Undergraduate study - 2024 entry
Edinburgh. Extraordinary futures await.

Subject area: Biological Sciences

Why choose Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh?

  • We are ranked in the UK's top 5 universities and the world's top 20 universities for Biological Sciences in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023.

  • Our programmes are flexible. Teaching in the early years 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

My favourite part of being a student in Biological Sciences is learning about things that have always interested me in much more detail and seeing how these things translate into real life during lab sessions. In a typical day, I have two or three lectures in the morning followed by lunch on campus. During the afternoons I either have a tutorial, a lab or time to study.

Theresa Year 2, BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences
Theresa Year 2, BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences

Introducing Biological Sciences

Biology is the study of life and embraces many different areas of biological and biomedical interest. It reveals core scientific knowledge of how cells and organisms function. Its applications support the latest technological and scientific advances.

Studies range across topics such as:

  • cellular and molecular structure
  • modern genetics - how genes work, how they are regulated, and the effect they have
  • the development and behaviour of microorganisms, plants and animals
  • plant and animal evolution
  • environmental interactions and impacts.

Our teaching has moved away from the emphasis on traditional style lectures and more towards a skills based, research driven curriculum. Not only will you learn key concepts but you will be doing it in an investigative way, collaboratively asking and, as you learn more, answering your own questions. We aim to teach you to be able to solve problems and think independently to become a part of the next generation of scientific thinkers applying their skills in a variety of contexts.

You will be taught in an internationally respected research environment, with access to modern facilities. You will also be directly involved in research projects.


The School of Biological Sciences offers 12 programmes, which cover the whole range of biology. You can see the full list at the bottom of this page.

We offer a flexible learning experience, where you can tailor your programme to your preferred career path.

Regardless of what you apply for, you will not choose the area of biological sciences you want to focus on until the end of Year 2. This allows you to experience a range of courses before choosing your final subject specialisation. A number of these courses will be in areas you will not have had the opportunity to study before.


You will have opportunities for work experience, both in the UK and abroad, during holiday periods. You can arrange this yourself, or with help from the University's Careers Service.

Some students 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 an 'interruption of studies' to complete it.

Year-long placements are independent of your University studies and do not contribute towards your final classification. Please also be aware that there are restrictions due to visa requirements for some students.

You can get visa advice from our Student Immigration Service.

Immigration and visas


You only need to apply for one Biological Sciences programme, our entry requirements are the same for all programmes and students study the same core courses in Year 1.

If you are interested in Biological Sciences with Management (C1N1) please choose this on your application to make sure you are enrolled on the relevant compulsory business courses.

Regardless of your application choice, you will have the flexibility to change between Biological Sciences programmes, provided you have passed the required courses.