Biology, the study of living organisms, plays a crucial role in our everyday existence and is an increasingly important subject in the modern world. Biology affects everyone and aims to find solutions to many of the world’s problems. Advances in technologies have made this varied subject more exciting and relevant than ever. Biology courses should encourage development of skills and resourcefulness which lead to becoming a confident individual. Successful candidates in biology think creatively, analyse and solve problems. Studying relevant areas of biology such as health, environment and sustainability produces responsible citizens.

The National 5 Biology course allows candidates to understand and investigate the living world in an engaging and enjoyable way. It develops candidates’ abilities to think analytically, creatively and independently, and to make reasoned evaluations.

The course provides opportunities for candidates to acquire and apply knowledge to evaluate biological issues, assess risk, make informed decisions and develop an ethical view of complex issues. Candidates are able to develop their communication, collaborative working and leadership skills, and are able to apply critical thinking in new and unfamiliar contexts to solve problems.

  • One year (August to June)

The course content includes the following areas of biology: 

  • Cell biology key areas covered are: Cell structure; transport across cell membranes; DNA and the production of proteins; proteins; genetic engineering; cellular respiration.
  • Multicellular organisms key areas covered are: producing new cells; control and communication; reproduction; variation and inheritance; transport systems - plans; transport systems - animals; absorption of materials.
  • Biology: life on Earth key areas covered are: ecosystems, distribution of organisms; photosynthesis; energy in ecosystems; food production; evolution of species.
  • Only candidates who are not planning to undertake national 5 biology at another SQA centre (eg at school) are eligible to apply for this course. 
  • A pass at National 4 Biology (C707 74), or standard grade 3 or above.  
  • National 5 Biology is highly valued by employers and educational institutes alike, and a C pass or above in National 5 biology can also open up progression and opportunities to Higher Human Biology at SCQF level 6, or the National Certificate in Applied Sciences at SCQF level 6. 
  • Cost: approx £360
  • Applicants to this course may be able to apply for individual Training account (ITA) funding up to £200 however the eligibility criteria apply so please contact the college directly if you wish to be considered for ITA funding. 
  • Please see the Skills Development Scotland website for more information or follow this link:
  • You may have to attend a group interview and successfully complete a diagnostic test to satisfy the entry criteria for the course. Proof of qualifications must be brought to the interview.