Biomedical Science BSc

BSc Biomedical Science explores the science of the human body and the causes of diseases that affect mankind. Based in Birmingham Medical School, our broad programme explores the major body systems right down to the cellular and molecular level and is constantly updated to reflect the latest developments in the field. You’ll learn from experts who carry out fundamental scientific and medical research in these areas, at the University of Birmingham. 

Taught by leading academics and clinicians in our state-of-the-art laboratories, you will find out how research translates into advances in clinical practice. You’ll explore emerging fields such as stem cell therapies and also learn more about major disorders like cancer and arthritis. There is also the opportunity to undertake a 10-week research project with our internationally recognised research groups as well as the chance to take an optional placement year either in an industrial or a clinical setting. Financial support is also available to some students opting to take on summer projects in the College’s laboratories.

The career options open to our graduates are varied. The majority go on to be professional scientists. Many pursue further training and qualifications, including Masters, PhD and Medicine programmes.

In 2018, the results of the National Student Survey (NSS) showed that 93% of our students were satisfied with the quality of the course and 96% were satisfied with the teaching on the course.

You can find more information about the programme on the 'course details' tab above or in our FAQ document.

RSB Accredited Degree RGB

Our Biomedical Science programme is delivered by experts who cover all the major disciplines of biomedical science. You will follow a broad curriculum in the first and second year, with some choice in the second year to work on a topic of particular interest to you. Year 1 and 2 will allow you to create a strong foundation for further specialisation in the third year, when you’ll complete your studies by undertaking an original research project from a wide range of options. You will also gain hands-on experience in one of the College research laboratories.

First and second year – broad foundations of knowledge

The first two years of the course builds 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’ll 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 your final year. In addition, throughout the course you’ll develop core research skills, such as data analysis and interpretation, helping you develop an understanding of the key ethical and social issues surrounding medical science.

In the second year there will be an opportunity to specialise in a scientific area of your choice, linked to our College 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. The themes will include cancer, neuroscience, infection and immunity, pharmacology and cardiovascular science. This will provide a platform for further specialisation in your third year.

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 students present their findings at a student symposium through conference-style posters. This event is a great way for students to show off their hard work and findings. In 2017, a number of students travelled to the Université de Tours in France and Tongji Medical College in Wuhan, China.

Jake Soley, final year Biomedial Science student, shares his summer research placement experience.

Third year – follow your interest

During the first term of your final year you specialise by selecting two taught options from over 20 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’ll learn about the latest findings and be exposed to advanced research techniques, guided by internationally recognised experts in these fields.

These taught options lead on to a substantial research project in the spring term, which in the majority of cases is laboratory based specifically within one of our leading research active laboratories. You’ll work independently, under supervision, for ten 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.

Why study this course


Based in Birmingham Medical School: You will be taught by leading academics and clinicians working at the interface of translational medicine and biomedical science.

Advanced teaching and learning facilities: Our modern laboratories and state-of-the-art prosectorium are among the facilities you will use throughout the programme. In addition, the Anatomy Resource Room contains a full set of anatomy models, and is available for you to book as an individual or in groups.

Clinical and industrial experience opportunities: You will have the opportunity to take an optional placement year, which you can spend working in industry or a clinical setting. You may also have access to financial support to take on summer projects in the College’s own active research laboratories.

Final year research project: You will gain experience of working in our dynamic research laboratories alongside active researchers to complete a 10 week research project on a topic of your choice.

Connections with major research centres: The College of Medical and Dental Sciences is proud of its well-established links with major national centres for research and the local NHS. These include the Institute for Biomedical Research and the Institute for Microbiology and Infection as well as the Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM), which opened in June 2015.

Comprehensive support and career guidance: The University’s Careers Network will provide you with a range of informative fairs and events throughout the year, tailored to Biomedical Science, to support you in choosing, researching and taking the first steps on your chosen graduate career pathway.

Active MedSoc: At the University of Birmingham we believe that student life shouldn't be all work and there is plenty for you to get involved with both within the College and the University outside of your studies. The College has its own Society known as MedSoc. MedSoc is an umbrella organisation for a wide range of activities including sporting, social, musical and charitable – there’s something for everyone.


Modules in the first year

The first two years of the course builds a detailed understanding of how the human body functions and what can go wrong in disease.

  • 20 credits - Cellular Biochemistry and Biology
  • 10 credits - Cardiorespiratory Science: Fundamental Principles 
  • 20 credits - Digestion and Renal Sciences
  • 20 credits - Fundamentals of life science
  • 20 credits - Fundamentals of Neuroscience and Pharmacology
  • 10 credits - Introduction to Molecular and Experimental Genetics
  • 20 credits - Introduction to Research and Experimental Skills

  • Non credit-bearing - Year 1 component: Personal and Academic Development (Level C)

Modules in the second year

In the second year there will be an opportunity to specialise in a scientific area of your choice, linked to our College major research themes. 

  • 20 credits - Cancer and Stratified Medicine
  • 20 credits - Immunity and Infection
  • 20 credits - Cardiorespiratory Physiology and Pharmacology 
  • 20 credits - Neuroscience, Endocrinology and Reproduction 
  • 20 credits - Stem Cells and Genetic Inheritance
  • 10 credits - Student Selected Science Project (3SP)
  • 10 credits - Vascular Biology and Haematology

  • Non credit-bearing - Year 2 Personal and Academic Development

Modules in the third year - follow your interest

During the first term of your final year you specialise by selecting two taught options from over 22 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’ll learn about the latest findings and be exposed to advanced research techniques, guided by internationally recognised experts in these fields.

Modules in the third year - option 1

Semester 1 (week 1 - 6)

  • 30 credits - Cell Communication in Health and Disease
  • 30 credits - The Biology of Ageing
  • 30 credits - Infection: Bacterial Threats and Defence
  • 30 credits - Cancer Pathogenesis and Treatment
  • 30 credits - Cardiovascular Science (Heart and Blood Vessels)
  • 30 credits - Experimental Immunology
  • 30 credits - Molecular and Integrative Pharmacology
  • 30 credits - Neurotrauma: Regeneration and Degeneration
  • 30 credits - Vascular Biology and Pathology
  • 30 credits - Liver Function in Health and Disease

Modules in the third year - option 2

Semester 1 (week 7 - 11)

  • 30 credits - Cardiovascular Science (Integrative Regulation)
  • 30 credits - From Genes to Therapy
  • 30 credits - Immunity and Inflammatory Disease
  • 30 credits - Stem cells: Differentiation and Disease
  • 30 credits - Molecular Medicine (Endocrinology of Metabolic Disorders)
  • 30 credits - Neuropharmacology
  • 30 credits - New Targets and Drugs in Cancer Therapy
  • 30 credits - Reproductive Medicine
  • 30 credits - Viruses, Society and Future Medicine
  • 30 credits - DNA Damage pathways in Human Disease
  • 30 credits - Hypoxia in Health and Disease
  • 30 credits - Science Communication: Principles and Practise

Semester 2

  • 50 credits - Research Project
  • 10 credits - Medical Science in Society

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 2019. 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 and funding

Tuition fees

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2019/20 are as follows:

  • Home/EU: £9,250
  • International: £21,180

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2019, 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.


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.

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
AAB or ABB + A in Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). Our Unconditional Offer Scheme is available to outstanding applicants.
Required subjects and grades:
Two science A levels from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, or Physics; GCSE grade B/6 in Mathematics, 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.

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).

Unconditional Offer Scheme

Our Unconditional Offer Scheme is available to outstanding applicants. This scheme allows us to target the very brightest students in certain subject areas, who demonstrate exceptional academic performance in their schooling to date, taking into consideration the views of their current institution and teachers. Find out more about our unconditional offer scheme.

Additional information:

BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma 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 students:

We welcome applications from students from the EU and overseas. Standard English language requirements apply. We do not consider any BTEC qualifications. Please contact Admissions Tutors for further information.

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.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at  
Learn more about applying

Application procedure

All applications are received through UCAS. Those applicants whose interest is in science and whose academic profile meets our minimum requirements will be invited to a Medical Science ‘Offer Holder Day’. This will involve visiting the Medical School, meeting staff and students, viewing our facilities and attending interactive sessions showcasing the research activities of the Medical Science programme. We receive many applications from those whose first choice of course is Medicine. These applications will receive equal consideration.

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. At Birmingham we advocate an enquiry based learning approach, from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers. 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).

To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we’ll enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues. If there are particular areas where you need support you will be able to address this with your tutors.

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 talking, reading, writing and presentation skills.

Teaching staff for this course

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 have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

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.

Learning settings

Laboratory-based practical work is an integral part of our Biomedical Science programme, delivering important transferable skills and giving you the experience of practical work that is essential for your future career.

Lectures take place in our 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 to interact 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

Self study is an essential part of the programme and demonstrate your commitment to, and enthusiasm for, your subject and for the learning that will continue throughout your professional career.

E-learning mechanisms include Canvas, Wiki podcasts and our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE); an excellent tool 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 gives you a research-orientated approach to a problem and helps you to gain essential skills that are highly valued by employers. 

Contact hours

Years 1 and 2: on average over the two teaching terms (Autumn and Spring) you can expect approximately 20 hours of scheduled teaching (lectures, small group tutorials and lab practice) and 20 hours of independent study per week.

Year 3

Semester 1 (optional modules): on average over autumn term you can expect approximately 15.5 hours of scheduled teaching (lectures, small group tutorials and lab practicals) and 24.5 hours of independent study per week. 

Semester 2 (final year project): Full-time throughout the spring term on average 35 hours per week for 11 weeks (experiments or data collection, data analysis and dissertation write-up).

Assessment methods

Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.

Throughout the programme 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. The personal tutor who is based in your school or department can help with any academic issues you encounter. 

You’ll be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You will 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 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.

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. 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 Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

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, hospitals, as clinical scientists and biotechnology companies. Other degree-related careers include work in clinical trials, and in marketing and management in biotechnology companies. 

Up to ten of our graduate students will be considered for a guaranteed interview for our medicine course.  The success rate of those gaining an interview was 70%, 40% and 43% in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively.

To find out more about our graduate employability, view our Career Profiles.

 The skills that you will acquire on 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.

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.

Another advantage you will have as a Birmingham student is access to our unique careers guidance service where, if you make the most of the wide range of services, we will be able to help you develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internshipsand 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.

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

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

The Medical School has societies specifically for students based here - MedSoc, an overarching society open to all Medicine, Nursing and Biomedical Science students, and PharmSoc, which is open to Pharmacy students. Both are student-run societies that offer a wide range of activities to get involved in from sports, amateur dramatics and music to charities, volunteering and academic support.

The City of Birmingham

You will be based on a leafy campus in the suburbs of a vibrant, modern city. With over a million residents, Birmingham is home to the UK's largest financial and creative centres outside London and it has a thriving business community. After London, Birmingham is the highest ranking city for quality of life in the UK (Mercer's Quality of Living Survey 2012). There is something for everyone in Birmingham and you are sure to receive a warm welcome in one of the most culturally diverse cities in Britain.


Whether you are looking for university accommodation or a rented property in the private sector, our accommodation services team, 'Living', can help you find the right place.

University accommodation for undergraduates is located across the University's three student villages, all of which are within walking distance of the main campus. We have a range of accommodation types, including flats with study bedrooms, sharing bathroom and kitchen facilities; flats with ensuite study bedrooms; and studio apartments where you have exclusive use of both kitchen and bathroom facilities.