Why Study Biology?


The study of life

Biology is the study of life – playing a crucial role in our everyday existence. Advances in new technologies, such as recombinant DNA and genomics have made this varied discipline more exciting than ever. We research and teach the processes of life from complete organismal functioning, through to the organisation of cells into tissues and organs, and cellular and molecular interactions.

Biology at the University of Sydney

At the University of Sydney you have an opportunity to study a multitude of organisms ranging from bacteria to fungi, plants and animals. Biology is an immensely complex and extremely important area of science. By enrolling in the School of Biological Sciences, or its units of study, you can discover the intricate mechanisms that interact to create the wonders of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I Study Biology?

At the University there are several ways to study biology. Most students complete a major in biology as part of their Bachelor of Science (BSc), providing great flexibility. You may also take a major in other specialised areas involving biological science, such as marine science, marine biology, molecular biology and genetics, environmental science, bioinformatics or plant science.

Are there units on offer for advanced and talented students?

Biology attracts a large number of exceptionally bright and highly motivated students. The needs of these students are met with specific study programs that provide challenging material and activities that extend their learning and understanding.

Advanced units are offered within most units of study, and require individuals to complete work at an advanced level under the guidance of an assigned academic staff member, often using our well-equipped research laboratories and field stations. Additionally the Talented Student Program (TSP) offers students the opportunity to complete research projects under the guidance of academic staff in a research laboratory.

The TSP opportunities are beyond the work of individual units of study, can be tailored to suit an individual student’s interests and become more intensive in second and third year. Entry into the advanced units of study or the TSP in first year is based on your Australian Tertiary Admission Rank; entry in later years is based on academic merit. Entry is by invitation from the Dean of Science.

We also offer a Special Studies unit (BIOL1991/1993) which is a laboratory program for TSP students that can be taken alongside the lectures for Human Biology (Advanced) or Concepts in Biology (Advanced). Entrance will be based on exceptional ATAR or Biology performance in the HSC or Olympiad.

Can I become a biologist if I didn't study biology in high school?

If you did not study HSC Biology, found the subject matter difficult to understand or need to refresh your knowledge after a break from study, then give yourself a head start and enrol in our Biology Bridging Course. We offer this intensive course every year prior to the start of first semester, generally for a full week in February. The course is strongly recommended by staff and current students, covering material in lectures, laboratories and small group workshops.

Can I study biology when it is not my major?

Yes, you may take biology units of study as part of most courses. For example, students majoring in physics or chemistry, or taking a course in education or arts, take many of our units of study right up to honours. Biology provides a nice complement to engineering, health science and pharmacy, and provides some variety for commerce and arts students. We encourage students to organise their curriculum to suit their particular interests and needs. It is, however, important for students to ensure they meet the prerequisites for a unit of study.