About us

We are one of the largest biology departments in the UK.

As the modern inheritors of our 400-year-old reputation for excellence, our staff and students contribute to a vibrant academic community whose visions are shaping tomorrow’s world.

The leading edge

The School of Biological Sciences is at the leading edge in teaching, research and innovation. Independent rankings such as the Times Higher Education consistently place us amongst the top 25 universities in the world for biological sciences.

Our learning and teaching environment

Our undergraduate students rate us highly for the quality of our education. Today’s students can study a wide range of topics, providing a strong grounding in fundamental biology with the flexibility to gain experience of the most recent research developments in biological and biomedical science in the later years of their degree programme. Several courses are taught jointly with other Schools to provide interdisciplinary opportunities to our students.

We offer 10 innovative Masters programmes, including distance learning and collaborative programmes with other research organisations which extend the breadth of topics our students can study.

Taught courses are supported by our BiologyTeaching Organisation with provides academic and pastoral support. Every student has a designated Personal Academic Tutor.

Our Research

Our students are taught by some of the world’s leading scientists. We are one of the top biology departments in the UK for the quality and impact of our research. More than half of our research activity was rated as ‘world-leading’ in quality and scope in the 2014 UK national research assessment, placing us third overall and second in the UK amongst university teaching departments.

Our research is focused around four main Themes. All of our Principal Investigators and their research teams contribute to one or more of these Themes.

Sustainability

The School of Biological Sciences is committed to contributing to social responsibility and sustainability at the University of Edinburgh. The School supports the participation of various teams in the University Sustainability Awards. The teams currently hold or are working towards a bronze or silver level Award.

Our people

The success of our research and teaching is testament to the excellence of our people: some 130 academic teaching staff and independently-funded research fellows, and the 400 research assistants and technicians and more than 200 PhD students who work with these Principal Investigators. Around 90 professional services staff support the School's academic activities.

We are proud to hold an Athena Swan Silver Award in recognition of our success at promoting career equality for women in biological sciences, and have an active programme to promote and support diversity amongst our staff and students.

Research training and career development

The School has an active programme of support and development opportunities for early-career researchers (postgraduate and postdoctoral research staff and personal fellowship holders). BioDocSoc, our postdoctoral and postgraduate society, supports both social and professional development.

PhD students and research masters students are members of the Graduate School of Biological Sciences, which provides overarching support for research students.

Programmes taught in:
  • English

This school also offers:

MSc

University of Edinburgh - School of Biological Sciences

Biochemistry is fundamental to most areas of life-science; it has a major impact on modern medical research and is essential in the pharmaceutical, nutrition, forensic, b ... [+]

Programme description

This programme offers you an academically-challenging and career-developing study of biological systems at the molecular and cellular level.

Biochemistry is fundamental to most areas of life-science; it has a major impact on modern medical research and is essential in the pharmaceutical, nutrition, forensic, bioengineering, agricultural and environmental industries.

The programme is designed to produce highly skilled and motivated biochemists that are suitable for employment in the life-sciences or for further academic research.

You will be taught to apply chemical and physical principles to biological molecules in complex living systems in order to expand your understanding of the molecular basis of the processes which take place within these organisms.... [-]

United Kingdom Edinburgh
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English
Full time
1 year
Campus
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University of Edinburgh - School of Biological Sciences

Changing demographics and growing demand for food, fuel and agricultural and environmental sustainability are among the key challenges the world faces today. ... [+]

Programme description

The understanding of plant diversity and resources has never been more important. As we face the unprecedented challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, effective environmental surveillance and conservation depend upon detailed knowledge of plants and their habitats.

This programme is run jointly by the University and the world-renowned Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE). The RBGE is home to one of the world’s best living collections of plants (15,000 species across four sites, amounting to five per cent of known world species), a herbarium of three million preserved specimens and one of the UK’s most comprehensive botanical libraries.... [-]

United Kingdom Edinburgh
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English
Full time
Part time
1 - 2 years
Campus
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University of Edinburgh - School of Biological Sciences

The aim of this MSc is to equip you with a strong background in biology, plus the computing skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the vast wealth of modern biologica ... [+]

Programme description

Bioinformatics is about the application of computer-based approaches to understanding biological processes. Our programme will introduce you to the current methods used to interpret the vast amounts of data generated by modern high-throughput technologies.

The aim of this MSc is to equip you with a strong background in biology, plus the computing skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the vast wealth of modern biological data. On completing this programme you will be able to take up PhD studies or bioinformatics posts in academia or in industry.

The programme covers programming skills, statistical analysis and database science as well as bioinformatics. Option courses allow you to specialise in several aspects of bioinformatics.... [-]

United Kingdom Edinburgh
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English
Full time
1 year
Campus
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University of Edinburgh - School of Biological Sciences

In this MSc, you will learn research and development skills to enable the creation of new products and services. You will investigate the economic basis for current biote ... [+]

Programme description

Changing demographics and growing demand for food, fuel and agricultural and environmental sustainability are among the key challenges the world faces today.

In this MSc, you will learn research and development skills to enable the creation of new products and services. You will investigate the economic basis for current biotechnology structures and areas of future demand, including the global pharmaceutical industry and carbon sequestration.

You will learn how technology can be applied to solve pressing real-world biological problems and gain the skills and expertise needed for future developments in biotechnology.

Programme structure

This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project or industrial placement, leading to a dissertation.... [-]

United Kingdom Edinburgh
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English
Full time
1 year
Campus
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University of Edinburgh - School of Biological Sciences

This MSc will help you explore the latest methods of developing drugs and therapeutic compounds for humans and animals and disease control agents for plants. ... [+]

Programme description

The rapid transformation in the nature of drug discovery means that knowledge of related disciplines, and the technologies used, is essential for those considering a career in commercial or academic research.

This MSc will help you explore the latest methods of developing drugs and therapeutic compounds for humans and animals and disease control agents for plants.

You will learn about marketing, licensing and regulations, which are all part of the development process. Our multidisciplinary approach links structural biology, bioinformatics, chemistry and pharmacology.

You will investigate the fundamental scientific problems and techniques of drug discovery and design, alongside the challenges of developing principles for new therapeutic strategies.... [-]

United Kingdom Edinburgh
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English
Full time
1 year
Campus
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University of Edinburgh - School of Biological Sciences

Quantitative Genetics & Genome Analysis is part of a suite of programmes offering specialist routes in Animal Breeding & Genetics, Evolutionary Genetics, or Human ... [+]

Programme description

The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences has turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology.

Quantitative Genetics & Genome Analysis is part of a suite of programmes offering specialist routes in Animal Breeding & Genetics, Evolutionary Genetics, or Human Complex Trait Genetics.

Based in the internationally renowned Institute of Evolutionary Biology, this MSc draws from the wealth of expertise available there, as well as the teaching, research expertise and facilities of Scotland’s Rural College, the University’s Centre for Molecular Medicine, the Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit and the Roslin Institute (birthplace of Dolly the sheep).... [-]

United Kingdom Edinburgh
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English
Full time
Part time
1 - 2 years
Campus
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University of Edinburgh - School of Biological Sciences

This academically challenging and career-developing programme focuses on research and development using biological and chemical principles and systems to create new produ ... [+]

Programme description

This academically challenging and career-developing programme focuses on research and development using biological and chemical principles and systems to create new products, services and industries.

You will employ elements of the developing field of synthetic biology to bring about significant changes and major innovations that address the challenges of rapidly changing human demographics, resource shortages, energy economy transition and the concomitant growth in demand for more and healthier food, sustainable fuel cycles, and a cleaner environment.

Programme structure

You will learn through a variety of activities, including:

Lectures Workshops Presentations Laboratory work Field work Tutorials Seminars Discussion groups and project groups Problem-based learning activities ... [-]
United Kingdom Edinburgh
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English
Full time
1 year
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University of Edinburgh - School of Biological Sciences

This MSc will provide you with a thorough knowledge of the primary design principles and biotechnology tools being developed in systems and synthetic biology, ranging fro ... [+]

Programme description

We offer an opportunity to train in one of the newest areas of biology: the application of engineering principles to the understanding and design of biological networks. This new approach promises solutions to some of today’s most pressing challenges in environmental protection, human health and energy production.

This MSc will provide you with a thorough knowledge of the primary design principles and biotechnology tools being developed in systems and synthetic biology, ranging from understanding genome-wide data to designing and synthesising BioBricks.

You will learn quantitative methods of modeling and data analysis to inform and design new hypotheses based on experimental data. The University’s new centre, SynthSys, is a hub for world-leading research in both systems and synthetic biology.... [-]

United Kingdom Edinburgh
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English
Full time
1 year
Campus
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