Senior Phase - Higher/Advanced Higher


In their fifth and sixth year students can choose to further develop and deepen their knowledge by studying initially at Higher level and then at Advanced Higher level.


The purpose of the Higher biology and Advanced Higher biology courses is to develop the students enthusiasm for biology as well as developing skills of scientific inquiry and investigation. This will enable students to become scientifically literate citizens and be able to review the science-based claims they will meet. The course allows students to develop deeper understanding of the underlying themes of biology: the biochemistry of cell processes, animal behaviour and the key roles they play in the ecosystem and the importance of genetic information in understanding evolution and cell processes.


Higher Biology is divided into three units:


  1. DNA and the Genome

  2. Metabolism and Survival

  3. Sustainability and Interdependence


At Higher level, students will need to pass three unit assessments, write a scientific report and pass an external element. The external element is split into two sections: a written scientific assignment and an external exam at the end of the year.  It is recommended students achieve an A/B pass at Higher level to allow progress to Advanced Higher level in their sixth year.


Advanced Higher Biology is divided into three units:


  1. Cell and Proteins

  2. Organisms and Evolution

  3. Investigative Biology


At Advanced Higher level students will need to pass three unit assessments, an external exam and design and carry out a scientific project.  They will then write a scientific report based on their findings, which also will be externally assessed.


More information on the course structure can be found on the SQA website.