Higher Biology

CfE Biology Higher- There are three units-

  • DNA and the genome
    This unit explores the molecular basis of evolution and biodiversity.  Students will look at DNA, its organisation, replication and applications.  Gene expression will be studied as well as protein expression and consequentially the unity of life.  Differentiation, meristems, stem cells, ethical issues, genome changes, evolution and classification and the variety of roles played by organisms will also be considered.
  • Metabolism  and survival
    Central metabolic pathways and the challenges of maintaining metabolism for survival as well as the flexibility of the environmental and genetic control of metabolism in microorganisms is studied.  The role played by enzymes, cellular respiration and ATP are key concepts.  Adaptations for metabolism maintenance, survival and extreme conditions are also covered as is microbe manipulation.
  • Sustainability  and Interdependence
    This unit looks at the complex interactions between many interdependent entities.  Consideration is given to the human population, food production, photosynthesis, breeding of animals and plants, crop protection and animal welfare. Students will also learn about inter-relationships and dependence and social behaviour.  Biodiversity studies attempt to catalogue and understand the human impact on patterns of biodiversity and extinction in our Biosphere.

Pupils are supplied with detailed learning outcomes sheets and a “How to Pass Higher Biology”.  All Powerpoints and handouts provided during the course and revision notes may be accessed through the group’s Edmodo pages.

Learners may also access useful revision notes and mini-tests through Scholar  and BBC Bitesize.


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 

  • Health and safety
  • Liquids and solutions
  • Separation techniques
  • Antibody techniques
  • Microscopy
  • Cell culture



  • Protein structure
  • Membrane proteins
  • Photoreceptors
  • Cell communication
  • 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 

  • Sampling wild organisms
  • Identification and taxonomy
  • Monitoring populations
  • Animal Behaviour




Meiosis, Sex determination and Sexual reproduction

Parental investment and Courtship behaviour



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.