Biomedical Science BSc

Start date
September
Duration
3 years
UCAS code
B900
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours
Fees

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20 are:
£9,250 (Home/EU) 
£21,180 (International students) 
More details on fees and funding

Taught by experts who cover all the major disciplines of biomedical science, you will follow a broad curriculum in the first and second year, with the exciting opportunity in the second year to work on a topic of particular interest to you.

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. 

Working 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. You'll also 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

This programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology following an independent and rigorous assessment. Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in biological knowledge and key skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of employers. The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.

RSB Accredited Degree RGB

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 from a variety of taught 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.

In the Spring term, you'll focus on a substantial research project, 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.

You can find more information about the course in our FAQ document.

Modules

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 from a variety of taught 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 

Semester 1 

  • 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
  • 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

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.


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.

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB
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.

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.

Please contact the Admissions Tutor 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.

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 and 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 through different forms of assessment and feedback.

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 which take place in the computer cluster.

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, 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 gives you 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 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.

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 (taught module): 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

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.

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

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.

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%, 43% and 50% in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively.

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

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, 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.