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VCE Biology enables students to investigate the processes involved in sustaining life at cellular, system and species levels. In undertaking this study, students develop an understanding that, in the dynamic and interconnected system of life, all change has consequences that may affect an individual, a species or the collective biodiversity of Earth. Students gain insights into how molecular and evolutionary concepts and key science skills underpin much of contemporary biology, and how society applies such skills and concepts to resolve problems and make scientific advancements.

In VCE Biology, students develop and enhance a range of inquiry skills including practical experimentation, research and analytical skills, problem-solving skills including critical and creative thinking, and communication skills. Students pose questions, formulate hypotheses, conduct investigations, and analyse and critically interpret qualitative and quantitative data.



This study enables students to:

  • develop knowledge and understanding of key biological models, theories, concepts and issues from the individual cell to species level

  • develop knowledge and understanding of organisms, their relationship to their environment, and the consequences of biological change over time, including the impact of human endeavours on biological processes and the survival of species and more broadly to:

  • develop attitudes that include curiosity, open-mindedness, creativity, flexibility, integrity, attention to detail and respect for evidence-based conclusions

  • develop an understanding of the cooperative, cumulative, iterative and interdisciplinary nature of science as a human endeavour, including its possibilities, limitations and sociocultural, economic, political and legal influences and consequences

  • develop a range of individual and collaborative science inquiry skills through a variety of investigation methodologies in the laboratory and field, refining investigations to improve data quality

  • understand the research, ethical and safety guidelines that govern the study and practice of the discipline and apply these guidelines to generate, collate, analyse, critically evaluate and report data

  • analyse and interpret qualitative and quantitative data to provide evidence, recognising patterns, relationships and limitations of data

  • develop an informed and critical perspective, as local and global citizens, on contemporary science-based issues

  • develop knowledge and understanding of key models, concepts, theories and laws of science to explain scientific processes and phenomena, and apply this understanding in familiar and unfamiliar situations, including personal, sociocultural, environmental and technological contexts

  • communicate clearly and accurately an understanding of the discipline using appropriate terminology, conventions and formats.


The study is made up of four units, structured as a series of curriculum-framing questions that reflect the inquiry nature of the discipline.

Unit 1: How do organisms regulate their functions?

Unit 2: How does inheritance impact on diversity?

Unit 3: How do cells maintain life?

Unit 4: How does life change and respond to challenges?

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