Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

BSc Mathematics and Biology

UCAS code: B64Z

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Mathematics

College: Science and Engineering

Study abroad

Introducing BSc Mathematics and Biology

In this programme, you will follow a custom-tailored selection of mathematics courses, reflecting the current drive towards quantification in biology. Concurrently, you will specialise in one of two biological areas (evolutionary or systems biology), which reflect an “organism-based” or a “cell-based” approach to biology, respectively.

Year 1

You will spend a third of your time on mathematics courses, and take the compulsory courses Introduction to Linear Algebra and Calculus and its Applications. You will build on your knowledge of pure mathematics in a formal way and be introduced to the ways of mathematical thinking required at university level.

The remainder of your time will be spent studying biology courses such as Origin & Diversity of Life and Molecules, Genes & Cells. You will learn core laboratory skills and lay the foundation for specialist courses in later years, and study biological chemistry.

You will receive support from MathsBase, our popular walk-in help centre, and from our Student Learning Advisor.

Year 2

Two thirds of your time will be spent on mathematics. You will take compulsory courses in pure mathematics, extending your knowledge of calculus and analysis, and will be introduced to the abstract ideas of group theory. You will study probability and statistics, and learn about scientific computer programming and numerical computation methods. You will also study an accelerated version of our Year 1 course, Proofs and Problem Solving.

In your biology courses, you will begin to specialise into either evolutionary biology or systems biology.

From this year onwards, you can use the MathsHub, our student-run facility in the James Clerk Maxwell Building, which is both a social centre and a work space.

Year 3

You will take courses in mathematics that deepen your knowledge of the theoretical underpinnings of analysis and differential equations, as well as courses such as Stochastic Modelling and Numerical Partial Differential Equations which are highly relevant to biology.

You will continue to study courses in biology from your choice of either evolutionary biology or systems biology.

Year 4

You will continue your study of either evolutionary biology or systems biology.

You will also take mathematics courses that apply directly to biology and have the option to take further advanced courses such as Applied Stochastic Differential Equations.

You will also complete a substantial project on a topic in mathematical biology, which will account for a third of your final year.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2019/20)

Our facilities

In Year 1, mathematics classes typically take place in the University's Central Area. In subsequent years, teaching will take place at the School of Mathematics, located at the University's King's Buildings campus.

Teaching for biological sciences courses also takes place at King's Buildings. As a result, it may be necessary to travel between the Central Area and King’s Buildings in Year 1. The University provides a free shuttle bus to enable you to meet your academic timetable.

Shuttle bus information

Study abroad

We offer opportunities to study abroad through University-wide exchange programmes. These are subject to the requirement that the host university can offer a suitable range of courses.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will mainly be taught mathematics through lectures, workshops and tutorials. In Year 1 lectures are usually interactive. Lecturers use online voting systems and encourage small group discussion to improve your understanding of core material. You can also work with other students in the MathsBase, with tutors on hand to answer questions. There are also regular MathPALs study sessions led by higher-year students.

We encourage students to work together throughout their studies and to engage with lecturers and tutors outside of timetabled classes. Our Student Learning Adviser will offer advice on study skills throughout your programme.

For the biology element of the programme, you will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, and practical or workshop sessions. You may also be involved with individual study and team projects.

How will I be assessed?

Most courses involve regular coursework as well as a final exam, while some will involve producing a group report or giving a presentation. Some will be assessed entirely by coursework.

Programme details

Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme details (2019/20)

Our graduates have a range of careers open to them. The logical and analytical abilities, together with the presentation and practical problem-solving skills you will develop, are sought by employers.

Many recent graduates have been employed by large firms in the financial sector. Others have gone into fields including software engineering, logistics, education and civil service.

We regularly invite alumni back to the School to share their experiences with students and to showcase the breadth of careers available to maths graduates.

There are many opportunities within the School for you to develop your skills and enhance your CV. Share your love of mathematics by working with the wider community as a member of our Outreach Team; join our team of Student Ambassadors and enthuse prospective students; become a MathPALs leader and support Year 1 students; or apply for a project scholarship and work with a lecturer during the summer.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA - AAAB by end of S5. If you haven’t achieved this by the end of S5 we may consider your application based on a strong performance in S6. A minimum of BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: A*AA - AAB in one set of exams.
  • IB: 37 points with 666 at HL - 32 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: AABB by end of S6, with a minimum of BBB achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAB.
  • IB: 32 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Higher: Mathematics at grade A, Biology and Chemistry. Advanced Highers in Mathematics and Biology are strongly recommended, and also in Chemistry if possible.
  • A Levels: Mathematics at grade A, Biology and Chemistry.
  • IB: HL: Mathematics (from 2021, Mathematics: Analysis and approaches only) at grade 6, Biology and Chemistry.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

SQA, GCSE and IB

For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 Grade C

  • SQA Standard Grade 3

  • SQA Intermediate 1 Grade A

  • SQA Intermediate 2 Grade C

  • GCSE Grade C or 4

  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C

  • IB Standard Level Grade 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component

  • TOEFL-iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section

  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component

  • PTE Academic: Total 61 with at least 51 in each "Communicative Skills" section

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

(Revised 05/06/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for BSc Mathematics and Biology

Additional costs

You should expect to purchase necessary textbooks for some compulsory and optional components of your programme.

Funding

For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding

More information

How to apply

School: Mathematics

College: Science and Engineering