Skip to content

Breadcrumbs navigation

Cell Biology BSc (Hons)
2017 entry

The BSc (Hons) in Cell Biology involves advanced study of the molecular structures and biochemical processes essential to cell function. It provides the basis for understanding the physiology and development of animals and plants, as well as many aspects of pathology. The course includes modules that emphasise structure and function in the cells of animals, plants, and microbes, in addition to how cells interact as they form tissues and embryos.

UCAS code

C130

Course type

Bachelor of Science (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

Entry requirements

SQA Highers AAAB, including Biology or Human Biology and one other science from the following:
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics.
GCE A-Levels AAB, including Biology and one other science from the following:
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics.
IB points 36, including HL6 in Biology and HL6 in one of the following science subjects:
  • Chemistry
  • Computing Science or equivalent
  • Physics
  • Design Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Further Mathematics.

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

Find out more about international entry requirements.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

Students must have studied Biology or Human Biology at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level or equivalent.

Faculty entry requirements

You must also meet the Faculty of Science minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.

Other qualifications

Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty.

Find out more about Faculty of Science entry requirements.

Course information

The BSc in Cell Biology is a four-year course run by the School of Biology. Students are provided with high-tech equipment, laboratories and expertise to facilitate learning and to develop the skillset of a modern cell biologist.

In the first two years of your degree you will be introduced to core material relevant to all Biology degree programmes such as animal and plant biology, molecular biology, cell biology and genetics. 

In third year, there is a shift from core, broad-themed modules to more specialised modules which allow students to prepare for their Honours degree. In fourth year students continue specific research in their chosen area through student-led, inquiry-based learning as well as a final research project.

Centres of research within the School of Biology offer students the experience of working alongside experts and the opportunity to develop their own research in Honours years. 

These facilities include:

  • The Scottish Oceans Institute: houses a modern aquarium and laboratories for molecular, developmental and physiological studies of marine systems. The institute is ideally placed on the seashore near grey and common seal colonies and bottlenose dolphin feeding areas.
  • The Centre for Biological Diversity: has excellent facilities for ecological and evolutionary research on small animals (including birds, insects and fish) and on plants. 
  • The Biomedical Sciences Research Complex: offers large multi-group laboratories focused on structural biology, molecular microbiology, virology, chemical biology, cell biology and molecular medicine.

Find out more about studying Biology at St Andrews.

Modules

In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Cell Biology alongside modules in at least one other subject.

Typically, you will take core Cell Biology modules during your first two years, and advanced modules during your third and fourth year (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

In first year, modules introduce you to core subject material relevant to all Biology degree programmes. 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 addresses 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. Students intending to study Cell Biology at Honours level must take the following modules: 

  • 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.
  • Cell Biology: introduces the concept of ‘a cell’, moving on to discuss different types of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell.
  • Cell Systems: explores how cells interact with one another to form complex tissues and organisms.

Cell Biology students must also take one of the following modules:

  • Molecular Biology: provides an introduction to modern molecular biology.
  • Applied Molecular Biology: examines case studies to provide examples of how molecular biology techniques are applied in research to address real-life questions and problems.
  • Biochemistry: a number of central metabolic pathways and their control are studied in detail, alongside examples of their importance in disease and recent metabolomic studies. 

In third year, you will have the opportunity to begin specialising in Cell Biology via the wide range of modules provided. Modules that have been offered in previous years include:

  • Protein Structure and Function
  • Gene Regulation
  • Membranes and Cell Communication
  • Bioenergetics
  • Infection and Disease.

In fourth year, you will conduct a research project which is designed to develop your skills in experimental design and problem-solving, the evaluation and interpretation of data, and communications skills. The project is selected and supervised by a member of academic staff. 

The modules listed here are the compulsory modules that students must take in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. A full list of all modules currently available can be found in the module catalogue.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at an open day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

 Undergraduates

Booking for our autumn visiting days will open in early September 2017.

  • Wednesday 27 September 2017
  • Wednesday 4 October 2017
  • Wednesday 18 October 2017
  • Wednesday 25 October 2017
  • Wednesday 1 November 2017

Teaching

Teaching format

The BSc in Cell Biology is taught through a combination of:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • 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. Each student is 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. 

Assessment

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.

Most examinations are held at the end of the semester during a dedicated exam diet and revision time is provided beforehand. 

The School provides feedback on assessments, with a view to improving your performance in future.

 

Fees

Tuition fees for 2017 entry

Scotland and EU £1,820
Rest of the UK £9,250
Overseas £20,570

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Additional compulsory charges

Students need to cover costs for lab and course materials of up to £25 each year. There are also additional charges of up to £100 in third year for either a field trip, a reading party excursion or a biochemistry lab class. Substantial additional expedition costs apply to some fourth year modules, including demand-driven modules such as Polar Ecology and Scientific Diving. 

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation in 2017.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Your future

Careers

Graduates with a Cell Biology degree are in high demand and are keenly sought after by institutions including the government, universities, research centres and major companies.

Biology graduates have gone on to find success in a wide variety of careers including:

  • researchers in academia and the pharmaceutical, biomedical industries
  • researchers and advisers in government
  • journalists
  • advisers, researchers and managers in the National Health Service
  • teachers
  • forensic scientists
  • management consultants
  • marketing and advertising experts.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

 

Study abroad

The University is delighted to offer undergraduates a number of exciting opportunities to apply to spend a semester or year abroad as part of a St Andrews degree programme. St Andrews is partnered with large and small institutions, ancient and young, across the globe. What unites all of our programmes is the quality of the academic provision, ensuring that participation in a St Andrews Study abroad programme opens the door to a new and valuable academic experience at another world-class institution. Study Abroad for credit is permitted on existing University-approved programmes only.

Working abroad

Completing a work placement abroad is a good opportunity to gain work experience in another culture or language and to enhance valuable skill sets. As part of specific degree programmes in Biology, you may apply to undertake a work placement abroad for credit.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Students of Cell Biology may be interested in joining the popular student-run Biology Society, which organises regular social meetups and biology-related events throughout the year.

Cell Biology students have lectures and practicals in purpose built facilities on the North Haugh. Also at the North Haugh, students can study and access library resources at the JF Allen Science Library. The Bell Pettigrew Museum in the Bute Building houses a spectacular zoology collection which includes the arrangement of species to show evolutionary relationships between animals. 

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As the campus is located around town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland. Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.

Contact

School of Biology
University of St Andrews
Biomedical Sciences Research Complex
North Haugh
St Andrews
KY16 9ST

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3401
Email: biology@st-andrews.ac.uk

Biology website