Biomedical Sciences: From Laboratory Bench to Hospital Bedside

Based in the University's Institute of Clinical Sciences, the Biomedical Sciences: From Laboratory Bench to Hospital Bedside programme  offers a unique opportunity to international students to spend the summer learning and exploring in the lecture theatres, classrooms and laboratories of the University of Birmingham. The programme provides parallel learning opportunities to those offered to our undergraduates, giving students a taster of what it might be like to study at the University of Birmingham. Students will be offered lectures, small group teaching sessions and experimental laboratory sessions that we hope will inspire students to further their knowledge of biomedical science and clinical practice in the UK and beyond. Our lectures will cover English Language Usage, The British National Health Service, Sustainability in Healthcare, Experimental Design and many other subjects.

This three week programme in Biomedical Sciences is delivered via a variety of teaching methods, including self-directed learning, small group teaching and lectures as follows:

At the start of the programme, students will be put into learning groups in which they will stay for the remainder of the programme for the self-directed learning sessions, small group teaching and assessments. Assessment will be in the form of group presentations in the final week plus an individual written assignment. To enable preparation for these presentations, there will be input in the following areas:

  • Researching and Library Skills
  • Spoken English
  • Written English
  • Presentation Skills

Small Group Teaching

Students will be divided into groups of up to 10 students. These groups will meet regularly, sometimes with a tutor, to discuss their research and presentations. Designing and delivering presentations, clinical communication and clinical skills will be taught in small groups.

Taster Lectures

We will offer a variety of lectures on diverse subjects. These lectures will give a flavour of some of the subjects covered in our undergraduate curriculum and may provide students with topics for further research for their final assessments. Lecture subjects may include Public Health, Stem Cell Biology, Bioinformatics and Inflammation and Aging. A lecture timetable will be available prior to BISS 2019.

Experimental Design

Students will have the opportunity to explore how biomedical scientists design and execute laboratory research. These sessions will cover literature review, hypothesis generation and formulation of focussed, clear objectives, the importance of scientific rigour, statistics and the use of adequate controls. Students may have the opportunity to take part in laboratory sessions, including experimental design. Laboratory activity will reflect research strengths in Biomedical Science at the University of Birmingham from cancer biology to immunology.

Clinical Communication

British undergraduate medical students are required by the governing body for medicine, the General Medical Council (GMC), to receive teaching in communication. Since the mid-1990s, the University of Birmingham has pioneered the development of teaching methodology in this area. A highly trained team of role players work alongside tutors to facilitate the students’ learning in communication and professional encounters with patients, relatives, advocates and colleagues.

Learning from Simulation

A highly skilled team of Associate Clinical Educators (ACEs) will help students learn practically about anatomical systems and associated symptoms through the use of role play and physical examinations.

Hospital Visit

Students will have an opportunity to visit the Queen Elizabeth Hospital or University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) , which is next door to the University of Birmingham’s Medical School. It is one of the highest performing NHS organisations in Europe with  an international reputation for its quality of care, information technology, clinical education and training and research. UHB is a regional centre for cancer, has the second largest renal dialysis programme in the UK and has the largest solid organ transplantation programme in Europe. It also provides a series of highly specialist cardiac and liver services and is a major specialist centre for burns and plastic surgery. The Trust is a regional Neuroscience and Major Trauma Centre and is world-renowned for its trauma care.

(Please note that the programme plan is subject to confirmation for BISS 2019)

Entry requirements

To be accepted onto the Biomedical Sciences programme you must:

  • Have relevant subject background: academic backgrounds in Biosciences, Pharmacy, Nursing, Public Health will be considered. Students must be able to demonstrate relevant subject background with a translated transcript.
  • Be aged 18 years or over at the start date of the BISS programme.
  • Be studying an undergraduate programme at a University outside the UK or be registered as an International student at a UK university.
  • Be of good academic standing (based on a translated transcript, verified by your University).

English Language Requirements

  • Have achieved English Language proficiency of IELTS 6.0 overall with no lower than 5.5 in any band.
  • Have achieved English Language proficiency of TOEFL IBT 80 overall with no less than 19 in listening, 19 in reading, 21 in speaking and 19 in writing.
  • Have achieved English Language proficiency of PEARSON with a minimum of 53 in listening, reading, writing and speaking.

The following equivalent English Language qualifications will also be accepted:

  • Have achieved English Language proficiency of 530 at level 4 or 500 at level 6 in Chinese College English Test (CET).
  • Have achieved English Language proficiency of 60 at TEM level 4.
  • Have achieved English Language Proficiency at HKDSE Level 3.

This is a three week programme and is equivalent to an accredited undergraduate course (20 UK credits) and is delivered by University faculty who are experts in their field.The Programme is formally assessed. Please check with your home institution regarding the transfer of credits. All students attending our courses will receive a certificate of attendance from the University of Birmingham on successful completion of their course.

On completion of the Programme in addition to obtaining 20 credits you will have been given a unique opportunity to:

  1. Demonstrate an ability to understand and use scientific and medical terminology in English appropriate to the subjects being studied
  2. Analyse clinical problems in an integrated way to identify features worthy of evidence-based enquiry
  3. Formulate simple relevant research questions to allow the appropriate investigation of the problems raised in biomedical scenarios
  4. Identify appropriate source of information and demonstrate the ability to search effectively for relevant items of interest
  5. Apply findings from the literature to answer questions raised by specific clinical problems
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of communication theory and skills and their fundamental importance to clinical practice
  7. Demonstrate an ability to use and apply basic science principles to investigate specially constructed clinical scenarios
  8. Demonstrate an ability to interpret clinical / biomedical data to aid in the diagnosis and management of patients described in specially constructed clinical scenarios


The programme is equivalent to an accredited undergraduate course (20 UK credits) which comprises 44 contact hours. In addition to staff led activities, students will be required to undertake independent individual and group study, working towards their assessment. The programme is formally assessed at the end of the three weeks. Students must  check with their home institution regarding transfer of credits.

Students are expected to attend for 90% of timetabled activity. All students achieving this level of attendance will receive a certificate of attendance from the University of Birmingham on successful completion of their course.