VCE Biology

Biology is the study of living things from familiar, complex multicellular organisms that live in the many different habitats of our biosphere to single celled micro-organisms that live in seemingly inhospitable conditions. It is a study of the dynamic relationships between living things, their interdependence, their interactions with the non-living environment, and the processes that maintain life and ensure its continuity. Biology enables students to understand that despite the diverse ways of meeting the challenges of survival, all living things have many structural and functional characteristics in common.


Modern biology draws on increasingly specialised fields of bioscience such as biochemistry, neuroscience, genetics, evolutionary biology, behavioural science, and cell and molecular biology including studies of genomics and proteomics. It makes connections between these fields and the disciplines of physics, chemistry, earth science and space sciences in exploring the nature of past and present life, and the possibility of life forms beyond our planet.


Students acquire knowledge and skills of inquiry that help them to examine critically issues that arise in their own lives and in the public domain, to contribute to debate and to take part in making decisions about their own health and wellbeing and that of society. They build an understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things and their environment. The values and attributes that students develop will help them to recognise the strengths and limitations of science, respect evidence and be sensitive to differences in views and beliefs held by others. They will be able to work collaboratively and yet state their own views from an informed position.


The study of biology prepares students for continuing studies in bioscience and entry into the workforce in a wide range of careers, including those not normally thought of as depending on bioscience. Much of our economic activity is generated through advances in bioscience research, in environmental, medical and associated biotechnologies, and in parallel sciences such as bioinformatics.


Students develop knowledge of bioscience and skills of science inquiry and the values and attributes that will help them to consider issues and implications associated with the application of biological techniques and technologies.


The study is made up of four units:

Unit 1: Unity and diversity
Unit 2: Organisms and their environment
Unit 3: Signatures of life
Unit 4: Continuity and change

Each unit contains two areas of study.



There are no prerequisites for entry to Units 1, 2 and 3. Students must undertake Unit 3 prior to undertaking Unit 4. Units 1 to 4 are designed to a standard equivalent to the final two years of secondary education. All VCE studies are benchmarked against comparable national and international standards.