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Medical Science BMedSc - Intercalated Degree

Start date
September / October annually depending on published term dates
1 year Full Time
Course Type
Undergraduate, Intercalated

Intercalating degrees are suitable for students studying Medicine and Dentistry only; you may choose to take a year out from your medical/dental course and study on one of intercalated BMedSc degree programmes.

During this year you will acquire skills in analysing and interpreting research papers and you will also gain substantial, direct experience of novel medical or clinical research (either in a research laboratory or in the community.

Successful completion of this year leads to the award of a classified honours degree. The course aims to emphasise the importance of the science that underpins medicine and provide awareness, experience and competence in those scientific disciplines allied to medicine. This is achieved through in depth study of specific subject areas and also a research project, which is a major component of the programme. The project provides an understanding of the importance of medical research to the practice of medicine. Medical practitioners are now required to have an appreciation of areas previously considered mainly beneficial to a research career.

You will have the opportunity to develop:

  • an in-depth knowledge of selected subject areas within medical science 
  • a perception of the integrated nature of medical science and be able to communicate an understanding of the scientific methods to future medical practitioners 
  • in-depth analytical, research and evaluative skills coupled to presentation of a substantial dissertation
  • your ability to work on own initiative and as a member of a team.

This course also forms Year 3 of the Biomedical Science degree programme. Therefore, the modules that are on offer to you are also those that are taken by science students.

The course is different from what you have experienced to date. You will pursue studies in considerable depth with discussion of the evidence underpinning scientific knowledge and investigate areas where there is incomplete knowledge and therefore uncertainty. Throughout this year there is a strong emphasis on practical work. You will learn how to design and perform medical research experiments and analyse data from them. In order to justify award of an honours degree, you will need to be prepared to expend considerable effort during the year.

The subjects you can study in the first semester include medical and molecular genetics, neuroscience, cellular pathology, pharmacology, molecular medicine, molecular virology and oncology, and many more. This leads you on to your own research project for the whole of the spring term. Here you gain experience of advanced research techniques and learn to analyse and interpret data as well as to present a coherent discussion of your interpretations and conclusions of your findings. During the project you are expected to be associated full-time with your laboratory.

Why study this course?

The programme may be of interest to those wishing to explore the scientific basis of a wide range of medical specialisms, each associated with a focussed 40-credit option module. 


Follow your interest

During the first term you will 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.


Compulsory modules:

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

Students should choose one optional module from the following list (examples):

  • 40 credits - Cancer Pathogenesis and Treatment
  • 40 credits - Cardiovascular Sciences (Integrated Regulation in Health and Disease)
  • 40 credits - Cell Communication in Health and Disease
  • 40 credits - DNA Damage Pathways in Human Disease
  • 40 credits - Experimental Immunology
  • 40 credits - From Genes to Therapy
  • 40 credits - Hypoxia in Health and Disease
  • 40 credits - Immunity and Inflammatory Disease
  • 40 credits - Infection: Bacterial Threats and Defence 
  • 40 credits - Liver Function in Health and Disease
  • 40 credits - Metabolic Aspects of Immune-inflammation
  • 40 credits - Molecular Medicine (Endocrinology of Metabolic Disorders)
  • 40 credits - Molecular and Integrative Pharmacology: From Molecules to Man
  • 40 credits - Neuropharmacology
  • 40 credits - Neurotrauma and Disease: Degeneration and Regeneration
  • 40 credits - New Targets and Drugs in Cancer Therapy
  • 40 credits - Reproductive Medicine
  • 40 credits - Stem cells, Differentiation and Disease
  • 40 credits - The Biology of Ageing 
  • 40 credits - Vascular Biology and Pathology

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

How To Apply

Please contact our Intercalation team to make enquiries and apply 

This programme is aimed at medical and dental students who have completed Years 2,3 or 4 of their vocational programmes.

Please note that if you have not yet completed Year 2 of your vocational course, both your acceptance and your choice of final year modules can be decided only after all examination marks are known.

University of Birmingham students: Please visit the 'Intercalating BMedSc (Medical Science)' folder on Canvas.

External applicants

We do not normally accept applications from external students.

The College of Medical and Dental Sciences makes up over one fifth of the University’s population – with around 1400 staff, over 1000 of who are academic – but nearly half of its research-related income, and brings together healthcare-related research both in a clinical, patient-oriented setting and in outstanding basic laboratory sciences.

The BMedSc Medical Science programme benefits greatly from being taught by staff from different Schools of the College of Medical and Dental Sciences who are active research scientists engaged in a wide range of high quality research projects. In particular, this enables a broad range of taught options and research projects to be offered to BMedSc students in their third year.

To learn more about biomedical research activities in the College of Medical Sciences, please visit our research pages

Or visit our individual school websites as below:


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, peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates) and an extended laboratory project.

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.

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 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 internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs 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.