In first year, modules introduce you to core subject material relevant to all degree programmes in areas such as animal and plant biology, molecular biology, cell biology and genetics. Both of the following modules are compulsory.
- Biology 1: provides an introduction to molecular and cellular biology. It covers cell diversity and the origins of life, cellular structures and fundamental processes.
- Biology 2: provides an introduction to the diversity of life on Earth and will address key elements of organismal and ecological aspects of life.
In second year, modules are chosen which will best prepare you for your intended degree (or group of possible degrees) and new topics are introduced in some second-year modules such as evolutionary biology and ecology.
- Research methods in Biology: this module will help you develop essential academic and transferable skills, with major emphasis on problem solving. This is achieved through a combination of interactive lectures, independent data-handling workshops and group work on a mini research project.
- Evolutionary Biology: gives an overview of the history and major principles of modern evolutionary biology.
- Ecology: introduces basic concepts in population and community ecology and how they relate to biodiversity.
- Vertebrate Zoology: explores the diversity of vertebrate animals, beginning with the closest relatives of vertebrates and the evolutionary origins of the group.
In third year, you will have the opportunity to begin specialising in Biology via the wide range of core modules provided. The modules cover a variety of topics from animal plant interactions and zoology to pharmacology and neuroscience.
Biology Honours modules which have been offered in previous years include (but are not limited to):
- Ecosystems and Conservation
- Developmental Biology
- Animal Behaviour: A Quantitative Approach
- Terrestrial Zoology.
In fourth year, students typically undertake an independent 7 to 12-month research placement hosted by an external institute or company. The external placement gives students the opportunity to practice and learn a range of scientific and generic skills, including an element of independent working in a working environment outside of St Andrews.
For biology students, this will be a 12-month research project, collecting data within a research group at St Andrews or in an external organisation (environmental company, conservation NGO or research institute). A research placement in an external organisation is subject to this being arranged and funded successfully by the student, facilitated by expertise in the School of Biology.
During fifth year, you will take advanced research-led modules in your chosen speciality subject to availability. Advanced modules offered in the past include:
- Advanced Biological Statistics
- Animal Cognition
- Physical Oceanography
- Scientific Communication in Biodiversity and Conservation
- Evolution in Action
- Marine Mammals and Man.