Our Biomedical Science programme is delivered by staff in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences. You’ll be taught by experts who cover all the major disciplines of biomedical science. We are modifying our course from 2014, so that you’ll follow a broad curriculum in the first and second year, with some choice in the second year to work on a topic of particular interest to you. Year 1 and 2 will allow you to create a strong foundation for further specialisation in the third year, when you’ll complete your studies by undertaking an original research project and gain hands-on experience in one of the College research laboratories.
First and second year – broad foundations of knowledge
The first two years of the course builds a detailed understanding of how the human body functions and what can go wrong in disease. The content extends from the single cell to the whole body. You’ll begin to learn about major pathologies such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, arthritis and diabetes, and the genetic basis of inherited disorders.
All students take a common set of key subjects which will provide you with the core knowledge to understand the importance of each of the major disciplines of medical science. This forms a strong foundation for your final year. In addition, throughout the course you’ll develop core research skills, such as data analysis and interpretation, helping you develop an understanding of the key ethical and social issues surrounding medical science.
In the second year there will be an opportunity to specialise in a scientific area of your choice, linked to our College major research themes. This student selected component will allow an in-depth exploration of the area under the guidance of one of our subject experts. The themes will include cancer, neuroscience, infection and immunity, pharmacology and cardiovascular science. This will provide a platform for further specialisation in your third year.
At the end of your second year there is the possibility of taking 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.
Third year – follow your interest
During the first term of your final year you specialise by selecting two taught options from over 20 specialist modules in a wide range of subject areas, including different aspects of neuroscience, cancer, virology, cardiovascular science, pharmacology, endocrinology, stem cell biology, ageing and immunology. You’ll learn about the latest findings and be exposed to advanced research techniques, guided by internationally recognised experts in these fields.
These taught options lead on to a substantial research project in the spring term, which in the majority of cases is laboratory based specifically within one of our leading research active laboratories. You’ll work independently, under supervision, for ten weeks full-time on an original piece of research, acquiring and analysing your own 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 success in whatever career path you choose.
Why study this course
Based in a Medical School: You will be taught by leading academics and clinicians working at the interface of translational medicine and biomedical science.
Advanced teaching and learning facilities: Our newly refurbished laboratories and state-of-the-art prosectorium are among the facilities you will use throughout the programme. In addition, the Anatomy Resource Room contains a full set of anatomy models, and is available for you to book as an individual or in groups.
Clinical and industrial experience opportunities: You will have the opportunity to take an optional placement year, which you can spend working in industry or a clinical setting. You may also have access to financial support to take on summer projects in the College’s own active research laboratories.
Final year research project: You will gain experience of working in our dynamic research laboratories alongside active researchers to complete a 10 week research project on a topic of your choice.
Connections with major research centres: The College of Medical and Dental Sciences is proud of its well-established links with major national centres for research and the local NHS. These include the Institute for Biomedical Research and the Institute for Microbiology and Infection as well as the Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM), which is due to open in June 2015.
Comprehensive support and career guidance: The University’s Careers Network will provide you with a range of informative fairs and events throughout the year, tailored to Biomedical Science, to support you in choosing, researching and taking the first steps on your chosen graduate career pathway.
Active MedSoc: At the University of Birmingham we believe that student life shouldn't be all work and there is plenty for you to get involved with both within the College and the University outside of your studies. The College has its own Society known as MedSoc. MedSoc is an umbrella organisation for a wide range of activities including sporting, social, musical and charitable – there’s something for everyone.
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 advised.
Mathematics, Biology and Chemistry (or combined science) at GCSE level are required at a minimum grade B, if not offered at a higher level.
You will also be expected to offer a reasonable number and range of GCSE subjects at a minimum of grade C, including English Language.
Offers are not made on the basis of tariff points. General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted as part of the minimum of three A level
subjects. We do not consider any BTEC qualifications.
International Baccalaureate Diploma:
Overall score of 35 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 will not be counted. Scottish Certificate of Education and Irish Leaving Certificate: Please contact Admissions Tutors for further information.
EU and Overseas qualifications:
We welcome applications from students from the EU and overseas. Please contact Admissions Tutors or Admissions for further information. Standard English language requirements apply.
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.
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
All applications are received through UCAS. Those applicants whose interest is in science and whose academic profile meets our minimum requirements will be invited to a Medical Science ‘Applicant Visit Day’. This will involve visiting the Medical School, meeting staff and students, viewing our facilities and attending interactive sessions showcasing the research activities of the Medical Science programme. We receive many applications from those whose first choice of course is Medicine. These applications will receive equal consideration.
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