Studying biology will unravel the complexities of life, from the tiniest cells to the grandest ecosystems, to discover the science that underlies the wonders of the natural world.

Biology is the study of life in all its forms, from microscopic organisms to complex ecosystems. It covers a wide range of topics, including genetics, ecology, physiology, and evolution, giving an overall understanding of the natural world.

Biology opens doors to diverse career paths, including roles in research, healthcare, environmental conservation, and education. You could also explore careers such as research scientists, environmental consultants, healthcare professionals, educators, or even science communicators.

So, whether you end up conducting groundbreaking research, implementing conservation initiatives, or educating the next generation, a biology background provides a solid foundation for a fulfilling career that can have a big impact.

The impact you could make
  • Contribute to enhancements in medicine or ecological sustainability.
  • Inspire the next generation of researchers and scientists through education.
  • Understand and address environmental challenges the world faces.
What you could study
  • Ecology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Biochemistry and biotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular biology
  • Immunology
  • Plant physiology

Study options

Options to study in this field include:

Chat to a current biology student

Chat to a current biology student using UniBuddy.

Some conversation starters for you:

  1. Ask which modules they really enjoyed.
  2. Find out how easy it was for them to make friends on their course.
  3. Do they have any tips on your personal statement?
  4. Did they do anything to prep for uni before they went?
  5. Are there books, podcasts or YouTube channels they would recommend?

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Example module
“I love where psychology and biology intersect, so the modules that touch on neurobiology and biological psychology, and on evolutionary psychology.”
Second year biology and psychology student, Newcastle University
Example assignment
“I enjoyed making scientific posters, as well as writing a summary of an organism’s life history. I tend to lean more towards enjoying coursework which gives me more freedom to decide what I research, rather than practical reports or set questions.”
Second year biology student, Lancaster University

Subjects it's useful to have studied first

Some biology courses or apprenticeships will have requirements for previous qualifications in certain subjects. Entry requirements vary, so always check with the provider.


Hard skills you'll develop
  • Hands-on experience in laboratory techniques such as pipetting, microscopy and DNA extraction
  • Data analysis and statistical interpretation
  • Skills in conducting observations, collecting samples, and recording data in natural environments
Soft skills you'll develop
  • Critical thinking
  • Attention to detail
  • Patience and perseverance
  • Ethical reasoning
83% of students
studying biology would recommend the subject to others
(UCAS subject guide survey 2023)

Careers: Where it can take you

Find out more about your career prospects from studying biology. The following information is based on a typical biological scientist role.

Available jobs
44,821 vacancies in the past year
6.72% growth over next 8 years
Average salary
Up to £55,954

What is a…. microbial ecologist?

A bit like a bio-detective, a microbial ecologist’s job is to solve the mysteries of the microbial world. They explore the intricate relationships between microorganisms and their environments. Armed with advanced tools and analytical skills, they unravel the complexities of microbial communities in soil, water, and even within the human body. They contribute to understanding the fundamental roles microorganisms play in ecosystems, agriculture, and human health, making significant strides in the scientific understanding of the microscopic world.

Getting in: Entry requirements

Find out more about what you'll need to study biology at university or as an apprenticeship.

Average requirements for undergraduate degrees

Entry requirements differ between university and course, but this should give you a guide to what is usually expected from biology applicants.

A levels
Scottish Highers
Other Level 3/Level 6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma or SQCF Level 6) may be accepted as an alternative

The expert view

Charles Darwin
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.

Considering an apprenticeship?

Applying for an apprenticeship is just like applying for a normal job. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Deadline

    Apprenticeships don't follow the same deadlines as applying to uni, the deadline is down to the employer.
  2. Where to apply

    You apply directly through the employer.

  3. No limits

    You're not restricted to one apprenticeship application; you can do as many as you like.
  4. Apply to university and apprenticeships

    There's nothing stopping you applying to university through UCAS, while also applying for apprenticeship vacancies.

Let's talk about... science apprenticeships (Sponsored by Manchester Metropolitan University)

Listen to our brand new podcast all about degree apprenticeships in science. Find out about funding, what day-to-day life is like, making friends, and more from our expert panel.

Explore further

Go deeper into topics around biology with the following:

  1. Professional bodies

    Visit these professional bodies' websites to find out more about courses and careers in biological sciences.

  2. Eden Channel – UKTV

    Eden showcases the very best in biological science documentaries, highlighting the latest innovations and the discoveries of old.
  3. Big Biology podcast

    Marty Martin and Art Woods talk to leading scientists from around the world about topics like why we drink alcohol, human consciousness and artificial intelligence, where diseases come from, and whether Godzilla could actually exist.
  4. British Science Festival

    One of Europe's longest-running science festivals, hosted at a new location each year. 

Application advice

Whether it's personal statement tips or what to write in a cover letter for an apprenticeship application, our application advice will help you get ahead in your biology journey.
Skills, experiences, and interests to mention
  • Do you have any biology-related hobbies or personal projects? Think about things like maintaining a terrarium or growing vegetables on an allotment.
  • Mention hands-on laboratory experience you had at school and any field trips you took part in too.
  • Have you been to any science events or festivals? How did it inspire you to want to study biology and explore a career in it?
  • Maybe you’ve done some volunteer work such as assisting in wildlife conservation efforts, or volunteering in healthcare settings. Volunteering really demonstrates passion for your subject.
  • If you have any experience using biology-related technology or analytical tools, don’t forget to highlight those.

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