Human Biology Higher

Course Outline

The course consists of two Units and two half Units whose contents are briefly described below. 

    1. Human Cells – Cell division and cancer, structure and replication of DNA, gene expression and the role of genes in disease, human genomics, respiration and energy systems in muscle cells.  
    2. Physiology and Health – reproduction, controlling fertility, ante- and postnatal screening, structure of blood vessels and the heart, cardio-vascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
    3. Neurobiology and Communication (half Unit) – nervous system and memory, neural pathways and the effect of drugs, communication and social behaviour.
    4. Immunology and Public Health (half Unit) – Non-specific and specific body defences to disease, the transmission and control of diseases, vaccination and immunisation programmes. 

Studying each Unit should allow pupils to develop their biological knowledge as well as their problem solving and practical skills.


At the end of each Unit, pupils sit a test which assesses their knowledge and understanding as well as their problem solving ability. Pupils must pass these tests in order to sit the final exam. Any pupil who fails a test will have the opportunity to take another test on the Unit, after appropriate revision.

In order to gain a course award in Biology, pupils must sit an exam in May. This exam consists of one paper worth 100 marks.

Questions in the final exam are based on the work covered in all three Units. All pupils will sit a prelim exam in February as preparation for this final exam.

Pupils also have to complete an assignment in which they research a topic and then write a report on it. This is marked by the SQA and is worth 20 marks.

The final grade awarded is based on candidate performance in the exam and the assignment.


Pupils will be given regular homework, much of it based on Past Paper questions.

Entry Requirements

Fifth year pupils wishing to take this course should have obtained an A or B pass in National 5 Biology. Any pupil who has not got this qualification must discuss his or her reasons for attempting the course with Mr Forbes.

Sixth year pupils wishing to take this course should also have obtained an A or B pass in National 5 Biology. Pupils who have not studied Biology but have a Higher pass in a related Science subject, such as Chemistry, can also take this course. Any sixth year pupil who has doubts about his or her eligibility to do the course should discuss this with Mr Forbes.


Pupils who achieve Higher Human Biology may progress to Advanced Higher within the school.

A pass in Higher Human Biology can also lead to HNC, HND and degree level study in Biological Sciences and Medicine, Nursing, Physiotherapy, Dietetics, Radiography and Chiropody.

A pass in Higher Human Biology can also be used as an entry qualification to many general University and College courses.

For further information contact Mr L. Forbes, PT of Biology.