There’s nothing like a good teacher to inspire you in a subject: that applies to whatever you are learning about. From science to the guitar and from history to painting, a teacher who knows their stuff and who can ignite in you a passion for it is indispensable.
In your studies of the diverse discipline we call biology, getting to grips with the theory and remembering the facts is crucial. Learning from a teacher who knows and loves their subject matter is the best way to learn any of it.
This is why we have put together a selection of some of the best teachers, tutors, and classes around to help you in your journey through the biological sciences – no matter at what stage of your studies you are and no matter what qualification or branch of the discipline you are aiming for.
If you are based in Leeds, quit struggling with your biology textbook and listen up!
Whether you are an undergraduate looking for further help in your biology degree, a GCSE or A-Levels student hoping to smash your exams; or even an adult learner approaching this Life Science for the first time – have we got the courses for you!
(If you are not based in Leeds, we have some different articles that might be beneficial to your study of biology. Try out our piece on biology classes in Manchester, biology lessons in London, teachers of biology in Birmingham, and biology courses in Glasgow.
Why Study Biology?
Biology is a broad and diverse subject – and its breadth means there’s something for everyone. From the tiny things of cellular and molecular biology – including genetics and the study of bacteria – to the biological processes at the ecosystem level, in biodiversity, conservation, and animal behaviour, the biological science includes all the living things in the world.
New subspecialties are constantly added to the already long list of biology fields of study - marine biology, virology and zoology are currently in the public eye, reporting on the condition of our oceans and the alarming rate of population decline in animals. But what about lesser-known disciplines such as theoretical biology and biopsychology, also known as behavioural neuroscience, the branch that studies the correlation between biology and physiological and developmental mechanism?
Biologists are at the forefront of our global environmental crisis - the recently released UN report on climate and biodiversity presented a frightening projection: up to a million species are at risk of extinction. Marine life, plant life; insects and mammals... if ever there were a time to study biology, now would be it: we need every set of capable hands on the front lines of conservation and rehabilitation!
As such, it is a fascinating science to grapple with – and studying it formally can take you anywhere you might want to go in life. If you want to be a laboratory researcher, you’ll need to study at least a bit of the subject – and if you are hoping to study medicine, you’ll definitely need it. Otherwise, you might want to go into sports physiology, into a postgraduate research programme, or even work in a zoo. All of these things will require a bit of biology.
Check out some A level biology courses for adults available on Superprof.
Where to Revise for Your Biology Exams
No matter which path you are hoping to follow - which aspect of biology you intend to specialise in, you will first have to sit exams to gain entrance to any university at home or abroad.
Fortunately, these review courses will have you covered – whether you want to study full time or if you need your study schedule to be a bit more flexible, or if you've long held a fascination of all things biological but are not yet ready to commit to a formal learning programme.
Justin Craig Education
Justin Craig is a prestigious revision organisation that helps to train students studying for GCSEs and A-Levels so that they excel in their exams. There are Justin Craig branches all over the country and, for people in Leeds, the centre in Harrogate is a short drive up the road.
The journey is well worth it because Justin Craig has offered specialist revision courses for nearly forty years. The small class sizes and experienced teaching provide a learning experience of superior quality and effectiveness.
The majority of these instructors are in fact teachers in local schools; they know first-hand what the Department for Education and exam boards expect out of their students. They keep their class sizes limited to six people and offer one-to-one tuition as well.
In short, the school in Harrogate will go a long way towards ensuring you or the student in your life will excel in any exam subject from physics to the humanities, from chemistry to the social sciences.
As though that weren't enough for you to enrol there, each revision course is exam board specific: if you anticipate sitting an AQA or Eduquas exam, your Justin Craig study materials will reflect those exams' criteria.
So, if you want to hone your knowledge of ecology or evolution – or if you want to refine your thoughts on microbes or the pathogen – this might be the place for you!
Saturday Science Revision Sessions at EducateFirst
EducateFirst runs a number of revision centres across the north of England, providing supplementary education in mathematics, English, and the sciences to students up to GCSE and A-Level in Leeds, Huddersfield, and Bradford.
The EducateFirst Tuition Centre in Leeds runs from the Bangladeshi Community Centre on Roundhay Road on Saturday mornings from 10:00 to 13:15 throughout the academic year. And at just over six quid an hour, it’s very unlikely that you will find tuition at a better value anywhere.
You will be put into different classes depending on your level and ability and then taught by one of the professional, specialised teachers alongside like-minded students.
If your Saturday mornings are already fully booked, you may look to EducateFirst for private, one-to-one tuition sessions. Getting started is simple: fill in an application form, specifying your tutoring needs - the material being studied, the Key Stage your student is at and the difficulties s/he is having, if any.
Once your application has been approved, EducateFirst will select a tutor for you and the learning begins! Sessions cost between £18-30 per hour, depending on what level your learner is at.
EducateFirst’s philosophy is all about the community, as they seek out and work with communities in which educational support is below standard. They are doing really important work in Leeds, and may well help you to nail your biology course.
Check out our guide to biology learning opportunities across the UK.
Find a Private Biology Tutor with Superprof
If you want biology tuition that is one-to-one and perfectly tailored to suit your personal needs and aims, you might find a private biology tutor the best thing for you; the one on one tuition services mentioned above being a case in point.
Wouldn't it be great, though, to be able to select the best tutors for you from an available pool of teaching talent? To compare the merits of one tutor to the next and benefit from competitive pricing?
Superprof links curious students to supportive, passionate, and knowledgeable tutors all over the world.
This tutor marketplace allows you to compare tutor profiles and select the one that best suits your learning needs, schedule and budget.
You may further be pleasantly surprised to find that most Superprof tutors would rather find out exactly what you need from them and discuss with you how they can best serve; to that end, most Superprof tutors do not charge a fee for their first hour spent with you.
In Leeds alone, Superprof lists 87 biology tutors for you to choose from, offering classes at an average rate of £17 an hour.
However, you are not restricted to those numbers! If you were to consider online tuition - learning with a tutor via webcam, you might learn better, faster and perhaps even less expensively with a tutor in London, Glasgow or Manchester.
There’s no doubt that learning the ins and outs of biochemistry or microbiology is not easy when you are working alongside a classroom full of students, all with different educational requirements, who are taught by a teacher stretched to the limit of endurance in his/her efforts to personalise everyone's learning experience.
A private biology tutor can provide you with independent research, tailored lesson content, and attention to the aspects of your biology curriculum that you need most focus on.
With so much choice to be had through Superprof, you are sure to find the tutor that best suits your educational needs and style of learning – and your busy schedule.
Studying zoology, genomics, animal physiology, or cellular biology will never have been so easy!
Study for Biology A-Level or an Adult Learning Course
Till now, we've provided 'generic' solutions to the in-depth study of biology; solutions suitable for any student at any Key Stage, for exam prep, university studies and for adult learners with a fascination for the subject.
In all of these cases, supplemental instruction and mentoring simply make sense.
Now, let us take a look at biology study programmes at various colleges around the city.
Leeds City College
If you are beyond the point at which you need to revise for your biology exams and are instead thinking about what course of study you wish to undertake at university, you should consider Leeds City College as a place to study for your A-Levels.
The City College offers A-Levels in a broad range of subjects, all set up as a full-time study programme distributed over two years.
The biology A-Level takes place on the Park Lane Campus and will have you studying things like population biology, human disease, biochemistry and molecular biology. The course will prepare you both for your exam and for admission to a biological sciences degree programme at university.
If you are not interested in studying for an A-Level, there are other options available for you – from the Step-up Pathway, in which sixteen- to eighteen-year-olds can study GCSEs if they have not previously, to the part-time adult courses for those who want to develop their education further.
Both of those study programmes provide access to science labs so that you may conduct the experiments your curriculum calls for, but the Combined Science: Synergy GCSE will prepare you for professional studies and opportunities in the sciences.
The University of Leeds
Feeding your curiosity for the science of living things is all well and good and, if done properly, could lead to a lifelong commitment.
If you are prepared to go the whole hog and want to become a proper biologist, you’ll need to apply to an undergraduate degree programme in biology after sitting your A-Levels.
The University of Leeds is a brilliant place to do just this.
The Bachelor of Science degree in Biology will teach you in all aspects of modern biology, from human biology to the study of life in all its forms. The curriculum is based around key biological themes, from immunology to organismal biology.
The fun thing about the biology course at the University of Leeds is that you have the opportunity to go straight into a graduate degree – a Master’s – in biology too, by adding an extra year to your course.
For those serious about biology, this will be an important step in your scientific career.
Leeds Beckett University
Far from being a second choice school, Leeds-Beckett offers a dynamic study programme in the biomedical sciences. Your first year of study would include classes in infectious diseases, blood diseases and the biology of cancer, among others.
Beyond year one, you may continue that multi-disciplinary study, learning about everything from medical genetics to clinical biochemistry or you may choose to specialise, taking courses in tandem with the standard curriculum.
Those speciality courses include:
- Pharmacological Sciences: have you ever wondered how a doctor knows exactly which dose of medicine to prescribe? This study course will help you understand how the medicine affects the body and specific drugs are used for the treatment of diseases.
- Medical Biochemistry: learn how doctors diagnose biochemically related diseases and study biochemical reactions within the human body
- Molecular Biochemistry: as opposed to treating the entire organism as you would through the subspeciality listed above, this speciality concerns itself genetics and gene technology; how advances in these fields are combating disease.
- Medical Microbiology: the study of pathogens that cause disease.
Leeds-Beckett's Biomedical Sciences programme is even open to non-traditional students; namely, those who are looking for a new, exciting career to embark on. You may choose to attend full-time or part-time, ultimately finding work in the pharmaceutical industry, in a diagnostic laboratory or even becoming a part of a scientific research team.
Naturally, you may choose to extend your studies; to earn your Masters degree, after which you may appeal to their career counsellors to help you find the most suitable employment your degree qualifies you for.
What do you need to gain access to these study programmes?
If you are coming in via UCAS, you need at least 112 tariff points; a minimum of 40 of which must have been earned from a biological science.
If you are what is called a 'mature applicant', your admission will be contingent on your having recently taken any access courses. Failing that, your work experience may be considered sufficient to earn you a spot on the rolls.
Study Biology Online
Much as we revere the idea of coursing down hallowed halls of higher learning and relish the prospect of wearing a cap and gown at our formal graduation ceremony, the truth is that there are several drawbacks to such an experience.
Money: higher education is frightfully expensive, especially for subjects such as biology. Not only must you bear the cost of course fees and accommodations (should you be a live-in student) but you also incur lab fees and further cash layouts for workbooks and specialised equipment such as lab coats and safety goggles.
Time: what do three years represent when you are standing on the very cusp of life? Some students revel in campus life, making the most of their experiences. However, for a significant segment of the student population, three years is a substantial chunk of time away from more pragmatic concerns such as earning their living.
Rigidity: a course syllabus and schedule is seldom deviated from, no matter why individual students would like or need to deviate from them. Furthermore, individual professors may not be tolerant or understanding of extraneous circumstances that might keep you from handing a paper in on time or even from attending class.
An insulating experience: for the most part, the traditional education model limits student exploration to the subject material, classroom, instruction and student group s/he is assigned to. In itself, that is not a bad concept but, especially in the study of sciences, the greater diversity in learning, the more concepts can be studied.
For students needing flexibility in their schedule, learning habits and payment plans, and for those who seek the greatest knowledge base, massive open online courses - MOOCs - are a perfect solution!
MOOCs are generally sponsored by prominent universities around the country. They address topics related to a field of study - biology, maths, chemistry and the like, but do not touch on any school's set curriculum.
Many of them are completely free and all of them are conducted online. Some even offer degree plans entirely online!
We now take a look at some of the more prominent MOOCs that offer courses in Biology.
The Open University
Yet, studying a full-time degree at a university can be difficult for some in terms of time-tabling and juggling other commitments. That’s why there is a wonderful thing called the Open University, an institution that leads the way globally in terms of flexible, distance learning qualifications.
The Open University offers BAs and BScs in biology, with courses in Natural Sciences (with the option of specialising in biology), in Environmental Science, and in Health Sciences. These are full degrees, but you can study them at home, and they can prepare you for entrance to the world of work or for a progression in your career.
They offer Certificates and Diplomas in Higher Education too – for those who do not yet have the qualifications for admission to a degree course.
Experience Biology with Future Learn
The people of Leeds benefit from another great thing: FutureLearn, the partnership project between the University of Leeds and other universities across the world. This provides online educational videos to anyone who cares to watch them – on topics that range from human disease to skeletons.
Whilst the videos themselves are more for casual educational purposes, they can be combined to gain you credits from the University of Leeds.
Biology Courses through Coursera
Coursera is an American MOOC platform with lessons sponsored and hosted by the finest universities that country has to offer.
While they do not offer a degree plan in biology specifically, they do have nearly 200 courses on offer; some which may even be related to your fields of interest!
Did you want to learn more about the biology of cancer or is plant biology your bailiwick?
If you are an A-Levels candidate undecided over which branch of the discipline fascinates you more, signing up with Coursera (it's free!) and taking a few of these online classes may help narrow your perspective and lead you to decide which field of biology you'd like to specialise in.
With choices ranging from molecular biology to systems biology, you would certainly have a wide selection to choose from!
These MOOCs would also be great for more mature learners; those contemplating a career change who are seeking out the education to do so, or those who simply want more information to satisfy their own curiosity.
One more instance that makes MOOCs indispensable: whether preparing for GCSEs or A-Levels; as a casual continuous learner or someone actually enroled at university in a Biology programme of study, these online learning initiatives provide a broader look at the subject you are so intensely focused on.
Why not ask your teacher or tutor if s/he might know of a few such online courses to recommend?