What is A level Biology?

Biology is the study of living organisms, from the molecular biology of virus replication to the study of animals and plants in their natural habitats. Biology is a fascinating subject and includes all the traditional areas of biology as well as the advances in areas such as epigenetics recombinant DNA technology.

Entry requirements

5 GCSEs at grades 4–9, across four separate subjects, to include GCSE mathematics and/or English/English language. In addition, a grade 6-6 or above is required in combined science on the higher tier or a 6 in biology. Also, a grade 5 is required in GCSE mathematics.

Subject leader

Andy Harrison

"Through the enthusiasm of its teachers, biology at RSFC goes above and beyond providing you with the essential knowledge and practical skills for university, challenging you to understand the complexities of nature, evolution and what makes us human."

Muzamil Bashir

what will I study?

Biological molecules – study of the molecules that make up living organisms e.g. proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and Nucleic acids. How are they used, how they are formed and how they are broken down? Cells – the smallest living component of life on earth. How do they function using the organelles within? How do they form tissues and organs to form complex multicellular organisms? Organisms exchange substances with their environment – how do we get the nutrients we need to survive? How do we get the oxygen we need? How does a fish get oxygen it needs? Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms – what makes us different to each other as humans? What makes us different to other animals and plants? Energy transfers in and between organisms – all energy on this planet originally comes from the sun. That energy is then changed by plants into molecules that can be stored and eaten by animals that can then transfer that energy higher up the food chain. Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments – study of the nervous system, homeostasis, endocrine system, muscle contraction and osmoregulation. Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems – how do characteristics get passed from generation to generation? How do mutations lead to changes in organisms over time? How do organisms interact and form stable ecosystems? The control of gene expression – how does the body know when to make a particular protein? What ‘switches on’ our DNA?. Gene technologies are also studied such as Gel electrophoresis, PCR, gene therapy and genetic engineering.

additional activities with this subject

The RSFC Science and Maths Honours Programme includes the college pre-medical society, which is dedicated to helping students aiming to study Medicine at university. The society works to make sure students are as well prepared as possible for the challenging applications process for Medicine courses and supports students with finding work experience. We also offer the Science in Society and CREST honours strands. Science in Society allows students to study a wider range of issues within Science than is possible during their A level classes, whilst the CREST programme lets students undertake a research project on a topic of their choice and gives them the opportunity to work with professional scientists. Trips available in the department include trips to Chester Zoo and the University of Manchester


For September 2021


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