The Medical Science course is delivered by staff in the Medical School, part of the College of Medical and Dental Sciences. You will be taught by subject experts covering all major disciplines of Medical Science. A broad curriculum in the first and second year provides strong foundations for specialisation in the third year, when you’ll complete your studies by gaining hands-on experience undertaking an original research project in one of the College research laboratories.
First and second year
During your first two years, you will build a detailed understanding of how the human body functions and what can go wrong in disease. Many of the modules focus on ‘systems’; nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine and reproductive, for example. Other modules focus on pharmacology, the nature of infectious agents and the functioning of the immune system. You will also learn about major pathologies such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and diabetes, and the genetic basis of inherited disorders.
All modules are compulsory, providing you with the core knowledge to understand the importance of each of the major disciplines of medical science, and providing a strong foundation for specialisation in the third year. In addition to subject-specific knowledge, several modules are designed to help you develop core skills, such as data analysis and interpretation, and allow you to explore the wider ethical and social issues surrounding medical science.
At the end of your second year you have the option to take a year out to gain work experience, by securing a placement in, for example, the pharmaceutical industry. You may also opt to undertake a summer research project within the College, for which funding is available.
During the first term of your final year you can specialise by selecting two taught options from a wide range of subject areas, including: neuroscience, cancer, virology, cardiovascular science, endocrinology, stem cell biology, ageing and immunology. You will learn about the latest research findings and be exposed to advanced research techniques, guided by experts in these fields.
The taught options lead on to a substantial laboratory-based research project which you will undertake in one of the College research labs during the spring term. You’ll work independently, under close supervision, for ten weeks full-time on an original research project, acquiring and analysing data. The project develops and enhances not just your practical and analytical abilities, but also a range of other skills that will be a key to your success in whatever career path you choose.
Why study this course
The Medical Science programme benefits greatly from the very active research environment at Birmingham. The course has been developed, and is taught by, academics who are recognised experts in their field and who make sure that Medical Science at Birmingham stays up-to-date and that the teaching is of the higest quality. The College of Medical and Dental Sciences has a research income in excess of £50 million per annum, with several major centres focusing on areas that are at the forefront of medical science, including cancer, diabetes, stem cell biology, immunity and inflammatory disease, infection, cardiovascular science and ageing.
In the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) much of this research was rated as internationally excellent and world leading, with most of the remainder being internationally recognised. Notably, Birmingham has the first Cancer Research UK Centre, and was named as the leading cancer studies centre outside London, second only to the Institute of Cancer Research (RAE 2008).
The course develops a wide range of skills that employers are looking for in graduates. Practicals run in state-of-the-art laboratories allow you to gain hands-on experience in all subject areas, including: the capture and analysis of physiological measurements in the areas of cardiovascular, respiratory and neuroscience; use of electrophoresis and PCR equipment for molecular biology; and using microscopes and tissue culture for cell biology. We also offer a range of curriculum activities specifically designed to build IT, communication, organisational, group, problem-solving and analytical skills, equipping you for further study or employment in a wide range of careers.
Fees and funding
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: AAB
Required subjects and grades: A minimum of two sciences at A level (From Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics or Further Mathematics) with at least one at grade A; Biology at AS level or above is strongly advised but not essential. GCSE grade B in Mathematics if not offered at higher level.
General Studies: not accepted
A levels not accepted: General Studies, Critical Thinking, Applied Science, Citizenship Studies, Communication and Culture, Critical Studies, Global Perspectives, Science in Society and World Development.
Offers are not made on the basis of tariff points.
You will be expected to offer a reasonable number and range of GCSE subjects at a minimum of grade C, including English Language. Mathematics, Biology and Chemistry (or combined science) are required at a minimum grade B, if not offered at a higher level.
International Baccalaureate Diploma: Overall score of 35-36 points, with minimum grades of 6, 6, 5 in higher level subjects, to include at least two sciences (from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics - Maths Studies is excluded) with at least one at grade 6. English and Mathematics at standard level. No less that grade 4 in any subject offered. Extended Essays and Theory of Knowledge are not accepted.
Scottish Certificate of Education and Irish Leaving Certificate: Please contact Admissions Tutor for further information.
Mature candidates: You will be assessed on an individual basis, but will normally will be expected to have equivalent qualifications or experience to those required for the typical standard offer.
Please contact Admissions Tutor or Admissions for further information. Standard English language requirements apply.
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
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