Degree Structure

Our four-year programme lets you explore different areas of biology before specialising in a chosen area.

Degrees at Scottish universities are typically one year longer than their equivalent in the rest of the UK. The four-year degree has many advantages over a three-year degree. This longer, broader-based structure gives breadth and flexibility which allows you the time to explore core biology and advised learning for biologists, as well as the opportunity to take subjects from other areas of the University.

Our 4-year degrees lead to BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences or BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences with Management; specialised within one of our Honours programme disciplines. So you would graduate with, for example, BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (Biochemistry) or BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (Biochemistry) with Management.

The School of Biological Sciences offers 12 Honours programmes in the following specialisations:

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Biotechnology
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Development, Regeneration and Stem Cells
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Zoology

Regardless of your initial UCAS choice, you make final decisions on an Honours programme (from the 12 offered) at the end of year 2. This gives you time to explore all the different biological areas before making the choice.

Read more about our Honours Programmes on the "What Can You Apply For?" page.

What Can You Apply For?


You'll work towards your degree by taking courses worth a total of 120 credits each year. In the first three years, this is normally 6 courses per year, each worth 20 credits; 3 courses in each semester. Some courses can be worth 40 credits and would span both semesters.

It looks a bit different in the final (Senior Honours) year. About half your time is spent on a research project, and the remaining credits are split into core and optional course courses which are often 10 credits.

In each year of your studies, you will have compulsory courses that you have to take, and you will also be able to choose optional courses. In the early years these can come from across the University and in the later years they tend to be more biological sciences focussed.

The final degree classification is based on your marks in year 3 (Junior Honours) and year 4 (Senior Honours). You must pass year 1 and year 2 to progress to Junior and Senior Honours.

Degree structure and required courses in detail

The Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study (DRPS) website provides information on the programmes of study offered by the University of Edinburgh and sets out the regulatory framework by which these are governed, together with the regulations and codes that govern the general context of a student’s academic career at the University.

You can see the full structure of our degrees by following these steps:

  1. Select the correct academic year (the DRPS is usually updated for the next academic year in April)
  2. Select "Browse Degree Programme Tables (DPTs)", under the "Degree Programmes" heading
  3. Select "School of Biological Sciences", under the " College of Science and Engineering" heading
  4. Choose from the list of Undergraduate programmes offered. Look for the (BSc Hons) options, (BMedSci Hons) and (BSc VetSci Hons) are for Medicine or Vet students who are intercalating.

Please note that courses within programmes for future academic years have not been finalised yet and are subject to change.

Degree, Regulations and Programmes of Study