Successful completion of this year leads to the award of a classified honours degree. The course aims to emphasie the importance of the science that underpins medicineand provide awareness, experience and competence in those scientific disciplines allied to medicine. This is achieved through in depth study of specific subject areas and also a research project, which is a major component of the programme. The project provides an understanding of the importance of medical research to the practice of medicine. Medical practitioners are now required to have an appreciation of areas previously considered mainly beneficial to a research career.
You will have the opportunity to develop:
An in-depth knowledge of selected subject areas within medical science
A perception of the integrated nature of medical science and be able to communicate an understanding of the scientific methods to future medical practitioners.
In-depth analytical, research and evaluative skills coupled to presentation of a substantial dissertation.
Ability to work on own initiative and as a member of a team.
This course also forms year 3 of the Medical Science degree programme. Therefore, the modules that are on offer to you are also those that are taken by science students.
The course is different from what you have experienced to date. You will pursue studies in considerable depth with discussion of the evidence underpinning scientific knowledge and investigate areas where there is incomplete knowledge and therefore uncertainty. Throughout this year there is a strong emphasis on practical work. You will learn how to design and perform medical research experiments and analyse data from them. In order to justify award of an honours degree, you will need to be prepared to expend considerable effort during the year.
The subjects you can study in the first semester include medical and molecular genetics, neuroscience, cellular pathology, pharmacology, molecular medicine, molecular virology and oncology, and many more. This leads you on to your own research project for the whole of the spring term. Here you gain experience of advanced research techniques and learn to analyse and interpret data as well as to present a coherent discussion of your interpretations and conclusions of your findings. During the project you are expected to be associated full-time with your laboratory.
You choose two taught modules from a substantial number that are on offer. The modules run consecutively.
The following links to pdf files provide detailed information about each of the available modules:
Option 1 modules
(opens PDF file in new window) - First five weeks of semester
Option 2 modules
(opens PDF file in new window) - Second five weeks of semester
The knowledge and practical experience gained from these options prepares you for your research project in the final semester of the course.
In Semester 2 you will take two modules, the Research Project Modules and the Medical Science and Society Modules.
Research Project Module
You are able to join a research laboratory in the medical school and take on an aspect of the on-going research activity. It is your own project and it will take you into research at the boundaries of medical science. You will learn the techniques that are in use in the laboratory and use these to acquire your own data, which you will analyse and interpret.
This module provides you with first hand experience acquisition of new scientific information and assimilation into the existing body of knowledge. This is a complex and multistep process and the project will provide training in literature research, organising experiments, acquisition of technical skills, interpreting results and presenting results both orally and in writing. The expectation is that you will undertake a research project which is directly relevant to one of their taught modules.
All experimental work is completed by the end of week 9. You are required to keep a laboratory notebook for recording experimental details and primary results in a chronological order day by day. You are required to present a short talk on your project (10 mins) to your peers. A written report has to be submitted in the general format of a scientific paper in a journal.
By the end of the project the student will be able to:
Conduct a detailed study of the literature to define precise scientific questions and the experimental approaches to be used.
Design and organise experiments including the identification of controls and decisions about the scale of experiments.
Acquire technical skills and be familiar with equipment.
Know how to troubleshoot when experiments do not fit with prediction.
Collect, record, analyse and interpret data.
Integrate new results into existing knowledge and formulate new experiments and ideas.
Present results and ideas both orally and in writing.
Assessment - Laboratory performance 25%. Written Report 75%
Hours - 385 Hours (total student hours), Individual laboratory supervision
Medical Science and Society (General Paper) Module
The aim of this element is to assess your general knowledge and understanding of issues relating to biomedical science. It addresses topics which are of wide interest to biomedical science and to society and requires an understanding of relevant ethical and moral issues which impact on science and medicine. Topics are selected which reflect current interests of the scientific community and/or the general public. The module does not require the level of detailed scientific knowledge specifically provided within final year taught options.
There are no timetabled teaching sessions associated with this module. During the year you are expected to keep up to date with the scientific issues currently being discussed in the media, and develop your skills at formulating a balanced argument. So that in the exam, you eill be able to present an informed discussion on specific and general issues which relate to biomedical science and explore the moral, ethical and social aspects of these issues.
Assessment - the module is assessed by a 3hr written examination consisting of 2 essays from a choice of 10 (Semester 2)
Hours - Self directed study through semester 1 and 2 and Departmental/Divisional seminars.
This is the module list for 2012, but the programme continues to evolve and you should check the website regularly for any changes for next year.
This programme is primarily aimed at medical and dental students who have completed year 2 of their vocational programmes since they have recently completed the relevant subjects. A few places will, however, also be available for year 3 students. Entry is competitive. Currently it is necessary for all second year examinations (both Biological Sciences and Medicine in Society components - or equivalent) to have been successfully completed at the first attempt. Places are awarded on the basis of overall year mark which includes all second year modules.
Please note that if you have not yet completed year 2 of your vocational course, both your acceptance and your choice of final year modules can be decided only after all examination marks are known.
University of Birmingham students: Please visit the 'Intercalating BMedSc (Medical Science)' folder in WebCT
We do not normally accept applications from external 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.