The Course

The Advanced Higher Biology Course covers key aspects of life science at the cellular level and extends to aspects of the biology of whole organisms that are among the major driving forces of evolution. 

 In addition, the Advanced Higher Biology Course aims to develop a sound theoretical understanding and practical experience of experimental investigative work in biological science.

Unit 1 – Cells and Proteins

Unit 1 provides candidates with the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the cell by studying the key roles of proteins within the cell. This understanding of cellular processes is then related to physiological function. 

Key areas covered are:

Laboratory techniques for Biologists 

o Health and safety

o Liquids and solutions

o Separation techniques 

o Antibody techniques 

o Microscopy

o Cell culture 



o Protein structure

o Membrane proteins

o Photoreceptors

o Cell communication 

o Control of cell cycle


Unit 2 – Organisms and evolution

At the whole-organism scale, Unit 2 explores how sexual reproduction and parasitism are major drivers of evolution. This allows candidates to develop a deeper understanding of the mechanism of evolution, the biological consequences of sexual reproduction and the biological relationships involved in parasitism. 

Key areas covered are: 

Field techniques for Biologists 

o Sampling wild organisms

o Identification and taxonomy

o Monitoring populations

o Animal Behaviour



o Evolution

o Meiosis, Sex determination and Sexual reproduction

o Parental investment and Courtship behaviour

o Parasitism


Unit 3 – Investigative Biology

The Course provides a deeper understanding of laboratory and fieldwork techniques, and in carrying out a biological investigation the candidate has the opportunity to produce an extended piece of scientific work.


Useful websites 

SQA – Advanced Higher Biology

Study Stack - St Ninian’s HS


AH Project Guidelines
AH Course Assessment Specification