The Advanced Higher Biology programme was carefully developed in order to meet the requirements of Curriculum for Excellence.

Our five day courses begin by covering key areas from the Advanced Higher specifications, while equipping students with the skills of scientific experimentation, investigation and inquiry. Hence, students can go on to carry out a pilot study, data collection and write up an investigation for their investigative biology unit.

Example Timetable

Day 1


Arrive Midday
  • Students greeted by FSC staff.
  • Welcome talk and Centre tour.
  • Pre-course meeting with FSC staff and teachers.
  • Allocation of wellies/waterproofs.


Field Techniques, Sampling of Wild Organisms

Students will be introduced to a range of ecological concepts and sampling techniques in the grasslands surrounding the centre. This includes the use of pitfall traps and quadrats, sweep nets and statistical sampling.


Small Mammal trapping and mark release capture

A chance to set some mammal traps and consider how to estimate population size using a mark and recapture method (the Lincoln Index).

Day 2

Morning and Afternoon

Field techniques, identification and taxonomy (1)

Building on the skills learned the group will carry out an investigation into the ecology of a specific habitat close to centre (for example rocky or sandy shore).We will investigate the effect of a named abiotic variable (e.g. shore height, temperature) on a biotic factor (eg distribution or abundance of a particular taxon, or diversity of all taxa).


Data Analysis, conclusion and evaluation

Data will be graphed and analysed using an appropriate data presentation technique and statistical test. We will draw conclusions and evaluate our investigation.

Day 3


Field techniques, Identification and Taxonomy (2)

Students will be introduced to another habitat in which their investigation could take place (eg sandy shore, pond). Another short investigation will cement sampling techniques, analysis and evaluation.


Biology Investigation (1)

Students will be given support and resources to enable them to research and form a hypothesis which will be the basis of their investigation. They will identify independent, dependent and confounding variables and suggest ways to measure/monitor which will be tested in the pilot study.


Planning and Research

Students will discuss their pilot studies with the tutor and make any modifications required. They will access our specialist library and use computers/iPads to carry out vital background research for their investigation. Risk assessments and ethical considerations will also be discussed.

Day 4

Morning, Afternoon and Evening

Biology Investigation (2)

Students will implement and revise their plans to collect valid and reliable data; heading out into the field (or into the lab) to carry out the main data collection for their projects. On return to the centres the students will be supported writing and evaluating their methodology and analysing their data. We will discuss a variety of different techniques to present data and how to best use ICT within student projects.

Day 5


Biology Investigation (3)

Students will continue their write up, completing statistical analysis of their data. A discussion of conclusions and evaluation will ensure students leave the Centre having completed (if not, considered) all sections of their investigation.


Depart at midday
  • Review of the course.
  • Signposting further actions and opportunities with the FSC and beyond.
  • Final farewell from FSC staff.

Please note: to ensure safe and quality learning experiences for students, the timetable may alter depending on weather conditions and local factors at centres.

Added value of this course

Develop skills

  • Communication | Resilience | Independent thinking | Leadership
  • Numeracy | Literacy | Investigative skills | Observation

Enhance Knowledge

  • Ask questions.
  • Apply knowledge in the real world and make links.
  • Make sense of new places and understand our place and role within this.


  • Have fun | Make friendships | Connect with nature

Why Choose Field Studies Council?

  • Expert tuition by fully trained staff

  • Stunning locations across the UK

  • Outstanding curriculum knowledge

  • Rigorous health and safety procedures

  • Support before and after your visit

  • Free places for visiting staff