Studying Biology at Leaving Certificate will afford you the opportunity to gain an understanding of yourself and the natural world in which you live. The course uses practical activity and investigation to develop your skills and knowledge. The scope of biology is wide and varied and covers not only the traditional study of plants and animals but also areas such as molecular biology and biotechnology which have clear relevance to modern society.

What is Biology?

Biology is the study of life. Through the study of biology students employ the processes of science to explore the diversity of life and the inter-relationships between organisms and their environment. They become aware of the use of living organisms and their products to enhance human health and the environment.

The syllabus consists of approximately 70% biological knowledge, understanding and skills; the remaining 30% deals with the technological, political, social and economic aspects of biology.

The syllabus introduced in 2002 has been developed in response to current knowledge and application of biology. Account has been taken of the need to include contemporary biological technologies such as DNA profiling and genetic screening. It aims to create in students an awareness of the application of biological knowledge to modern society and to develop an ability to make informed evaluations about contemporary biological issues.

The course covers a wide range of topics, including cell structure and diversity, metabolism, genetics and human and flowering plant anatomy and physiology. The general principles of ecology are studied, and one particular ecosystem is examined in detail. An ecology field trip is arranged during the two year cycle. Particular emphasis is placed on the practical aspects of biology, and there are a number of mandatory activities that each student must carry out for themselves.

Career Possibilities

The types of courses and careers where the study of Biology at second level might be helpful would include the following:

  • Medicine
  • Veterinary
  • Dentistry
  • Nursing and associated careers
  • Agriculture
  • Applied Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Botany, Ecology
  • Earth Science and Environmental Science
  • Genetics, Marine Science and Aquaculture
  • Microbiology and Zoology
  • Psychologist
  • Astronomer
  • Teacher and Researcher.