Medical, Life and Geo Sciences Pathway

Our excellent reputation for research and teaching is recognised throughout all schools. You will have access to purpose-built facilities specifically equipped for work within your chosen field.

Advances in the Life Sciences are having a profound impact on our daily lives across the globe, in areas such as conservation, food security, medicine, exercise and sport.
You may want to take a degree in Biology, the study of life, or Human Biology, where you will focus on the biology of our own species. Both of these degrees cover genetics, physiology, cell biology, evolution and development, and Biology additionally covers ecology and plant biology. In contrast, Biochemistry deals with the whole range of living organisms and diseases, and explores how they work at the molecular level.

Alternatively, you may be interested in Sport and Exercise Sciences, which looks at how the human body works, and how sport and physical activity can help people to be healthy. Keeping people healthy and returning them to their full potential following injury or disease is the focus of the Physiotherapy programme. Sport, Physical Activity and Coaching Science is for those who are interested in pursuing a vocational career in the broad field of sport, education and coaching.
If you study Psychology, you will learn about human behaviour, the brain and the mind, before specialising in an aspect of this later on in the programme.

Some of our degrees have a more clinical or medical focus. You may decide to study Medical Science, a course that ranges from molecular aspects of cells, through to tissues and organs, with a focus on the scientific basis of medicine. Pharmacy is a professionally regulated degree that links the chemical, biological, pharmaceutical and healthcare sciences to ensure the safe and effective use of medicines. Finally, a degree in Biomedical Materials Science combines aspects of biology and materials science to allow students to understand the development of the artificial materials and devices used in medical or dental practice.

Geology deals with the past, present and future of planet Earth, covering a fascinating range of different areas. These include oil and minerals, earthquake safety, the disappearance of dinosaurs, and much more. Our degree courses in Geology feature a wide range of fieldwork opportunities in the UK and abroad. We offer a broad range of Geography degree programmes, which address the key issues of both human and physical geography, including climate change, water, pollution and its effects on health, global economic problems, population pressure and a rapidly urbanising world. Environmental Science looks at the way in which the natural world works and the range of challenging environmental problems that the planet faces today, such as food security, increasing energy demands and ecological damage.

All our degree programmes provide strong academic training and enable you to develop transferable skills that will make you attractive to employers in all sectors. 

Please note: This pathway does not lead to Medicine and Surgery (MBChB), Nursing (BNurs) and Dental Surgery (BDS).

Dental Surgery (BDS) and Nursing (BNurs) is, unfortunately, not available for International students.

If you are interested in studying Medicine and Surgery, you will need to apply through direct undergraduate entry only. The University of Birmingham accepts A’Levels, International Baccalaureate or the American high school system. Please check if your qualification is accepted for direct entry to the undergraduate programmes.

Applications for direct entry to UK undergraduate programmes can be made through UCAS.

See the Medical, Life and Geo Sciences Pathway progression table 2015 for more information about the undergraduate degrees available for a Foundation Academy student choosing this pathway and the compulsory and optional modules to undertake.

Course fact file

Duration: 1 year / 4 years

Start date: September 2015


If you have any questions, please contact us at:


Tel: +44 (0)121 414 9292


Medical, Life and Geo Sciences pathway modules

You will take subject-specific modules from the table below including one of the Academic English and Study Skills modules (including Advanced Academic Skills) amounting to a total of 120 credits.

When you receive and accept your offer, you will be adviised about your module choices. Some undergraduate degree programmes will have compulsory modules  that you should take in your BFA programme:

Modules  Credits
Advanced Study Skills in the Biological Sciences   20
Introductory Chemistry   10
Introductory Organic Chemistry   10 
Introductory Mathematics   10
Organic Spectroscopy   10
Physical Chemistry   20
Organismal Biology   20
Molecular and Cellular Biology   20
Earth and Environmental Sciences  20
The Periodic Table  10

Module descriptions

All of our Academic English and Study Skills modules available including the advanced options are detailed here.

Advanced Study Skills in the Biological Sciences 

This module will build upon the initial Academic English and Study Skills module to introduce you to the specialist study skills specific to the biological sciences. The focus of this module will be data analysis, interpretation, critical thinking and presentation skills (verbal and written in various formats). Much of your learning will be via student-selected topics that allow you to explore your own interests within the broad field of biology, working in groups and individually.

Introductory Chemistry

This module aims to develop a number of fundamental concepts associated with the discipline of Chemistry. The module will introduce fundamental features of atomic structure, before extending towards compounds, introducing concepts of bonding and oxidation states. The module will then proceed to introduce the general background on physical and chemical changes, in particular what factors need to be considered in such processes.

Introductory Organic Chemistry

This module aims to develop knowledge and skills in basic organic chemistry. Topics you will study include: nomenclature, isomerism, arrow-pushing mechanisms, reactivity of sp,sp2 and sp3 carbon centres and basic organic reaction schemes.

Introductory Mathematics 

This module is aimed at developing your confidence and knowledge in basic mathematical techniques and skills. Topics you will study include: indices and logarithms; basic algebra; elementary geometry; trigonometry functions; vectors; and an introduction to differentiation and integration.

Organic Spectroscopy 

This module is linked to the module Introductory Organic Chemistry. It aims to develop further some of the concepts presented in the introductory module, such as isomerism and arrow-pushing schemes. It also covers structure determination using spectroscopic techniques.

Physical Chemistry 

This module aims to develop your knowledge and skills in the broad area of physical chemistry. Topics you will study include: gas laws, thermodynamics, chemical equilibrium and kinetics. It also includes coverage of acids and bases, solubility and electrochemistry. You will also practise some mathematical techniques within a chemical context.


This module aims to develop your knowledge and skills in the areas of evolution, genetics, organismal and environmental biology. The focus of the module is on animal, plant and microbial biology but, where necessary, it draws comparisons and makes reference to human biology.

Human Biology

This module will examine the biological mechanisms that underpin the workings of the human body and mind. You will study a broad range of topics, from fundamental cell biology and biochemistry to the function and regulation of tissues and the biological bases of behaviour.

The Periodic Table

This module covers important concepts such as periodicity and molecular shapes. It also expands and develops the basic bonding theories presented in the prerequisite module (Introductory Chemistry) in more details.

Why study this course

The Medical, Life and Geo Sciences Pathway leads to undergraduate degrees in all the subject areas outlined here:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biomedical Materials Science
  • Environmental Science
  • Geology
  • Human Biology
  • Medical Science
  • Pharmacy*
  • Physiotherapy**
  • Psychology 
  • Sport, Exercise and Coaching Sciences

*If you wish to progress on the our MPharm Pharmacy programme please be aware that you will be required to have studied Chemistry within your school leaving qualification or higher.  Good grades will need to have been achieved and may be a condition in any offer of a place made for the Birmingham Foundation Academy programme.

**You will also be required to take an IELTS test for Physiotherapy only.

Special conditions apply to progression to Pharmacy  (MPharm) and Physiotherapy.  There are a number of additional entry requirement that would be assessed during your foundation year for both, including (1)  a health check and vaccinations (2) evidence of work experience or insight into pharmacy and (3) Criminal Records Bureau Check or certificate of good standing. 

Fees and funding

The Birmingham Foundation Academy Package

The cost of the Birmingham Foundation Academy Package for 2015–2016 is £13,500 (International Fee) and £9,000 (EU Fee)

This includes:

  • One year’s tuition fees
  • Books and all classroom equipment

Please note: Accommodation fees are not part of the Birmingham Foundation Academy Package, and will be at your own cost.

Entry requirements

Birmingham Foundation Academy entry requirements apply

International students:

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply


If you have any questions, please contact us at:


Tel: +44 (0)121 414 9292

Learning and teaching

Pharmacists at work

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, capable of formulating your own ideas and engaging critically with your subject.

To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that you will be guided and supported to make the transition to become an independent and self-motivated learner. You will have access to a comprehensive academic support system that will assist and encourage you, inlcuding a tuor in your college who will provide help and advice with any study-related issues, and will help you to monitor and reflect on your progress.

For more information, please visit Learning at Birmingham


If you have any questions, please contact us at:


Tel: +44 (0)121 414 9292


All of our degree programmes provide a strong academic training and enable you to develop transferable skills that will make you attractive to employers in all sectors.

Many graduates from Life Science and Medical Science degrees enter jobs allied to the health sector, often in the biotechnology or pharmaceutical industries. A substantial number choose to take a further degree, such as a Masters or PhD, which is an essential requirement for many career paths, including careers in research.

Graduating from a Geo Science degree, may enable you to pursue a career focused around environmental remediation, climate change, food security and related themes; all of which pose complex challenges for the future. Increasing numbers of our graduates are also employed in envirnomental planning, nature conservation, environmental health, hydrogeology, pollution control or the oil and mineral industries.


If you have any questions, please contact us at:


Tel: +44 (0)121 414 9292