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  • Guided Learning Hours : 120 - 140
  • Support Period : Through to Summer 2019 results

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The IGCSE Human Biology online course will teach you about the structure and functions of the human body while developing your experimental skills.

You'll study human biology at all levels, from cells and tissues up to bones, muscles and joints and the internal organs and their functions. You'll develop an understanding of how the human organism maintains itself.

Through the course, you'll come to understand the relationships between humans and other animals, and our dependence on plants. You'll also learn how humans can modify their environment and behaviour to produce healthy conditions for present and future populations.

The IGCSE Human Biology course finishes by taking a wider perspective, looking at the relationship between humans and their environment and biological resources.

The study of biology is key for numberous courses and careers, such as medicine and many STEM fields. Its study will demonstrate your skill in research, problem solving, organisation and analytical thinking, valuable qualities in any role.

What are IGCSEs?

IGCSEs are International GCSEs – they’re equivalent to regular GCSEs and are offered in many independent and private schools in the UK. We teach them because they’re assessed mainly through exams, not coursework, so they’re more suited to online learning.

The Human Biology IGCSE course is designed to prepare you for the Edexcel IGCSE in Human Biology (4HB0 Specification) exams that take place in June every year. For more information about exams please see the section on 'Assessment'.

The topics you'll cover are:

Cells and tissues

  1. You'll learn about cells and cell structures, and understand cell division and the grouping of cells into organs and into tissues such as bone, muscle and blood.

Biological molecules

  1. You'll learn about carbohydrates, proteins and fats and their structures. You'll also learn about enzymes and the role they play in metabolic reactions.

Movement of substances into and out of cells

  1. You'll learn about diffusion, osmosis and active transport, and understand the factors that affect the rate of movement. You will also carry out simple experiments into diffusion and osmosis using living and non-living systems.

Bones, muscles and joints

  1. You will be taught the main parts of the skeleton and the structure of a long bone. You'll learn about the functions of the skeleton and of the different types of joints. You'll also learn how muscles and bones together bring about movement.


  1. You'll learn about the central nervous system and its component parts and functions. The brain will be described, as will the sense organs such as the eye and the ear. You'll also be taught comparisons between the nervous and hormonal systems and the concept of negative feedback as an essential means of temperature control and endocrine secretion.

Nutrition and energy

  1. You'll learn about what constitutes a balanced diet and what factors may cause this to vary. The human digestive system will be described and you'll learn how and why food is moved through the system and what processes take place at different stages.


  1. You'll learn the function of respiration and the differences between aerobic and anaerobic respiration. You'll carry out simple controlled experiments to demonstrate the production of carbon dioxide in respiration.

Gas exchange

  1. You'll learn the physical organs and mechanisms of breathing, and about the gas exchange between the air in the lungs and the blood in capillaries. The effects of smoking on the lungs and circulatory system will be explained, as well as the effects of exercise.

Internal transport

  1. You will learn about the circulatory system and the composition and functions of blood. The workings of the heart will be explained, along with the effects of exercise and the causes of heart attacks. You will learn about problems associated with blood transfusions and transplants.

Homeostatic mechanisms

  1. You'll learn how the human body maintains a constant internal environment and about the structure and functions of sweat glands, skin, lungs and kidneys. You'll also learn about the liver and its functions, and about the effect alcohol has on it.

Reproduction and heredity

  1. You'll learn about the male and female reproductive systems and the process of fertilisation, embryo development and birth. The structure and role of chromosomes, DNA and genes will be explained. You'll also learn how genetic make-up is expressed.


  1. You'll learn about the general course of a disease and of the means of infection, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. You'll also learn about immunity, vaccines and antibiotics.

Non-pathogenic organisms and their importance

  1. You'll learn about the role of non-pathogenic bacteria and fungi useful to humans in the decomposition of organic matter, and about the process of sewage treatment in a modern sewage works and in a pit latrine.


  1. You'll learn about the relationship between humans and their environment and about the dependence on green plants for food and oxygen. As part of this, you'll learn about food chains, energy transfer, and the importance of and problems with purification and storage of water. You'll also learn about pollution, greenhouse gases and the effects of deforestation.

The IGCSE Human Biology course is suitable for you if you're looking to fill gaps in your school education or prepare for college or university. It's the perfect foundation if you're thinking about studying nursing, biology, medicine or dentistry at a higher level.

It'll be useful in a wide number of fields, but especially if you want to work in health, fitness or education.

You don't need any previous experience or qualifications to enrol on our IGCSE Human Biology course. That's because we believe in making home study - and a rewarding future - as accessible as possible. 

If you have any disabilities which you believe may impact your studies or assessments, please inform your Course Advisor before enrolment so that we can advise you on whether reasonable adjustments can be made to accommodate your needs.

The study of biology is essential if you plan a career in medicine or dentistry, and is useful in many health-related jobs such as nursing or fitness.

Having an IGCSE Human Biology tells prospective employers that you have the ability to think analytically and logically, useful traits in any role.

If you're aiming to attend university, you'll likely continue your study with A Levels. If you have a specific course in mind, you should contact the institution directly to find out their entry requirements.

You could also do an apprenticeship, or take a vocational course related to a specific job or sector such as an NVQ or BTEC.


We believe in making learning accessible and affordable for all, so you'll have the option to pay for your course through an interest-free payment plan. You'll be able to get started right away with a small deposit and pay the rest by monthly direct debit. Our plans are flexible, so you can pay your balance off sooner if you choose.

If your company will fund your course, we can help you arrange this.

Speak to our course advisors for more information on our payment plans.

Extensive Resources

Once you enrol, you’ll have access to our Student Community, which will allow you to see your course materials, contact your tutor, submit your assignments and connect with your fellow students. 

Your course materials have been specially designed for online learning by experts in the field. You'll work through step-by-step units so you can easily keep track of your progress.

You'll have the opportunity to join a live induction webinar when you start your course. It's designed to help you navigate your way around the student community, to offer you help and support, and most importantly to give you a warm and friendly welcome to ICS Learn. We usually hold one a week, and you can attend any one that suits you.

You’ll have access to a huge range of resources that will aid your studies, including:

  1. Interactive Resources
  2. Progress Checks
  3. Peer Discussions
  4. Personal Journal
  5. Awarding Body Resources

Unlimited Support

You’ll be assigned an expert academic tutor who'll be with you from enrolment to graduation. Their support is unlimited and you can contact them by phone or via the Student Community. They’ll answer any questions you have about coursework, study materials, and assessments, and help you work through any part of the course you’re stuck with.

They’ll also give you test papers and mock exams to ensure you’re ready to pass your exams. All your papers will be given constructive feedback so you know exactly what your strengths are and what you can improve.

Our dedicated student support team will be on hand to assist you with administrative tasks, using the Student Community, and any other non-academic queries you may have.

Practice Assessments

To ensure you're ready for your exams, your tutor will set you:

  1. 6 x test papers
  2. 2 x mock examination papers

All your work will be marked and given constructive feedback so you know which areas you're doing well in and which you need to work on.

External Assessment

Exams take place every January and June.

The final IGCSE exam consists of two written exam papers set and marked by Edexcel.

  1. Paper 1 - 2 hours
  2. Paper 2 - 1 hour

Human Biology - Paper 1

  1. The paper will focus on the core knowledge of the specification. There will be a range of compulsory short-answer, structured questions which will be designed to ensure students of all abilities can show their knowledge and skill. The maximum mark for this paper will be 120.

Human Biology - Paper 2

  1. The paper will focus on investigation and the analysis of data. The maximum mark will be 60.

In both papers, you may be required to perform calculations, draw graphs, and describe, explain and interpret biological phenomena. Some of the question content will be unfamiliar to you; these questions are designed to assess your data-handling skills and your ability to apply biological principles to unfamiliar information.

Questions targeted at grades A* - B will include questions designed to test knowledge, understanding and skills at a higher level, including some questions requiring longer prose answers.

Important Exam Information

Please note that you're responsible for making your own exam arrangements. We'll remind you when it's time to do this, and you'll arrange to sit your exams as a private candidate at a local school or college. The school or college will charge a fee for this.

Find out more about arranging your exams here.

Exam fees aren't included in your course fees, as they'll be paid directly to the exam centre. The cost will vary depending on the centre you choose, with private schools and colleges being more expensive than state schools. 

Find out more about arranging your exams here, or speak to one of our course advisors. We're happy to help!