GCE Biology

Starting in September 2016 there is a new revised GCE Biology specification.

It is recommended for pupils who are interested in this course to have studied GCSE Double Award Science, with good grades in their Biology modules.


Specification Snapshot



A curiosity about ourselves and the organisms with which we share the planet is innate for many people. The intricacies of the organisation of life can be fascinating and enlightening, and the study of biology at GCE can lead to a greater understanding

of and respect for living organisms.

Knowledge of biological processes has implications for a wide range of fundamentally important areas, including health, food production, conservation and, increasingly, technology.

This qualification is for students with an interest in living organisms and a desire to acquire a deeper knowledge of their life processes.

Specification Summary

This specification builds on the broad objectives of the Northern Ireland Curriculum.

Those following it will have opportunities to study biology at various levels of organisation. In some cases, such as when studying cells and organs, physiology and genetics, students may be building upon content covered at GCSE. In other cases, they will be exploring new topics such as molecular biology, biochemistry and community ecology.

An important aspect of the specification is the inbuilt provision for developing students’ practical skills in biology.

Benefits to Students

Students who enjoyed GCSE Biology or the Biology component of the Double Award Science course will find much of interest here:

  • In addition to the ‘traditional’ content of a biology qualification at this level, there is a strong contemporary biology component, including developments in cancer treatment, biomarkers, personalised medicine and microarray technology.
  • Practical biology is an integral part of the subject and students will have opportunities to carry out a range of experiments at both AS and A2 level.
  • Students will develop a wide range of transferable skills, including problem-solving, conceptual understanding of complex processes, analysis and critical thinking.