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Clinical Science BMedSc - Intercalated Degree

Start date
September
Duration
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 Sciences 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. 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 a 7 month project with researchers from one of the College’s Research Institutes.

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.

Upon successful completion of both taught elements and the research project, students will be able to graduate with BMedSc Clinical Sciences.

Students whose 120 successfully completed credits include a 20 credit specialist module and corresponding 60 credit specialist project may qualify for a specialist stream. 

The specialist streams currently available are:

BMedSc Clinical Sciences (Endocrinology and Metabolism)

BMedSc Clinical Sciences (Reproduction and Women's Health)

BMedSc Clinical Sciences (Cardiovascular Sciences)

Further streams planned for 2021/22 are:

BMedSc Clinical Sciences (Cancer Sciences)

BMedSc Clinical Sciences (Clinical Geroscience)

BMedSc Clinical Sciences (Immunotherapy)

BMedSc Clinical Sciences (Microbiology & Infectious Diseases)

The degree offers optional modules for study and the student will select two of these according to their interest together with a compulsory module and research project. 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 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 in March/April. Students spend approximately 60% of their time on their research projects
  • a choice of 2 20 credit taught modules in the various disciplines of Clinical Sciences

You will also follow a compulsory 20 credit taught module (Clinical Bioinformatics and Statistics) which will provide you with training in analysis of large clinical and laboratory data sets, including genomics. 

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

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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Modules

In addition to one 20 credit compulsory taught module, you will study a choice of two 20 credit optional taught modules in the various disciplines of Clinical Sciences. Below is an indicative module list for the current course (subject to change).  Further modules, including ophthalmology, are planned for 2021/22.  Modules must meet the minimum number of students (5) in order to run.

34156 Clinical Bioinformatics and Statistics (compulsory)

Overview

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 large data sets. This links in to how bioinformatics is applied to clinical genomics, 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 Objectives

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 data for application in both diagnostic and research settings

30494 Immunology and Liver Disease: Applications of Immunotherapy

Overview

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.

Learning Objectives

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.

30496 Cancer: Pathology and Therapy

Overview

This module focuses on the pathologic 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.

Learning Objectives

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 diagnostic and 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.

34158 Endocrinology and Metabolism

Overview

Endocrine and Metabolic 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.

Learning Objectives

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

  • Describe the principles that underlie the pathogenesis of the major disorders of endocrine systems;
  • Describe the principles that underlie the pathogenesis of the major metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes;
  • Have a knowledge of the application of moderns techniques such as molecular and protein biology to key topics within endocrinology and metabolism;

Demonstrate an awareness of the current debates and questions concerning the management of disorders of the endocrine system and metabolism.

34161 Haematology and Infection

Overview

Haematology is a broad clinical discipline which has pioneered many areas of clinical progress. The module will explain the pathological and clinical features of the major haematological disorders in areas of both malignant and non-malignant disease. The role of basic science in understanding the pathogenesis of such diseases, as well directing their management, will be discussed.

The second part of the module will address currents areas of interest in the 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.

Learning objectives

By the end of the module students 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;
  • 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 infectious therapeutics and the relative strengths of the different approaches.

34167 Rheumatology and Orthopaedics

Overview

Joint disease is a major clinical burden. This module will draw on excellent local expertise to study the pathophysiological features of selected rheumatological ans musculoskeletal disorders. The clinical presentation and management of these problems will be addressed. Several lectures will address current topics in orthopaedic practice and will demonstrate the close relationship between the two disciplines.

Learning Objectives

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

  • Appreciate the different specialities and disease groupings within the musculoskeletal medicine specialities of rheumatology and orthopaedics
  • Understand the evidence underlying current imperatives to treat rheumatoid arthritis as early as possible.
  • List the limitations of conventional x-rays in assessment of disease and response to therapy, and discuss the advantages of newer imaging modalities such as MRI and ultrasound scanning
  • Understand single-cell sequencing technology, methods to analyse and explore sequencing data, and biological interpretation of the findings
  • Understand the variety of pathogenic mechanisms found in inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis and how these can be targeted using biological therapies
  • Describe different animal models of disease and how these can be used to understand mechanisms of disease
  • Understand the complexities of clinical trials as applied to multisystem connective tissue diseases
  • Discuss the role of surgery in management of destructive joint disease
  • Describe the variety of musculoskeletal malignancies encountered in orthopaedic practice and give an overview of treatment modalities
  • Discuss different ways in which researchers are developing new approaches to predicting diagnostic outcome in early inflammatory arthritis

35294 An Overview of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Sciences

Overview

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and major cause of disability worldwide. This module will introduce students to multiple aspects of contemporary practice in cardiology and the underpinning basic science and clinical research, showcasing the research strengths of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences. The teaching on this module builds on that from the early years of medical degree and encompasses a combination of basic science and clinical application to give a state-of-the-art view of cardiovascular medicine. It will cover both normal heart function and a range of cardiac diseases, including molecular pathology, imaging, diagnosis and treatment. This module will demonstrate how the use of basic science and pre-clinical models deepens our understanding of the pathophysiology of heart disease and enables novel therapeutic strategies to be developed. Looking to the future, it will explore how clinical trial design, advances in health data science and biomarker discovery is shaping risk stratification and improving care in cardiovascular disease.

Learning Objectives

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

  • Describe and explain current knowledge in the field of cardiovascular biology, including regulation of heart rhythm and heart physiology.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of principles in disease in selected examples of arrhythmias, cardiomyopathies and congenital heart disease, including their molecular pathophysiology, diagnosis and general treatment strategies.
  • Explain the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and thrombotic cardiovascular diseases, heart failure, sudden death and atrial fibrillation, and discuss both acute and longer term treatments of these major diseases. Discuss risk factors of heart disease, how they contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease and are managed clinically.
  • With reference to the scientific literature, discuss the different domains of cardiovascular research from molecular discovery to patient benefit.
  • Discuss and evaluate the impact of biomarker discovery, clinical trial design and advances in digital cardiology in the understanding, detection and management of cardiovascular disease.

35295 Reproduction and Women’s Health

Overview

The module comprises include taught sessions and observation days following specialists in women’s health which may include foetal medicine, reproductive health, and IVF clinics. The Reproduction and Women’s Health module adopts a life course approach to Women’s Health via teaching across three themes: foetal, maternal/reproduction and women’s health. There are two cross-cutting themes of Global health and ethical and legal aspects. Taught learning will focus on the following aspects: 1) Foetal stream – embryology, congenital anomalies, screening and diagnosis in pregnancy, genetics, pre-pregnancy care; 2) Maternal/Reproduction theme - advances in diseases of pregnancy, placental pathology, post-partum care, reproductive health and care; 3) Women’s Health – cancer, menopause, infertility.

Learning Objectives

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

  • Demonstrate an appreciation of how understanding the endocrinology of reproduction, embryology, placental development and pathology and genetics can help to direct the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in Women’s health.
  • Identify areas of current active research within Women’s Health and explain the methodologies being used.
  • Examine the factors that lead to the development of complications of pregnancy and women’s health and current treatments available
  • Evaluate the rationale of the current treatment strategies by using your knowledge and understanding of endocrinology, reproduction, the placenta and genetics
  • Display the ability to critically analyse scientific literature in this field of research.

Opthalmology *Planned for 2020/21*

Overview

This module will provide a comprehensive education programme in ophthalmology incorporating the following three themes:

  1. Fundamentals: An overview of key concepts in anatomy, physiology, pathology, immunology and genetics relevant to the visual system, to underpin further clinically-oriented learning.
  2. Clinical ophthalmology: An introduction to the range of subspecialties within ophthalmology, applying fundamental concepts to clinical practice and learning about presentation, diagnosis and management of important ophthalmic diseases.
  3. Hot topics in ophthalmic research: Students will explore recent research and areas of debate related to topics that have been covered during the ‘Fundamentals’ and ‘Clinical Ophthalmology’ themes.

In addition, students will have the opportunity to develop and refine key clinical skills relevant to ophthalmology (including direct ophthalmoscopy and fundus assessment, ocular motility assessment, pupil responses, confrontational visual fields and basic slit-lamp skills), and learn how to interpret a range of ophthalmic investigations (including OCT, visual fields, corneal topography, optic nerve imaging and fundal angiography).

Learning Objectives

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

  • Demonstrate an understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology, immunology and genetics relevant to ophthalmology, and understand how these fundamental principles relate to presentation, diagnosis and management of eye disease.
  • Describe key diagnoses within all subspecialist areas of clinical practice in ophthalmology, including risk factors for disease, presenting features, diagnosis, management and long-term complications.
  • Appreciate the application of medical, surgical and laser interventions in ophthalmic clinical practice and how treatment modalities continue to evolve.
  • Identify areas of current active research in ophthalmology, explain the methodologies being used and critically appraise the literature in this field.
  • Be able to describe and discuss clinical skills relevant to all medical professionals involved in the assessment of patients presenting with visual or eye-related symptoms.

22825/35291/35292/35293 Research Project (compulsory 60 credit research module)

Overview

This module provides students with an opportunity to use the knowledge base they have developed in their study as the basis for planning and undertaking a major piece of Institute based research under supervision. This gives the student the opportunity to develop an area of particular personal expertise, both in the concepts relevant to the field and in appropriate research approaches.

Learning Objectives

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

  • Demonstrate the ability to independently define a research question / hypothesis that can be tackled within the module and for which supervision is available.
  • Demonstrate competence in the design and undertaking of laboratory experiments appropriate to the hypothesis being tested.
  • Demonstrate competence in analysing data effectively, using appropriate statistical tools and drawing valid conclusions.
  • Demonstrate good communication skills in presenting the process and outcome of the research both orally and as a written thesis.

Fees

Standard fees apply. Learn more about fees and funding

Intercalation Bursaries and Awards

Prior to intercalating, information on funding for University of Birmingham students can be found on the relevant page of the internal MBChB CANVAS course.  Details and application deadlines of internal and national bursaries and awards are also sent to all students from the intercalation administration team at the start of the programme.  For more details contact mdsintercalationenquiries@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

At the end of the year prizes are also awarded to the top performing students in a number of categories.

How To Apply

Further information and application forms can be obtained from Fiona Collard (Programme Administrator), email: intercalclinscience@contacts.bham.ac.uk  or phone +44 (0)121 414 8190

Deadline for applications:  11th January 2021


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 Fiona Collard (Programme Administrator), email: intercalclinscience@contacts.bham.ac.uk or phone +44 (0)121 414 8190

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.

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.

Each taught module is assessed through 50% in course assessment and 50% 2hr written examination.

The research project is assessed through a thesis, oral presentation, and supervisor’s report.

Year five

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 through their research project during the BMedSc Clinical Sciences programme. 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 an 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.

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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