Purpose of Course

Biology is the study of life. The vast diversity of species makes biology both an endless source of fascination and a considerable challenge. Biologists attempt to understand the living world at all levels from the micro to the macro using many different approaches and techniques. Biology is still a young science and great progress is expected in the 21st century. This progress is important at a time of growing pressure on the human population and the environment.

By studying biology in the DP students should become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. While the scientific method may take on a wide variety of forms, it is the emphasis on a practical approach through experimental work that characterizes the sciences. Teachers provide students with opportunities to design investigations, collect data, develop manipulative skills, analyse results, collaborate with peers and evaluate and communicate their findings.

Core Themes

Both HL and SL students integrate concepts, topic content and the nature of science through inquiry.  The course is organised into 4 themes: Unity and diversity, form and function, interaction and interdependence, and continuity and change. Each theme consists of four levels of organisation: molecules, cells, organisms and ecosystems.

Higher Level extension

Whilst the SL course provides students with a fundamental understanding of biology and experience of the associated skills the HL course requires students to increase their knowledge and understanding of the subject, and provides a solid foundation for further study at university level.


All students undertake a collaborative sciences project, an interdisciplinary sciences project that addresses real world problems that can be explored through the sciences.

All students then complete two summative assessments, their internal assessment and external examinations.

The students will then complete an internal assessment worth 20% of their final mark which enables the students to demonstrate the application of their skills and knowledge in investigating a topic of personal interest and writing a scientific report.

The external assessment will consist of two exams which will assess their understanding of the material covered in the course as well as their ability to analyse and evaluate experimental data. The two exams will make up the remaining 80% of the final mark.


Students intending on proceeding with Standard Level Biology should be working towards obtaining a minimum of 60% average in Year 10 Biology. Students intending on proceeding with Higher Level Biology should be working towards obtaining a minimum average of 65% in Year 10 Biology. Students should also be competent in Science Investigation Skills.