Biomedical Science MSci

Start date
September
Duration
4 Years
UCAS code
B902
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours
Fees

For academic year 2022/23
Annual fees: 
£9,250 (UK)  
£24,600 (International)
More details on fees and funding

The Biomedical Science MSci course will cover the major disciplines of biomedical science as well as providing you with professional development and entrepreneurial opportunities including good clinical laboratory practice (GCLP), business and enterprise and governing regulatory roles.

Taught by subject experts who carry out fundamental scientific and medical research, this 4-year course will explore the science of the human body and the causes and treatments of diseases that affect us. Similar to our 3-year BSc Biomedical Science course, this broad course is taught in Birmingham Medical School and covers all the major body systems right down to cellular and molecular level.

You will learn how research translates into advances in clinical practice through our 'bench-to-bedside' approach by spending time working in our state-of-the-art laboratories and explore emerging fields such as stem cell therapies. In addition to this, you'll learn more about common major disorders like cancer and arthritis.

First and Second Years 

The first two years of this MSci Biomedical Science course are identical to the 3-year BSc Biomedical Science course and will build 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 will 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 transitioning onto the MSci. Throughout the course you will develop core research skills, such as key technical skills, problem solving ability, data analysis and interpretation. You will also develop an understanding of the key ethical and social issues surrounding medical science.

During the second year there will be an opportunity to specialise in a scientific area of your choice, linked to the College's 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. Themes include cancer, neuroscience, infection and immunity, pharmacology and cardiovascular science. This provides a platform for further specialisation in your third year. Within this module you can also select a business and enterprise project which develops entrepreneurial and communication skills with external business partners.

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, which takes place during the summer in between your second and third years, either within the College, for which funding is available, or abroad. After summer research projects have taken place you will present your findings at a student symposium through conference-style posters. This event is a great way for students to showcase their hard work and findings, gaining valuable research experience along the way.

You will also have the opportunity at the end of your second year, or third year if you prefer, to undertake a year in industry. This will allow you to gain valuable work experience by securing a placement in, for example, the pharmaceutical industry.  

Third Year

During your third year you will specialise further by selecting a single taught option from over 10 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 will learn about the latest findings and be exposed to advanced research techniques, guided by internationally recognised experts in these fields. You will then undertake a compulsory module in Experimental Data Interpretation that re-enforces your statistical knowledge to handle the analysis of large data sets.

These taught options lead on to a translational research module which is underpinned by understanding the legislative process required when moving treatments from the bench to the bedside. This module has a substantial practical element, requiring you to demonstrate advanced competencies within the laboratory and to demonstrate and acquire a Good Clinical Laboratory Certificate. The final module in year 3 is the Global Challenge, allowing team work to develop your creativity and innovative thinking to resolve a biomedical issue using modern technology.

Fourth Year

In the final year of the MSci Biomedical Science course you will choose from a selection of optional modules around emerging technologies within the biomedical field (e.g. omics, bioinformatics). The final module is the extended individual research project, which in most cases is laboratory based within one of our leading research active laboratories. You will work independently, under supervision, for 15 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.

Students who enrol on to the 4-year MSci course are able to switch to the 3-year BSc course at the end of year 2 should they wish to.

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Modules

Modules in the first year

  • 20 credits - Cellular Biochemistry and Biology 
  • 20 credits - Fundamentals of Life Science 
  • 20 credits - Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences – Fundamental Principles
  • 20 credits - Digestion and Renal Sciences
  • 10 credits - Foundations of Neuroscience
  • 10 credits - Foundations of Pharmacology
  • 10 credits - Personal academic development 1 – Transition to University
  • 10 credits - Personal academic development 2 – Introduction to Experimental Design

Modules in the second year

  • 20 credits - Stem cells and Genetic Inheritance
  • 20 credits - Immunity and Infection
  • 20 credits - Neuroscience, Endocrinology and Reproduction
  • 20 credits - Cancer and stratified medicine
  • 20 credits - Cardiorespiratory Physiology & Pharmacology 
  • 20 credits - Student Selected Science Project

Modules in the third year

Compulsory modules

  • 10 credits - Experimental Data Interpretation
  • 20 credits - Global Challenge
  • 50 credits - Translational Research

Optional modules

  • 40 credits - Biology of Ageing
  • 40 credits - Immunity & Inflammatory Disease 
  • 40 credits - Cancer Pathogenesis & Treatment
  • 40 credits - Cardiovascular Science (Integrated Regulation)
  • 40 credits - Cell Communication in health & Disease
  • 40 credits - DNA damage pathways in Human Disease
  • 40 credits - Experimental Immunology
  • 40 credits - From Genes to Therapy
  • 40 credits - Hypoxia in Health & Diseases
  • 40 credits - Infection: Bacterial Threats & Defence
  • 40 credits - Liver Function in Health & Disease
  • 40 credits - Metabolic Aspects of Inflammatory Disease
  • 40 credits - Molecular & Integrative Pharmacology
  • 40 credits - Molecular Medicine (Endocrinology of Metabolic Disorder)
  • 40 credits - Neuropharmacology
  • 40 credits - Neurotrauma: Degeneration & Regeneration
  • 40 credits - New Targets & Drugs in Cancer Therapy
  • 40 credits - Reproductive Medicine
  • 40 credits - Stem Cells, Differentiation & Disease
  • 40 credits - Vascular Biology & Pathology
  • 40 credits - Viruses, Society & Future Medicines

Modules in the fourth year

Compulsory modules

  • 80 credits - Research project

Optional modules

  • 20 credits - Scientific writing
  • 20 credits - Omics Techniques and Technologies and their Application to Genomic Medicine
  • 20 credits - Foundations of Computing Practices in Health Data Science 
  • 20 credits - Clinical Haematology

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 2022. 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 2022/23 are as follows:

  • UK: £9,250
  • International: £24,600

Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Funding

Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you throughout 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.

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3 AAB
Typical offer:
AAB
Required subjects and grades:
Two science A levels from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, or Physics; GCSE grade A/7 in Mathematics, and B/6 in Biology and Chemistry (or double award science) if not offered at a higher level.
General Studies:
not accepted as part of the minimum 3 A Level subjects.

BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma are not accepted.

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. 

Scottish Certificate of Education and Irish Leaving Certificate:

Please contact Admissions Tutors for further information.

International Baccalaureate Diploma:

Overall score of 32 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).

International Students

We welcome applications from students from the EU and overseas. Standard English language requirements apply.

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’ll learn from subject experts covering all major biomedical disciplines in world-class settings, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. You will benefit from many different innovative approaches teaching aimed at enhancing your learning. 

Your learning will take place in a range of different forms, dependent on the subject matter; from scheduled teaching in lectures, laboratory and computer based practicals to interactive e-learning. You will engage in small groups and reinforce your learning with tutorials, problem-based and feedback sessions. 

Supported by your personal tutor you will improve your biomedical science knowledge through different forms of assessment and feedback.

Learning settings

  • Laboratory-based practical work is an integral part of our Biomedical Science undergraduate course, delivering important transferable skills and giving you the experience of practical work that is essential for your future career in biomedical science. 
  • Lectures take place in our state-of-the-art lecture theatres which, as well as the traditional whiteboard and pen, are equipped with the latest technology, including facilities to show movies, animations and graphics, to record lectures and deliver interactive sessions with ‘ask the audience’ style electronic voting systems. 
  • Seminars and small-group tutorials run alongside the lecture course, addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate scientific and professional lecture material. 
  • Computer-based learning sessions which take place in the computer cluster.
  • Self study is an essential part of the course, helping you to further your understanding of biomedical science and demonstrate your commitment to the course. Your enthusiasm for both the subject and learning in general will continue to aid you throughout your professional career, helping you to keep up to date with the latest innovations and best practices within the industry. 
  • E-learning mechanisms include Canvas, our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and Wiki podcasts; excellent tools for supporting our academic courses, allowing you to share thoughts on assignments with other students via the discussion group facilities, giving access to learning materials 24 hours a day and allowing you to submit your work electronically. 
  • Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) is a group activity which requires you to work in a team, with a variety of assessment methods; in either a group or individually, by written reports and sometimes as a presentation. Based on techniques used in research-led organisations like the University of Birmingham, EBL offers you the opportunity to take a research-orientated approach to a problem and helps you to gain essential skills that are highly valued by employers. 

Facilities

Based in the Medical School, you will have access to state-of-the-art laboratories, lecture theatres, recently refurbished small group teaching spaces, anatomy resource rooms and computer clusters. 

The Barnes Library and Learning Hub provide students with four floors of individual, group and silent study areas alongside all of the learning resources of a modern library. Laptops are available in the Hub for students to borrow and wireless internet is available throughout the building.

Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre’s aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions with support with mathematics and statistics based problems provided by experienced mathematicians, to workshops on a range of topics including note taking, reading, writing and presentation skills.

Teaching Staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, doctors and postgraduates, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff on the Biomedical Science course have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives on their particular subject area.

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

Student Support

Most students will need support at some point during their course. Whether you require support with a disability, illness or personal or family problems, our outstanding student support system means there is always someone there for you. Through our strong university community you will feel a strong sense of belonging, allowing you to form personal and professional relationships that can last a lifetime.

We work hard to support you through good times and bad through our Student Service Centre. You’ll have access to a comprehensive support system throughout the duration of your course, that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors, mentoring programmes, welfare tutors and wellbeing officers who are able to help with both academic and welfare issues. If there are particular areas where you need support, rest assured that we will be here for you.

Contact Hours

Year 1:

On average you can expect approximately 40% of your time to be spent in scheduled teaching (lectures, small group tutorials and lab practice) and 60% on independent study.

Year 2:

On average you can expect approximately 25% of your time to be spent in scheduled teaching (lectures, small group tutorials and lab practice) and 75% on independent study.

Year 3:

On average you can expect approximately 30% of your time to be spent in scheduled teaching (lectures, small group tutorials and lab practice) and 70% on independent study.

Year 4:

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.

Assessment Methods

You will be assessed in a variety of ways, which may change depending on the module. You'll be assessed through coursework which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations, laboratory-based work (depending on your chosen degree) and formal exams. 

At the beginning of each module, you’ll be given information on how and when you’ll be assessed for that particular area 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.

Throughout the course there will be opportunities to meet with your personal tutor to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. Your personal tutor who is based in the Medical School and can help with any academic issues that you may encounter. 

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

Our Biomedical Science graduates have an excellent record of employment in a wide variety of careers. Many embark on laboratory work in universities, often in PhD positions and in hospitals. Many also go on to become clinical scientists and working for biotechnology companies. Other degree-related careers also include work in clinical trials, and in marketing and management roles at biotechnology companies. 

Many of the skills that you will acquire throughout the course are highly transferable, making it the ideal preparation for many other high-profile careers, such as teaching, accountancy, law and banking, as well as management positions in a variety of companies.

This newly devised course will allow you to experience a personalised journey in both your third and fourth years.  In addition to developing your analytical, practical, technical and creative skills which are highly valued by employers, we teach modules which provide professional development opportunities including good clinical laboratory practice (GCLP) and offer an insight into the regulatory roles which govern Biomedical Science.

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 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 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 gain practical experiences in occupational settings while 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.

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