Edinburgh, University of

At a Glance

In Depth

Why Study Biology at Edinburgh University

The University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh was founded in 1582.  Today, it has 24,220 students – three times as many as its staff complement – and an annual turnover exceeding £400 million.  Edinburgh has seven campuses, the newest being the Chancellor’s Building site, home to a £40 million medical school connected to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary by a warren of corridors.

The Degree

Several degree programmes are available within Biological Sciences and you will be able to try out a range of courses before choosing your specialisation.

Some of the courses are in areas you will not have had the opportunity to study before.

The Biological Sciences programmes offer a flexible learning experience and you can tailor your degree to your chosen career.

You will be taught within an internationally respected research environment and will have access to state-of-the-art research facilities and computer laboratories.

Entry Information:


Please check the detailed entry requirements for each individual degree.


Degree Structure

Year 1

In your first year you will learn core laboratory skills and study modern biology courses: Origin & Diversity of Life (compulsory), Biology, Ecology & Environment, Molecules, Genes & Cells (compulsory), Quantification in the Life Sciences and Medical Biology.  Most students also take courses in Biological Chemistry.

You can also choose courses from other academic areas such as physics, mathematics, languages or management.

Year 2

In Year 2 you begin to specialise, choosing six courses. Most students choose to study the core courses The Dynamic Cell and Genes & Gene Action.  You can also choose courses from other areas.

Year 3

You will specialise in a chosen area of biology.  You choose six courses from around 25 options.  Courses will prepare you for the analysis of scientific papers and research work. You are expected to present work orally and as reports.  Some courses are designed to develop laboratory skills with specific courses concentrating on fieldwork.  A small number of students take the opportunity to study abroad.

Year 4

In your fourth year you will concentrate on your honours subject area.  Taking part in seminars and debates on scientific papers with staff and other students will develop your presentation, discussion and critical appraisal skills.  Most students undertake a research project.

Learning and assessment

Most courses combine lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. In your final years, you will undertake more personal study and research. The first two years usually involve nine hours of lectures, eight hours of practicals and two hours of tutorials each week.

Study abroad

Opportunities to study abroad are available in this subject area.


Our Facilities

The majority of teaching takes place within the School of Biological Sciences at the University's King's Buildings. You will also have access to the University’s libraries and computer laboratories. Study materials for Biological & Biomedical Sciences are made available online.

There are opportunities to study abroad and the University has an exchange programme with Sweden’s University of Uppsala, which offers up to four student places each year.


Graduates in Biological & Biomedical Sciences from the University of Edinburgh are highly valued.  The broad analytical and scientific skills you gain equip you for a variety of careers.  Previous graduates have been employed in the food, environmental and healthcare industries, or have moved into non-science sectors, including teaching, marketing, accountancy and policy research.  Some of our graduates also choose further study before entering successful academic or industry–based research careers.