficiently advanced by the end of your Programme Year 3.

Submission of an agreed (with your supervisor) project outline, completed checklists and preliminary risk assessment will allow you to demonstrate engagement with your project.

Optional Courses

Plus 60 credit points from courses of choice, at least 30 of which must be from courses delivered by the School of Biological Sciences at level 3.

Choose one of the following courses:

  • Ecological Genomics (BI3312) OR Population Ecology (EK3303)

Plus one of the following courses:

  • Plant Environment Interactions (PL3505) OR Comparative Physiology 2 (BI3512)
Plant - Environment Interactions (PL3505)

15 Credit Points

The emphasis of the course is on plant ecophysiological responses, mostly in relation to natural environments. Lectures, labs and an excursion provide a diverse set of learning opportunities. Coursework is based on a choice from one of the practical investigations done during the course. Coursework consists of a lab report and a linked recorded presentation. During each investigation, students are asked to design a simple experiment and sampling regime using plant material and a range of measurement options. Investigative work is intended to help students to develop specialist knowledge and a capacity for creative, independent and critical thinking, problem identification and problem solving. Oral presentations, including participation in Q&As, help students to develop confidence and oral communication skills.

Population Ecology (EK3303)

15 Credit Points

Students will build on their knowledge of basic ecological theory with a more detailed approach to modelling required to help our understanding of population dynamics. These models will be considered for their value in setting appropriate management prescriptions for animal and plant populations to achieve objectives for conservation or sustainable use. Students will apply theory learned in lectures and recordings to a series of field- and computer-based exercises. The course will provide the students with valuable analytical skills and an in-depth knowledge and understanding of population dynamics.

Ecological Genomics (BI3312)

15 Credit Points

Ecological Genomics is a young and dynamic field where ecology intersects with high-throughput sequencing technologies. This technological revolution has opened exciting potential to address long-standing problems in ecology and evolution from a genome-wide perspective. This course will explore the origins and the meaning of this field of research, and will showcase the applications of different approaches to analyse sequence data, outlining how experimental work in this discipline is designed and executed. You will fully appreciate the great power of “omics” approaches in the context of a continuously evolving technological landscape.

Comparative Physiology 2 (BI3512)

15 Credit Points

This course continues the focus on comparative animal physiology, following from Comparative Physiology 1, and goes into the more complex systems. These include energy balance & thermogenesis, reproduction, respiration, defence & immunology, and osmoregulation.. The course aimsto consolidate your integrated understanding of physiology ranging from cells to tissues to organs.

Extended laboratory practicals provide an opportunity to apply your understanding of physiological mechanisms to design and carry out experiments. You will also develop advanced skills by troubleshooting and interpreting data.

Written and oral assignments are structured to build confidence and competence in explaining complex ideas and presenting information to different types of audiences (e.g., scientists or the general public).

Year 4

In year 4, the Honours year, you will carry out a research project as well as writing an extended essay and completing four courses of your choosing.

The research project can be undertaken in any of the biological disciplines and can be field, laboratory or computer-based or sometimes a combination. Most students carry out their research in our laboratories or field sites, but many students work with local scientific institutes, research groups or even partner organisations outside Scotland. You will graduate with a skillset, derived from laboratory and field teaching, which focuses on established and, cutting-edge techniques.

Compulsory Courses

SBS Honours Project (BI4016)

45 Credit Points

This independent research project develops your skills in scientific inquiry and critical analysis, as well as important generic skills, including presentation and time management.

Projects are field-, lab- and/or desk-based, developed on a topic of your interest under the direction of a supervisor.

Training in skills needed to perform your project is provided by world-leading researchers and their teams.

Workshops and drop-in sessions provide training in data analysis and thesis production.

This skill set will be appropriate for advanced study in the field of biological science or other careers where the generic skills that you will develop are highly valued.

Optional Courses

Plus 75 credit points from courses of choice, at least 45 of which must be from courses delivered by the School of Biological Sciences at level 4.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Combine practice & theory

Typically, one third of your class time is practical and many courses include full-day practical classes and field visits. Most students take at least one residential field trip during their degree; these trips bring the subjects to life and provide the opportunity to make great friendships and get to know staff members.

Research experience

You are actively involved in scientific research throughout your degree. In Year 4, you conduct independent research which can be pivotal to your career choice, whether it be in dolphins, water voles, rare plants, tropical forest ecology, climate change in the Arctic, or any one of a diverse range of other exciting topics.

Engaging & inspiring teaching

Our teaching methods are diverse, innovative and based on research on how students learn. For example, we use problem-based learning approaches, creative presentations, peer and self-assessment, presenting posters in public meetings, writing and editing wikis, writing grant proposals, science writing for publication, and the creation of portfolios using multi-media.

Opportunities for study abroad & work-related learning

You can take advantage of an optional year-out on a work placement and study abroad is encouraged for students in their 2nd year. We invite employers and volunteering organisations to come and meet our students at our career evenings and there are opportunities for students to work with our partner institutions within and outside of Aberdeen.

Learning Methods

  • Field Trips
  • Field Work
  • Group Projects
  • Lab Work
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • coursework such as essays; presentations; grant proposals; business plans; movie production and innovative product designs
  • practical assessments of the skills and competencies learnt on the course
  • written examinations at the end of each course

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, year of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Biology?

  • You will benefit from the extraordinary breadth of teaching and research we have to offer and can get involved in everything from advanced molecular research in the laboratory to pioneering field work in the mountains, deep sea and tropics.
  • You will have the opportunity to get involved in our research through summer research assistantships, project work, and a compulsory final year research project.
  • You can work within one of our research groups, carrying out cutting-edge research in an area of biology that attracts you. Our researchers work on birds, mammals, invertebrates in terrestrial and marine environments and plants in all environments from alpine to the tropics.
  • You will gain invaluable experience from attending at least one of our highly rated residential field courses in the Cairngorms, Shetland, Yorkshire, Spain or at our own field centre at The Lighthouse (Sea Mammal Research Centre) situated on the Cromarty Firth at the top of the Black Isle. You may also take advantage of our Tracking and Trailing Biodiversity field course in Ngala Nature Reserve in South Africa.
  • At our regular career’s events, you will have the opportunity to listen to and meet prospective employers from outside the university, giving you excellent opportunities to get a fulfilling and challenging job in a biological field.
  • Our programme is accredited by The Royal Society of Biology. You will receive one year of free membership of the Royal Society of Biology in the final year of your degree, opening up networks at a crucial time when applying for jobs.

What Our Students Say

Jack Elphinstone

Jack Elphinstone

Jack Elphinstone

The fantastic range of biology courses offered at the university ultimately solidified my choice to study here. I also remember visiting the university when I was very young and being captivated by the exhibits in the Zoology museum.

Holly Pfeiffer United Kingdom

Holly Pfeiffer <small><i>United Kingdom</i></small>

Holly Pfeiffer United Kingdom

One of my highlights of first year has to have been the optional field courses that run at the start of summer. It felt great to be out there in the field, conducting experiments and keeping a scientific notebook.

Tanya Rowand United Kingdom

Tanya Rowand <small><i>United Kingdom</i></small>

Tanya Rowand United Kingdom

Within the degree programme you are able to take a wide range of courses to suit your interests, and there are plenty of opportunities to go on field trips which are interesting and a lot of fun.

Charlotte Patterson United States of America

Charlotte Patterson <small><i>United States of America</i></small>

Charlotte Patterson United States of America

I love being a Zoology student at Aberdeen because the teaching staff is amazing, the education here is exceptional, we receive a lot of hands on experience, and the people around me inspire and motivate me every day.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.


General Entry Requirements

2022 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB*

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB*

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB*

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB*

Minimum: BBC*

Adjusted: CCC*

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL, with two Mathematics/ Science subjects at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 including a minimum of H3 from two Science or Mathematics subjects.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

2023 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB*

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB*

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB*

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB*

Minimum: BBC*

Adjusted: CCC*

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL, with two Mathematics/ Science subjects at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 including a minimum of H3 from two Science or Mathematics subjects.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.


English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 59 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

International Applicants who do not meet the Entry Requirements

The University of Aberdeen International Study Centre offers preparation programmes for international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements for undergraduate study. Discover your foundation pathway here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
RUK £9,250
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
EU / International students £22,800
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
Home Students £1,820
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

We are committed to the career progression of our students and we collaborate with the University’s Careers and Employability Service to ensure that you have numerous opportunities to explore career options, develop your employability and connect with employers.

  • The expertise and support of a dedicated careers professional who is a specialist in the types of careers and further study undertaken by Biological Science students.
  • A mentoring scheme run by the Careers and Employability Service linking current students with professional mentors.
  • An annual volunteering fair to connect students with appropriate organisations in conservation and the environment.
  • The exploration of possible careers and the development of employability from week 1, via the mandatory “Frontiers of Science” and PD1002 careers course.
  • One to one appointments to discuss students’ options, provide practical support around internships, placements and part time work and provide support for effective applications and interviews.
  • Regular opportunities through the “speed careering” programme for current students to meet and learn from Biological Sciences graduates.
  • Employer input to the design of the curriculum and in talks to students about career opportunities.
  • A university-wide co-curriculum programme aimed at developing key employability skills sought by employers.

For more information visit www.abdn.ac.uk/careers or email careers@abdn.ac.uk.

Biology courses are designed to provide a broad set of specialist and generic skills leading to employment in universities, research institutes, government agencies, environmental consultancies, environmental charities, the National Health Service, and commercial enterprises in aquaculture, animal nutrition, and animal health.

Career Opportunities

  • Biology Teacher
  • Conservation Scientist
  • Ecologist
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Field Botanist
  • Lecturer
  • Production Scientist
  • Research Technician
  • Researcher

Industry Links

We have strong local, national and international links to industry, government bodies, charities and other research institutions. You will benefit from these links in several ways:

  • Exposure to policy-makers, practitioners, regulatory professionals and experts.
  • Our curriculum is informed by an employer advisory board which provides insight into changing employer requirements.
  • You can take advantage of our collaborators' facilities and expertise for your research projects or placement.

Accreditation

Graduates from Accredited programmes will receive one year of free membership of the Royal Society of Biology in their final year of their degree. This will open up networks at a crucial time when applying for jobs. The Royal Society of Biology is the leading professional body for the biological sciences in the United Kingdom. The Society represents over 18,000 biologists from all areas of the life sciences, as well as over 100 organisations which make up the diverse landscape of biology in the UK and overseas. The Royal Society of Biology offers members unique opportunities to engage with the life sciences and share their passion for biology. Whichever area of biology you wish to gain a career in, membership will help you:

  • Stay up to date with what is happening across the life sciences
  • Gain additional recognition for your skills and experience
  • Develop your professional network
  • Demonstrate your support for the future of biology

This degree holds accreditation from

Biodiversity Field Course

Our Biodiversity Field Course introduces our students to a range of terrestrial, coastal and marine habitats, and the techniques that are being used to study and manage these diverse systems.

What our Alumni Say

Eve Baxter

Eve Baxter

Eve Baxter

Graduated 2020

Studying a biological science subject at the University of Aberdeen has been one of those experiences I will never forget. The lecturers all have a wide array of knowledge in their specialised area, so you’re not short of answers to any questions you have. Being a student at the University of Aberdeen I feel valued and have been given the perfect platform to pursue a career in any biological field.

Kim Forward

Kim Forward

Kim Forward

Job Details
Associate Scientist, Virology
Graduated 2020

A degree in Biological Sciences has given me knowledge and understanding in a wide range of fields, studying all forms of life from single celled protozoa and bacteria to blue whales and elephants. In my 5th year as part of my MSci degree I carried out an extended research project working on the honeybee parasite Varroa destructor and deformed wing virus. This has provided me with a valuable background and practical skill set preparing me for an interesting career in virology.

Our Experts

Programme Coordinator
Dr John Baird

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Facilities

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Lighthouse Field Station

Lighthouse Field Station

We have our own research and teaching facility, The Lighthouse Field Station which is situated on the Cromarty Firth. In 2020 the station celebrated 30 years of teaching and research on the ecology of seals, dolphins and seabirds.

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Nature on our doorstep

Nature on our doorstep

Our geographical location means that Aberdeen is a great place to study nature. Beaches, dunes, estuaries, wide rivers and open sea are all a short walk from campus. And a short drive or bus journey will take you to forests, moorland, and mountains.

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Science Teaching Hub

Science Teaching Hub

Our state-of-the-art Science Teaching Hub provides students with a digitally focussed environment including advanced analytical tools, research-grade equipment and flexible laboratory spaces.

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Discover Uni draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

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