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Biology Personal Statement Examples

university biology essay

What is a biology personal statement?

Your biology personal statement should tell the university all about your strengths, skills, experience and career plans.

It should also convey your enthusiasm for the subject, and what aspects of it you enjoy and why.

How do I write a biology personal statement?

It’s a good idea to start your statement with why you want to study biology at university.

Try to talk about what drew you to biology initially - was it a childhood experience, or were you inspired by a family member or a television documentary? Pin this down if you can, as admissions tutors always want to know about your motivations for wanting to study their subject.

Make sure you back up everything with examples, as you need to convince the university that you they should offer you a place on their biology degree over anyone else.

A great biology personal statement should be written clearly and concisely, with a good introduction, middle, and a conclusion. After all, your statement has to stand out from the crowd if your UCAS application is going to be successful.

For inspiration on how to write your own unique statement, take a look at some of our engineering personal statement examples above, as well as our collection of top rated personal statement examples .

What should I include in my biology personal statement?

It’s important to include skills and experience from all areas of your life and try to relate them to hobbies or extracurricular activities if they helped you to build on certain strengths.

Think about how any work experience you have completed might be useful in your degree, e.g. what skills did you learn? were there any parts of it you particularly enjoyed? if so, why?

Make sure you include everything that is relevant to your course, which means you may want to leave off your Grade 6 in piano, or your swimming certificates.

University admissions tutors want to know what you can bring to their department and what value you can add, so every sentence of your personal statement needs to earn its place.

You need to sell yourself as a well-rounded individual in terms of academic knowledge, work experience and extracurricular activities in order to have a chance of being successful with your biology UCAS application (although this doesn't mean lying or embellishing the truth!).

For more help and advice on what to write in your biology personal statement, please see:

  • Personal Statement Editing Services
  • Personal Statement Tips From A Teacher
  • Analysis Of A Personal Statement
  • The 15th January UCAS Deadline: 4 Ways To Avoid Missing It
  • Personal Statement FAQs
  • Personal Statement Timeline
  • 10 Top Personal Statement Writing Tips
  • What To Do If You Miss The 15th January UCAS Deadline.

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How to Write a Biology Personal Statement Worthy of Oxbridge!

By U2 Tutor, Holly (Cambridge Biological Natural Sciences graduate and current Graduate Medic at St George’s Hospital Medical School)

Writing a personal statement can be overwhelming - there’s so much pressure to ‘sell yourself’ to the universities in just 4000 characters. In this blog we’ll discuss how to structure your personal statement, as well as tips to simplify the writing process and make your personal statement stand out.

How to Structure your Biology Personal Statement

Paragraph 1: This should be motivation focused i.e. why you want to do Biology above any other course.

Paragraph 2: This should demonstrate your aptitude for the course - explore what you have done so far and the skills you’ve gained from it, in order to show that you’re suited to university learning.

Paragraph 3: This should be a continuation of paragraph 2, ideally discussing some other areas of biology or other skills.

Paragraph 4: Brief discussion of extra-curriculars, but only if they also demonstrate skills which suit you to the course.

Tips For a Biology Personal Statement

Writing the Perfect Biology Personal Statement Introduction

If you take anything from this guide, it’s to avoid clichés! The most important thing you can do is convey your genuine interest in the subject, and saying you’ve wanted to do biology since you were a child isn’t the way to do this (even if it is the case). Equally, try not to exaggerate with your wording, as this can also come across as less authentic. Just try and explain your motivations clearly and honestly, and focus on showing this motivation through your experiences and beyond syllabus knowledge.

Writing the opening sentence can be the hardest part, so is often best left until the end . There’s a misconception that you have to write a captivating, attention-grabbing opening sentence - this isn’t the case, especially not for the sciences! It’s completely fine to start simply, such as with ‘I was first drawn to Biology when I studied x…’ and go from there. Remember you have a character limit, so it’s best to just go straight in!

Forming a First Draft of Your Personal Statement

Don’t put pressure on yourself to write a full draft on your first attempt. There will be lots of redrafting and restructuring and that’s okay! Give yourself plenty of time to allow for this.

The best way to start is to write down everything you want to include in your personal statement - include everything you can think of from an academic and extra-curricular perspective. Try not to include anything beyond the last few years, as this is unlikely to be relevant . For each point, determine what skills you gained from these experiences and what you learnt from them .

Then compare this to the skills/ qualities most sought after for the courses you’re applying to (this is likely to be very similar between universities). Whilst it can seem overwhelming at first, it’s a quick way of narrowing down what is worth including in your personal statement. From there you can work out how to elaborate on these experiences. Try to group them together in themes if possible, so that you can organise your paragraphs accordingly.

Ideas to Show Your Interest

You might be thinking that your list of things to include in your personal statement is going to be rather short - you hopefully have plenty of time to rectify that! If you’ve not yet had a chance, it’s important to explore Biology in more depth - this is to distinguish you from your classmates doing the same subjects. Remember the universities will also see your grades through UCAS, so you’re wasting some of the precious word count by mentioning these. Instead, you need to discuss co-curriculars - evidence that you’ve explored the subject and have a genuine interest. Try and find 2-3 broad areas of Biology that you’re interested in and ideally match with some of the modules offered as part of the courses you’re applying to . There are plenty of ways you can do this…

Books - these have been divided into some broad topics within some of the popular Biology courses:

Biomedical:

Do No Harm - Henry Marsh

Fragile Lives - Stephen Westaby

The Body: A Guide for Occupants - Bill Bryson

The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins,

The Epigenetics Revolution - Nessa Carey

Genome - Matt Ridley

Psychology:

Any of Oliver Sacks books, particularly The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat or Awakenings

The Psychopath Test - Jon Ronson

On the Origin of Species - Charles Darwin

Sapiens - Yuval Noah Harari

Epigenetics: The Wisdom of Whores - Elizabeth Pisani

Cognitive sciences: Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow

Successful Biology Personal Statement Book Recommendations

Essay competitions

There are yearly competitions hosted by Minds Underground to allow you to explore topics you might not have encountered before.

Many Oxbridge colleges also run their own essay competitions , as well as biological societies e.g. Royal Society of Biology and British Society for Cell Biology . Essay competitions are particularly relevant to Oxbridge applications as supervisions often require you to write similar essays.

Biology Work Experience

It can be useful to get work experience, such as in a lab, but don’t feel like this is an essential - universities understand it can be very difficult to find, especially in the post-covid era. If you do have experience, be careful not to just list what you did during work experience. Focus on the skills you gained, and how you could use these at university e.g. familiarity with different lab-based techniques.

Research Projects (Minds Underground)

Similar to Extended Projects offered by some schools, you could write your own research project exploring a topic of your choice. It can be difficult to decide on a title - it might be easier to use your A-level content as a springboard, and design a project to investigate something you’ve learnt about. For example, you could design a literature review to analyse existing research on a topic, in order to identify gaps in current research and inform future research opportunities. You could also design your own experiment (although there obviously limits to this!) such as investigating conditions needed by different plants.

Minds Underground can guide you through this with a Biology expert… https://www.mindsunderground.com/work-research-experience

Biology Summer School (Minds Underground)

Summer schools can be an exciting way to get a taster of a variety of different university level biology subjects, from genetic engineering and cancer therapies to ecology and behaviour. Minds Underground hosts an amazing Biology summer school run by Oxbridge graduates, allowing you to broaden your knowledge of Biology whilst gaining useful personal statement and interview material.

Talks and podcasts

Online lectures can also give you a taste of university courses - these are widely available from universities and sites such as Ted Talks . Podcasts are increasingly popular, and are an easy way to keep up to date with current development in Biology. We recommend The Infinite Monkey Cage (less Biology specific, but very interesting!) and Radiolab .

Biological Sciences Personal Statement Podcasts

Extra-curriculars

In the past there’s been a focus on the ‘all rounder’: someone who is academic, musical and sporty. This is not really the case any more, and so extracurriculars shouldn’t take up a significant proportion of your personal statement. The purpose of mentioning these should be to show what skills you’ve gained, and how you could apply these to your course or university life. For example, your weekly football match could have helped develop your team working skills and communication skills, something which is essential in a lab environment. Equally, it could allow you to switch off for a few hours and maintain your high work ethic - this is just as important, as universities (particularly high achieving ones) increasingly want to see that you can maintain a work-life balance.

Applying to Oxford for Biology? Here’s What You Should Also Do

To craft a standout personal statement for Oxford Biological Sciences specifically, it can be helpful to gear your personal statement to specific qualities and details that the university values. Here are some tips to enhance your Biology personal statement with an application for Oxford in mind:

1. Demonstrate Academic Rigour:

Highlight your passion for biology through academic achievements, relevant coursework, and independent research.

Discuss specific topics or scientific concepts that have captivated your interest and showcase your understanding of advanced material. You could have a look through the 1st year Oxford Biology modules and see if anything you have explored links to material you may cover at the university.

2. Emphasise Independent Thinking:

Discuss instances where you've independently pursued scientific inquiry or engaged in co-curricular activities related to biology.

Oxford values students who can think critically and contribute to discussions, so emphasise your ability to approach problems independently.

3. Reflect on Your Reading:

As detailed above, mention books, articles, or research papers that have influenced your understanding of biology. However, don’t just list them - make sure you give your independent analysis and opinion on everything you have included in your personal statement.

Oxford is known for its tutorial system, and demonstrating that you've engaged with challenging material beyond the standard curriculum can set you apart.

4. Discuss Your Practical Skills:

Describe any laboratory work, experiments, or field studies you've been involved in.

Showcasing hands-on experience is crucial, as it aligns with Oxford's emphasis on practical learning.

5. Showcase Interdisciplinary Interests:

Oxford appreciates interdisciplinary approaches. If your interest in biology connects with other disciplines, explain how and why.

Mention any relevant projects or coursework that spans multiple scientific domains.

6. Make It Personal and Reflective:

Share personal anecdotes or experiences that sparked your interest in biology.

Reflect on how your unique background or experiences contribute to your perspective as a future biologist.

7. Highlight Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving:

Illustrate instances where you've had to think critically, solve problems, or overcome challenges.

Oxford seeks students who can navigate complex issues and contribute meaningfully to academic discussions.

8. Address Your Motivation for Oxford:

Clearly articulate why you want to study biology at Oxford specifically, without mentioning the university explicitly as the personal statement also needs to be relevant to your other university choices.

Discuss the aspects of the Oxford programme (again, without mentioning the university explicitly) that appeal to you and how it aligns with your long-term goals.

9. Prepare for Interview Discussion:

Anticipate questions that might arise from your personal statement and be ready to discuss your ideas in-depth.

Consider how your experiences and perspectives can contribute to academic discussions at Oxford.

A standout personal statement for Oxford is not just a list of achievements but a narrative that demonstrates intellectual curiosity, a passion for biology, and the potential to thrive in Oxford's academic environment. View the personal statement as a springboard for engaging discussions during interviews!

Biological Science Personal Statement Example

Siddhartha Mukherjee's "The Gene: An Intimate History" ignited a profound curiosity in the intricate tapestry of genetic inheritance and molecular mechanisms. Mukherjee's narrative skilfully brought to life the historical context and societal impact of genetics, serving as a catalyst that fuelled my exploration into the foundational works of molecular biology. Inspired by Mukherjee's narrative, I expanded my exploration of genetics through literature, delving into Carl Zimmer's "She Has Her Mother's Laugh." This broadened my perspective on the broader implications of genetic inheritance, touching on topics from heredity and evolution to the societal impact of genetic discoveries. Zimmer's adept blend of scientific rigour and accessible storytelling not only deepened my understanding of genetics but also prompted me to critically analyse the ethical implications of manipulating genetic information, shaping my conviction to approach the rapidly advancing field of genetics with a thoughtful consideration of its societal ramifications. In delving into Watson and Crick's seminal paper on the structure of DNA, I also found myself captivated by the meticulous unravelling of the double helix. This exploration propelled me beyond textbook learning into an understanding of the molecular foundations that govern life. This foundational knowledge took on practical significance as I engaged in a genetic engineering project that utilised CRISPR-Cas9 technology to manipulate bacterial DNA. . This hands-on experience not only solidified my laboratory skills but also deepened my appreciation for the practical implications of gene editing, fueling my commitment to ethical scientific practices. I learn about the delicate balance between scientific innovation and responsible ethical practices, shaping my perspective on the potential impacts of cutting-edge technologies in the biological sciences. This awareness was further honed during a summer school class dedicated to the revolutionary CRISPR technology. Here, I explored the nuances of gene editing's potential applications, ethical implications, and the ongoing discourse in the scientific community. This exploration sparked a particular interest in the potential application of CRISPR technology for targeted gene therapy, a revolutionary avenue with transformative implications for treating genetic disorders at the molecular level. This newfound fascination with gene therapy, particularly in the context of CRISPR technology, has propelled my desire to contribute to the evolving landscape of biomedical research and therapeutic interventions, further solidifying my commitment to exploring the intersection of cutting-edge science and ethical considerations. My interest in biology extended beyond the microscopic realm into the intricate interplay of species within ecological systems. I recently watched an online lecture on ecosystem dynamics and biodiversity, which delved into the relationships that shape ecosystems. This exploration found resonance in a podcast episode titled "Ecology in Action," where real-world ecological projects illuminated the practical applications of ecological principles I had studied. I am particularly interested in the study of symbiotic relationships in ecosystems, exploring how mutualistic interactions between species contribute to the resilience and sustainability of ecological communities—a concept that I find particularly fascinating for its broader implications in conservation biology and ecosystem management. Each aspect of my exploration into the world of biology has added a layer to my understanding, creating a solid foundation for further academic pursuits and a future dedicated to advancing the frontiers of biological knowledge.

Looking for a Personal Statement Tutor or Support For Your Wider Biology or Biological Natural Sciences Application?

Biology personal statement support.

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U2’s Oxbridge-educated mentors have a close insight into what admissions tutors like to see in a Biology personal statement, and can help students to convey their skills, motivations, and long term goals, in order to stand out from other applicants. The statement should be the candidates own work, but our mentors will provide direction and guide you through the process of content building and writing. We offer offline drafting as well as tuition sessions.

Oxbridge Biology Tuition

We offer Oxbridge Mentoring for students looking for support throughout the application process (book a free consultation to discuss options). We have a large team of Oxford Biology and Cambridge Biological Natural Sciences tutors including 1st Class, Master’s and PhD level graduates.

The Process:

1) We suggest an Oxbridge-educated Biology tutor and send their full CV for review. Our mentors are deeply familiar with the admissions process to study Biology at Oxford and Cambridge Biological Natural Sciences, and are well-placed to guide you through Biology personal statement curation and the interview process. We may suggest a range of application tutors to choose from with slightly differing rates depending on qualifications and level of experience.

2) We typically suggest beginning with a 1.5 hour diagnostic session , where the tutor will informally assess the student’s current performance level for application. Following this, we issue a report with feedback, and structure a plan to best prepare.

3) U2’s approach for regular Biology application sessions: The main focus of tutorial sessions will be to explore material that can be discussed in the personal statement and at interview - this may sometimes stretch from A-Level standard to First Year Undergraduate. Mentors ensure each student refines their interests within Biology, and is exposed to a range of key concepts and topics.

Frequency of sessions can be decided between student and tutor. Students can take either ad hoc sessions, or we structure a full programme for preparation, which may include further co-curricular opportunities such as our research projects , Biology Summer School and Oxbridge mock interview days . Honing the skills necessary to succeed for Oxbridge ideally requires long-term preparation and mentoring presents a wonderful opportunity to learn from some of the very best Oxbridge has produced.

Sessions from £75/h + VAT.

Your Ultimate Guide to the Oxbridge Admissions Process

How to write a biomedical science personal statement.

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Essay and dissertation writing skills

Planning your essay

Writing your introduction

Structuring your essay

  • Writing essays in science subjects
  • Brief video guides to support essay planning and writing
  • Writing extended essays and dissertations
  • Planning your dissertation writing time

Structuring your dissertation

  • Top tips for writing longer pieces of work

Advice on planning and writing essays and dissertations

University essays differ from school essays in that they are less concerned with what you know and more concerned with how you construct an argument to answer the question. This means that the starting point for writing a strong essay is to first unpick the question and to then use this to plan your essay before you start putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).

A really good starting point for you are these short, downloadable Tips for Successful Essay Writing and Answering the Question resources. Both resources will help you to plan your essay, as well as giving you guidance on how to distinguish between different sorts of essay questions. 

You may find it helpful to watch this seven-minute video on six tips for essay writing which outlines how to interpret essay questions, as well as giving advice on planning and structuring your writing:

Different disciplines will have different expectations for essay structure and you should always refer to your Faculty or Department student handbook or course Canvas site for more specific guidance.

However, broadly speaking, all essays share the following features:

Essays need an introduction to establish and focus the parameters of the discussion that will follow. You may find it helpful to divide the introduction into areas to demonstrate your breadth and engagement with the essay question. You might define specific terms in the introduction to show your engagement with the essay question; for example, ‘This is a large topic which has been variously discussed by many scientists and commentators. The principle tension is between the views of X and Y who define the main issues as…’ Breadth might be demonstrated by showing the range of viewpoints from which the essay question could be considered; for example, ‘A variety of factors including economic, social and political, influence A and B. This essay will focus on the social and economic aspects, with particular emphasis on…..’

Watch this two-minute video to learn more about how to plan and structure an introduction:

The main body of the essay should elaborate on the issues raised in the introduction and develop an argument(s) that answers the question. It should consist of a number of self-contained paragraphs each of which makes a specific point and provides some form of evidence to support the argument being made. Remember that a clear argument requires that each paragraph explicitly relates back to the essay question or the developing argument.

  • Conclusion: An essay should end with a conclusion that reiterates the argument in light of the evidence you have provided; you shouldn’t use the conclusion to introduce new information.
  • References: You need to include references to the materials you’ve used to write your essay. These might be in the form of footnotes, in-text citations, or a bibliography at the end. Different systems exist for citing references and different disciplines will use various approaches to citation. Ask your tutor which method(s) you should be using for your essay and also consult your Department or Faculty webpages for specific guidance in your discipline. 

Essay writing in science subjects

If you are writing an essay for a science subject you may need to consider additional areas, such as how to present data or diagrams. This five-minute video gives you some advice on how to approach your reading list, planning which information to include in your answer and how to write for your scientific audience – the video is available here:

A PDF providing further guidance on writing science essays for tutorials is available to download.

Short videos to support your essay writing skills

There are many other resources at Oxford that can help support your essay writing skills and if you are short on time, the Oxford Study Skills Centre has produced a number of short (2-minute) videos covering different aspects of essay writing, including:

  • Approaching different types of essay questions  
  • Structuring your essay  
  • Writing an introduction  
  • Making use of evidence in your essay writing  
  • Writing your conclusion

Extended essays and dissertations

Longer pieces of writing like extended essays and dissertations may seem like quite a challenge from your regular essay writing. The important point is to start with a plan and to focus on what the question is asking. A PDF providing further guidance on planning Humanities and Social Science dissertations is available to download.

Planning your time effectively

Try not to leave the writing until close to your deadline, instead start as soon as you have some ideas to put down onto paper. Your early drafts may never end up in the final work, but the work of committing your ideas to paper helps to formulate not only your ideas, but the method of structuring your writing to read well and conclude firmly.

Although many students and tutors will say that the introduction is often written last, it is a good idea to begin to think about what will go into it early on. For example, the first draft of your introduction should set out your argument, the information you have, and your methods, and it should give a structure to the chapters and sections you will write. Your introduction will probably change as time goes on but it will stand as a guide to your entire extended essay or dissertation and it will help you to keep focused.

The structure of  extended essays or dissertations will vary depending on the question and discipline, but may include some or all of the following:

  • The background information to - and context for - your research. This often takes the form of a literature review.
  • Explanation of the focus of your work.
  • Explanation of the value of this work to scholarship on the topic.
  • List of the aims and objectives of the work and also the issues which will not be covered because they are outside its scope.

The main body of your extended essay or dissertation will probably include your methodology, the results of research, and your argument(s) based on your findings.

The conclusion is to summarise the value your research has added to the topic, and any further lines of research you would undertake given more time or resources. 

Tips on writing longer pieces of work

Approaching each chapter of a dissertation as a shorter essay can make the task of writing a dissertation seem less overwhelming. Each chapter will have an introduction, a main body where the argument is developed and substantiated with evidence, and a conclusion to tie things together. Unlike in a regular essay, chapter conclusions may also introduce the chapter that will follow, indicating how the chapters are connected to one another and how the argument will develop through your dissertation.

For further guidance, watch this two-minute video on writing longer pieces of work . 

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How To Write A Biology Essay

Table of Contents

Content of this article

Topic choice.

  • Content page
  • Research question
  • Introduction
  • Investigation

Biology papers give us an opportunity of understanding forms that are complex in life. This, therefore, means you will have the chance to fully understand the plants as well as the animals found in the ecosystem. People are given assignments on biology so that they can fully research and have knowledge concerning the components of nature. An essay on biology also assists people in how to care for and tend to themselves. These biology papers also assist in fully understanding how the world and humanity are related. An essay on biology will, therefore, assist in answering queries and issues related to biology. The tips from our academic essay writing service may help a person to make the work professional without errors and mistakes. A primary element to keep in mind when writing biology papers is always to have a biology essay draft that will assist you all through the writing process. Biology essay topics need to be detailed so that they can be differentiated from other types of papers.

The topics of the biology papers determine the points that will be used in the article. This, therefore, means that the biology essay writing guide is dependent on the topic selected . Ensure that you fully understand what the biology essay writing expects from you and create a biology essay outline that will assist you in preparing an excellent piece. Biology essay outlining assists in the construction of detailed articles. Below are biology essay topics that one can use in biology essay writing.

Biology essay topics

  • Are vaccines necessary in our system?
  • Omnivore’s plants
  • How did the dinosaurs just disappear?
  • Did the evolution start from the monkeys?
  • Which are the most intelligent animals on the face of the earth?
  • Why do the male seahorses often carry the offspring?
  • How were the wolves domesticated?
  • The genetic mutations in plants and animals.
  • How the albino animals are different; is this trait also shared in plants and humans?
  • The process of aging in humans.

These are some of the good biology essay topics that you can use to produce an article that is standard.

Biology essay structure

The outline for a biology essay gives you clear guidelines on how to go about writing the article. The biology essay draft should go in line with the topic that the writer has chosen.

The biology essay outlining is as illustrated below:

1. The title

  • The title page offers clear indications of the biology essay focus.
  • The title should be precisely phrased and at the same time based on the hypothesis.
  • Avoid jargon for the title to look professional.
  • The title should also give the reader a quick understanding of the topic.

2. The content page

This page is located at the beginning of biology papers after the abstract and the title pages. The page shows the numbers as well as the subsections of the essay on biology.

3. The research question

The topics for a biology essay determine the research questions to be used. The research question shows what the article is trying to establish. Keep in mind that the question is not the same as the title.

  • The question in motion should be highlighted in the introduction. The content page will give the reader an understanding of the article.
  • The question should introduce new ideas as well.

4. The introduction

The biology essay introduction is the most crucial part of the article, as it will determine whether the readers will want to read more of the piece or not.

  • The introduction for a biology essay should illustrate what is being argued in the article.
  • For an introduction to be successful, the contents need to be brief and accurate.
  • Another professional way how to start a biology essay introduction is by illustrating how you reached the focus of the research.
  • The introduction should also contain the references that were accessed.
  • What might be revealed in the study should also be highlighted in the opening section.

5. The investigation

The study section gives you the chance of illustrating how the data was selected as well as its reliability.

  • You need to clearly explain, describe and justify the choice of collecting primary data.
  • Don’t forget to state the sources of the experiments. The method used should be detailed. Someone would want to repeat the same procedure.
  • Ensure that the investigations are ethical and not cruel.

6. The analysis

  • The body is the meat of the literature essay. The body covers most of the article. A common way how to write a biology essay body is by using at least three paragraphs.
  • The biology essay tips need to be relevant to the research question being discussed. The points should also give assertion to the reader.
  • Highlight the biology essay prompts as well. Elaborate on how the ideas have been used to support the question in the essay on biology.
  • For an effective essay on biology writing, discuss each point in its paragraph. This technique will give you the chance of exhausting the points.

7. The biology essay conclusion

The end of the article should be firm and sum up the whole article. The conclusion is a formal way how to conclude a biology essay. The conclusion restates the points for emphasis and makes the final argument clear. This section also gives you the chance of drawing connections between the points and questions being discussed. The conclusion for a biology essay also gives room for you to show your engagement with the essay on biology on a personal ground. The conclusion should be in a position of reformulating a new hypothesis as well as comparing the content to the secondary sources used. You can finish up the biology essay by stating the significance of the statistical tests done.

8. The references

Making citations is an essential issue in biology papers. There are quite some formatting and citation styles ranging from APA to MLA.  You should, therefore, be keen on the style specified. Referencing styles depends on the academic discipline that one is in. For instance, APA is used in psychology, education, and sciences

Archetti M 2000. The origin of autumn colors by coevolution. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 205: 625–63

9. Sources for essay choice

Sources can either be secondary or primary. The primary source refers to any work that can be accessed originally. The secondary source refers to the works that have been original, but have been produced by another person. Examples of secondary sources include books , encyclopedias, and journals among other recreated works. You can use both the primary and secondary data to make your biology paper a success.

10. Finalizing the Essay

Once the essay on biology has been written, a revision is necessary to ensure the content is in order. A standard method of review is proofreading. Proofreading gives you the chance to analyze your work and correct errors that are avoidable.

university biology essay

160 Biology Essay Topics

For most science courses, assignments are generally lab-based and rarely require much writing. However, all of that changes in biology courses when detailed essays must be written to highlight a student’s understanding of the subject. These essays are highly technical, with specific comments required to meet the factual nature of the subject.

In addition to meeting the factual requirements needed to complete the assignment, biology essays must also be written in a writing style that is informative and authoritative rather than subjective and personal.

These detailed specifics of writing a biology essay can make completing the writing difficult from the very beginning. Fortunately, we’ve created this guide to help students learn how to write a biology essay. In addition, we’ve also included 160 biology essay topics to help inspire the creative writing process.

How to Write a Biology Essay?

Writing a biology essay starts with choosing a topic. If your teacher has not already assigned a specific topic, then students must choose one that is broad enough to find credible resources and specific enough that the research won’t overtake the writing process.

To select a suitable topic for a biology essay, consider the type of biology class you are taking, the current and previous chapters studied, and the overall context of the course. These factors will help you select a topic that is likely to be relevant to your teacher’s needs and to the passing of your course.

Once students have selected a suitable topic, it’s time to research credible resources that will support the subject. To do this successfully, students need to consider the following:

  • What information is already known about this topic?
  • What topics are related or similar to this topic?
  • Who are credible authors that can explain this topic?
  • What additional sources will provide me with the information needed to complete this assignment successfully?

For example, if you want to write a biology essay on protein synthesis and its regulation at the transcriptional level, research material would include books, articles, and other written works published by credible authors or publishers. While important, this material isn’t the only type of research that should be completed.

Students may also consider consulting medical and biology dictionaries, textbooks, online research databases such as PubMed or Medline, and professional organizations for biologists to find additional sources. Once the research has been completed, it’s time to create the first draft of the biology essay.

Biology Essay Introduction

Starting an essay is always the same. Students should open with a catchy hook statement that introduces an interesting fact, presents a unique perspective, or raises a thought-provoking question.

Once that sentence has been created, students can use the middle part of the introduction to introduce fundamental concepts and provide background details about the topic.

Once that information has been laid out, and the reader knows the necessary details to make the reading interesting and worthwhile, students should move into the final portion of the introduction that answers the question: WHY is this essay important? This question is answered in the form of a thesis statement that details the essay’s overall purpose.

Biology Essay Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of your essay will contain the bulk of your research. Be sure that each body paragraph meets the following requirements:

  • One clear idea represented per paragraph or section
  • Examples that back up the point of the paragraph
  • A clear and logical flow between paragraphs with transition words

Make sure that the body paragraphs only contain information pertinent to the subject or topic. Avoid fluff or filler words and phrases that don’t add any substance or value to the writing.

The number of paragraphs in the body may vary depending on the assignment parameters and the essay style. For example, an essay with a 1000 word limit won’t have as many body paragraphs as an essay with a high word count.

Additionally, a compare and contrast essay that examines the similarities and differences between two or more biology concepts may have more body paragraphs than an argumentative essay.

Biology Essay Conclusion

The final section of a biology essay is the conclusion. In this section, students need to summarize the major points of the essay and the overall purpose for writing it. The thesis should also be re-stated to recap what has been learned from the writing.

In addition to these sentences, students should include a final remark about their research and findings. This might be a thought that ties into the intro or another interesting angle that presents a new way of looking at your topic.

Once the conclusion is completed, students should edit and review their work. Make sure that the essay is free of grammar and spelling mistakes before submitting it for grading.

When it comes to choosing a biology essay topic, it is not always as easy as it seems. For students looking for help with writing a biology essay, we have compiled a list of 160 biology essay topics that will hopefully give you some great ideas.

Biology Essay Topics About Animals

  • What is the importance of bats in our ecosystem?
  • What is the difference between a domesticated cat and a wildcat?
  • How do animals adapt to their environments?
  • What are the various types of symbiotic relationships found in nature?
  • Which animals have been known to show altruism towards other species?
  • What impact does human activity have on animal behavior?
  • What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of zoos?
  • How do animal brains work?
  • What is an animal’s anatomical structure like?
  • What are some symbiotic relationships between humans and animals?
  • What is the difference between herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, and insectivores?
  • Why are having pets important to humans?
  • What are the positive and negative impacts of commercial farming on animals?
  • Do you think it is acceptable to keep pets in zoos? Why or why not?
  • What are some common misconceptions about cats, dogs, rodents, cows, sheep, horses, reptiles/fish/insects?
  • How do animal bones support their body structure?
  • What are the effects of humans on the natural habitats of animals?
  • What are some ways in which animal anatomy is similar to human biology?
  • What are some symbiotic relationships found in the animal kingdom?
  • Can humans and animals communicate with each other?
  • How do different types of animal cells function differently than human cells?
  • Why do some animals see better in the dark?
  • Explain the circulatory system of cold-blooded animals and how it differs from that of warm-blooded animals.
  • What are some examples of mimicry in nature?

Biology Essay Topics About Cellular Biology

  • How does cell theory apply to cellular biology?
  • What is mitosis, and where does it take place?
  • What are the different parts of a cell?
  • What is a nucleolus?
  • What are the differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells?
  • How do viruses affect our cells?
  • How does photosynthesis work?
  • Why is it important to study cellular biology as a foundation for other disciplines of biology?
  • What are the functions of organelles in cells?
  • What is anabolism and catabolism?
  • How do plants use photosynthesis to produce sugar while animals break down food for energy?
  • Describe the process of homeostasis and explain how the human body maintains its internal environment.
  • What are the important parts of a cell?
  • How do cells reproduce?
  • What is the difference between mitosis and meiosis?
  • What is the importance of cellular research to humans?
  • Explain mitochondria, chloroplasts, and vacuoles in plant cells.
  • What are some of the problems with using stem cells in medical research?
  • What are the differences between eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms?
  • How do humans reproduce sexually?
  • Why is it different to clone plants than animals?
  • What are some important functions of membranes in cells?
  • What is the significance of mass spectrometry to molecular biology and genetics?
  • How do viruses reproduce?
  • What are mitochondria responsible for in eukaryotic cells?
  • What is the difference between a plasmid and a virus?
  • Do you think cloning animals should be allowed? Why or why not?
  • What is a cell cycle?
  • How do diseases affect the structure and function of cells?
  • What are some ethical issues with genetic engineering?
  • What is cell division, and how does it work?
  • Where does meiosis occur in the body, and what does it accomplish?
  • Explain the structure and function of ribosomes in eukaryotic cells.
  • What is a cell membrane made up of, and what are its important structural components?
  • How do antibiotics affect bacterial cells?
  • Do you think cloning humans should be allowed? Why or why not?
  • What makes up the cytoskeleton?
  • How are molecular structures related to the functions of cells?
  • What are some examples of biomolecules necessary for cell function and survival?
  • What types of molecules make up an organism’s genome?

Biology Essay Topics About the Ecosystem

  • What does the term food web mean?
  • Why is it important to study population dynamics in an ecosystem?
  • How do humans affect other species and their environments?
  • How can we prevent and control invasive species, and why are they so dangerous?
  • What effects does pollution have on animals and their habitats?
  • How do global warming and climate change affect the ecosystem?
  • What are the different types of animals found in ecosystems?
  • What happens to an ecosystem when one species becomes extinct?
  • What is the difference between biotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem?
  • How do humans feed off other species to survive?
  • Describe how the r-selected life strategy works.
  • What are some examples of symbiosis found in nature?
  • How does biodiversity affect the structure, function, and survival of ecosystems?
  • How does the stability of an ecosystem depend on biodiversity?
  • What are trophic levels, and how do they function to maintain the structure of ecosystems?
  • Why are invasive species dangerous?
  • How do global climate changes and human activities affect the biodiversity of ecosystems?
  • What types of organisms thrive in wetlands?
  • How do humans benefit from studying ecosystems?
  • What ecosystems are best suited to rapid climate change?

Biology Essay Topics About Evolution

  • Is evolution strictly a scientific theory, or is it also valid spiritually?
  • Why is research about the evolution of life important to our understanding of the past?
  • What are some examples of convergent evolution?
  • How does natural selection contribute to evolution?
  • Why is it important for people to understand evolution and its role in biology?
  • What are some benefits that humans enjoy thanks to evolution?
  • How do mass extinctions impact the evolution of different species?
  • How does a mutation affect a population’s gene pool and diversity?
  • Explain the core principles of Darwin’s theory of evolution.
  • How does an organism’s ability to respond to environmental changes contribute to its rate of evolution?
  • What is polyphyletic evolution?
  • What are some examples of vestigial traits in humans and other species?
  • How do eco-evolutionary dynamics play a role in evolution?
  • Do you think that past mass extinction events had an impact on evolution? Why or why not?
  • What are some benefits humans enjoy thanks to evolution by natural selection?
  • How could modern-day diets affect the evolutionary growth of humans?
  • What animals have had evolutionary changes based on threats to their diets?
  • What evolutionary response makes for the best camouflage?
  • What types of traits can be used to differentiate between closely related species?
  • What are the main factors that prevent a population from evolving?
  • How is artificial selection different from natural selection?
  • Why do scientists still debate about evolutionary theory despite overwhelming evidence supporting it?
  • What are some examples of convergent evolution in nature, and how do they function as an adaptation?
  • Why is research about the evolution of life important to understanding the past?

Biology Essay Topics About Genetics

  • What is genetic drift, and how can it lead to changes in a population over time?
  • How do the different parts of DNA interact with each other?
  • How are dominant and recessive traits identified?
  • What are some examples of genetic disorders?
  • What causes Down syndrome, and how is it diagnosed in children?
  • How does natural selection act on mutations to create variation in a population?
  • Can scientists use DNA testing to learn about our ancestors’ migratory patterns and where they lived?
  • How can animal migration help us to better understand genetics?
  • Define molecular genetics and explain how it relates to classical and Mendelian genetics.
  • What is the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, and why is it important in population genetics?
  • Do you believe that scientists should clone human beings? Why or why not?
  • Why are dominant traits sometimes called masking genes?
  • Why is genetic diversity important for long-term species survival?
  • How are epigenetic changes related to evolution?
  • What is the difference between gene expression and gene activity with regards to genetics?
  • How do developmental genes affect the appearance of an organism throughout its life cycle?
  • How have animal and plant breeders used genetic engineering to produce certain types of hybrids?
  • What are the ethical implications of human cloning?
  • What are the latest technologies in genetic engineering?
  • What new technologies are needed to make human cloning a reality?
  • How are living organisms adapting to the presence of plastics in our environment?
  • Why are some individuals resistant to certain genetically programmed diseases?
  • What are three common misconceptions about genetic engineering?
  • What is transgenic technology, and how can it be used for disease prevention or treatment?
  • How do microorganisms impact human health and the environment?
  • What are some examples of a genetically modified organism?
  • How does natural selection impact microorganisms?
  • What is DNA profiling, and how can it help to solve crimes or return missing persons to their families?
  • Why do scientists need more research surrounding epigenetics before drawing conclusions on its effects on evolution?

Biology Essay Topics About the Human Body

  • What is the purpose of skeletal and respiratory systems?
  • How do hormones affect our body on a daily basis?
  • How does the endocrine system work as part of an overall regulatory system in the human body?
  • What are some different types of cells found in the human body?
  • What are the differences between exocrine and endocrine glands?
  • What are stem cells, and why are they important to biological research?
  • How do muscles work together to create movement in our bodies?
  • How do bones help us to maintain balance while walking, standing up straight, and running?
  • What are some ways that human behavior can impact our bodies?
  • How do foods with high sugar content affect the digestive system?
  • What organs are no longer necessary in the human body, and why?
  • What blood types offer better protection from the elements?
  • What are mosquitoes attracted to some humans and not to others?
  • What pheromones do humans give off?
  • What are the different types of blood cells?
  • How does healthy eating help to maintain digestive health?
  • Why do some people get migraines that others don’t seem to be bothered by?
  • What is the pH level of human blood, and how can it be carefully regulated?
  • How does altitude affect respiration in humans?
  • What is the most complicated system in the human body?
  • Explain the biological purposes of “Fight or Flight.”
  • What role does the immune system play in human health?
  • What is the difference between human anatomy and physiology?

Choosing any of these 160 biology essay topics will help students craft an informative and authoritative essay that is sure to earn them a passing grade.

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Tips on How to Write a Biology Essay: Learn from the Example of Jellyfish Essay

Tips on How to Write a Biology Essay

How to Write a Biology Essay

In this article, we will guide you on how to write a perfect biology essay from scratch. You’ll find various tips to help you excel in writing your essay and creating a paper worth the highest grades. We also prepared a jellyfish essay example for you, so it can be easier to enhance all the specifics and structure of this kind of paper.

What is Biology Essay

A biology essay is a student-written work where you present arguments and ideas about a particular biological topic. The essay on biology can take different forms like argumentative, cause-and-effect, descriptive, detailed analysis, or ‘how-to’ instruction, depending on the professor’s guidelines and writer’s preferences. 

A descriptive paper can explain a biological subject, while an argumentative one provides evidence to support a point of view. It’s up to you to choose which type is more suitable for the topic you’re writing about. The most common type is a cause-and-effect essay explaining an event’s reasons and consequences. 

How to Craft a Perfect Essay About Biology

Writing is an art form that requires time and effort. But if you prefer someone else to write the paper for you, you can just text the experts, ‘ do my homework for me ,’ and consider it done. 

Here is the step by step instruction to organize the process for desired results. 

How to Craft a Perfect Essay About Biology

Choose Your Biology Essay Topic

To get a good grade:

  • make your paper informative and enjoyable by choosing a topic you wish to explore. 
  • Use a brainstorming technique to generate 30-50 options for biology essay topics and research to create a shortlist. 
  • Keep a notebook to jot down your ideas.

Choose a Question for Research

When writing a biology essay, use a scientific approach by selecting a research question related to your topic. Always avoid overly complex or apparent questions. You can also text our profs ‘ write my research paper ,’ and it can be done in a blink.

Create an Outline

Always have a clear plan when writing biology essays while starting a paper. Use a 5-paragraph structure with an outline to keep your main idea and arguments organized. Use any format that works best for you and adjust as needed. Discard any ideas that don’t fit your research question.

Use a Strong Thesis Statement

The introduction should end with a strong thesis statement synthesizing the overall essay, conveying the research question and your point of view. The paper is ineffective without a clear thesis, as readers may not understand your position.

Use Citation and References

Include a list of references in your academic papers, such as biology essays, to avoid plagiarism and provide data sources. Use the appropriate citation style, like APA or CSE, and consult a guide for requirements.

university biology essay

How to Structure a Biology Essay

Ensure your essay has an attention-grabbing introduction, a detailed body, and a solid conclusion with distinct sections. Use around seven paragraphs for the main body, adjusting as needed for the required word count.

Biology Essay Introduction

In the introduction of your essay about biology, showcase your expertise by providing a brief background of the topic and stating the essay’s objective. For a research paper, explain why the study is relevant. Make sure the reader understands the essence of your subject.

The body section of your essay on biology should focus on supporting and defending your thesis statement. To achieve this, make a list of essential points to cover and address each one step by step. Starting a new paragraph for each point ensures neatness and a continuous flow. 

In conclusion, restate your thesis statement and summarize supporting points to solidify your arguments. Avoid introducing new concepts, and leave a lasting impression on your instructor.

Jellyfish Essay - Example of a Biology Essay About a Fascinating Creature of the Ocean

Jellyfish, also known as jellies, are incredible creatures of the ocean. They’re members of the phylum Cnidaria, including corals and sea anemones. You can find jellyfish in every ocean around the globe, from the surface to the depths of the sea. 

Do you know what shape the jellyfish body has?! It’s one of their most unique features. Their bell-shaped body comprises a soft, jelly-like substance called mesoglea, found between two cellular layers. The outer layer of cells, the epidermis, is thin and flexible, while the inner layer, the gastrodermis, contains the jellyfish’s digestive system. At the bottom of the bell is the mouth, surrounded by tentacles armed with stinging cells called nematocysts. 

The jellyfish tentacles consist of venom-filled sacs, which can be potentially dangerous and life-threatening. Considering the severity of its sting, researchers have gathered information on how to treat it effectively. Use thick clothing, tweezers, sticks, or gloves to alleviate the sting. It’s crucial to avoid touching the sting with bare skin since the venom can cause severe harm. Always dispose of the tool used for removing the sting to prevent re-stinging. 

Jellyfish are creatures that feed on small fish and other tiny marine organisms. They capture their prey using the tentacles and bring it to their mouth. Once the food is inside the jellyfish, it’s broken down by digestive enzymes and absorbed into the gastrovascular cavity. 

An exciting thing about jelly is its life cycle. They go through several stages of development, starting as a tiny, free-swimming larva and then growing into a polyp. The polyp stage is stationary, and the jellyfish attaches itself to a surface using a sticky pad. During this stage, the jellyfish reproduces asexually, creating clones of itself. These clones then break off from the polyp and develop into the familiar bell-shaped body of the adult jellyfish. 

Jellyfish play an essential role in the ocean’s ecosystem too. They’re a food source for many marine creatures, including sea turtles and some fish species. They also help to control the population of tiny marine animals by feeding on them, and their waste products contribute to the nutrient cycle in the ocean.

However, jellyfish populations can sometimes explode and become a nuisance. This phenomenon mostly occurs when their natural predators are eliminated from the ecosystem or when water conditions, like temperature and salinity, are conducive for jellyfish growth. In cases where jellyfish populations reach excessive levels, they can clog fishing nets and interfere with other human activities in the ocean.

Jellyfish really are stunning creatures of the ocean. They’re diverse, with many different species, and are essential to the marine ecosystem. While they can sometimes become a nuisance, they’re vital to the ocean’s food web and nutrient cycle. Studying jellyfish can give us a greater understanding of the complex and interconnected systems that make up our oceans.

Practical Tips for Creating Perfect Academic Papers

Developing writing skills is crucial for your academic success regardless of your major. Check out these tips we provided for improving your writing. But if you aren't fond of writing, you can easily hand it to professionals by saying, ‘ do homework for me .’

Search for Samples or Examples

To improve your writing, analyze examples of well-written biology essays or research papers. Although not all online samples are perfect, they can still provide insights into what works and what doesn’t. However, avoid plagiarism and ensure your paper is original by presenting fresh ideas and a unique perspective. 

Read Whenever You Can

Develop your writing skills by reading widely and extensively. Look for biology papers in scientific journals, websites, or books. Don’t forget to take notes on interesting points that you can use in your papers later.

Practice Makes Perfect

Don’t expect to write a perfect paper on your first try, so take every opportunity to practice your writing. Find a mentor if needed and use online resources to learn from your mistakes and improve your skills.

Always Organize Your Writing Process

Organize your work process instead of waiting for inspiration by defining stages, scheduling time for each task, and eliminating distractions. Don’t wait for mood to write an essay about biology; use different strategies to overcome writer’s block.

Proofread and Get Other Feedback

It’s hard to assess your own work accurately. Seek feedback from peers or instructors to identify strengths and weaknesses to improve upon. Don’t wait for your professor’s feedback to know if your biology essay is good. 

Interesting Biology Essay Topics from Our Experts to Practice Your Writing

In this paragraph, we listed different biology essay topics from which you can choose your preferred one and practice writing to excel in your academic papers.

  • A jellyfish - my favorite creature
  • Facts about animal behavior
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Chemical Ecology
  • Impacts of air pollution
  • Acid Rain’s impact on wildlife
  • The greenhouse effect
  • Causes of global warming
  • Effects of climate change on nature
  • Ways to avoid water pollution

These are interesting topics and also some of the most significant environmental problems. Choose the one you like and practice.

Final Thoughts

This article provides tips that will definitely make your writing process easier and more effective. Adjust these tips while writing your biology paper and structure it as we did in the jellyfish essay example. But if you still prefer a professional to do it for you, contact us by writing ‘ do my research paper ,’ and our experts will handle it.

university biology essay

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Essay writing in biology: An example of effective student learning?

  • Published: December 1996
  • Volume 26 , pages 437–459, ( 1996 )

Cite this article

  • Petrus Zeegers 1 &
  • Lynne Giles 1  

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The views of first-year biology students ( N =337) on an essay writing assignment were evaluated by means of a questionnaire. The students were asked to reflect on the strategies they employed, the number and type of resources used, their areas of difficulty and to evaluate their own performance. The data were used to elucidate possible areas of discrepancy between the approach taken by the students and that suggested by the Biology Department via information in student manuals and evaluation criteria. The data were also compared to similar studies on student writing previously reported for students of psychology and history. Finally a series of recommendations is made to help staff to allow their students to develop improved writing strategies, minimise the possible difficulties encountered and allow the writing exercise to fulfil its desired outcome, that of being an integral part of the process of learning.

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Anderson, J., & Poole, M. (1994). Thesis and assignment writing (2nd ed.) Brisbane: John Wiley.

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Biology Essay Topics: 50+ Ideas for Your Next Project

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by  Antony W

December 16, 2023

biology essay topics

A Biological essay is a technical piece of assignment that requires careful topic selection, structure, and writing. So if your teacher hasn’t given you a title for the essay , you should tread carefully when choosing topics.

In this post, we share with you a list of 50+ Biology related ideas, which you may find useful and equally interesting during the brainstorming stage. You can use the list as inspiration to come up with a topic of your choice, or you can pick of these examples and modify it to your liking.

Key Takeaways 

  • Because Biology is a broad subject, you should choose a topic that focuses on an interesting theme or an area that you’ve always wanted to explore.
  • Check the Biology assignment prompt for guidelines on what you have to do, as these are the instructions that will inform your essay.
  • Share the topic with your teacher first, so they can give you their opinion on whether it’s a suitable one to research.

50+ Best Biology Essay Topics

Below is a list of 50+ topics that you just might find useful and interesting enough to explore in your Biology essay:

Human Biology Essay Topics

  • How does the mouse serve as a model for understanding human biology?
  • What defines the secular trend observed in human physical growth over time?
  • The significant role of medicinal plants in human life and health
  • Understanding the characteristics of human biorhythms and their implications
  • The interconnected circles of human blood circulation and the relationship between the respiratory and cardiovascular systems
  • How do neurons interact within nerve centers, and what impact does this have?
  • The influence of parental smoking, alcohol, and drug abuse on the embryonic development of a child

Controversial Biology Essay Topics

  • What are the leading theories on how life initially emerged on Earth?
  • Is there evidence suggesting that plants might experience something akin to pain?
  • Can we determine if animals possess consciousness? 
  • To what extent is animal testing essential for achieving major biological breakthroughs?
  • What defines the concept of the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) in evolutionary biology?
  • Where did eukaryotic life forms originate from and what evidence supports this?
  • Are viruses considered living entities, and why or why not?
  • What are the fundamental theories explaining the origins of the human species?
  • Why has the mystery of brain function remained unsolved despite scientific advancements?
  • Is it scientifically accurate to state that a fetus cannot feel pain?
  • What is the current understanding of the status of Nano bacteria in biological research?

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Biology Extended Essay Topics

  • How does a multicellular organism develop from a single cell?
  • What are the defining characteristics of the regeneration process in living organisms?
  • How does guided natural selection influence species’ evolution, and what are its implications?
  • What structural and anatomical features differentiate mammals, using two representatives for comparison?
  • How does catastrophe theory contribute to understanding the progression of life in nature?
  • What are the biological aspects of pathogenesis in both animals and plants?
  • How does self-regulation function within biological systems?
  • Describe the processes involved in the reproduction and development of living systems.
  • What are the fundamental organizational principles that sustain the biosphere?
  • How do different forms of movement occur at the subcellular, cellular, and organism levels?

Cell Biology Essay Topics

  • How do stem cells contribute to medical advancements?
  • What pathways in cell biology offer promising approaches for treating Alzheimer’s disease?
  • The primary research methods utilized in cell biology and how they contribute to scientific discoveries.
  • How scientists study fixed objects and the insights that this approach provide. 
  • The fundamental differences between DNA and RNA, and how do they function within cells.
  • An overview of the structure and components that constitute a cell in biology

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Zoology Essay Topics

  • What are the intricate migration patterns of birds and how do they navigate across vast distances?
  • How primate language or communication systems resemble and differ from human language.
  • Analyze how scientists analyze and manage the impact of invasive species on ecosystems.
  • Explain how different species of animals communicate with each other.
  • What historical evidence or scientific findings shed light on the domestication process of canines and its impact on their behavior and traits?
  • Is there a correlation between brain size and the intelligence or cognitive abilities of different species?

Animal Research Essay Topics

  • What factors contribute to the rising obesity rates among household pets?
  • Ethical considerations surrounding the testing of beauty products on animals
  • What cognitive functions do primates exhibit and how do these compare to human cognitive abilities?
  • How do predators and prey adapt to their roles in the ecosystem and what strategies have evolved in this ongoing interaction?
  • What variations exist in the vision of different animal species and how do these adaptations contribute to their survival?
  • The implications of fishing practices on marine conservation efforts
  • What are the consequences of removing animals from their natural habitats?

Botany Essay Topics

  • What recent breakthroughs in plant research have significantly affected modern agricultural practices? 
  • How do plants respond to various stressors and what physiological mechanisms enable them to adapt to adverse conditions?
  • Elaborate on the structural diversity and different types of fungi.
  • What recent discoveries or insights have emerged from the study of plant fossils and how do they contribute to our understanding of ancient plant life?
  • How does the process of photosynthesis function in plants and what factors influence its efficiency and effectiveness?
  • What are the mechanisms of genetic inheritance in plants and how do these mechanisms affect the traits and characteristics of plant species?
  • What are some prevalent diseases or issues affecting plants and what methods are used to manage or prevent these problems?
  • What unique characteristics define ferns, and what role do they play in the ecology and biodiversity of various habitats?

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Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

Biology Extended Essay Topics and RQs for IBDP

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It’s time for our exploration of Biology extended essay topics, a resource designed to spark your curiosity and guide your research interests in the vast and vibrant field of biology. 

Whether you’re fascinated by the intricate workings of ecosystems or intrigued by the complexities of cellular processes, this article offers a diverse range of topics collected by expert academic writers to suit your interests. 

NB! If you need assistance with your Biology assignments, you can use our biology essay writing service , which will surely assist you. Now, let’s get back to the main question of the article – BIO EE topic ideas.

Bio EE topic categories

List of biology extended essay topic categories I’ll cover in this article.

  • Impact of Urban Development on Local Ecosystems – Investigating the effects of urban expansion on biodiversity in a specific area.
  • Marine Biology and Ocean Acidification – Studying the impact of changing pH levels on marine life.
  • Invasive Species and Their Impact on Biodiversity – Analyzing how a particular invasive species has affected native wildlife.
  • Conservation Efforts for Endangered Species – Evaluating the effectiveness of current conservation strategies for a specific endangered species.
  • Climate Change and Its Effects on Ecosystems – Researching how a particular ecosystem has been impacted by climate change.
  • Nutrition and Diet’s Impact on Human Health – Exploring the effects of a specific diet on human health.
  • Exercise Physiology – Investigating how different types of exercise affect a particular aspect of human health.
  • Neurobiology of Sleep – Studying the effects of sleep patterns on cognitive functions.
  • Genetic Factors in Diseases – Exploring the role of genetics in the susceptibility to a specific disease.
  • Impact of Environmental Factors on Allergies – Analyzing how environmental changes have influenced the prevalence of allergies.
  • Gene Expression in Cancer Cells – Investigating how gene expression differs in cancerous versus normal cells.
  • Protein Synthesis and Its Regulation – Studying the regulation of protein synthesis in a specific organism or cell type.
  • Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine – Exploring the potential of stem cells in treating a specific condition.
  • Viral Replication and Host Interaction – Examining how a particular virus replicates and interacts with its host.
  • DNA Repair Mechanisms – Investigating the efficacy of different DNA repair mechanisms under various conditions.
  • Photosynthesis Variations Among Plant Species – Comparing photosynthetic efficiency in different plant species.
  • Impact of Climate Change on Plant Growth – Studying how changing climates affect the growth of a specific plant species.
  • Medicinal Properties of Plants – Investigating the medicinal properties of a specific plant.
  • Plant Defense Mechanisms Against Pathogens – Exploring how a particular plant species defends itself against pathogens.
  • Genetic Modification and Crop Improvement – Analyzing the impacts of genetic modification on a specific crop’s traits.
  • Social Behavior in Insects – Studying the social structures and behaviors of a specific insect species.
  • Bird Migration Patterns – Investigating the factors influencing migration patterns of a specific bird species.
  • Physiological Adaptations in Marine Mammals – Exploring adaptations that enable marine mammals to survive in their environments.
  • Impact of Environmental Stressors on Animal Behavior – Analyzing how specific stressors affect the behavior of a particular animal species.
  • Endocrine Regulation in Animals – Studying how the endocrine system regulates processes in a specific animal.
  • Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria – Investigating the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in a specific bacterial strain.
  • Use of Microorganisms in Bioremediation – Exploring the use of microorganisms in cleaning up environmental pollutants.
  • Genetic Engineering and Its Applications – Analyzing the applications and implications of genetic engineering in a specific field.
  • Role of Microbiome in Human Health – Studying how the human microbiome influences health and disease.
  • Yeast Fermentation and Its Industrial Applications – Investigating the fermentation process in yeast and its uses in industry.
  • Evolutionary Adaptations to Environmental Changes – Exploring how a particular species has adapted to environmental changes over time.
  • Genetic Diversity and Population Health – Studying the impact of genetic diversity on the health of a specific population.
  • Molecular Basis of Inheritance – Investigating the molecular mechanisms of inheritance in a specific organism.
  • Speciation and Genetic Drift – Analyzing the role of genetic drift in the speciation process.
  • Human Evolutionary Biology – Studying aspects of human evolution, such as the development of specific traits.

Every category and its subcategories provide a comprehensive overview, from the microscopic wonders of microbiology to the grand scale of evolutionary biology. 

With the help of our IB writers team, I have managed to collect all these ideas for you, so I hope you will be enjoying this. I aim to inspire your investigative spirit and help you select a topic that  satisfies the IB criteria  and aligns with your passion for biology. 

IB Bio extended essay topics

bio ee topics

So, let’s begin with a list of IB Biology EE topics list.

Ecology and Environmental Science

I’m stoked to talk about Ecology and Environmental Science . It’s all about how living things interact with each other and their surroundings. Think of it like a complex dance of life, where every move affects the whole scene. 

From the hustle and bustle of city ecosystems to the quiet, yet dynamic, world of marine biology, we’ll explore how these interactions shape our planet. We’ll also explore the hot topics of invasive species and their impacts, the heroic efforts in conservation, and the big elephant in the room – climate change. 

So, let’s get ready to explore the intricate tapestry of life that makes our world fascinating!

Impact of Urban Development on Local Ecosystems

  • Research Question: How does the presence of urban green spaces affect bird species diversity in [City Name]?
  • Research Question: What impact do urban heat islands have on the behavior and distribution of [Specific Animal Species] in [City Name]?

Marine Biology and Ocean Acidification

  • Research Question: How does ocean acidification affect coral bleaching events in the [Specific Coral Reef Location]?
  • Research Question: What is the impact of increasing ocean acidification on the shell growth and survival of [Specific Shellfish Species]?

Invasive Species and Their Impact on Biodiversity

  • Research Question: What has been the impact of the invasive Zebra Mussel on native species in the Great Lakes?
  • Research Question: How do invasive plant species [Specify Species] affect the growth and survival of native plants in [Specific Region]?

Conservation Efforts for Endangered Species

  • Research Question: How effective have conservation strategies been in increasing the population of the Giant Panda in China?
  • Research Question: What are the impacts of anti-poaching measures on the survival of Rhinoceros populations in Africa?

Climate Change and Its Effects on Ecosystems

  • Research Question: How is the melting of Arctic sea ice affecting the habitat and migration patterns of polar bears?
  • Research Question: What are the effects of rising global temperatures on plant and animal life in the Alpine ecosystems?

Transitioning from the external world of Ecology and Environmental Science, we now turn to the internal intricacies of Human Physiology and Health. 

This shift brings us from exploring external ecosystems to understanding our body’s inner workings, a world where lifestyle choices meet biological responses.

Human Physiology and Health

Let’s chat about Human Physiology and Health, the amazing science of how our bodies work and how we keep them ticking. We’re diving headfirst into the world of nutrition and diet – what you eat isn’t just about taste, it’s about your health too! 

Then, we’ll check out how exercise, that thing we all know we should do more of, affects our bodies in awesome ways. Ever wondered about the science of sleep and how it messes with your brain when you don’t catch enough Z’s? We’ll cover that, along with the mysteries of genetics in diseases, and how our environment plays a sneaky role in triggering allergies. 

It’s going to be an eye-opening ride through the wonders of our bodies!

Nutrition and Diet’s Impact on Human Health

  • Research Question: How does adherence to the Mediterranean diet affect cardiovascular health indicators in adults?
  • Research Question: What is the impact of a long-term vegan diet on nutrient absorption and health in teenagers?

Exercise Physiology

  • Research Question: How does HIIT affect cardiovascular fitness in young adults?
  • Research Question: What are the effects of regular yoga practice on stress and anxiety levels in college students?

Neurobiology of Sleep

  • Research Question: How does sleep deprivation impact cognitive performance and memory in high school students?
  • Research Question: What is the relationship between sleep patterns and academic performance in IB students?

Genetic Factors in Diseases

  • Research Question: How do specific genetic factors contribute to the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease?
  • Research Question: What is the contribution of genetics to the onset of Type 2 Diabetes in populations with high prevalence rates?

Impact of Environmental Factors on Allergies

  • Research Question: What is the correlation between air pollution levels and the prevalence of respiratory allergies in urban children?
  • Research Question: How has climate change influenced the prevalence and severity of allergic diseases in [Specific Region]?

Moving from Human Physiology and Health, we zoom into the realm of Cellular and Molecular Biology. 

Here, we swap the broader human health perspective for a closer look at life’s building blocks, delving into the microscopic universe that operates within every living being.

Cellular and Molecular Biology

Ready to geek out on Cellular and Molecular Biology? This is where we get down to the nitty-gritty of life – the cells and molecules that make up every living thing. 

We’re talking about the big bad world of cancer cells and what makes them tick, the fascinating process of how our cells make proteins, and the cutting-edge stuff like stem cell research and how viruses play a game of cat and mouse with our bodies. 

Meanwhile, make sure also to check our article with biology research paper topics for all students.

Plus, we’ll unravel the mysteries of how our cells fix their own DNA. It’s like being a detective, but for biology. Trust me, it’s cooler than it sounds!

Gene Expression in Cancer Cells

  • Research Question: How does gene expression in breast cancer cells differ from that in normal breast tissue?
  • Research Question: What role do specific oncogenes play in the development of colorectal cancer?

Protein Synthesis and Its Regulation

  • Research Question: How is protein synthesis regulated in response to physical exercise in human muscle cells?
  • Research Question: How do bacterial cells regulate protein synthesis under environmental stress conditions?

Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine

  • Research Question: What is the potential of stem cell therapy in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease?
  • Research Question: How can stem cells be used to repair damaged heart tissue?

Viral Replication and Host Interaction

  • Research Question: How does HIV replicate within human cells, and what is its impact on the immune system?
  • Research Question: How does the Influenza virus adapt to host immune responses over time?

DNA Repair Mechanisms

  • Research Question: How do DNA repair mechanisms change as human cells age?
  • Research Question: How effective are DNA repair mechanisms in skin cells exposed to different levels of UV radiation?

After diving into the microcosm of cells and molecules, we transition to Plant Biology. 

This shift steers us from the foundations of life at the cellular level to the diverse world of plants, exploring how these organisms harness and embody basic biological principles.

Plant Biology

Let’s dive into the world of Plant Biology! Plants are not just pretty to look at; they’re the backbone of all life on Earth. 

We’ll be talking about how they turn sunlight into food – a process that’s as important as it is fascinating. Ever wonder how plants are coping with our changing climate or what superpowers medicinal plants have? We’ve got that covered. 

We’ll also explore the secret life of plants, how they defend themselves against enemies, and the science behind making them stronger and better through genetic modification. 

It’s time to get our hands dirty and uncover the secrets of the plant world!

Photosynthesis Variations Among Plant Species

  • Research Question: How does photosynthetic efficiency compare between C3 and C4 plants under varying light conditions?
  • Research Question: What is the effect of varying light intensities on the rate of photosynthesis in [Specific Aquatic Plant Species]?

Impact of Climate Change on Plant Growth

  • Research Question: How are Arctic tundra plants adapting their growth patterns in response to global warming?
  • Research Question: What is the impact of elevated atmospheric CO2 levels on the growth of [Specific Plant Species]?

Medicinal Properties of Plants

  • Research Question: What are the anti-inflammatory properties of [Specific Medicinal Plant] and how can they be harnessed?
  • Research Question: What is the antioxidant capacity of different herbal teas, and how does it affect human health?

Plant Defense Mechanisms Against Pathogens

  • Research Question: How do [Specific Plant Species] defend themselves against fungal infections?
  • Research Question: What role do secondary metabolites play in the defense mechanisms of [Specific Plant Species] against herbivores?

Genetic Modification and Crop Improvement

  • Research Question: How effective are genetically modified crops in resisting drought conditions compared to traditional varieties?
  • Research Question: What is the impact of genetic modification on the nutrient content of [Specific Crop]?

From the stationary life of plants, we now step into the dynamic world of Animal Behavior and Physiology. This change of scene introduces us to the complex behaviors and physiological adaptations of animals, offering a contrasting perspective to plant biology.

Animal Behavior and Physiology

Let’s jump into the wild and wonderful world of Animal Behavior and Physiology. This is where we get to spy on the animal kingdom and learn about their secret lives. 

From the social gossip of insects to the globe-trotting adventures of migratory birds, animals have some amazing stories to tell. 

We’ll also look at how marine animals have adapted to their deep and mysterious homes, how animals respond when their environment goes bonkers, and the hormonal soap operas that dictate their lives. 

It’s like being a fly on the wall in the most interesting nature documentary ever!

Social Behavior in Insects

  • Research Question: How does the social structure of honeybee colonies affect their survival and productivity?
  • Research Question: What are the primary communication mechanisms used in ant colonies, and how do they impact colony efficiency?

Bird Migration Patterns

  • Research Question: How has climate change affected the migration routes of [Specific Bird Species]?
  • Research Question: How do magnetic fields influence the migration patterns of [Specific Bird Species]?

Physiological Adaptations in Marine Mammals

  • Research Question: What physiological adaptations allow sperm whales to dive to extreme depths?
  • Research Question: How do polar bears regulate their body temperature in the Arctic environment?

Impact of Environmental Stressors on Animal Behavior

  • Research Question: How does underwater noise pollution affect the behavior and communication of dolphins?
  • Research Question: What are the effects of urban light pollution on the nocturnal activities of [Specific Nocturnal Animal Species]?

Endocrine Regulation in Animals

  • Research Question: How do hormones regulate the reproductive behaviors in [Specific Bird Species]?
  • Research Question: How do stress-induced cortisol levels affect the behavior of [Specific Wild Animal Species] in their natural habitat?

Leaving the observable world of animals, we enter the less visible but equally important sphere of Microbiology and Biotechnology. This transition takes us from larger life forms to the microscopic, where tiny organisms significantly impact our health, environment, and technology.

Microbiology and Biotechnology

Alright, microbe hunters and tech wizards, it’s time to zoom in on Microbiology and Biotechnology. This is the world of the tiny, where bacteria and viruses hang out, and where science meets innovation . 

We’re going to explore the battleground of antibiotic resistance, how we can use tiny organisms to clean up our messes, and the mind-blowing possibilities of genetic engineering. 

Ever thought about how your gut buddies – the microbiome – affect your health? We’ll get into that too, along with the yeast party that’s behind some of your favorite bread and beverages.

Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria

  • Research Question: What factors have contributed to the rise of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in hospitals?
  • Research Question: What are the primary mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli strains found in [Specific Environment]?

Use of Microorganisms in Bioremediation

  • Research Question: How effective are specific bacterial species in the bioremediation of oil spills?
  • Research Question: What is the effectiveness of using fungi in the phytoremediation of soils contaminated with heavy metals?

Genetic Engineering and Its Applications

  • Research Question: What is the potential of CRISPR-Cas9 technology in preventing genetic diseases?
  • Research Question: How has genetic engineering been used to enhance the nutritional quality of [Specific Crop]?

Role of Microbiome in Human Health

  • Research Question: What is the relationship between the gut microbiome and obesity in adults?
  • Research Question: How does the diversity of the human microbiome affect immune system functioning?

Yeast Fermentation and Its Industrial Applications

  • Research Question: How efficient is yeast fermentation in the production of biofuels compared to traditional methods?
  • Research Question: How do different yeast strains affect the flavor profiles in beer brewing?

Finally, we shift from the practical applications in Microbiology and Biotechnology to the historical narrative of Evolution and Genetics. This move links present-day biological understanding to the historical journey of life, unraveling how genetic heritage and evolutionary processes shape all living things.

Evolution and Genetics

Ready to unravel the tales of Evolution and Genetics? This is where we figure out how life on Earth got to be as diverse and fantastic as it is. We’ll be exploring the incredible adaptations organisms have made to survive and thrive, how genetic diversity is crucial for the health of species, and the molecular secrets behind inheritance. 

Ever pondered how new species come into being or what genetics reveal about our own ancient history ? Well, you’re in for a treat. We’re about to walk through time and genes to discover the roots and branches of the tree of life. Buckle up!

Evolutionary Adaptations to Environmental Changes

  • Research Question: What evolutionary adaptations have enabled cacti to thrive in harsh desert environments?
  • Research Question: How have Galápagos finches undergone adaptive radiation in response to their environment?

Genetic Diversity and Population Health

  • Research Question: How does genetic diversity affect the health and survival of animal populations on isolated islands?
  • Research Question: How can conservation genetics be used to enhance the survival prospects of [Specific Endangered Species]?

Molecular Basis of Inheritance

  • Research Question: What is the molecular basis of inheritance for Sickle Cell Anemia?
  • Research Question: How can mitochondrial DNA be used to trace maternal lineage in human populations?

Speciation and Genetic Drift

  • Research Question: What role has genetic drift played in the speciation of cichlids in Lake Victoria?
  • Research Question: How does genetic drift affect the genetic diversity of small, isolated animal populations?

Human Evolutionary Biology

  • Research Question: What evolutionary factors contributed to the development of bipedalism in early humans?
  • Research Question: What are the key genetic adaptations that enable humans to live at high altitudes?

These topics and questions aim to inspire in-depth exploration and research, allowing students to delve into various aspects of biology, from molecular to ecosystem levels. 

Use them as an inspiration for your future Ib extended essay.

Select your topic wisely!

The world of biology is rich with diverse topics suitable for an Extended Essay. From the tiny intricacies of cellular biology to the broad complexities of environmental science, each area offers a unique perspective and a chance for in-depth exploration . 

The key to a successful essay is choosing a topic that not only interests you but also challenges your analytical and research skills.

Need Extra Support?

If you’re seeking guidance with your topic selection, or if you need assistance in writing or editing your Biology Extended Essay , our team at Writing Metier is here to help. 

university biology essay

Our experienced IB writers are equipped to provide the support you need to refine your ideas and enhance your writing. Contact us for personalized assistance, or simply fill out our online order form with details of your IB EE and ensure your essay is a reflection of your best efforts.

Free topic suggestions

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Vasyl Kafidoff is a co-founder and CEO at WritingMetier. He is interested in education and how modern technology makes it more accessible. He wants to bring awareness about new learning possibilities as an educational specialist. When Vasy is not working, he’s found behind a drum kit.

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university biology essay

  • April 25, 2023
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Mastering A Level Biology Essays: Smart Tips and Unbeatable Examples

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Introduction

A Level Biology is a challenging but rewarding course that covers a wide range of topics, from DNA and genetic inheritance to ecosystems and biodiversity. The key to success in this subject lies in understanding and applying the core principles of Biology and expressing your understanding in well-structured, coherent essays. In this article, we will provide you with some essential tips for writing outstanding A Level Biology essays, as well as presenting clear examples to help you master the essay-writing process.

  • Understand the essay question

The first and most important step in writing an A Level Biology essay is to clearly understand the question. Break down the question into its key terms and implications, and ensure you comprehend what the examiner is asking you to discuss. Make a note of any key words or phrases that should feature in your essay, as these will help you structure your response and ensure you cover all the necessary points.

  • Plan your essay

Before you begin writing your essay, take the time to plan your response. Create an outline that maps out the main points you want to make, as well as the order in which you will discuss them. This will enable you to develop a logical and coherent argument that addresses all the key aspects of the question.

  • Include an engaging introduction

An effective introduction is crucial to grabbing the reader’s attention and setting the tone for your essay. Begin with a general statement that links to the essay question, and then narrow down your focus to present your main argument or line of inquiry. Finish your introduction with a clear thesis statement, which outlines the central points you will cover in your essay, demonstrating a solid understanding of the topic.

Example: The discovery of DNA and the subsequent advancements in genetic research have proven instrumental in understanding the role of genetics ininheritance of traits and diseases. This essay will discuss the role of genetic inheritance in the development of several human diseases, namely: Cystic Fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as the ethical implications surrounding genetic testing and treatment.

  • Use specific examples to support your arguments

In A Level Biology essays, it is essential to provide examples that demonstrate your understanding of the material and support your claims. Try to include a range of examples from different areas of the subject to show that you have a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the course material.

Example: Cystic Fibrosis is an example of a genetic disorder caused by a mutation in the CFTR gene, which results in thick and sticky mucus production in affected individuals. This condition can lead to respiratory and digestive complications, illustrating the significant impact of genetic inheritance on an individual’s health.

  • Synthesize information from multiple sources

To demonstrate a high level of understanding, A Level Biology essays should integrate information from various sources, such as class notes, textbooks, and scientific articles. Be sure to support your ideas with specific references to the source material, and use your own words to explain the concepts in a clear and concise manner.

  • Address counterarguments and controversies

In any scientific field, there are often debates and controversies surrounding key concepts and theories. To show a comprehensive grasp of the subject matter, be sure to address counterarguments and discuss opposing viewpoints in your essay.

Example: While genetic testing for diseases such as Huntington’s has the potential to provide valuable information for individuals at risk, there are ethical concerns about the potential misuse of genetic information by employers, insurance companies, and even government entities. Weighing the benefits of genetic testing and treatment against these ethical concerns is an ongoing debate within the scientific community.

  • Write a strong conclusion

To wrap up your essay, restate your main argument and summarize the key points you have made. Provide a clear and concise conclusion that demonstrates the significance of your argument and its implications for the broader field of Biology.

Example: In conclusion, the role of genetic inheritance in human diseases, as illustrated by Cystic Fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, underscores the immense potential of genetic research to improve our understanding of human health. However, as we continue to advance our knowledge and develop new treatments and testing methods, it is crucial that we remain conscious of the ethical implications that come with such advancements in order to protect individuals’ rights and liberties.

  • Proofread and edit your essay

Finally, make sure you thoroughly proofread and edit your essay to correct any grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors, and to ensure that your argument flows smoothly and logically. Consider asking a friend or peer to review your essay and provide feedback – a fresh perspective can help you identify areas for improvement that you may have overlooked.

In summary, mastering A Level Biology essays involves understanding the essay question, planning a clear and logical response, using specific examples and evidence, synthesizing information from multiple sources, addressing counterarguments and controversies, and crafting a compelling introduction and conclusion. By following these steps and using the examples provided, you will be well on your way to delivering high-quality, insightful essays that demonstrate an excellent understanding of the complex and fascinating world of Biology.

Good luck, and happy essay writing!

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212 Unique Biology Research Topics For Students And Researchers

biology research topics

Every student studying something related to biology — botany, marine, animal, medicine, molecular or physical biology, is in an interesting field. It’s a subject that explores how animate and inanimate objects relate to themselves. The field unveils the past, the present, and what lies in the future of the relationship between the living and nonliving things.

This is precisely why you need custom and quality biology topics for your college and university essay or project. It’ll make it easy to brainstorm, research, and get to writing straight away. Before the deep dive, what is biology?

What Is Biology?

Everyone knows it’s the scientific study of life, but beyond that, biology facilitates the comprehension of living and nonliving things. It’s a branch that explores their anatomy, behavior, distribution, morphology, and physiology.

For example, it understands how genes are classified and constituted into generations. It encompasses various branches, including botany, medicine, genetics, ecology, marine biology, zoology, and molecular biology.

Here are what some of these mean:

Botany: This study of plants examines their structure, physiology, ecology, economic importance, and distribution, among others. It also deals with their biochemical processes, properties, and social interactions between plants. It extends to how plants are vital for human life, survival, and growth and how they play a significant role in stabilizing environmental health. Zoology: Zoology studies animal behavior, brain, structure, physiology, class, and distribution. It’s the general study of the lives of both living and extinct animals. It explains animal classification, the animal kingdom, evolution, habitat, embryology, and life span. Physiology: Physiology deals with the daily functions of the human body: How it works and the factors that make it work. It examines molecular behavior, the chemistry and physics behind locomotion, and how the cells in the living organisms’ body function. It helps understand how humans and animals get sick and what can be done to alleviate pain. Microbiology: Dealing with microorganisms, it examined how viruses, algae, fungi, bacteria, protozoa, and slime molds become parts of human life. They’re regarded as microbes, which play substantial roles in the human biochemical processes, including climate change, biodegradation, biodeterioration, food spoilage, biotech, and epidemiology. Marine Biology: This is the scientific study of organs in the sea. It understands their family classification, how they survive, and what makes wild marine animals different from domesticated and consumable ones. It also explores their interaction with the environment through several processes. The marine biologist studies marines in their natural environment, collects data on their characteristics, human impact on their living, and how they relate with themselves.

Now that you know all these, here are some custom biology topics to research for your university or college essay and paper.

Controversial Biology Topics

There are many controversial subjects in every field, and biology isn’t exempt from controversy. If you’d like to create an original essay through diverse opinions, here are biology topics for you:

  • What are your thoughts on the post-Roe V Wade world?
  • How can the post-Roe V Wade policy affect developing countries looking up to America for their laws?
  • Abortion and feminism: discuss
  • Does saving life justify cloning?
  • Explain the principle of abortion in medical practice
  • The effects of cloning in medicine
  • How does genetics contribute to obesity?
  • Explain why a parent could have Hepatitis B virus and only one of five offspring have the virus
  • Is homosexuality really in the gene?
  • How does depression correlate with genetics?
  • Additives and how they affect the genes
  • Examine how genetic mutations work
  • Discuss the grounds that you could prove for legalizing human cloning
  • Which is more immoral: Human or animal cloning?
  • How is nanotechnology different from biotechnology?
  • Discuss the manifestation of nanotechnology in science
  • Explain three instances where public opinion has held back scientific inventions
  • How does transgenic crop work?
  • Would you say genetically modified food is safe for consumption?
  • Explain why sexual abuse leads to trauma.

Biology Research Paper Topics

You’d need to write an extensive paper on biology one day. This could be when you’re in your final year in college or the university or submitting to a competition. You’d need Biology topics to research for brainstorming, and here are 30 of them:

  • Stem cells and tissue formation processes
  • Why are there different congenital disabilities?
  • Mixtures in anticancer drugs?
  • What are the complexities of existing HIV drugs?
  • What is the contribution of chemotherapy to cancer?
  • Examine the chemotherapy process and why it doesn’t work for some patients.
  • Explain the origin of developmental diseases
  • How do germs affect the cells?
  • What are the consequences of the sun on the white person’s and black person’s skin?
  • Why are some diseases treatable through drugs while some are not?
  • Scientific lessons learned from COVID-19 and ideas to tackle the next virus
  • If animals are carriers of the virus, what should be done to them?
  • Examine five animals in extinction and what led to it
  • Discuss the subject of endangered species and why people should care
  • Is a plant-based diet sustainable for human health?
  • Account for the consequence of living on Mars on human health
  • Discuss the inconveniences involved in space travel
  • How does space flight contribute to environmental disasters
  • Discuss the emergence of leukemia
  • Explain how the immune systems in humans work
  • Evaluate the factors that weaken the immunological system
  • What would you consider the deadliest virus?
  • Autoimmune: what is it, origin and consequences
  • Immune disorder: origin and how it affects the body
  • Does stress affect the ability to have sex?
  • Contribution of vaccine to eradicating disease: Discuss
  • What are the complexities in taking the Hepatitis B vaccine while being positive?
  • Allergies: why do humans have them?
  • DNA modification: how does it work?
  • Explain the misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Interesting Biology Topics

Biology doesn’t have to be boring. Different aspects of biology could be fun to explore, especially if you’ve had a flair for the study since your elementary school classes.

You can either write an essay or paper with the following interesting biology research topics:

  • Human emotions and conflicts with their intellectual intelligence
  • Emotions: Its influence on art and music and how the perception of art influences the world
  • The consequences of marijuana and alcohol on teenagers
  • Compare and contrast how alcohol affects teenagers and adults
  • Discuss the contributions of neuroscience to the subject of emotional pain
  • Explain how the brain process speech
  • Discuss the factors that cause autism
  • Explain what is meant when people say humans are animals
  • Why do scientists say humans are pessimists?
  • Factors contributing to the dopamine levels human experience
  • How does isolation affect the human brain?
  • What factors contribute to instinctive responses?
  • Noise pollution: how it affects living organisms
  • Fire ecology: The contributions of plants to fire outbreak
  • Explain the science behind how hot temperature, soil, and dry grass start a fire
  • Microbes: what do you understand by bioremediation?
  • Explain urban ecology and the challenges it pokes to solve
  • Discuss how excessive internet usage affects the human memory
  • Evaluate how conservation biology contributes to the extinction prevention efforts
  • Discuss the role of satellites and drones in understanding the natural world
  • Why do we need space travel and studies?
  • Explain the limitations of limnology studies
  • What are infectious-disease-causing agents all about?
  • Discuss what epigenetics studies encompass
  • Why is cancer research essential to the world?
  • Discuss climate change: Governments are not interested, and there is no alternative
  • How is behavioral science studies a core part of the understanding of the world?
  • Discuss the issues with genetic engineering and why it’s a challenge
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses in the arguments for a plant-based diet
  • Create a survey amongst students of biology asking why they chose to study the course.

Biology Research Topics For College Students

If you find any of the above beyond your intellectual and Research capacity, here are some topics you can handle. You can use these for your essays, projects, quizzes, or competitions.

These custom yet popular biology research topics will examine famous personalities and other discourse in biology:

  • Effects of the human hormone on the mind
  • Why do men get erect even when they’re absentminded?
  • How does women’s arousal work?
  • How can melatonin be valuable for therapy?
  • Risky behavior: Hormones responsible for the risk
  • Stem and cloning: what is the latest research on the subject?
  • Hormones: changes in pregnancy
  • Why do pregnant women have an appetite for random and remote things?
  • The role of physical activities in hormone development
  • Examine the benefits and threats of transgenic crops
  • The fight against COVID-19: assess current successes
  • The fight against smallpox: assess current successes
  • The fight against HIV: history, trends, and present research
  • Discuss the future of prosthetic appliances
  • Examine the research and the future of mind-controlled limbs
  • What does cosmetic surgery mean, and why is it needed?
  • Analyze the meaning and process of vascular surgery
  • Discuss the debate around changes in genital organs for males and females in transgender bodies
  • How do donors and organ transplants work?
  • Account for the work of Dr. Malcom E Miller
  • Discuss the contribution of Charles Darwin to human evolution
  • Explain the trends in biomedicine
  • Discuss the functions of x-rays in botany
  • Assess the most efficient systems for wildlife preservation
  • Examine how poverty contributes to climate hazards
  • Discuss the process involved in plant metabolism
  • The transformation of energy into a living thing: discuss
  • Prevention for sexually transmitted disease: What are the misconceptions?
  • Analyze how the human body reacts to poison
  • Russian Poisoning: What are the lessons scientists must learn?
  • COVID-19: Discuss the efforts by two or three governments to prevent the spread
  • Discuss the contributions of Pfizer during the pandemic.

Marine Biology Research Topics

This subject explains orgasms in the sea, how they survive, and their interaction with their environment. If you have a flair for this field, the following Biology research topics may interest you:

  • Discuss what quantitative ecology through modeling means
  • Smallest diatoms and marine logistics: discuss
  • How is the shark studied?
  • Acidification of seas: Causes and consequences
  • Discuss the concept of the immortality of Jellyfishes
  • Discuss the differences between seawater and freshwater in marine study
  • Account for some of the oldest marine species
  • Discuss the evolution of the deep sea
  • Explain whales’ communication techniques
  • What does plankton ecology encompass?
  • The importance of coral reefs to seawater
  • Challenges that encompass geological oceanography
  • How tourism affects natural animal habitat
  • Discuss some instances of the domestication of wild marine animals
  • Coastal zone: pros and cons of living in such areas
  • How do sharks perceive enemies?
  • Analyze why some animals can live in water but can’t live on land
  • Explain how plants survive in the sea
  • Compare and contrast the different two species of animals in the water
  • How can marine energy be generated, stored, and used?

Molecular Biology Research Topics

Focusing on the construct of cells and analysis of their composition, it understands the alteration and maintenance of cellular processes. If you’d like to focus on molecular biology, here are 15 good biology research topics for you:

  • Ethical considerations in molecular genetics
  • Discuss the structure and component of the gene
  • Examine the restrictions in DNA
  • What are the peculiarities in modern nucleic acid analysis
  • What goes into the Pharmaceutical production of drugs
  • Evaluate the building blocks of life
  • Discuss the systems of RNA translation to protein
  • PCR: How DNA is tested and analyzed
  • Why is prion disease so dangerous?
  • Compare and contrast recessive genes vs. dominant genes
  • Can there be damage to the human DNA, and can it be repaired?
  • Constraints in the research of microarray data analysis
  • Protein purification: How it evolves
  • Objectives of nucleic acid
  • Explain the structure of a prion.

Biology Research Topics For High School

Your teachers and professors will be awed if you create impeccable essays for your next report. You need to secure the best grades as you move closer to graduation, and brainstorming any of these popular biology research topics will help:

  • Identify the most endangered species
  • The challenges to animal extinction
  • What are the things everyone should know about sea life?
  • Discuss the history of genetics
  • Explain the biological theory of Charles Darwin
  • How did the lockdown affect social interaction?
  • Why do some people refuse the vaccine?
  • Origin of genetics
  • What is animal hunting, and why is it fashionable
  • Explain the evolution of a virus
  • Role of lockdown in preventing deaths and illnesses
  • Invasive species: What does it mean?
  • Endangered animals: How do they survive in the face of their hazards?
  • Lockdown and their role in reducing coronavirus transmission
  • Vaccine distribution: Ideas for global distribution
  • Why can viruses become less virulent?
  • Discuss the evolution of the world
  • Explain the evolution of the planet
  • Explain what Elon Musk means when he says life on Mars is possible
  • What does herd immunity mean?
  • Flu: why is there a low incidence in 2020?
  • Relationship between archaeology and biology
  • Antiviral drug: What it means
  • Factors leading to the evolution of humans
  • Give instances of what natural selection means
  • What is considered the dead branches of evolution
  • Whale hunting: What it means and the present trends
  • Who is Stephen Jay, and what is his role in paleontology?
  • Origin of diseases: why must humans fall sick?
  • Why are humans called higher animals?

Human Biology Research Topics

Human biology understands humans and their relationship between themselves and their environment. It also studies how the body works and the impediments to health. Here are some easy biology research topics to explore on the subject:

  • How do gut bacteria affect the brain?
  • What are the ethical concerns around organ transplants?
  • The consequence of alcohol on the liver
  • The consequences of extreme salt on the human body
  • Why do humans need to deworm regularly?
  • The relationship between obesity and genetics
  • Genetically modified foods: Why are they needed?
  • How sun exposure affects human skin
  • Latest trends: Depression is hereditary
  • Influence of music on the human brain
  • What are the stages of lung cancer
  • Forensic DNA: latest trends
  • How visual consumptions affect how humans think
  • What is the process that leads to pregnancy?
  • Explain the role of nanotechnology in HIV research
  •  Discuss any experiment with stem cells you know about
  • Explain how humans consume food
  • Discuss the process of metabolism as well as its criticality to human health
  • Explore the consistent challenges technology poses to human health
  • Explain the process of body decay to a skeleton.

Cell Biology Research Topics

There are many evolutionary biology research paper topics formed not by the nomenclature but for what they stand for. Cell biology is one of the most complex branches of the field.

It examines minor units and the living organisms that make them up. The focus is on the relationship between the cytoplasm, membrane, and parts of the cell. Here are some topics to explore for your scientific dissertation writing :

  • How does chromatin engage in the alterations of gene expression?
  • What are the usual cell infections, and why does the body have immunity defections?
  • Identify and account for the heritage of Robert Brown in his core career focus
  • Explain the structure of the animal cell and why It’s what it is
  • Identify the cells in the human body as well as their functions
  • Explain a scenario and justify the context of animals photosynthesizing like plants
  • Why do bacteria invade the body, and how do they do it?
  • Why are mitochondria considered the powerhouse of the cell
  • Use the molecular analysis tool to explain multicellular organisms
  • Examine how the White blood cells fight disease
  • What do you understand about the role of cell biology in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • What are the latest research methods in cell biology?
  • Identify the characteristics of viruses and why they threaten human existence.
  • Discuss the differences between DNA and RNA
  • What part of the body is responsible for human functionality for as long as the individual wants?

Get Biology Research Help As Soon As Possible

Creating the best essays or papers is easier now that you have custom biology research topics. However, you may still need support writing your paper beyond these topic ideas. After all, the first stage of writing like experts is brainstorming ideas and researching which is most feasible to write about.

If you truly want to wow your professor or teacher but can’t afford to dedicate all the required time, here’s an alternative. You can hire writing helpers online for quality papers at a cheap price, and we can help with that. We are a team of writers with many years of writing experience for students in Europe and North America. You can even buy thesis online with us, as well as editing services.

Each paper is assigned to writers with expertise in a specific field. This enables them to provide in-depth analysis as your assignment requires. We’re based online, which means you won’t have issues with accessibility and availability. Just tell us what you need, and we will get it done.

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Biology Research Topics

Are you in need of captivating and achievable research topics within the field of biology? Your quest for the best biology topics ends right here as this article furnishes you with 100 distinctive and original concepts for biology research, laying the groundwork for your research endeavor.

Table of Contents

Our proficient researchers have thoughtfully curated these biology research themes, considering the substantial body of literature accessible and the prevailing gaps in research.

Should none of these topics elicit enthusiasm, our specialists are equally capable of proposing tailor-made research ideas in biology, finely tuned to cater to your requirements. 

Thus, without further delay, we present our compilation of biology research topics crafted to accommodate students and researchers.

Research Topics in Marine Biology

  • Impact of climate change on coral reef ecosystems.
  • Biodiversity and adaptation of deep-sea organisms.
  • Effects of pollution on marine life and ecosystems.
  • Role of marine protected areas in conserving biodiversity.
  • Microplastics in marine environments: sources, impacts, and mitigation.

Biological Anthropology Research Topics

  • Evolutionary implications of early human migration patterns.
  • Genetic and environmental factors influencing human height variation.
  • Cultural evolution and its impact on human societies.
  • Paleoanthropological insights into human dietary adaptations.
  • Genetic diversity and population history of indigenous communities.

Biological Psychology Research Topics 

  • Neurobiological basis of addiction and its treatment.
  • Impact of stress on brain structure and function.
  • Genetic and environmental influences on mental health disorders.
  • Neural mechanisms underlying emotions and emotional regulation.
  • Role of the gut-brain axis in psychological well-being.

Cancer Biology Research Topics 

  • Targeted therapies in precision cancer medicine.
  • Tumor microenvironment and its influence on cancer progression.
  • Epigenetic modifications in cancer development and therapy.
  • Immune checkpoint inhibitors and their role in cancer immunotherapy.
  • Early detection and diagnosis strategies for various types of cancer.

Also read: Cancer research topics

Cell Biology Research Topics

  • Mechanisms of autophagy and its implications in health and disease.
  • Intracellular transport and organelle dynamics in cell function.
  • Role of cell signaling pathways in cellular response to external stimuli.
  • Cell cycle regulation and its relevance to cancer development.
  • Cellular mechanisms of apoptosis and programmed cell death.

Developmental Biology Research Topics 

  • Genetic and molecular basis of limb development in vertebrates.
  • Evolution of embryonic development and its impact on morphological diversity.
  • Stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine approaches.
  • Mechanisms of organogenesis and tissue regeneration in animals.
  • Role of non-coding RNAs in developmental processes.

Also read: Education research topics

Human Biology Research Topics

  • Genetic factors influencing susceptibility to infectious diseases.
  • Human microbiome and its impact on health and disease.
  • Genetic basis of rare and common human diseases.
  • Genetic and environmental factors contributing to aging.
  • Impact of lifestyle and diet on human health and longevity.

Molecular Biology Research Topics 

  • CRISPR-Cas gene editing technology and its applications.
  • Non-coding RNAs as regulators of gene expression.
  • Role of epigenetics in gene regulation and disease.
  • Mechanisms of DNA repair and genome stability.
  • Molecular basis of cellular metabolism and energy production.

Research Topics in Biology for Undergraduates

  • 41. Investigating the effects of pollutants on local plant species.
  • Microbial diversity and ecosystem functioning in a specific habitat.
  • Understanding the genetics of antibiotic resistance in bacteria.
  • Impact of urbanization on bird populations and biodiversity.
  • Investigating the role of pheromones in insect communication.

Synthetic Biology Research Topics 

  • Design and construction of synthetic biological circuits.
  • Synthetic biology applications in biofuel production.
  • Ethical considerations in synthetic biology research and applications.
  • Synthetic biology approaches to engineering novel enzymes.
  • Creating synthetic organisms with modified functions and capabilities.

Animal Biology Research Topics 

  • Evolution of mating behaviors in animal species.
  • Genetic basis of color variation in butterfly wings.
  • Impact of habitat fragmentation on amphibian populations.
  • Behavior and communication in social insect colonies.
  • Adaptations of marine mammals to aquatic environments.

Also read: Nursing research topics

Best Biology Research Topics 

  • Unraveling the mysteries of circadian rhythms in organisms.
  • Investigating the ecological significance of cryptic coloration.
  • Evolution of venomous animals and their prey.
  • The role of endosymbiosis in the evolution of eukaryotic cells.
  • Exploring the potential of extremophiles in biotechnology.

Biological Psychology Research Paper Topics

  • Neurobiological mechanisms underlying memory formation.
  • Impact of sleep disorders on cognitive function and mental health.
  • Biological basis of personality traits and behavior.
  • Neural correlates of emotions and emotional disorders.
  • Role of neuroplasticity in brain recovery after injury.

Biological Science Research Topics: 

  • Role of gut microbiota in immune system development.
  • Molecular mechanisms of gene regulation during development.
  • Impact of climate change on insect population dynamics.
  • Genetic basis of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
  • Evolutionary relationships among vertebrate species based on DNA analysis.

Biology Education Research Topics 

  • Effectiveness of inquiry-based learning in biology classrooms.
  • Assessing the impact of virtual labs on student understanding of biology concepts.
  • Gender disparities in science education and strategies for closing the gap.
  • Role of outdoor education in enhancing students’ ecological awareness.
  • Integrating technology in biology education: challenges and opportunities.

Biology-Related Research Topics

  • The intersection of ecology and economics in conservation planning.
  • Molecular basis of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria.
  • Implications of genetic modification of crops for food security.
  • Evolutionary perspectives on cooperation and altruism in animal behavior.
  • Environmental impacts of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Biology Research Proposal Topics

  • Investigating the role of microRNAs in cancer progression.
  • Exploring the effects of pollution on aquatic biodiversity.
  • Developing a gene therapy approach for a genetic disorder.
  • Assessing the potential of natural compounds as anti-inflammatory agents.
  • Studying the molecular basis of cellular senescence and aging.

Biology Research Topic Ideas

  • Role of pheromones in insect mate selection and behavior.
  • Investigating the molecular basis of neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • Impact of climate change on plant-pollinator interactions.
  • Genetic diversity and conservation of endangered species.
  • Evolutionary patterns in mimicry and camouflage in organisms.

Biology Research Topics for Undergraduates 

  • Effects of different fertilizers on plant growth and soil health.
  • Investigating the biodiversity of a local freshwater ecosystem.
  • Evolutionary origins of a specific animal adaptation.
  • Genetic diversity and disease susceptibility in human populations.
  • Role of specific genes in regulating the immune response.

Cell and Molecular Biology Research Topics 

  • Molecular mechanisms of DNA replication and repair.
  • Role of microRNAs in post-transcriptional gene regulation.
  • Investigating the cell cycle and its control mechanisms.
  • Molecular basis of mitochondrial diseases and therapies.
  • Cellular responses to oxidative stress and their implications in ageing.

These topics cover a broad range of subjects within biology, offering plenty of options for research projects. Remember that you can further refine these topics based on your specific interests and research goals.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are some good research topics in biology?

A good research topic in biology will address a specific problem in any of the several areas of biology, such as marine biology, molecular biology, cellular biology, animal biology, or cancer biology.

A topic that enables you to investigate a problem in any area of biology will help you make a meaningful contribution. 

How to choose a research topic in biology?

Choosing a research topic in biology is simple. 

Follow the steps:

  • Generate potential topics. 
  • Consider your areas of knowledge and personal passions. 
  • Conduct a thorough review of existing literature.
  •  Evaluate the practicality and viability. 
  • Narrow down and refine your research query. 
  • Remain receptive to new ideas and suggestions.

Who Are We?

For several years, Research Prospect has been offering students around the globe complimentary research topic suggestions. We aim to assist students in choosing a research topic that is both suitable and feasible for their project, leading to the attainment of their desired grades. Explore how our services, including research proposal writing , dissertation outline creation, and comprehensive thesis writing , can contribute to your college’s success.

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7 Magnificent University of Michigan Essay Examples

What’s covered:, essay example #1 – community in coaching, essay example #2 – community in drawing, essay example #3 – community in books.

  • Essay Example #4 – Why This Major, Political Science and Environment

Essay Example #5 – Why This Major, Psychology and Spanish

Essay example #6 (ross school of business) – solving issues with business, essay example #7 (ross school of business) – document/artifact, where to get your university of michigan essays edited.

The University of Michigan is an outstanding research institution, known for its school spirit and large alumni base. Based in the picturesque city of Ann Arbor, students at UMich are surrounded by city culture, urban nature trails, as well as outstanding students and professors. UMich is a “most selective” school, so you’ll need strong essays to help your application stand out from the tens of thousands of others. 

In this post we will share seven essays real students submitted to the University of Michigan. We will also walk through what each essay did well and where they could be improved to give you inspiration for your essays.

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Read our University of Michigan essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts. 

Prompt:   Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it. (300 words)

This summer I coached my first junior basketball team in two years, the Thunderdragons. From the beginning, this team of “misfits” was different from any I’d coached before. We were the only rookie team in the league and most of our players had no sports experience, while our opponents had spent years building chemistry together. 

The beginning of the season was a disaster. At practice, whenever I demanded attention and tried to demonstrate drills, the kids were unfocused and didn’t show interest in the sport. Unsurprisingly, our games went much like practices, with opponents often defeating us by over 20 points. This pattern continued for weeks. I felt I wasn’t doing my job correctly, and began to lose confidence in my own coaching abilities. 

Out of desperation, I finally voiced my frustrations to the team. Heart-to-heart, I asked them why they weren’t respecting me as a coach, and more importantly, never putting in 100% effort. Fortunately, they empathized with my reasoning and from then on, effort and attentiveness were never a problem. Our season culminated in a playoff game, playing a team featuring older, experienced players. We fought hard, bringing the game down to the wire, making me the proudest coach even in the face of defeat. 

Though our season ended that day, I experienced one of the most gratifying feelings I’d had in high school. Not only could I visibly see the growth in all my kids’ basketball talent, ability, and maturity, but every single parent personally thanked me for coaching their kids and more importantly, instilling a love for the game and team sports in general. I’d formed a community myself, one that consisted of my new little brothers who viewed me as a role model, and one I hope to lead to the championship next season.

What the Essay Did Well

This essay has a very solid story that is a great response to the prompt. The reader can very clearly see the community this student was a part of (junior basketball) and the role they played within it (coach). Not only that, we get a sense of the type of leader this student was and their passion for teaching and the sport. 

There is a very simple, yet effective structure to this essay that makes it extremely easy to follow—albeit a bit predictable. The student gives us an overview of the team in the beginning, explains the challenge they experienced, how they overcame the obstacle, and then they end with a reflection. While this isn’t necessarily a creative or exciting structure, it allows the student to share their story in a clear fashion.

Another positive aspect of this essay is the community this student chose: coaching a basketball team. Many students feel trapped when they encounter a community prompt if they don’t have a unique cultural background, but this essay is a perfect example of how you can write about anything! As long as you explain the essence of your community and its meaning to you, admissions officers will be happy to hear about any group you are part of. 

What Could Be Improved

This essay is a good foundation, but it could be strengthened with a more sophisticated structure and by showing, not telling. In terms of the structure, rather than following a traditional story arc, this student could have started the essay with the playoff game at the end of the season and then once they hooked the reader, they could have gone back and explained how far the team had come. Or they could have used a vignette structure to show the growth from practice to practice, game to game.

As for showing and not telling, there are many sentences in this essay that could be far more engaging and descriptive.

For example, “ At practice, whenever I demanded attention and tried to demonstrate drills, the kids were unfocused and didn’t show interest in the sport,”  could be “ ‘Circle up!’ Impatiently dribbling the ball waiting to demonstrate a three-pointer, I watched as 15 boys casually sauntered over, too engrained in an Iron Man vs Hulk debate.”

Another example would be switching “ We fought hard, bringing the game down to the wire, making me the proudest coach even in the face of defeat,”  to something like, “ 36 to 33! I couldn’t help the smile that spread across my face as we took the lead in the final minutes. The squeaking of the court as they pivoted to throw the ball to each other was music to my ears.”

Prompt: Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it. (300 words)

Every morning, I stare into the deep-set eyes of Timothée Chalamet. He springs to life from a sheet of 9×11 paper, his face chiseled by a graphite pencil. Timothée is my latest artistic pursuit. For the past four years, I have been captivated by artistry through my school’s drawing classes. 

When language fails me, art is my interpreter of thoughts, a magnifying glass to the world. But beyond beauty, drawing sparked conversation and collaboration: “Isn’t Timothée so dreamy?” one girl swoons; “Yeah, but his eyes should be darker!” another chimes in. I continue to connect with this community for its balance between appreciating art and embracing growth. 

While I may not be the most creative artist, I provide perspective. In fact, I often move around the classroom, finding the best lighting to view friends’ drawings. I’ll hold them upside-down, tape them on walls, and sit back to analyze minute details: art demands precision. Standing on a stool, I point out enlarged nostrils and disproportionate eyebrows. In turn, when I slam my pencil down in annoyance, these multi-talented individuals rescue me, highlighting the misplaced shadows of Timothée’s curls.

While chaos permeates this environment, so does genuine concern and humanity. Together, we transcend the medium, from graphite to chalk pastel. Our faces smudged with charcoal, we bond over a shared frustration with integrals and a love for Modern Family . My drawing teacher pioneered “Tell It Tuesday” questions to stir conversation and encourage community, and I’ve sought to continue this. My role is not one of excellence; rather, I am a support mechanism. From encouraging a classmate to approach a girl he likes to pacifying another’s frustration with her tiger drawing, I promote dialogue between my peers. 

Art breeds vulnerability, and vulnerability breeds connection—I will champion this at the University of Michigan. 

What The Essay Did Well

This essay starts off particularly strong, with a lighthearted, unusual hook that is sure to grab anyone’s attention. Rather than starting off by merely talking about art class, the author gets our attention first, then provides some of the details we need to understand their unique story.

After situating us within the art class, this essay continues with vivid, powerful language that gives us a visceral sense of what being in the class is like. Without even knowing the layout of the room, we are brought into the collaborative space of the classroom, and can feel the supportive, creative energy that the author describes–we can practically see peers’ drawings, the stool the author stands on, and their pencil being slammed down in frustration.

Establishing this supportive, empowering mood is particularly important because this essay is an example of a diversity prompt , which asks students to write about an aspect of their identity that would enhance a college community. This essay’s specific, grounding details shows us exactly what this student’s artistic collaboration looks like. Picturing the author holding classmates’ drawings up to the light, tipping them this way and that to get a better angle, helps us picture them doing the same in other contexts on Michigan’s campus. 

Beyond the enthralling hook and evocative language, this author also uses their essay to reveal unexpected aspects of their personality.  In an essay about a drawing class, one might expect to hear about the author’s creativity, talent, or keen appreciation for beauty. 

These qualities are definitely present, but the author focuses much more on their connections with classmates and how the whole class benefits from a collaborative environment. The author chooses to frame themselves as a support system and a helper, rather than focusing on their artistic talents, which tells us a lot about who they are as a person and how they function in a larger group. 

By effectively communicating that they view art as a tool for supporting others, rather than an individual endeavor, the author ensures their essay will be unique, even amongst the tens of thousands of others Michigan’s admissions officers will be reading.

This is a very well-written and successful essay, but even the best essays can be improved. One thing that we would’ve loved to see from this essay is an anecdote to anchor one of the more important points. There are a lot of examples that anchor this essay–like the analysis of how the Chalamet drawing could be improved, or advising a peer on how to ask out the girl he likes–but staying with a story a little longer can add depth. Talking about the specific advice they give, for example, or telling us the outcome of his peer’s attempt, would even more concretely demonstrate the aid that the author provides to their community.

At 300 words, this essay is right at the limit, but including an anecdote might be worth sacrificing some of the earlier details. As is, this essay touches broadly on a lot of the most meaningful aspects of art class, but doesn’t dive too deeply into any one aspect of the community. The best essays have both breadth and depth. 

One other area for improvement is the conclusion. The takeaway about vulnerability is a very compelling statement, but it doesn’t summarize all of the ground covered by this essay. We would’ve loved to see this essay wrap up with a conclusion that also touches on the collaboration and support that is so central earlier in the piece. 

Let’s compare this essay to another one, answering the same prompt.

I’ve played with magic, lived in dystopian societies, and traveled the world, all through a flip of a page. Ever since my dad bought me a set of Disney books when I was 3, I sparked an insatiable hunger for reading. However, I got much more out of reading than just better fluency.

I found empathy for different backgrounds and an understanding of diverse identities and cultures. I explored cultural, societal, and gender expectations through Jane Eyre , and played a game of quidditch with Harry Potter. Reading about Aly Raisman’s life and experiences through her autobiography, I began to appreciate the vulnerability of public figures. When reading a series called Flawed , I saw a girl turn her grassroots efforts into a revolutionary movement against her dystopian government. 

One day, when I was at my cousin’s house, I saw a small, strange-looking bus drive through the neighborhood. I was confused, asking my cousins what that was. “It’s our library,” they told me. Curious, I stepped on the bus to see what books they had. 

Looking through their selection, I saw a meager stack of about ten children’s books for a whole town. Only ten kids had a library book at once, and many had probably read all the books in the stack. 

The thought of childhood without books was unfathomable to me, so I started a campaign to combat the childhood literacy gap. I turned to social media to spread awareness of the importance of kids having access to books and created a network of volunteers to expand the campaign to individual communities and run workshops to read to kids. 

As an activist, campaigner, and avid reader, I helped people realize that the stories I explored through books are an invaluable experience for everyone, kids and adults alike.

The greatest strength of this essay lies in how the author describes their place in this reading community. First, they talk about the ways in which they explore new worlds, and are exposed to new ideas through their reading. These details demonstrate positive qualities such as creativity and critical thinking, which are both good ones to show off in your college essays.

Then, in a somewhat similar vein as the previous essay, the author shows that reading is not a solitary pursuit for them, but a door to a world that they want to share with others. Even better, they then describe how, upon realizing that not everyone has equal access to this world, they took concrete action to help fix this problem. This detail demonstrates that they’re aware of issues wider than themselves, and that they’re committed to making a difference. These are yet more qualities that colleges love to see in applicants, so this anecdote as a whole is particularly well-chosen.

Another thing this essay does well is demonstrate the author’s writing ability. Their varied sentence structure and sophisticated construction are just as effective as their broad vocabulary. The natural, easy flow of their writing takes us from a general overview to a specific anecdote, before a culminating declaration of what this story reflects about the author: that they are an activist, a campaigner, and above all, a reader. 

While we have a great sense of who this student is when it comes to reading, we don’t know anything about their broader reading community. In fact, the idea of a community is, for the most part, missing from this response. The author describes their engagement with reading, and then what they do individually to help other children access books, but at no point do we see them directly interacting with others, nor get a sense of which attributes would “describe [the] community,” in addition to their “place within it.”

While most college essay prompts are intentionally open-ended, you do want to make sure you ultimately answer all parts of the question. After all, admissions officers are asking for a reason, as they have some particular piece of information they’re seeking–in this case, an understanding of how you fit into a larger community, so that they can imagine how you’d fit into their own campus community.

The author doesn’t need to do anything drastic to fix this problem. Talking about who the author reads or discusses books with would work just fine–perhaps they’re part of a book club, post in online discussion forums, or just enjoy talking about their favorite characters at lunch with their friends. Whatever the case, helping the reader understand the community they’re talking about is a crucial part of this prompt. 

The other issue with this essay is the lack of a sense of time. The author describes books that they have read and enjoyed, all of which seem to be middle grade or adult novels, but they don’t say when they read these books. Then, they talk about the experience of seeing a book bus with their cousin, and realizing not all children had access to books, which feels like a discovery that would happen at a relatively young age. 

Given this lack of a clear timeline, the reader has some questions about when everything took place. Anchoring these stories in time, to clearly show when things happened and if/how development occurred over time, would help the reader better understand the story, and potentially make it more compelling as well. After all, admissions committees want to know what you’re up to and what you’re like now, not what you might have been like four or five years ago. 

Even if your points are good, if your reader doesn’t understand how they’re supposed to fit together, your ideas won’t have as much impact as they should. So, while incorporating creative vocabulary and demonstrating positive personality traits are certainly important aspects of the college essay, don’t forget about the “nuts and bolts” of your essay, like chronology. 

Essay Example #4  – Why This Major, Political Science and Environment

Prompt: Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School (including preferred admission and dual degree programs) to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests? (550 words)

“Raising livestock for human consumption generates 15% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, greater than all transportation emissions combined,” I project my voice into the chamber. “I implore this Senate to pass this bill to protect the environment for our future children.”

For a week in June of 2022, I served on a local committee focused on agriculture, conservation, and energy, where I was captivated by environmental policy that bolstered sustainability. Specifically, I proposed legislation that subsidized the cultivation of alternative protein-rich crops and disincentivized animal farming. Becoming well-versed in environmental issues from soil acidification to fertilizer runoff, I grew eager to study the intersection of environmental studies and political science to address these global problems. 

Unwilling to compromise on these varied academic interests, I am attracted to the College of Literature, Science and the Arts for its dedication to interdisciplinary education.

An aspiring double major in Political Science and Environment with a specialization in Environmental Philosophy, I will investigate the role of governing institutions in implementing ethical environmental policy. At the University of Michigan, I am eager to engage in rich, multidisciplinary dialogue with the dynamic living-learning community of the Residential College program. Through courses like IDIV 390 “Environmental Activism: Citizenship in a Republic” and “Contemporary Social and Cultural Theory,” I can not only deepen my interdisciplinary passion for sustainable environmental policy, but also receive intimate seminar-style instruction from my professors and my peers. The RC approaches communal learning through a global lens, which heightens my unrelenting desire to understand the world around me.

In addition, I am attracted to the LSA Honors Program for its emphasis on experiential and immersive learning. Through first-year seminars like “Psychological Perspectives of Politics,” I can expand my understanding of human political involvement and apply those concepts to drive social change. Furthermore, as an aspiring constitutional and environmental lawyer, the “Lunch with Honors” series allows me to interact with pioneers in these fields. This includes Professor Mark Rotenburg of Georgetown University, with whom I can explore the limitations of free speech and other constitutional protections in the social media age.

Divided between the unique opportunities for experiential learning through the LSA Honors Program and the intimate instruction of the RC, I am grateful that at U-M, I can participate in both.

But at U-M, learning isn’t confined to academia. LSA provides me with the flexibility to explore my vast array of interests. Through the Politics, Environment, and Science Lab, for example, I seek to continue my interdisciplinary inquiry into environmental policy. Working under Professor Ariel Hasell, I will explore social media’s influence on public perception of expertise during public health and environmental crises. The Michigan in Washington program also provides a unique opportunity for experiential learning; as an Intern in the White House, I will gain firsthand experience observing the churning gears of political institutions. On the Ann Arbor campus, Michigan Parliamentary Debate would sustain my global curiosity through my passion for debate, allowing me to engage in rich discussion with the diverse-minded intellectuals that call U-M home. I will also lend my Desi American voice to the Student Advisory Board to further encourage cultural appreciation. In essence, as a Wolverine, I will employ my interdisciplinary perspective and inclusive nature to lead, on campus and beyond.

This essay is an extremely detailed, well-researched response to this “Why This Major” prompt . The depth and specificity shows that the applicant spent considerable time researching not just Michigan in general, but particular aspects of the school that align well with their own interests. 

As a result, we can not only see their commitment to and knowledge of Michigan, but also envision how their own unique qualities, strengths, and interests would enrich the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. From naming the exact classes that interest them, to discussing certain professors and the work that they do, this student situates their own passions within the places on Michigan’s campus where those passions will truly shine. 

For example, they discuss Michigan’s Residential College program, the Honors program, the Politics, Environment, and Science Lab, Michigan Parliamentary Debate, and the Student Advisory program. Just as importantly, the applicant explains what they find compelling about each resource and how they imagine themselves taking advantage of it. 

One of the biggest risks with this kind of essay is it turning into a bullet point list–this applicant avoids that risk deftly, and instead builds a concrete bridge between themselves and their potential future at Michigan.

Another strength of the essay is its unique structure. Imagine if the essay had begun with the line, “I am attracted to the College of Literature, Science and the Arts for its dedication to interdisciplinary education.” While informative, this line completely loses the excitement and personal quality of the current opening, which demonstrates the student’s passion for the environment and their history of civic engagement. These details perfectly set up their later statements about how they’ll engage with their chosen programs at University of Michigan. 

There is honestly very little to improve in this essay. It is specific and grounded in detailed research, and communicates valuable information about the author’s values, interests, and abilities. 

One of the only things that can be picked at is the last paragraph: not because of content, but because of structure. In your college essays, you generally want to avoid long paragraphs like this one, as they make your points more difficult to digest. Admissions officers are reading essays all day long, so they want information to be presented simply, one point at a time. Throwing so much at them at once without any breaks means they don’t have a chance to reflect on anything you’re saying, which means your ideas won’t be as impactful as they could be.

Additionally, it is worth noting that the author left 50 words on the table. While you don’t necessarily have to hit the word count on the dot, as the exact number of words you use depends on your particular phrasings and grammatical choices more than content, you ideally want to get within 10-15 words. Even for this relatively long supplement, 50 words is almost 10% of the count. College applications are already incredibly restrictive in the amount of information they allow you to share about yourself–don’t voluntarily limit yourself even further!

Obviously, though, you don’t want to just add fluff to fill the space. So, what could this student add to make their essay stronger?

The link between the opening anecdote and the rest of the essay could be strengthened, or the opening anecdote could be referenced throughout the rest of the essay to strengthen the image of the author as a civic-minded environmentalist. For example, when they mention the Michigan in Washington program, they could talk about their desire to build on the skills they learned from serving on their local committee.

Alternatively, this student could talk about the future they envision beyond their time in Ann Arbor. At the very end of the essay, the student mentions leading “on campus and beyond.” What does this tantalizing ‘‘beyond” look like, and how will University of Michigan help them get there? 

Or, after breaking up the last paragraph into two or three smaller bites, they could use their extra words to add transitions, to ensure the flow of their writing is still smooth.

Remember, this is still a superior essay. If anything, the disappointment of 50 words being left unused stems primarily from the fact that the page is already full of excellent writing, dedicated research, and demonstrations of the student’s character, so there’s no doubt that those extra words would also be used to add something of value.

An aspiring trilingual clinical psychologist, I am drawn to the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts because it’s loaded with opportunities to build me into a scholar with a heart for service.

As a Psychology major and Spanish minor, I will satisfy my pursuit of academic excellence with LSA’s inexhaustible course offerings. Curious how songwriting helps me remember difficult words, I’ll find the answer from Psych 211-002: Mind, Music, and Community. As I learn what music does to the human mind through this exciting experiential course, I hope simultaneously to brighten the day of local seniors and children by playing the flute for them. While I will continue to explore indigenous cultures through the mythology my Latinx friends tell me outside of class, I look forward to examining these communities from an academic standpoint through Spanish 472 – Indigenous Societies. The combination of oral traditions and classical texts will deepen my knowledge of, and appreciation for, Latin American countries’ indigenous roots. Because of the variety of offerings LSA provides, I’ll get to zoom in on my specific topics of interest in psychology and Hispanic cultures. 

An advocate for pursuing academic excellence, not perfectionism, I hope to join the Chang Lab to investigate how race and culture give rise to perfectionism, applying my knowledge in Psychology to advance the science of well-being. With our common ethnic background, I’m especially intrigued by Dr. Chang’s studies regarding the Asian community. After gaining more research experience, I will write an honors thesis with Professor Nestor Lopez-Duran to research mental illness treatment. I want to develop a new form of psychotherapy combining ASMR and talk therapy, and I hope that our research contributes to this cause. 

Joining the Residential College will be the cherry atop my LSA sundae. Beyond the courses, alumni network, and research opportunities, I’ll get to share my opinions and consider others’ in small classrooms. I can’t wait to take the residential college writing seminar Psychology of Creativity and join the language lunch table to practice speaking Spanish outside the classroom. As someone who sought out native speakers to talk incessantly in Spanish about mythology, I hope to find other Spanish lovers at RC with whom I can practice my language skills. I will also participate in the Multicultural Psychology in Argentina program, traveling to Buenos Aires to learn the Argentine perspective on mental health. This cross-cultural exchange is crucial in helping me build an empathetic mindset as a clinical psychologist, arming me with tools to help people of different cultural backgrounds.

This student has clearly done their research on UMich for this response to the classic “Why Major?” prompt! They come across as focused, dedicated, and passionate because of the details they include across multiple disciplines and opportunities. However, despite including many UMich resources, it doesn’t come across as name-dropping because the student elaborated on each point.

Telling the reader things like, “ The combination of oral traditions and classical texts will deepen my knowledge of, and appreciation for, Latin American countries’ indigenous roots,”  and “ I want to develop a new form of psychotherapy combining ASMR and talk therapy, and I hope that our research contributes to this cause, ” helps us appreciate what this student values and hopes to accomplish with a UMich education.

Ultimately, this essay gives a very strong impression of the reader. Right from the first sentence, they refer to themselves as “ An aspiring trilingual clinical psychologist,” and every subsequent idea builds on that. Whether they are discussing psychology, Spanish, or their Asian heritage, we walk away from the essay knowing that all three of these are important to this student’s identity, making them much more memorable.

While this essay shows a high level of research and interest in the school, it would benefit from more of a focus on the student—after all the point of your essay is to convince UMich to admit you . In the ideal essay, descriptions of UMich programs and self-descriptions should weave together to form a seamless trajectory. If this student were to rework their essay, they could organize their paragraphs according to their values or interests, rather than organizing them by the type of UMich program that they are discussing (i.e. coursework, research, extracurriculars). 

  • Paragraph 1: What the student values about Psychology and how UMich courses and the honors thesis program can support those values
  • Paragraph 2: Why the student believes Psychology must be supplemented by studies of race, ethnicity, and culture and how UMich’s Spanish programs and Chang lab would advance that belief
  • Paragraph 3: How the student thinks it is important to simultaneously use the academic setting and social/residential setting to advance their interests and goals (still regarding the interactions between psychology and culture!) and how a Residential College would accomplish this

These paragraphs would help the UMich facts to make more sense and feel less random (because readers would know why they matter to the writer), while also giving the essay, and, in turn, the writer themself, more depth.

Prompt: Choose a current event or issue in your community and discuss the business implications. Propose a solution that incorporates business principles or practices. The review panel will look for creativity, drawing connections, and originality.

Eating a slice of pizza, the only thing running through my mind was the amount of fat and grease I consumed, guilty that I exceeded my self-imposed calorie limit. 

Struggling with an eating disorder was one of the most mentally deteriorating and isolating experiences I had ever had. I had no one to cry to when guilty about eating my last meal or celebrate with when eating a “fear food.” 

I realized that people with an eating disorder need an instant connection with others who understand their situation, so I decided to develop an app to help people struggling with an eating disorder find emotional support and validation. 

I conducted market research to identify a unique selling proposition for an app that would be scalable and sufficiently address a deficit in eating disorder support. Noticing that the eating disorder support apps on the app store lacked chatting features to connect users, I started developing an app design with a vision for a peer support platform. 

In my app design, I created an instant chat feature where users could request a friend to talk to with a click of a button. To foster a stronger sense of unity and camaraderie, I incorporated resource and blog pages, a support forum, and a daily positive notification so people can start their day on the right note. To cater to a larger market, I incorporated high feature diversification in my plan.

Due to my limited coding background, I found volunteer developers who are working to bring my vision to life. However, as they developed the app, I curated a business plan and led a team of 20 to help me execute it. 

First, I identified the critical success factors of the app. I conducted a SWOT analysis to pinpoint the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the business model. I noticed that competing apps lacked a strong brand and other resources beyond their software, so I evaluated our strengths to be our diverse offerings and cohesive values. In our market, I identified opportunities in forging relationships with professionals and social media influencers.

From there, I created a strategic plan, identifying my brand and mission values to spread hope and community to uplift people struggling with an eating disorder. I worked to build our brand through Instagram and TikTok, posting positive eating disorder affirmations and posts about facing fear foods and body positivity. Through a stories project, where we collected stories from our followers, we created inspiring short videos and graphics to remind people that they aren’t alone. I hosted a few lighthearted social virtual game nights to distract people from their struggles and connect with others in a similar position.

I prioritized brand relationships to work with influencers and professionals who generally had an extensive network and following base. I started an events series with speakers to provide people with live professional advice. We developed relationships with our speakers so they could promote our app and use their networks with other professionals to spread our word. In collaboration with social media influencers, we partnered on content like blog articles, short videos, or even Instagram takeovers to expand our social media presence.

Though my app still hasn’t been published, I will continue to utilize my platform to empower eating disorder warriors. My journey through bringing people a safe place to find consolation and inspiration has only just begun. 

The first striking thing about this essay is that the author chooses to introduce this essay with a story of personal struggle, which clearly shows their reason for choosing to develop this app, their dedication to the project, and their personal investment in the community being helped. Their vulnerability and honesty make a deep impression and establish an immediate understanding of who they are as a person. The prompt only asks that applicants propose a business venture for their community, so this applicant is going above and beyond by choosing such a personal topic. 

The strength of this response also comes from the fact that the author isn’t talking about a hypothetical–they’re describing work that they have actually done. As a result, they can provide a comprehensive breakdown of what they did, from developing the app, to generating social media buzz, engaging with influencers, and leading a team. The work that this student describes demonstrates myriad talents, from self-awareness, to dedication, to big picture thinking, which all speak to their potential as a Michigan student.

However, you don’t need to share your most personal stories, or have already created your own app, to write a powerful response to this prompt. Rather, the bigger picture takeaways should be:

  • Think about how you can demonstrate vulnerability in your own story, in a way that you’re comfortable with.
  • Don’t be afraid to think creatively and expansively about a prompt.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to write a compelling essay about any topic.

This is an extremely strong and impressive essay, and there are very few things that can be improved. If we’re going to split hairs, the structure is somewhat repetitive, and overly direct. While you might think business school admissions officers in particular will appreciate you getting right to the point, generally speaking you want the structure of your essay to be a bit more varied, as if readers feel like they don’t know what’s coming, linguistically as well as narratively, they’re likely to stay more engaged.

The essay could also benefit from the incorporation of more vivid details. The beginning is very vivid, with the description of eating a slice of pizza, but after that, the essay is pretty straightforward. Diving more deeply into another anecdote, or using descriptive language to help the admissions committee better visualize the story’s events, are always strong choices. 

For example, this applicant could tell us about one of the stories they collected from their “stories project,” or about a particular piece of advice one of their speakers gave during the events series. The content of this essay is already extremely strong, but polishing up the writing itself could bring out the applicant’s positive qualities even more emphatically.

Prompt: Upload a document or artifact that represents something significant about your life to show your learning in action. Describe how your artifact demonstrates your learning in action.

The “Evolution of Disney Princesses” was the first article I had ever written for my school newspaper. Though the experience was initially daunting, this article drew me into the world of journalism through my fascination with perspectives. As a kid, I looked up to Disney princesses, but as a freshman in high school, I realized that their primary roles were to reinstate the patriarchy. Snow White’s whole worth as a character was her strong housework skills and her dreams for a man she had only met once. Aurora was asleep almost the entire movie, which instead highlighted her male counterpart’s bravery and courage. I realized that Disney was reinstating societal expectations through these early movies and training young girls to grow up with the same aspirations.

This was my first article, so it was expectedly rough around the edges. However, even with the rough start, I was able to project my voice and show that Disney Princesses have gradually become independent, empowered, and an inspiration to young girls. I shared my perspective by discussing the portrayal of women and our progress as a society, projecting social progress and feminism in a different light. I celebrated our progress through something as seemingly trivial yet influential as Disney princesses, the idol of many young girls. Using creativity to voice my opinions, I sparked an interest in writing and continued to work with the newspaper, using my unique lenses to tell my own story.

This essay does a great job of showing off the author’s ability to think and write critically. We also see that they don’t have just a journalist’s inquisitive mind, but also a passion for feminism and deep social awareness. And, like the previous writer, this applicant isn’t afraid to be vulnerable: they talk openly about a time when they doubted their writing ability, chose to write for the school newspaper anyway, and nurtured their interest in writing, activism, and feminism. 

Admitting self-doubt in college essays can feel uncomfortable, since you’re obviously trying to put your best foot forward. However, resilience is a quality admissions officers value highly, as college is going to throw curveballs at everyone, no matter how talented they are, and the only way to demonstrate resilience is by telling a story about a time when you had to persevere.

Reading this article from the applicant’s freshman year will also allow admissions officers to see the growth in their writing ability over time, which makes the document especially well-chosen: it isn’t just a jumping off point for the response, but actually complements the essay. While showing this kind of growth over time can be tricky, since not all documents/artifacts lend themselves to direct comparison, the broader message is to choose something that won’t stand alone, but will ideally enhance some other element(s) of your application.

In a very brief essay, this author manages to pack in a ton of information about the kind of person they are, the positive qualities they have, and the challenges they overcame to become that person. As a result, their response to this prompt is not only effective, but packs a real emotional punch.

Though this is a very strong essay, it could benefit from a bit more specificity. Quotes like “projecting social progress and feminism in a different light” are powerful, but vague–what is the different light? 

Now, this question might be answered by the article “The Evolution of Disney Princesses,” which this student did not provide to CollegeVine, but being precise in the moment is always a good idea. Admissions officers have tens of thousands of applications to read, so if you can save them even a few seconds by not making them look back over your document to see what you’re talking about, they will appreciate it!

Similarly, the essay later mentions the author’s “unique lenses,” but doesn’t explain what these unique lenses are. This would be a great opportunity for the author to include a bit more personal information, such as what Disney princesses, or traditional femininity, mean to them, which would in turn give admissions officers a clearer sense of what this student would contribute to a Michigan classroom.

Overall, as strong as this essay is, and as many good qualities as it demonstrates, it doesn’t tell us a lot about the author’s personality, or their personal connection to this theme. The best essays don’t just tell admissions teams what you care about, they tell readers why you care, and also don’t just state which strengths you have, but also explain how they come together to create a complete person. Telling your story as comprehensively as possible will ensure admissions officers are as invested in you personally as they are in the topic/cause you’re talking about.

Do you want feedback on your University of Michigan essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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Processes of Life: Essays in the Philosophy of Biology

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John Dupré,  Processes of Life: Essays in the Philosophy of Biology , Oxford University Press, 2012, 320pp., $55.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199691982.

Reviewed by Robert A. Wilson, University of Alberta

This collection of sixteen essays, all but three of which have been published in the past five years, provides not only a glimpse into the mind of one of the leading philosophers of biology but also a keen sense of some of the new directions that the field has taken over the past decade. Despite the inevitable repetition one encounters across the essays, this will be a useful volume for those in the field to have. Dupré's writing is crisp and engaging, and given his focus on areas of biological science beyond those that have constituted the bread-and-butter of philosophical discussions, the volume should appeal as well to those wondering what all the excitement has been about in recent philosophy of biology.

One of the chief themes of these essays continues Dupré's signature resistance to reductionism in the philosophy of science in general and the philosophy of biology in particular, a resistance first expressed in Dupré's "Natural Kinds and Biological Taxa" (1981) and developed in his The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science (1993). In Dupré's view, reductionism, unificationism, and monism, as closely related, general philosophical positions, are badly mistaken as views of the nature of science, especially the biological sciences. In their place, Dupré continues to advocate pluralistic views of scientific categories, methodology, and practice with the first essay, "The Miracle of Monism", arguing against monism because of its putative incompatibility with empiricism.

A second thematic thread that runs through the volume stems from Dupré's reflections on specifically biological phenomena and the concepts invoked to capture those phenomena. Chiefly through joint work with Maureen O'Malley that is reprinted here, Dupré sounds the siren loud and clear for the significance of the microbial world for a range of general views that both philosophers and biologists alike have taken for granted. The microbial world has come to occupy more central territory in a range of biological sciences in the past 50 years -- not only in epidemiology and disease-centred sciences and practices, but also in more obviously philosophically salient research on the levels of selection, on the early history of life, and on systematics and phylogeny. Dupré's view is that neglecting the microbial amounts to a damaging and limiting "macrobist" bias in the field. For example, attending to findings about the microbial world and its relation to the macrobial world provides reason to rethink our concept of a biological individual, and to view post-genetic research programs, such as metagenomics, with some enthusiasm. Dupré's Spinoza Lectures at the University of Amsterdam, "The Constituents of Life", reprinted as chapters 4 and 5, contain perhaps his clearest arguments for pluralism that appeal to the microbial world.

Dupré not only critiques some received views in the field but also offers more positive suggestions about how to think about life, organisms, and the organization of the biological world more generally. Two ideas pervade Dupré's more constructive thinking about key concepts and views about the biological world: the idea that living things in general and organisms in particular are processes, not entities, and the position that he calls promiscuous individualism.

To unpack this tantalizing coinage and to get some sense of how the microbial world is significant for such constructive views, consider symbiosis, the tight, mutually beneficial interdependence between two living things (typically organisms) that is typified by lichens, which are composite organisms made up of a fungus and either a cyanobacterium or some other photosynthesizing organism, such as green algae. Here is what Dupré says about symbiosis in describing the content of one of the essays in the volume:

Here I make for the first time the argument that the omnipresence of symbiosis should be seen as undermining the project of dividing living systems unequivocally into unique organisms, a conclusion I refer to in later chapters as 'promiscuous individualism', in parallel with my doctrine of promiscuous realism about species. (p.8; cf. p.241)

In this case, the appeal is to the putative pervasiveness of a given phenomenon (symbiosis) as the grounds for endorsing pluralism about organisms. Applying Dupré's well-known promiscuous realism here, we have not only the epistemic view that there are many legitimate ways to classify the world into biological individuals, including organisms, but the corresponding ontological view that such legitimation is provided by there being multiple biological individuals there to classify.

One sensible consequence of this view is that there is, at least often enough, no unique answer to the questions, asked of a particular biological situation, "How many biological individuals/organisms are there here?". As Dupré says, "what an organism is, and whether something is part of an organism or not, are not questions that necessarily admit of definitive answers" (p.153). But one should not under-estimate how ontologically radical promiscuous individualism is, and might even wonder whether the implied "not necessarily" here should be the stronger "necessarily do not".

For example, in the case of lichens, in challenging the view that there is just one organism (the lichen) or two organisms (the fungus and the cyanobacterium), an advocate of promiscuous individualism can readily make the case that there are three organisms (the lichen, the fungus, and the cyanobacterium), pointing to the different purposes and goals one might have in opting for either of the more monistic counts of organism numbers here. But given that it is a population of millions of cyanobacteria inhabiting any given fungus that jointly compose a lichen, and that there are multiple ways to draw the boundary between individual fungi of a given species, promiscuity runs rampant here. Dupré himself holds that populations of organisms, including multispecies populations, such as those found in microbial biofilms, can themselves be both biological individuals and organisms (pp.89, 175-176, 194, 203), and that "Whether a group of microbes is a closely connected ecological community or an organism may be a matter of biological judgment" (p.153). Promiscuous individualism thus seems to imply that there are many, many different numbers of individuals present in this paradigm case.

In the preceding paragraph I have shifted between talk of biological individuals and of organisms, and Dupré is clear (e.g., p.207) that the former cannot simply be equated with the latter (see also Wilson and Barker 2012). But what of these and kindred concepts -- biological individual, organism, living thing, life -- themselves? Like pluralism about species, an interesting pluralism about these biological phenomena needs to be more than some kind of disjunctivism about the corresponding concept. In "Varieties of Living Things" (chapter 12), written with O'Malley, Dupré advocates a more complete survey of the putative kinds of living things there are than philosophers of biology are usually content with, calling attention to prions, plasmids, and organelles in addition to more familiar, large, multicellular life forms. Of living things themselves, O'Malley and Dupré say that "matter is living when lineages are involved -- directly or indirectly -- in metabolism" (p.206), and view collaboration as a more central feature of living things than it is often acknowledged as being.

But O'Malley and Dupré are less clear both about how to move beyond these imprecise characterizations of living things and about the relationship between these interesting claims and promiscuous individualism, or how we should think about the various other putative criteria for life, such as reproduction, spatial boundedness, and evolvability. For example, while they rightly point to problems in identifying the exact physical boundaries for individual biological entities as a reason to question whether that criterion is strictly necessary, they appear to take the ability to reproduce to be a necessary condition for being a living thing (pp.208, 224), despite the fact that many organisms do not (and cannot) themselves reproduce. In addition, reproduction and metabolism, as central as they are to their view of living things, remain largely unexplained, despite the attention they have received in the work of others, such as James Griesemer and Peter Godfrey-Smith.

While I sympathize with Dupré's view that organisms are not the only biological entities of significance, the inferences one can draw from this point remain unclear. Consider "Metagenomics and Biological Ontology" (chapter 11), where Dupré and O'Malley argue that the metagenome, the set of genomic resources in a given environment, is a communal resource

and that the entity to which the resource is available is a coordinated, developing, multifunctional, multicellular organism composed of large numbers of cells of different varieties and capabilities, able to work in ways in which the collectivity regulates the functions of individuals (p.200).

Even in the space of this short sentence, a number of questions arise. First, why should we think that there is such a single entity at all, especially if we are proponents of promiscuous individualism? Second, what is the concept of an organism that would support the view that this entity is an organism? (For a pluralist, the same question could be asked of the various entities that make use of this communal resource.) Dupré and O'Malley later talk of biofilms as "organism-like communities" (p.203), and may not strictly endorse the biological ontology of metaorganisms that they at least seriously entertain. Yet this does not obviate but instead highlights the need for some more sustained, positive discussion of what organisms are. One issue is whether Dupré's pluralism implies that the question of whether metagenomics entails the existence of metaorganisms is misplaced.

Regarding organisms themselves, Dupré is clear enough about what they are not: they are not to be identified monogenomically, or as the sole kind of living thing, or as the only or even primary unit of selection. But what are organisms, on Dupré's view, and how are they distinguished from other biological individuals? Dupré identifies organisms as dynamic entities, as processes (not things), as life cycles, as collaboratively oriented, and as determined by the communities they form a part of as well as by what they are constituted by. When he says that "functioning biological individuals are typically symbiotic wholes involving many organisms of radically different kinds" (p.9), Dupré is clearly identifying something significant about both organisms and biological individuals more generally, much as he does when he identifies living things as existing at the intersection of metabolism and lineage. But he is reluctant, perhaps consistently so given his promiscuous individualism, to embrace the idea that there is a single criterion, or set of criteria, that the concept of an organism answers to. The tension that exists between this reluctance and the defence of particular claims about organisms (e.g., that there are metaorganisms) raises the question of whether a promiscuous individualist like Dupré owes us something more informative about what organisms are.

Similar questions might be asked about a range of other issues that Dupré discusses: whether viruses are living things (e.g., p.91), whether a gene really is "any bit of DNA that anyone has reason to name and keep track of" (p.112), and whether, referencing reductionism, genomics is best thought of as "the successor science to genetics that rejects this obsolete epistemology and methodology" (p.115). Dupré's discussion of all three of these issues can come across as flippant at times, in the last case raising some questions about another thread that runs through this volume, one concerning the social locatedness of the biological sciences.

Dupré knows the effects that misdirected biology has had with respect to race and gender, and apart from an essay dedicated to the former (chapter 15, "What Genes Are, and Why There are No 'Genes for Race'"), the volume also contains papers on the concept of disease and evolutionary psychology, the latter of these extending Dupré's critique from his Human Nature and the Limits of Science (2002). In fact, sensitivity to the social context in which both theory and practice in the biological sciences develop is manifest throughout much of the volume. This can make Dupré's enthusiasm for metagenomics seem strangely glib, especially given Dupré's anti-reductionism and that metagenomics itself might be seen as extending the reach of reductive research programs focused on those small agents of life, genes. More explicit reflection by Dupré on the social context not only of metagenomics but of the other theoretical directions in biology that these essays direct us to, such as developmental systems theory and epigenetics, would be a welcome complement to Processes of Life .

Dupré, J., 1981, "Natural Kinds and Biological Taxa", Philosophical Review , 90: 66-90.

Dupré, J., 1993, The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science . New York: Oxford University Press.

Dupré, J., 2002, Human Nature and the Limits of Science . New York: Oxford University Press.

Wilson, Robert A., and M.J. Barker, 2012, "The Biological Notion of Individual", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy , revised version in press.

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