Clinical Science BMedSc - Intercalated Degree

Start date
1 year Full Time
Course Type
Undergraduate, Intercalated

The intercalated Bachelor of Medical Science degrees are an opportunity for students of medicine to take one year out to study an aspect of medicine in much greater depth. Note this course is only for those students studying Medicine.

The Clinical Science degree introduces you to translational research; clinical and laboratory research that is aimed at moving laboratory research to the bedside. In particular, the course involves a seven month extended research project allowing you to gain substantial, direct experience of modern medical research. In particular you will receive a range of lectures that highlight topics of current debate, undertake a 7 month research project in a laboratory or Trials Unit, and acquire skills for analysing and interpreting research papers.

To be considered for the programme you will have to demonstrate that your performance in the first three years of the medical degree is equivalent to a 1 or 2.1 in a standard classified degree.

Students may also apply to the following intercalated programmes:

The Intercalated degree in Clinical Sciences provides training in translational research combining a broad teaching programme with the opportunity to undertake an eight month project within a laboratory.

The degree offers 7 different modules for study and the student will choose 4 of these according to their interest. This honours degree should benefit you both in the short term, in relation to career progression, but also in the long term by broadening your understanding of academic medicine.

The learning for Major Disciplines in Clinical Sciences builds on that already provided in Clinical Sciences in the third year of the MBChB programme, which, in itself, builds on extensive learning about normal structure and function in the first two years.

In the BMedSc Clinical Sciences programme students are required to deepen and advance their understanding, becoming familiar with the major directions of current research in each of the major disciplines. Through the application of critical and analytical skills, they are required to identify the implications of research for the overall body of knowledge of the scientific disciplines in terms of both new knowledge and new uncertainties. This emphasis on the knowledge base of each discipline as a developing rather than a stable entity is reflected in the assessment criteria.

The course consists of:

  • a research project which leads to a thesis to be submitted by late March. Students spend approximately 60% of their time on their research projects
  • a choice of 4 out of 6 optional taught modules (one 20 credit and three 10 credit modules) in the various disciplines of Clinical Sciences

You will also follow an introductory module (Clinical Bioinformatics and Statistics) which will provide you with training in analysis of large clinical and laboratory data sets, including genomics. 

With support from my supervisors, I applied for and was successful for a Royal College of Surgeons Intercalated Degree in Surgery Award to help fund my BMedSc year and research project. I think that the extended length of research time the BMedSc Clinical Sciences degree provides was a key factor in helping me to gain this support from the Royal College.

Hannah Shereef, Former intercalated BMedSc student

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You will study a choice of one out of two 20 credit and three out of four 10 credit optional taught modules in the various disciplines of Clinical Sciences. Below is the module list for the current course and as the programme continues to evolve, you should check the website regularly for any changes for next year.

1. Cancer and Pathology (20 credits)

This module focuses on the pathological basis of the causes and treatment of cancers. Specific characteristics of tumours will be examined from a cellular and molecular pathology perspective. One focus is to emphasise the importance of linking conventional study of cells and tissues with more novel approaches and considers how these can be applied with the aim of delivering improvements in patient care. There will be analysis of current areas of debate within the fields.

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an appreciation of how understanding the pathological basis of disease can help to direct the development of novel diagnosticand therapeutic approaches in cancer
  • Identify areas of current active research within pathology and explain the methodologies being used
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the factors that lead to the development of cancer and current treatments available
  • Utilise their knowledge of the molecular basis of cancer to understand the rationale of the current treatment strategies 
  • Display the ability to critically analyse scientific literature in this field of research

2. Rheumatology & Orthopaedics (10 credits)

Musculoskeletal sciences embrace huge diversity that is fully represented in the new musculoskeletal module. From our work on the immunology underlying persistent inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that affects 1% of our population and costs the UK £600million per year in direct health costs, to understanding the critical mechanisms of failure and success in new hip replacement techniques, the huge breadth of research underlying clinical expertise present across medical and surgical musculoskeletal specialities in Birmingham will be explored.

Rheumatology lecturers will explore multiple facets of diseases including inflammatory arthritis and connective tissue diseases through themes of basic mechanisms, new predictive strategies in early disease, advanced imaging techniques, understanding new therapies that are revolutionising the treatment of arthritis, and understanding the challenges and shortcomings of therapeutic trials.

Lecturers from our orthopaedic centre of excellence, The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, will explore collaborative research in ageing and the immunology of joint replacement, through to cutting edge surgical and reconstructive techniques.

The module will use a mix of seminars, interactive sessions with group activities and interactive task setting with subsequent review sessions.

By the end of the module, the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of current paradigms in the pathophysiology of inflammatory arthritis.
  • Understand how developments in diagnostic techniques of serology, tissue biopsy and advanced imaging are improving the diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory arthritis.
  • Describe and place in a scientific and clinical context new therapies available for rheumatological and orthopaedic disease, and issues surrounding clinical trials of new therapies.

3. Haematology (10 credits)

Haematology is one of the most academically active disciplines within clinical medicine and many advances in clinical practice have been developed through haematological models.

Increasingly, haemato-oncology is dominating the haematology curriculum and most haematology trainees enter this area. However, one of the appeals of haematology is that it has breadth, as well as depth, crossing into areas such as autoimmunity, blood transfusion and blood coagulation.

This module has been designed to cover all the major themes of haematology at the current time. The lecturers will aim to take your level of knowledge beyond the current undergraduate understanding. It will be assumed that you have a working knowledge of the lectures given in year 2 and 3 as part of the MBChB curriculum.

By the end of the module, the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the pathophysiology and clinical presentation of the major malignant and non-malignant subtypes of haematological disease.
  • Analyse how diagnostic approaches help to facilitate management of these diseases.
  • Evaluate the current therapeutic approaches to haematological disorders.

4. Immunology and Liver Disease: Applications of Immunotherapy (20 credits)

Immune mechanisms underlie many of the disorders that are seen in clinical practice, not least in hepatology and gastroenterology. These are areas of great research strength in Birmingham and are focussed around the MRC/UoB Centre for Immune Regulation and the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy. The module addresses specific topics that are of current interest in immunology including the anatomy of immune responses, inflammation, chemokine biology and regulatory networks. Recent developments and the underpinning basic science in hepatology and gastroenterology will be outlined. The use of immune cells and molecules to treat disease will be explored. The module aims to marry immune-mediated disease and immune based therapeutics in liver disease where there is a major clinical and academic strength at Birmingham. The teaching will encompass features of both basic and clinical research, extending and building on the teaching of these topics in the early years of Undergraduate medicine.

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a detailed understanding of selected topics within immunology and hepatology and the ability to analyse manuscripts and develop ideas for designing research projects in this area

  • Demonstrate with examples an understanding of how the immune system is implicated in a range of clinical disorders, particularly liver disease, and the modern approaches that are being made to investigate and manage these problems

  • Understand the underlying pathogenesis of liver and gastrointestinal disorders and be able to interpret/understand how different diseases are diagnosed
  • Express a detailed understanding of the pathophysiology and clinical features of some of the major subtypes of immune-mediated disease including transplant rejection, chronic liver disease, allergy and cancer

  • Have a basic knowledge of current and novel strategies used to treat liver and gastrointestinal disease
  • Understand how immune molecules and cells can be used to treat the liver and other diseases. Be able to critically evaluate the use of these novel therapeutic modalities compared to conventional drugs

5. Infection (10 credits)

The module will address current areas of interest in basic science and clinical management of infection. Building on undergraduate teaching, the aim will be to take a focussed interest on areas of local strength and contemporary debate in order to demonstrate the breadth and importance of this topic. Postgraduate topics in bacteriology and virology will be the major areas of interest.

By the end of the module, the student should be able to:

  • Have an understanding of the molecular basis of infectious pathogens and the interplay between pathogens and their host
  • Appreciate and evaluate current approaches in the prevention, control and treatment of infectious disease
  • Have an appreciation of current techniques that are used in the study of infection 

6. Endocrinology (10 credits)

Endocrine disorders are a major burden on health and an area of great scientific interest. The module will choose selected topics in this area in order to provide a detailed analysis of the underpinning basic science as well as the clinical management of the disorders. The strength of outstanding local research programmes in these areas will be a particular feature. Indeed, the desire to communicate areas of local research excellence is a major aim of the programme.

By the end of this module, the student should be able to:

  • Describe the principles that underlie the pathogenesis of the major disorders of endocrine systems.
  • Have a knowledge of the application of moderns techniques such as molecular and protein biology to key topics within endocrinology.     
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the current debates and questions concerning the management of disorders of the endocrine system.

7. Clinical Bioinformatics and Statistics (10 credits, compulsory)

The module will cover the fundamental principles of statistical data handling, informatics and bioinformatics. Statistics will cover analysis of experimental data, clinical data and problems of analysing massive data sets. This links in to how bioinformatics is applied to clinical geonomics, finding and using major genomic and genetic data resources; use software packages, in silico tools, databases and literature searches to align sequence data to the reference genome, critically assess, annotate and interpret findings from genetic and genomic analyses. Theoretical sessions will be coupled with practical assignments of analysing and annotating predefined data sets.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Statistically analyse experimental and clinical data appropriately, understanding the correct methods for different types of data. Have an understanding of the complexities of analysing large data sets and methods of doing so.
  • Analyse the principles applied to quality control of sequencing data, alignment of sequence to the reference genome, calling and annotating sequence variants, and filtering strategies to identify pathogenic mutations in sequencing data
  • Interrogate major data sources, e.g. of genomic sequence, protein sequences, variation, pathways, (e.g. EVS, dbSNP, ClinVar, etc.) and be able to integrate with clinical data, to assess the pathogenic and clinical significance of the genome result
  • Acquire relevant basic computational skills and understanding of statistical methods for handling and analysing sequencing data for application in both diagnostic and research settings

This is the module list for 2018/19. The modules listed on our website may occasionally be subject to change. For example, as you will appreciate, key members of staff may leave the University and this might necessitate a review of the modules that are offered. Where a module is no longer available, we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.


Standard fees apply. Learn more about fees and funding

The Association of Clinical Pathologists has a number of financial assistance schemes that can be applied for each year.

Intercalation Bursaries and Awards

Birmingham CRUK Centre Award for Intercalating BMedSci (Clinical Sciences) students

The Birmingham Cancer Research UK (CR-UK) centre supports cancer research across campus and at local hospital partners. Part of the funding that the Birmingham CR-UK Centre receives is ring-fenced to fund clinical training, the goal being to train the clinical research workforce of the future (one of the CR-UK 2020 goals). This year, the CR-UK Centre will utilise some of this funding to pilot a scheme to support the BMedSci (Clinical Sciences) Intercalation course. This is a one year intercalated degree that MBChB students can choose to join after the 3rd or 4th years of their MBChB course. This intercalation offers 'Cancer Studies' as a module in the course and our aim is to attract the best research-orientated medical students into cancer research at the earliest stages of their career.

Personal bursary award: this will be awarded directly to the student. There will be a single personal award of £2,000 made to the intercalating student who achieves the highest mark in their Clinical Sciences examination in their 3rd year of study and who undertakes a cancer related project (1,2).

The successful student will receive an award letter confirming the personal bursary award available through the Birmingham CR-UK Centre Award once they have accepted their offer letter of a place on the intercalating B.Med.Sci. (Clinical Sciences) course.

BMedSc Intercalated Awards

Up to 14 awards will be made to students from the University of Birmingham (medicine or dentistry programmes) who will be intercalating on any of the Birmingham BMedSc programmes. Each is worth up to £3000 and will be awarded following a competitive application process.

Some of the awards place conditions upon the type of work that will be funded. But, from the breadth of intercalating study undertaken in the past we expect that it will not be a problem to match particular awards with study areas. We would like to point out, however, that three of the awards have the condition that they must be used to support a student working in the field of infectious diseases. Please note that this aspect of study could be encompassed by any of the three main intercalating programmes. If no student qualifies no award will be made.

Only those students who achieve an overall year 2 mark of 65% or more will be eligible for consideration for an award. It is expected that decisions on awards will be made in September.

BMedSc Intercalated Awards Guidance

Conditions of an award

All students must inform the admissions tutor for their programme if they are in receipt of funds to support their intercalation from any other source. It is not expected that a BMedSc Intercalated Award will be made to anyone who is in receipt of such funds.

The money will be paid, where possible, in equal monthly amounts over a 10 month period during the academic year.

Upon completion of the intercalating programme, a one-page summary of the achievements and benefits gained from the programme is required. This must also acknowledge receipt of the award.

To apply, please submit a 200 word statement on your reasons for intercalating and a 500 word research proposal to by 31st July.

The Wolfson Award

The Wolfson Foundation intercalated degree awards programme, administered by the Royal College of Physicians, was launched in 1988 and is for the support of medical and dental students in their intercalated year. The award is £5000 and two BMedSci Clinical Sciences students will be nominated to compete by the Programme Director.

The Association of Cancer Physicians  

ACP, as the specialist society for medical oncology, is pleased to offer oncology prizes to medical students, FY and CMT doctors to try and stimulate an interest in oncology and recognise excellence in cancer research. We are therefore inviting essays on of four cancer-related themes.

The Society offer a £5000 bursary conditions of which are that the student should engage in a research project of minimum 6 months duration and must be supervised by a member of the Society.

The Association of Cancer Physicians - Oncology Prizes for medical students and junior doctors

 Applications are invited for the ACP Undergraduate Medical Student Essay Prize in Oncology.

Cancer is responsible for 1 in 4 deaths in the UK, and at the 2011 UN Health summit declared one of the 4 most important global health challenges including in developing countries. This annual award has been established by the Association to stimulate interest and awareness in oncology.

Prize: £200 plus a copy of “Problem Solving in Acute Oncology Edited by E.Marshall, A.Young, P.Clark and P.Selby”

Open to: All UK medical students.

The Association of Clinical Pathologists

Offers a Student Research Fund Bursary Scheme, which allows up to £5,000 for the costs of living expenses for BMedSc Intercalating applicants.

The Royal College of Radiologists

The Royal College of Radiologists is offering UG elective bursaries and this funding will allow 5 bursaries to be awarded in Clinical Radiology and 5 in Clinical Oncology. This is an excellent opportunity for you to gain experience in these specialities.

The Pathological Society

The Society funds up to ten medical, dental or veterinary undergraduates who wish to take an Intercalated Degree (either BSc or MRes/MSc) but who are unable to do so because of lack of local education authority funding. All of these awards will be made directly to students. The grant will cover the cost of university fees of up to £9,000, a £4000 stipend + £1500 consumables. Scottish students studying in Scotland will not be eligible for university fees.

One Medicine - comparative clinical Science Foundation

Inviting applications from intercalating veterinary and medical students for stipends to support living and/or study expenses during their intercalating period. With One Health and Comparative Medicine as a focus for the initiative, successful candidates will be studying and/or researching towards an intercalated BSc/MSc or equivalent where the emphasis is on the clinical aspects of the one health and comparative medicine agenda. Two awards, each of £5k, will be made and the sums available for use towards fees, research costs or subsistence.

Application deadline:  January and will then be assessed by a panel under the governance of the CCSF. Awards will be assessed on the merits of the individual and the merits of the proposed course of study/research. Candidates likely to make good ambassadors for comparative clinical science will be preferred. 

Awards will be announced by end of March and will be available from October. The awards will be made in a single payment of £5k direct to the applicant.

Intercalated Bursary – British Society for Clinical Neurophysiology

The Society offer a £5000 bursary conditions of which are that the student should engage in a research project of min 6 months duration and must be supervised by a member of the Society.

The application deadline is 31st July. The society are also offering an essay prize of £500 for a 3000 word essay on any topic involving the use of neurophysiological techniques for peripheral neuro-muscular disease. 

Core Falkbursaries

Available for intercalating med students to work on gastrointestinal liver projects.

The Jean Shanks Foundation Award - For English Medical Schools

The Foundation invite a selection of UK Medical Schools to apply for an Intercalated Grant Award of £15,000 per annum. Project proposals will be considered for this competitive selection process. The Foundation Trustees will assess each application and award Intercalated Grants at their discretion to the fifteen project proposals that they deem to be of the highest standard. Their decision is final and not subject to appeal.

Lab. consumables:  £1,500 (to be paid directly to the lab and is “restricted” funds)

University Fees:  up to £13,500 (being up to £9,000 for fees and the balance as subsistence)

The Kidney Research UK

Offers a one year funding support for medical students to undertake an Intercalated degree in renal research. The charity has been offering this type of funding support through an annual competition for the last three years with great success. We want to capture the early interest of medical undergraduates who wish to strengthen their medical degree through an intercalated approach, and who would find undertaking a research study in the kidney area appealing.  The funding of £5,000 over 1 year is paid directly by the charity to the students who can use this for living costs and fees during their intercalated year. We make at least 10 awards in each academic year.

BDIAP Grants to support BSc Studentships in Histopathology

The BDIAP offers up to five grants per year to support undergraduates undertaking a BSc, or equivalent, in Pathology as part of their undergraduate career. Such a BSc will normally be undertaken in departments of Histopathology, Cellular Pathology or Cytopathology in universities, medical schools, NHS laboratories or research institutes in the United Kingdom or overseas. Applications, including proposals for work on research projects in Pathology, should be submitted by the end of July each year and are considered by the Education and IT Subcommittee of the BDIAP, which I chair, shortly after that. The grant will normally be for a maximum of £15,000 pounds sterling and is primarily to support living expenses and university fees during the year of study rather than bench fees. At those medical schools where intercalation is mandatory (Imperial, Oxford, Cambridge, UCL), the BDIAP will offer two grants of £3,000. I would be grateful if you could bring this to the attention of students contemplating an intercalated BSc or equivalent in Pathology. Application deadline: July.

The John Snow Intercalated BSc awards

Designed to encourage medical student interest in anaesthetics and its related disciplines, these awards go to the student and not the supervisor/institution and are meant to contribute towards living costs.
Next year the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain & Ireland/Anaesthesia, the British Journal of Anaesthesia/Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Obstetric Anaesthetists’ Association will be offering several awards of £2,000 and the Neuroanaesthesia Society of Great Britain & Ireland one award of £1,000.

How To Apply

Further information and application forms can be obtained from Julie Wright (Institute of Clinical Sciences), email:  or phone +44 (0)121 415 8120.

Application Form (doc, 94KB, opens in a new window)
Enrolment Form (for external students only) (pdf, 56KB, opens in a new window) 
Sample timetable (pdf, 296KB, opens in new window)
Frequently asked questions (pdf, 129KB, opens in new window)

Deadline for applications: Thursday 4th January 2018

Building on work already undertaken within the MBChB, you may take the programme between the third and fourth, or fourth and fifth years of the MBChB.

To be considered for the programme you will have to demonstrate that your performance in years 2 and 3 of the medical degree is equivalent to a 1 or 2.1 in a standard classified degree.  

Transcripts are reviewed to confirm student academic achievement. Students are expected to have achieved 65% or above (or have extenuating circumstances which were accepted for the academic year in question) for all completed years with the exception of year 1. In exceptional circumstances students who have failed to achieve this will be considered if a clear and strong case for academic progression can be made. If your academic achievement in year 2 and above of your medical studies has fallen below 60% (or equivalent for external candidates) year mean in the absence of extenuating circumstances, please detail any evidence which supports your academic ability to engage with the chosen programme of study.

If you are interested in a particular project you are advised to contact the supervisor. Further information and application forms can be obtained from Julie Wright (Institute of Clinical Sciences), email: or phone +44 (0)121 415 8120

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. 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).

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Students are expected to have knowledge and understanding of:

  1. The whole spectrum of the disciplines making up the Clinical Sciences, including current research issues and clinical developments.
  2. One of the Clinical Science disciplines at a level that will enable them to critically evaluate current experimental literature so as to design and undertake independent research under supervision.
  3. The experimental processes and analytical methods that underpin research in their chosen Clinical Science discipline.

Skills and Attributes

Students are expected to have attained the following skills and other attributes:

  1. The ability to identify and refine a novel and valid research question and to identify means of testing the hypothesis.
  2. The ability to identify and critically analyse the literature relating to the area of research.
  3. The ability to apply critical and informed judgement in relation to the ethical dimensions of research.
  4. The ability to gather accurate and reliable scientific data, to analyse it using appropriate statistical methods and to interpret it objectively.
  5. The ability to undertake laboratory work safely and competently.
  6. The ability to select, organise and present information on the progress of research and to present the research and its findings verbally, in a written thesis and as a presentation for publication.

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

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.

Each module exam will consist of a combination of short answer questions (SAQs) and longer written answers.
There will be 3 from 4 SAQs in 45 minutes and there will then be written questions in a subsequent 45 minutes. (each exam will therefore last 1.5 hours)

Written answers may take the form of one essay from a choice of two. 

Preparation for your career in medicine should be a major consideration as you proceed through Medical School. The BMedSc intercalated honours degree can help in advancing your medical career. 

If you would like to find out more from what our previous students have said about the programme, you can view the student comments section.

Many students have produced significant international conference presentations and academic publications. These are educational achievements that are well recognised in applications for Foundation Programme and Academic Foundation Programme applications at the start of your post-graduate medical training. The intercalated courses give a excellent grounding if you wish to pursue a career in academic medicine, but as importantly an appreciation of the value of research in whatever speciality you may take up in the future. Whether you have a clear idea of a speciality 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 unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team 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.

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.

Find out more about Careers Network.

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