Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

Subject area: Biological Sciences

Why choose Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh?

  • We're ranked in the UK's top 5 universities and the world's top 25 universities for biological sciences in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020.

  • Our programmes will give you a solid grounding in fundamental topics allowing you to specialise in Year 3 and complete an independent research project in Year 4.

  • You will be taught in state-of-the-art laboratories and in interactive computing studio facilities.

Study abroad

I knew the University had a great reputation and offered excellent teaching and facilities. It is internationally respected for its ongoing contribution to scientific research, and the possibility of one day playing a part in that really appealed to me.

Ellie Carr 4th year BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences
Ellie Carr 4th year BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences

Introducing Biological Sciences

Biology is the study of life and embraces many different areas of both biological and biomedical interest.

Studies range from exploring molecular structures, to understanding how genes work, the development and behaviour of microorganisms, plants and animals, their evolution, and their environmental interactions and impacts. It reveals core scientific knowledge of how cells and organisms function, and results in applications that underpin up-to-the-minute technological and scientific advances.

You will be taught in an internationally reputed research environment, with access to modern facilities, and will also be directly involved in research projects as part of your training.

The School of Biological Sciences offers several programmes spanning the breadth of biology. You can see the full list of programmes at the bottom of this page.

On our BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences or Biological Sciences with Management, you enter a general programme where you will be able to experience a range of courses before choosing your final subject specialisation. A number of these courses are in areas that you will not have had the opportunity to study before. We therefore offer a flexible learning experience, where you can tailor your programme to whichever career path you choose.

Regardless of which programme you might choose to apply for, the final choice of specialisation is not made until the end of Year 2. The programme choice available depends on which courses are taken in the first two years. We give all our students the information they need to take the right combination to leave their options open.


Work experience opportunities, both in the UK and abroad, are possible during holiday periods. Students can arrange these themselves or with help from the University's Careers Service.

Some students can apply for a placement of up to 12 months which is usually taken between Years 3 and 4. Students who accept a year-long placement will take what's called an interruption of studies to complete it. Year-long placements are independent from your University studies and do not contribute towards your final classification. Please also be aware that there are restrictions for some students due to visa requirements.

Visa advice for international students can be provided by our Student Immigration Service.

Immigration and visas


You only need to apply for one of the Biological Sciences programmes. If you know which subject specialisation you are interested in, you can choose that on your application and should then be assigned a Personal Tutor within that field. If you have no subject specialisation preference at this stage, choose Biological Sciences (C100).

If you are interested in Biological Sciences with Management (C1N1) please put this choice on your application to ensure you are automatically enrolled on the relevant compulsory business course. Regardless of application choice, you will have the flexibility to change programmes within Biological Sciences provided the required courses have been passed.