He was educated at the school in Dunblane, and then at Glasgow University.
Haldane became a private tutor, first in the family at Leddriegreen, Strathblane, and later ith Colonel Charles Moray of Abercairnie. On 5 December 1797 he was licensed as a preacher by the presbytery of Auchterarder, but he did not obtain a charge quickly. In August 1806 he was presented to the church of Drummelzier, in the presbytery of Peebles, and was ordained on 19 March 1807.
When the chair of mathematics became vacant in the University of Saint Andrews in 1807, Haldane was appointed to the professorship, and resigned his charge at Drummelzier on 2 October 1809.
He remained in the post till 1820, when he was promoted by the crown to the pastoral charge of Saint Andrews parish, vacant by the death of Principal George Hill, Doctor of Divinity His predecessor had held the principalship of Saint Mary"s College in Saint Andrews in conjunction with his ministerial office, and the same arrangement was followed in the case of Haldane, who was admitted on 28 September 1820. As principal he was ex officio primarius professor of divinity.
At the time of the disruption of 1843 Haldane was called to the chair ad interim. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1820, his proposers being George Dunbar, Robert Jameson, Alexander Brunton and Patrick Neill.
He died at Saint Mary"s College, Saint Andrews, on 9 March 1854, in his eighty-third year, and was buried in the cathedral cemetery there.
The grave lies on the north wall just left of the distinctive white military memorial to Lieutenant Colonel Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair. Haldane"s marble inscription is badly eroded. His portrait was in the hall of the university library at Saint Andrews.
He was succeeded by John Tulloch.
Haldane"s only publication was a small work relating to the condition of the poor in Saint Andrews (Cupar, 1841).