Biologists have a vital role to play in exciting developments for the future, working to produce new and innovative technologies in a variety of fields from medicine to climate change. Following a career in biology means you could help to tackle some of the big problems facing our society and help to improve our quality of life for the future.
Why study this subject at A-Level?
A Level Biology is a very diverse course and encompasses all aspects of the Biological Sciences from Biochemistry to Behaviour. There is a clear progression of knowledge and skills from GCSE to A Level. Students who study A Level Biology develop a wide range of important and transferable skills including practical, analytical, mathematical and presentation skills. They experience use of a wide variety of apparatus and techniques from chromatography to electrophoresis. An important aspect of the course is the ability and willingness to work independently when required, and read around the subject to develop a depth and breadth of knowledge that goes beyond the specification. Taking A-Level Biology offers students a variety of opportunities from undertaking ecology field work to competing in national competitions such as the Biology Olympiad.
As an A Level subject, Biology complements several other A level courses, including Chemistry, Mathematics, Psychology and Geography.
In addition to being a very interesting course, studying A Level Biology gives you all sorts of exciting career options, including; Doctor, Clinical Molecular Geneticist, Nature Conservation Officer, Pharmacologist, Research Scientist, Vet, Marine Biologist or Dentist.
Summary of the course
The A-Level course is divided into 8 topics.
The Year 1 topics are:
- Biological Molecules
- Organisms exchange substances with their environment
- Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
In Year 2 the topics covered are:
- Energy transfers in and between organisms
- Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
- Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
- The control of gene expression
Biology, like all sciences, is a practical subject. Throughout the course you will carry out many practical activities including:
- using microscopes to see cell division
- dissection of animal or plant systems
- aseptic technique to study microbial growth
- investigating activity within cells
- investigating animal behaviours
- investigating distributions of species in the environment
These practicals will give you the skills and confidence needed to investigate the way living organisms behave and work. It will also ensure that if you choose to study a Biology-based subject at university, you will have the practical skills needed to carry out successful experiments in your degree. The Biology Department is well-resourced and is supported by skilled and highly qualified technicians, allowing us to offer exciting and challenging practical activities.
Applicants will require at least a Grade 6 in GCSE Biology or Grade 6-6 in Combined Science (e.g. AQA Trilogy).