Biology remains one of the most popular subject choice with 32,957 students sitting last year’s Leaving Cert. The syllabus requires a lot of memory work.

If your chosen subject is biology you will 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 in the 5th Year. 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.

What type of student might Biology suit?

Students who enjoyed science in the Junior Certificate might wish to consider studying biology at Senior Cycle. The course is a continuation of what was studied at Junior Cycle but in more detail. It is particularly suited to students who have scored highly in the Naturalist and Investigative areas in their interest test.

Career Possibilities

Biology is a science subject that forms a good base for hundreds of careers.

  • Pass in Biology (or another science subject) is necessary for nurse training.
  • Most Beauty Therapy courses require a pass in Biology.
  • C in honours Biology for Genetics in UCC, Human Health and Disease in Trinity and Veterinary Nursing in Dundalk (or C in honours Agricultural Science)

Biology is useful for careers in Agriculture, Animal Nursing, Biochemistry, Botany, Biotechnology, Dentistry, Dietician, Doctor, Ecology, Food Science, Health Inspector, Horticulture, Laboratory Work, Occupational Therapy, Optician, Oceanography, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Psychology, Radiography, Speech Therapy, Veterinary, Child Care, Chiropody, Dental Hygiene, Health Promotion, Emergency Medical Technician and Home Economics Teacher.

Subject Requirement for 3rd Level?

It is counted as a science subject in any course which has a science subject as a requirement.

This subject is a requirement for entry into a number of third level courses. Examples include: Genetics in UCC and Human Health and Disease in TCD.


It is recommended that a student taking Leaving Certificate Biology has a good understanding of Junior Science at higher level.

Each student must have an aptitude and interest for laboratory work.

A considerable amount of learning and study is necessary to do well in this subject.