Biology, the science of life, health and living organisms, is critical to a full understanding of our place in the natural world and how we came to exist. The conservation of the natural world is essential to our well-being and survival. From the discovery of a new species or a new treatment for cancer, to the effects of deforestation on flooding or a biological interpretation of human behaviour, biology is rarely out of the news. And, whilst rapid advances in genetics provide us with unprecedented power to treat disease, increasing awareness of our impact on Earth’s climate and ecosystem brings with it a responsibility to develop new ways of living sustainably. Images, forms and specimens from the world of biological science are increasingly to be found in the work of contemporary artists, and the study of Biology equips students to navigate and respond to these debates in an informed way. Some may even go on to contribute to the communication of science as science writers or through their own art.

Biology is often required for a university degree or career in areas such as medicine, pharmacology, forensics, sports science, nutrition, conservation biology, environmental law, science writing and communication, and psychology. As a science subject, Biology is favoured by Russell Group universities, and the transferable skills students learn – such as problem solving, analysis and interpretation of data – are considered useful in many other careers.


What will I learn?

The course at Fine Arts College covers human biology and the structure, function, growth, evolution, distribution, identification, ecology, conservation and taxonomy of living organisms. It will give students an exciting insight into the world of contemporary biology, and practical skills are integrated throughout the course. For example, students will use microscopes to view their own cells, carry out tests for biochemicals in food, and compare the distribution of plant species in contrasting areas of grassland. This combination of academic challenge and practical focus makes the course varied and thorough. In addition to the core concepts, students will learn about the impact of biological research and how it links to everyday life. Students will also learn to apply their knowledge, investigating and solving problems in a range of contexts.


The Biology course content is divided into six teaching modules and each module is further divided into key topics:

Lower Sixth

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in biology
Module 2 – Foundations in biology
Module 3 – Exchange and transport
Module 4 – Biodiversity, evolution and disease

Upper Sixth

Module 5 – Communication, homeostasis and energy
Module 6 – Genetics, evolution and ecosystems


GCSE or IGCSE Biology are a requirement.



Assessment involves a total of six hours of examinations in three examination papers taken at the end of the two-year course. A wide range of question types includes multiple choice, short answer and extended response questions. There is an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of both theory and practical skills through the examinations:

Biological Processes (01) (2 hours 15 mins) 37% of total A Level
Biological Diversity (02) (2 hours 15 mins) 37% of total A Level
Unified Biology (03) (1 hour 30 mins) 26% of total A Level
Practical Endorsement in Biology (04) (non-exam assessment).

The Practical Endorsement requires 12 practical activities to be completed during the 2 years of the A-level. The assessment of practical skills is a compulsory requirement of the course of study for the A level qualification in Biology. It will appear on all students’ certificates as a separately reported result, alongside the overall grade for the qualification.


Examination board: OCR