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Functional Biology - the comparative physiology of organisms

  • Course Type: Undergraduate
  • CAO Course Code: TR071
  • Min Entry Points for 2014: 505* points
  • Duration: 4 Year(s) Full Time
  • Award: B.A.
  • Course Options:

    Students who wish to study Functional biology apply to the Science degree (TR071) and may select Functional biology as their specialist area for the 3rd and 4th years.

    Junior Freshman (first) year prerequisites: Biology 1101 and 1102, Mathematics or Mathematical methods

    Senior Freshman (second year) prerequisites: Biology BY2201, BY2202, BY2203, BY2208.

    For details of the first two years of the Science course, including entry requirements, seeĀ TR071: Science (common entry).

  • How to apply: See how to apply

Admission Requirements

For Admission requirements please click here


To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below

What is Functional biology?

Functional biology is the comparative physiology of plants and animals; i.e. comparing the way different kinds of organisms function in the context of their structure (anatomy). Many of the mechanisms organisms use for survival are conserved across species, allowing the revelation of key functional principles. Furthermore, the mechanisms which organisms have evolved depend on their interactions with the environment through time. Finally, Functional biology has important roles to play in elucidating the effects of gene mutations and/or deletions affecting protein function and environmental effects on gene expression.

What will you study?

This course focuses on comparing and contrasting animal and plant physiology. Modules are provided from the disciplines of Plant sciences and Zoology and from the School of Genetics and Microbiology. The Junior Sophister (third) year provides a broad knowledge and understanding of Functional biology, while in the final year a major component of the course is a lab-based research project chosen from the disciplines of Plant sciences or Zoology. Final-year teaching also occurs through small-group tutorials in areas of specialisation in plant or animal functional biology as well as through lectures.

Work in the Junior Sophister (third) year provides a broad overview of functional biology and includes core modules in:

  • Tutorials: Current issues in functional biology
  • Genetics for functional biology: Neurogenetics, gene expression, plant molecular genetics I
  • Plant physiology
  • Plant structure, anatomy, metabolism
  • Plant molecular biology
  • Parasitology
  • Comparative physiology
  • Developmental biology
  • Experimental design and analysis
  • Broad curriculum (seeĀ

A major component of the Senior Sophister (fourth) year is the research project. Tutorials in specialist areas of functional biology are also selected as well as taught modules:

  • Research project
  • Genetics for Functional biology: developmental genetics of drosophila, genetics of neural development, plant developmental genetics, plant molecular genetics II
  • Extended essay: Functional biology and society
  • Tutorials in zoology: developmental biology, evolution, biomedical parasitology, eyes and vision
  • Tutorials in plant science: plant molecular biology, plant physiology
  • Environmental physiology
  • Data handling

Career opportunities

Functional biology acts as the perfect springboard for undergraduate students to go on to post-graduate bioscience degrees; e.g. Masters and PhDs in biological/physiological disciplines. Graduates of Functional biology are also ideally placed to contribute to the knowledge economy/society through careers with biotechnology companies and/or industry, having gained unique and valuable experience and training. The course also provides an excellent background for students who want to pursue a career in teaching biology.

Further information

Tel: +353 1 896 1366