The BSc in Biology is taught through a combination of:
- practical classes
- field work
- research projects.
The practical elements of the course taught in the laboratory and in the field enable you to learn the wide range of skills required of a modern biologist. Students are provided with teaching microscopes and are taught in state-of-the-art teaching laboratories. Alongside the development of practical biological skills, students are also given the opportunity to expand on their presentation and IT skills.
Fourth-year teaching differs from the typical lecture, seminar and tutorial format which students will experience from years one to three. Fourth year allows you to focus on a major project which occupies half of the year. Working on this project will enable you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees. The project can also lead to your first publication in a scientific journal.
When not attending lectures, tutorials and other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:
- working on individual and group projects
- undertaking research in a laboratory
- undertaking research in the library
- preparing coursework assignments and presentations
- preparing for examinations.
You will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of biology. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of laboratory classes and seminars under the supervision of the module leader.
You can find contact information for all Biology staff on the School of Biology’s website.
In addition to your studies in the School of Biology, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.
The University’s student services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long-term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities webpage.
From first year to Honours, students studying Biology will also have the opportunity to go on field trips to gather data. Those who have a particular interest in ecology or marine biology will be perfectly located in St Andrews on the shores of the east coast. In Honours years, students can explore further afield in places such as Indonesia and Antarctica.
During first and second year, all modules are assessed by an equal weighting of coursework and written examinations.
In third year, most modules give a higher weighting to examinations, and in fourth year some modules are entirely assessed by coursework, while others still include written examinations in addition to coursework.
Group activities may also be assessed, and in this case marking methods will be communicated to you in advance.
Most examinations are held at the end of the semester during a dedicated exam diet and revision time is provided beforehand.
The School of Biology provides feedback on every assessment, with a view to improving your performance in future, and aims to provide feedback on assessments and coursework within three weeks.
Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale webpage.