Human Biology Higher

What is special about this course?

Biology, the study of living organisms, plays a crucial role in our everyday life, and is an increasingly important subject in the modern world. Biology affects everyone, and biologists work to find solutions to many of the world’s problems. Advances in technology have made human biology more exciting and relevant than ever.

The Higher Human Biology course gives students the opportunity to understand and investigate the living world in an engaging and enjoyable way. It develops students’ abilities to think analytically, creatively and independently, and to make reasoned evaluations.

The course provides opportunities for students to acquire and apply knowledge to evaluate biological issues, assess risk, make informed decisions and develop an ethical view of complex issues. Students are able to develop their communication, collaborative working and leadership skills, and are able to apply critical thinking in new and unfamiliar contexts to solve problems. The course uses an experimental and investigative approach to develop knowledge and understanding of concepts in biology.

The course allows students to acquire a deeper understanding of cellular processes, physiological mechanisms and their impact on health, aspects of the nervous system, and defence mechanisms as they apply to the human species.

Entry requirements

  • Standard Grade Biology or Chemistry, at 2 or above,
  • Or Intermediate 2 Biology at B or above,
  • Or National 5 Biology at B or above and a pass in National 5 Maths.

Human cells

The key areas covered are: division and differentiation in human cells; structure and replication of DNA; gene expression; mutations; human genomics; metabolic pathways; cellular respiration; energy systems in muscle cells.

Physiology and health

The key areas covered are: gamete production and fertilisation; hormonal control of reproduction; the biology of controlling fertility; antenatal and postnatal screening; the structure and function of arteries, capillaries and veins; the structure and function of the heart; pathology of cardiovascular disease (CVD); blood glucose levels and obesity.

Neurobiology and immunology

The key areas covered are: divisions of the nervous system and neural pathways; the cerebral cortex; memory; the cells of the nervous system and neurotransmitters at synapses; non-specific body defences; specific cellular defences against pathogens; immunisation; clinical trials of vaccines and drugs.

How will I study my course?

  • Part Time

Each week will comprise of scheduled, connected learning time and flexible learning time. You need to commit to both, but you can choose when to complete flexible learning to fit around work, caring and personal commitments.  Some flexible learning must be done on a weekly basis.  

 Connected learning is when you learn together with lecturers, students and others. Connected learning happens at a scheduled time in a practical workshop, an online-classroom, a studio, a specialist classroom, the workplace or in the outdoors.

Flexible learning covers lecturer directed learning and self-directed learning

Lecturer-directed learning is weekly learning activity, for example:

  • posting your idea in a discussion forum,
  • completing a quiz, 
  • practising a task, activity or idea
  • watching a video or reading,
  • discussing and working on a solution with another student,
  • researching and gathering information,
  • completing an assignment or project-based task. 

Self-directed learning is your decision about further study and focus.  We encourage you to take ownership of your learning and areas of interest. You can ask us to help you to determine areas for further development.

Your connected learning will take place in an online-classroom.  This will include a combination of video conferencing, interactive chat and sharing of presentation slides and other visuals. Online-classrooms provide you with real time interaction, contact and discussion with your lecturer and fellow students. We have ten college centres and there may be an option to study some of the time from your local centre. This will depend on social distancing limitations.

How long will my course last?

1 Academic Year

Where can I study my course?

    • Auchtertyre
    • Broadford
    • Fort William
    • Gairloch
    • Kilchoan
    • Kinlochleven
    • Mallaig
    • Portree
    • Strontian
    • Ullapool

Start date





A Fee Waiver or funding of up to £200 could be available to help with payment of course fees, depending on your personal circumstances.

This support will be available for people who are 16 or over, living in Scotland and either in low paid work or actively seeking work. To be eligible, you must have income of £22,000 a year or less, or be on certain benefits.

You will also not be undertaking any secondary, further or higher education, SDS funded training or participating on the Community Jobs Scotland programme.

Please contact your local college centre for more information about eligibility, or call us on 01397 874000.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Higher Human Biology is an excellent course if you are interested in accessing HNC’s and degree courses in Science or Nursing.

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Human Biology Higher

We are no longer accepting applications for 2021/22

I want to start in 2022/23

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at West Highland College UHI. West Highland College operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.