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Writing for Biological Sciences

If you are studying biological sciences and need to write assignments, essays, etc., then these pages can help!

Strand of DNA

Courses in biological sciences are diverse and include many specialisations. All of them, however, involve the study of living organisms and include core content covering fundamental areas such as cell theory, molecular biology, evolution, physiology, gene theory, etc. Beyond this, you can choose from a wide range of specialisations, from molecular biology to zoology and environmental biology.

To write assignments about biological sciences, the first thing you need to know is the vocabulary. We've analysed high-scoring student assignments to find the words that are used most often. For exercises about vocabulary related to biological sciences go to this page:

Biological Sciences Vocabulary


Secondly, and most importantly, you will need to learn how to write certain types of assignments ('genres'). For biological sciences, you will probably write:


  • Critiques, where you evaluate something you've studied from the perspective of your discipline
  • Essays, where you make a coherent argument and employ critical thinking skills
  • Explanations, where you describe something, how it works and how important it is
  • Methodology Recounts, where you practise recording experimental findings by describing your methodology.

Each of these genres has an individual style you will need to learn. If you're short of time, you can go directly to the pages about these genres, but we recommend you start at the beginning of 'Writing for a Purpose' and work through all of it.

If you read all the materials, you'll be better able to identify what sort of assignment you have to write – your tutor usually won't tell you. Also, not all biological sciences courses are the same and they might include assignments in different genres from the four typical ones above.