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Biomedical Materials Science BMedSc

Start date
September
Duration
3 years
UCAS code
BJ95
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours
Fees

Annual tuition fees for 2021/22:
£9,250 (UK Fees) 
£23,400 (International Fees) 
More fees and funding details.

Please note that the BMedSc Biomedical Materials Science (BJ95) course has been closed for applications for 2021 entry. There are a wide range of alternative courses available at the University of Birmingham which can be found by using the search function.

COVID-19

Please rest assured that we will make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.

Information for future students and applicants

Hip replacements, dental implants, contact lenses, pacemakers, replacement blood vessels and heart valves. These are just a few of the examples of biomaterials that are used to replace damaged or diseased tissues, and are becoming more relevant to an increasingly ageing population.

The Biomedical Materials Science course at Birmingham is one of few courses in the UK to focus equally on both the biological and material sciences. The course puts a major focus on tissue engineering, orthopaedic and dental biomaterials, preparing students for a variety of specialisms. This prepares you for a variety of career opportunities in a wide range of areas related to medical and dental science once you graduate.

BMedSc Biomedical Materials Science is taught across several departments, including Dentistry, Medicine, and Metallurgy and Materials, and is centered around the Biomaterials Unit, one of the principal research units within Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry. This is the only course of its kind to be based and taught within a hospital. As teaching takes place at Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry, there is direct input by practicing clinicians into the course content. 

First Year

In the first two years the course will cover four areas, delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials, case studies and practical work:

  • Material Science
  • Biological Sciences
  • Clinical Background
  • Biomaterials

The first year in particular provides an introduction to the science of the basic systems of the body, the biochemical make-up of cells, the organisation of cells and their function, genetics and the physiology of different systems. This is taught through cell biology, physiology and biochemistry. You will then be introduced to the functional aspects of the human body and the types of forces to which human tissues are exposed. Other areas of study cover the design for structural applications of materials and provide the basis of the materials science knowledge that will underpin your educational development in subsequent years.

The areas of study in year one give an overview of the history, development and uses of biomaterials. You will also gain essential knowledge relating to the use of how IT and statistics are used for report writing, as well as the presentation and appropriate storage of research data.

Wherever possible, lecture material is reinforced with practical classes. 

Second Year

The second year focuses on the reactions of the body to biomaterials, how these materials are designed and how they are made into components to be used in medical applications. You will continue to build an understanding of more advanced aspects in each of the subject areas, such as orthopaedic biomaterials and dental biomaterials.

As an area of medicine relevant to an increasingly aging population, orthopaedic biomaterials is an important focus of your study at Birmingham. You will learn about how artificial materials are enabling doctors and other medical professionals to replace diseased joints and bones through a growing number of biomaterial applications. Practical sessions will give you further experience of handling and testing dental biomaterials through using ‘phantom heads’ to familiarise yourself with the techniques and procedures involved in restoring damaged teeth.

You will also develop an understanding of the physiological processes in the body and the ways in which the immune system can be compromised in a variety of clinical situations through studying bacteriology and infection, wound healing and the immune response.

Materials design and professional skills will introduce you to the concept of materials selection and the way it relates to the design and manufacturing processes. You will also discover the factors that affect the performance of biomaterials, the properties of natural bone and teeth and the various forms of microscopy used for investigating cells, tissues and biomaterials.

Third Year

Your final year offers you the opportunity to be involved in a cutting-edge, state of the art two-semester research project of your own choice. This will take place in our active research laboratories, working alongside postgraduate PhD students and staff. Your research project will be carried out in partnership with supervisors and will be presented as a short dissertation and a poster. Both of which will draw on your scientific writing and presentation skills acquired in the first and second year of your Biomedical Materials Science course. Your work may ultimately be published in a scientific journal.

In addition, you will further your studies in core subject areas such as design for manufacture, emerging technologies, interactions of biomaterials with the body, biomaterials applications and laboratory assessment of biomaterials.

The courses multidisciplinary nature has opened a lot of doors to opportunities both in industry and postgraduate study after graduation.

Harriet Giddings, BMedSc Biomedical Materials Science

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Modules

Modules in the 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 this, you will also cover biomechanics and a general introduction to the development and clinical use of biomaterials

  • 20 credits - Introduction to Biomaterials 
  • 20 credits - Introduction to Biochemistry and Cell Biology (Cells and Materials)
  • 20 credits - Anatomy for Biomaterials
  • 10 credits - Cardiorespiratory Physiology: Linking Cells to the Environment
  • 10 credits - Principles of Biomechanics
  • 20 credits - Introduction to Tissue Engineering
  • 20 credits - Design for Structural Applications

Modules in the second year

During the second year of the course, the focus will be on the reactions of the body to biomaterials, how these materials are designed and made into components to be used in medical applications.

  • 20 credits - Dental Biomaterials 
  • 20 credits - Orthopaedic Biomaterials 
  • 20 credits - Microscopy and Analysis of Biomaterials
  • 20 credits - Introduction to Bacteriology and Infections Associated with Biomaterials
  • 20 credits - Properties and Applications of Non-Crystalline Materials for Biomaterials
  • 20 credits - Wound Healing and the Immune Response

Modules in the third year

During your final year, you'll have the opportunity to take part in cutting edge research over the course of two semesters. Research will be undertaken in collaboration with PhD students and staff and could even result in publication in a scientific journal.

  • 60 credits - Research Project
  • 10 credits - Laboratory Assessment Biomaterials
  • 10 credits - Emerging Technologies
  • 20 credits - Advanced Materials and Design for Manufacture
  • 20 credits - Biomaterial Interactions and Applications

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2020. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

Fees

Tuition fees

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:

  • UK Fees: £9,250
  • International Fees: £23,400

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2020, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.


For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the gov.uk website.

Funding

Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University or other sources.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.

How To Apply

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

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB
Required subjects and grades:
Two sciences required at A-level, one of which has to be 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

BTEC Extended Diploma: Grade DDD in Applied Science plus an additional AS or A Level grade C in a science subject.

BTEC Diploma: Grade DD in Applied Science alongside 1 further A level grade B

Extended Certificate: Grade D considered alongside 2 Science A levels grades BB (except Applied Science which can be considered alongside 1 science A Level and Applied Human Biology which can be considered alongside an A level Science other than Biology). Acceptable subjects if offering 2 science A levels: Aeronautical Engineering, Applied Law, Applied Psychology, Art and Design, Business, Computing, Electrical Electronic Engineering, Engineering, Forensic and Criminal Investigation, Health and Social Care, Information Technology, Manufacturing Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Music, Pharmaceutical Science, Sport, Sport and Exercise Science and
Sport and Exercise Sciences.

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

International Students

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,6,5 at Higher Level (to include Chemistry or Biology) with a minimum of 32 points overall.

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

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

At Birmingham, you will learn from a mixture of clinicians, academics and biological and material scientists in world-class settings. You'll receive a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience, unrivalled by many other institutions.

Your learning will take place in a range of different forms, dependent on the subject matter. From scheduled teaching in lectures, laboratory work and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates). Teaching is delivered in a well rounded fashion giving students a mixture of theory and practical experience.

For the duration of the course, you’ll be based in Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry. The hospital was built in 2016, meaning you will benefit from state-of-the-art facilities including modern laboratories, lecture theatres, dedicated study and collaborative working spaces and computer cluster.

Tours of the Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry take place during our Undergraduate Open Days, giving you the opportunity to see the world class facilities available to you as part of the Biomedical Materials Science course.

Teaching staff

Our teaching staff are highly experienced, experts in their field. Many have published important works in their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and are therefore able to offer unique perspectives on their subject areas. This may include groundbreaking research, treatment styles or underpinning theories. For more information on staff in the school, their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest, visit the School of Dentistry staff profile page.

For more information about staff in the school, their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest, visit the School of Dentistry staff profile page.

Student support

Throughout your time at the university, you will have access to a comprehensive support network. This network is open to all students studying within the School of Dentistry and assists students in dealing with any problems that may arise throughout your studies, from personal issues to academic support.

In addition, the Student Services Centre based in the Medical School on the main campus, offers many services from drop-in advice sessions and guidance, referral to internal and external services and support regarding extenuating circumstances.

You will also be assigned a personal tutor for the duration of your time with us. Your personal tutor will be an academic staff member that teaches on the Biomedical Materials Science course.  If there are any particular areas in which you feel you require extra support, you'll be able to address this with your tutors.

Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centres aim is to help you to develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. Ultimately the centre helps you to become a more effective and independent learner, using a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. This includes drop-in sessions for 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 and more.

Contact Hours

Year 1: On average you can expect approximately 23% of your time to be spent in scheduled teaching (lectures, small group tutorials and lab practice) and 77% on independent study.

Year 2: On average you can expect approximately 20% of your time to be spent in scheduled teaching (lectures, small group tutorials and lab practice) and 80% on independent study.

Year 3: On average you can expect approximately 23% of your time to be spent in scheduled teaching (lectures, small group tutorials and lab practice) and 77% on independent study.

Assessment Methods

You will be assessed in a variety of ways dependent on the module. Assessment types include coursework, which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations, laboratory-based work and formal exams.

At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on the style of assessment and assessment dates. You’ll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, allowing you to learn from and build on what you have done. You’ll be given feedback on any exams that you take; should fail an exam we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to you to aid in future learning.

Throughout the course there will be opportunities to meet with your personal tutor to track your progress and identify any areas where support is needed. Your personal tutor is based in the Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry and can help with any academic issues you encounter during your studies. 

Year one

Throughout the first year of your Biomedical Materials Science degree you can expect approximately 8 hours of scheduled teaching and 26 hours of independent study on average per week

Year two

Throughout the second year of your Biomedical Materials Science degree you can expect approximately 8 hours of scheduled teaching and 30 hours of independent study on average per week

Year three

Throughout the third year of your Biomedical Materials Science degree you can expect approximately 8 hours of scheduled teaching and 29 hours of independent study on average per week

As a Birmingham graduate, you will thrive in the workplace as you to apply your knowledge and skills to your chosen career.

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. These areas include blood perfusion, optometry, audiology and work in medical device regulatory authorities. Some graduates choose to continue their studies in pursuit of degrees in Medicine or Dentistry. A significant proportion of graduates have also entered traditional graduate careers such as finance, publishing, accounting and IT.

For top students in their year wishing to pursue a career in Dentistry after graduation, we are able to guarantee interview places within the University of Birmingham.

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 outstanding Careers Network can help you to achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service will help you to develop your career from the moment you arrive. Working closely with academics, alumni and employment providers, Careers Network works in conjunction with the Biomaterials Unit to provide you with advice and guidance on the recruitment process, including support with applications and interview preparation. 

We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you to gain practical experiences in occupational settings, whilst also 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.

In addition to this, 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.

Visit our alumni profile page to see what some of our students have gone on to achieve after completing their programme.

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