Biomedical Materials Science BMedSc

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Undergraduate degree course/programme Biomedical Materials Science BMedSc BJ95 

Typical Offer: ABB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

“As long as humans cannot replace lost tissue like a salamander, the development of biomaterials and biomaterials based tissue engineering scaffolds will be crucial for the wellbeing of an ageing population. Characterisation and development of novel biomaterials is what the Biomedical Materials Science course is about.” Dr Mike Hofmann, Biomaterials Researcher

Artificial hip and knee joints, replacement blood vessels and heart valves, artificial teeth and fillings, contact lenses, modern drug delivery systems and tissue engineering are just a few of the growing number of applications of biomedical materials.

This degree offers you the opportunity to gain a comprehensive background in the medical science and engineering of materials for repairing or replacing damaged, diseased or missing tissues in the human body. The Biomedical Materials Science course is one of the few courses focussing equally on the biological and material sciences and our graduates therefore find career opportunities in a wide range of areas related to medical and dental sciences.

In 2015, the results of the National Student Survey (NSS) showed that 100% of our students were satisfied with the overall quality of this programme.

Course fact file

UCAS code: BJ95

Duration: 3 years

Places Available: 21

Applications in 2014: 159

Typical Offer: ABB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September

Details

Also referred to as 'The Biomaterials Course', the programme is multidisciplinary and taught in several departments, including Dentistry, Medicine, and Metallurgy and Materials. The course is centered around the Biomaterials Unit one of the principal research units within the School of Dentistry which links clinical work with both clinical and scientific research. Our state of the art laboratories are based at the brand new Dental Hospital.

UPDATE AUGUST 2015: Due to a number of challenges with the construction programme, a decision has been taken by all partners to reschedule the opening of the new Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry.  This has been agreed in order to minimise disruption and maintain continuity of service for patients, students and staff. All partners will be working closely together over the coming weeks to revise the programme of works with a new opening date. Once agreed this will be communicated, it is expected that the new opening date will be known by Welcome week.

First year

You will study the structure and properties of materials – including polymers, ceramics and metals – anatomy, physiology, introduction to cell and molecular biology and bacteriology, alongside biomechanics and a general introduction to the development and clinical use of biomaterials. The first year also includes a study skills course providing you with a basic working knowledge of the use of search engines, IT and statistics.  Wherever possible, lecture material is reinforced with practical classes.  After the examination period in the summer you will visit local hospitals where you will observe, for example, a hip or knee replacement operation being performed.

Second year

In this year you focus on the reactions of the body to biomaterials, how these materials are designed and made into components to be used in medical application. You will also learn about the factors that affect performance of biomaterials in service. Modules cover cell and molecular biology, orthopaedic and dental biomaterials, microscopy, infection and immunology and materials design.  Practical sessions will give you further experience of handling and testing biomaterials.

Third year

Your final year gives you the opportunity to get involved in state of the art ongoing research within your extensive two semester final year research project. You will learn more about tissue engineering and biomaterial design, develop your laboratory and project management skills and deepen your scientific knowledge. You will ultimately present your research project as a dissertation accompanied by a poster, both of which draw on your scientific writing and presentation skills acquired in the first and second year.  Your work may ultimately be published in a scientific journal.

Why study this course

Hospital location: You will be based in the new Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry,the only course of its kind to be based in a Hospital. This means there will be the direct input by clinicians into the course content therefore ensuring the clinical relevance of our teaching.

UPDATE AUGUST 2015: Due to a number of challenges with the construction programme, a decision has been taken by all partners to reschedule the opening of the new Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry.  This has been agreed in order to minimise disruption and maintain continuity of service for patients, students and staff. All partners will be working closely together over the coming weeks to revise the programme of works with a new opening date. Once agreed this will be communicated, it is expected that the new opening date will be known by Welcome week.

Equal emphasis on material and biological sciences: Taught across several departments including Dentistry, Medicine and Metallurgy and Materials, this truly multidisciplinary course is one of the few courses in the UK that covers both materials and biological science equally, meaning you will develop a broad knowledge base in both areas. This will allow you to choose from a wider variety of career options in the field of biomaterials once you graduate.

Orthopaedic Biomaterials focus: As an area of medicine relevant to an increasingly aging population, orthopaedic biomaterials is an important focus of your study at Birmingham. From hip replacements to tissue engineering, you will learn about how artificial materials are enabling to replace diseased joints and bones through a growing number of biomaterial applications.
Small year groups: You will enjoy the close-knit community atmosphere created by our small year group and therefore quickly settle into University life, easily make friends with your course mates and build strong working relationships with teaching and support staff.

Final year research project opportunities: In the third year of the course you will undertake a research project of your choice. This will take place in our state of the art research laboratories working alongside postgraduate PhD students and staff.

Guaranteed interviews for Dentistry: For the top students in their year who want to pursue a career in Dentistry after graduation we guarantee interview places for studying Dentistry at the University of Birmingham.

Modules

Year 1

  • Introduction to Biomaterials
  • Physiological Processes
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology and Experimental Genetics
  • Principles of Biomechanics
  • Properties and Application of Biomaterials
  • Anatomy for Biomaterials
  • Fundamentals of Materials
  • Polymers, Composites and Ceramics

Year 2

  • Molecular Biology
  • Dental Biomaterials I
  • Dental Biomaterials II
  • Orthopaedic Biomaterials I
  • Orthopaedic Biomaterials II
  • Materials Engineering Design
  • Microscopy and Analysis of Biomaterials
  • Immunology and Infection

Year 3

  • Design for Manufacture
  • Advanced Biomaterials
  • Laboratory Assessment of Biomaterials
  • Biomaterial Applications
  • Interactions of Biomaterials with the Body
  • Emerging Technologies
  • Research Project

This is the module list for 2015, as the programme will of course continue to evolve and adjust to developments in the area of biomaterials. You should check the website regularly for any changes in future years.

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply

Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships
Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: ABB

Required subjects and grades: two sciences at A level or one science and Maths (one of the sciences has to be Biology/Human Biology or Chemistry)

General Studies: not accepted, but a good performance may be taken into account if you fail to meet the conditions of the offer

Additional information:

Students will be required to complete a successful Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before admission to the programme as we are based in a Hospital.

Other qualifications like a Foundation Year, an Access to Science course, a BTEC or a combination of qualifications  are considered – Please contact the Admissions Tutor or Admissions for further information.

International Baccalaureate

IB Diploma: 32 points to include Chemistry or Biology at HL.

Standard English language requirements apply. 

International students:

Standard English language requirements apply. Learn more about international entry requirements.

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.

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

Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com  
Learn more about applying

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

Learning and teaching

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. At Birmingham we advocate an enquiry based learning approach, from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).

To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we’ll enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.

Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre’s aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions with support with mathematics and statistics based problems provided by experienced mathematicians, to workshops on a range of topics including note talking, reading, writing and presentation skills.

This programme enjoys access to excellent facilities, including a dedicated computer cluster within the Biomaterials Unit and a range of state-of-the-art research equipment and instrumentation. Teaching strategies include a combination of lectures, small group teaching and laboratory sessions. Throughout your programme you will gain considerable experience in oral presentation but emphasis is also placed on acquiring skills in scientific writing. Study support material is available online.

Our facilities

The College of Medical and Dental Sciences houses state-of-the art facilities to support a range of teaching, learning and research activity. 

Our facilities ensure that students receive the best possible learning experience by working in a modern environment. Among our most recent developments include a refurbishment of the Medical School foyer, Barnes library and Wolfson Centre for Medical Education.

Explore our facilities and take a tour by moving around our 360-degree panoramas:

 

Assessment methods

Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.

You’ll be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You will be assessed through coursework which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations, laboratory-based work (depending on your chosen degree) and formal exams.

During your first year you will undergo a formal ‘transition’ review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your school or department and can help with any academic issues you encounter.

At the beginning of each module, you’ll be given information on how and when you’ll be assessed for that particular programme of study. You’ll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done. You’ll be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.

Employability

I have really enjoyed every aspect of this multidisciplinary course. It has set me up for the wide career opportunities available for BMedSc graduates."
Uresha Patel, Biomedical Materials Science, 2012

To find out more about our graduate employability, view our Career Profiles.

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our Biomedical Materials Science graduates have little problem in securing employment or further training. Many go on to do medical and biological research, while others have followed a variety of career options in health care and related areas, such as blood perfusion, optometry, audiology and work in medical device regulatory authorities. Some graduates continue their studies in pursuit of degrees in Medicine or Dentistry. A significant proportion have also entered traditional graduate career areas such as finance, publishing, accounting and IT.

Have a look at our alumni profile page to see what some of our students have gone on to do after completing their programme.

Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV’s and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you gain practical experiences in occupational settings while contributing back to society. This can bring new skills that will be useful throughout your future and can make a positive impact on your learning whilst at university. Volunteering enables you to develop skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-confidence and self-discipline all of which can be transferred into your studies.

Find out more about Careers Network.