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Biology, A Level at Oldham Sixth Form College (OSFC)

Course description

Biology is the study of life. From new Alzheimer’s treatments to the recent Ebola epidemic, Biology is always in the news. In the first term of this course, you will study the important molecules which make up cells and the organelles within the cells. In the second term, you will study how cells form organs which carry out specific functions in organisms e.g. the heart in the circulatory system and the immune system, important in protection from disease. You’ll work through a varied practical-led course. All staff on the team are subject specialists with a range of Biology degrees from different higher education institutions. They will support your learning throughout the year in lessons, workshops and opportunities such as trips.

Course content

Year 1

The topics covered at AS give learners the opportunity to use microscopy to study the cell structure of a variety of organisms. Biologically important molecules such as carbohydrates, proteins, water and nucleic acids are studied with respect to their structure and function. The structure and mode of action of enzymes in catalysing biochemical reactions is studied. The significance of surface area to volume ratio in determining the need for ventilation, gas exchange and transport systems in multicellular organisms is emphasised. Learners also study the biodiversity of organisms; how they are classified and the ways in which biodiversity can be measured. It serves as an introduction to ecology, emphasising practical techniques and an appreciation of the need to maintain biodiversity. The learners also gain an understanding of the variety of organisms that are pathogenic and the way in which plants and animals have evolved defences to deal with disease.

Practical Endorsement – a series of essential practical skills linked to different course topics – assessed throughout year by subject tutor.

Year 2

The topics studied at A2 Biology include the role of genes in regulating and controlling cell function and development. Heredity and the mechanisms of evolution and speciation are also covered. Some of the practical techniques used to manipulate DNA such as sequencing and amplification are considered and their therapeutic medical use. The use of microorganisms in biotechnology is also covered. The biochemical pathways of photosynthesis and respiration are considered, with an emphasis on the formation and use of ATP. It is important that organisms, both plants and animals are able to respond to stimuli. This is achieved by communication within the body, which may be chemical and/or electrical. Both systems are covered in detail in this module. Communication is also fundamental to homeostasis with control of temperature, blood sugar and blood water potential.

Practical Endorsement – a series of essential practical skills linked to different course topics – assessed throughout year by subject tutor.

Entry requirements

A minimum of 5 passes (above C or 4) at GCSE, including at least a 4 in Maths and English.

Certain courses also have their own individual requirements and these can be checked on our website at


100% exam

Financial information

While you’re at OSFC you’ll need to spend money on items such as books, stationery, travel and lunches.  To help with these expenses, OSFC students from low income families can receive financial support.  More information please

Future opportunities

Studying at OSFC will provide you with a wealth of opportunities. Popular options from students who progressed from this course in the past were:

University Destinations

  • The University of Leeds - Medicine
  • MMU - Forensic Biology
  • The University of Liverpool - Biochemistry
  • Liverpool John Moores - Pharmacy
  • The University of Manchester - Dentistry

Careers Destinations

  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Veterinary
  • Zoologist
  • Pharmacist
  • Research Scientist
  • Genetic Councilor
  • Radiography
  • Audiology
  • Ophthalmologist

Further information

At OSFC you can pick subjects from a wide range of courses with combinations across multiple curriculum areas. Choosing the right subjects is important. You should consider subjects you enjoy doing and options that will support your future career plans.

Popular combinations that will work well with this subject are:

  • Chemistry
  • Maths (Statistics)
  • Physics
  • Psychology

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 03 October 2017
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