Biomedical Science

BSc (Hons)

Clearing places are available on this course

UCAS code: B900

Start dates: September 2023 / September 2024

Full time: 3 years (plus 1 year optional placement)

Part time: 6 years

Location: Headington, Headington (Marston Road site)

Department(s): Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

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Overview

Perhaps you studied biology in school and it sparked an interest in how the human body works and functions. Now, you want to understand things on a deeper level. If so, our (BSc) Biomedical Sciences degree is for you. On the course, we grapple with big questions such as ‘How are diseases caused?’ and ‘What tools can we use to understand symptoms?’ 

Through a mix of academic and practical learning, you’ll gain the skills employers look for. These include lab techniques, data handling, computing, report writing, oral presentations, and teamwork. With accreditation from the Institute for Biomedical Science (IBMS), you can be confident that you’ll benefit from highly rated teaching.

The broadness of the degree opens up many possible future pathways. Using their strong links with industry, our academics have helped students find valuable work experience. 

Better diagnosis means better treatment for patients. That’s the difference we’re making to people’s lives. Are you ready to join us?

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Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Teaching quality

    The degree is rated 4th in the UK for teaching (Times Higher Education Young University Rankings, 2021). 87% of students said staff are good at explaining things.

  • Professional accreditation

    Continuous peer review and quality enhancement ensures professional standards of education and training standards that are suitable for employment in the biomedical science sector, under the protected title of Biomedical Scientist.

  • Employment success

    Our graduates are highly prized in the workplace. 80% of students were in work and/or study within 15 months of graduating.

  • Strong industry links

    Students go on to work for local hospitals and research institutions. We also regularly welcome guest lecturers from industry. 

  • Laboratory experience

    Practical exercises bring key academic lessons to life. Sharpen your skills using state-of-the-art technology and equipment.

  • Free language courses

    Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

  • Accreditation(s)

    Accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science

    • Institute of Biomedical Science

Course details

Course structure

Throughout the degree, we focus on modern diagnostics. We’ll equip you with a broad understanding of disease causes and treatment, but also specific skills for the 21st century. 

Core first year modules will ground you in important basics. You’ll explore cell biology and genetics, biochemistry, and human structure and function. 

Through a mix of lectures and lab practicals, you’ll take a deep dive into subjects in your second year. These will include molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, cellular pathology, haematology and immunology, and microbiology. 

From the mutation and repair of DNA, to modern approaches to diagnosing blood cell disorders, our teaching staff will take you on a fascinating journey of discovery. In your third year, you’ll have the fantastic option of going on work placement.

Alongside further advanced study, your final year will focus on your independent research project. You’ll see yourself transition from student to professional.

Students undertaking lab work

Learning and teaching

Teaching and learning methods include:

  • lectures
  • practicals
  • tutorials
  • seminars.

Biomedical Science is a practical subject and we have a very good range of equipment, including:

  • confocal and electron microscopes
  • spectrophotometers, pH meters and bioanalyzers
  • centrifuges, balances, micropipettors
  • agarose (DNA) and polyacrylamide )protein) electrophoresis equipment
  • incubating water baths, ovens
  • confocal and electron microscopes.

And specialised laboratories for:

  • tissue culture
  • microbiology (including a Category 2 containment laboratory)
  • physiology
  • biochemistry
  • molecular biology.

Assessment

The course includes a variety of teaching, learning and assessment methods.

Assessment methods include:

  • essays
  • reviews
  • exams
  • laboratory notebooks
  • scientific reports
  • posters
  • oral presentations.

Reflective learning is encouraged through use of:

  • self reflection following feedback
  • peer or staff formative feedback
  • group work
  • project work
  • reflective diaries.

Study modules

Teaching for this course takes place Face to Face and you can expect around 12 hours of contact time per week. In addition to this, you should also anticipate a workload of 1,200 hours per year. Teaching usually takes place Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 6.00pm.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Cell Biology and Genetics

    Cell biology is the study of how cells work and how they differentiate to form multicellular organisms. 

    This module is your introduction to cell function - you will study the different types of molecules within cells and build your knowledge about cellular organelles and their functions. You’ll explore the increasing levels of complexity and the diversity of cell types that have arisen through evolution.  

    On this module you’ll also look at genetics. What are genes and how do they work to bring about the traits that we observe in organisms? We will examine cell division in detail and look at how DNA is transcribed into RNA which translates into proteins that do most of the work in the cell.
     

  • Human Structure and Function

    Through this module you’ll build detailed insight into physiology - the way that the human body performs vital functions. Body function is dependent on the form or structure of the body and we’ll also study relevant areas of anatomy to gain a greater understanding. 

    Body functions are complex and individual organs don’t function in isolation, they work within organ systems. You’ll explore systemic physiology, which is the study of these organ systems. We’ll use examples such as the cardiovascular, respiratory and renal systems to illustrate this way of looking at and understanding the human body.  

    Organ systems also work in an integrated way, each affecting the others to try to maintain a physiological equilibrium. We will explore how the body maintains its balance, and also think about when things go wrong.
     

  • Introduction to Biochemistry A

    This module is an introduction to the chemical principles that underpin cellular functions. You’ll study the chemical concepts that range from stoichiometry and reactions, chemical bonds and structures through to chemical equilibrium and chemical change, taking in the organic chemistry of cell macromolecules:

    • DNA
    • Proteins
    • Carbohydrates
    • Lipids.
    This will help you build crucial knowledge and skills for the field of biological sciences.
  • Introduction to Biochemistry B

    You'll build your knowledge of chemical concepts. You’ll study energetics and cellular metabolism to biochemical change (enzyme kinetics and mechanisms) and you’ll consider cellular macromolecules, broadly looking at:

    • bioenergetics
    • cellular metabolism
    • enzyme kinetics
    • protein structure and function. 

    You'll further develop and progress your knowledge and skills in Biochemistry and what you also learnt on the module Introduction to Biochemistry A.
     

  • Scientific Skills

    You’ll learn about and develop key skills that underpin the practice of science, focussing on health and healthcare. Key themes we will explore are:

    • experimental design and hypothesis
    • statistical methods
    • professional communication and ethics
    • data handling
    • accessing literature
    • keeping an experimental record.     

    You’ll also look at possible career paths, including that of an Health and Care Professions Council registered Biomedical Scientist, and find out about the registration requirements and the career progression opportunities available. The practical classes will help you develop good lab techniques using basic equipment such as: 

    • pipetting
    • weighing
    • spectrophotometers.

    Also you’ll learn about the help and resources available from the University’s Careers Service, for investigating other career options and seeking part-time work. We’ll also introduce you to the University library resources and key study skills for your academic development. 
     

  • Professional and Experimental Skills

    Develop key professional and experimental skills that will form the basis for your future modules, and this is also part of the research pathway leading to your final year project. 

    You’ll build on your knowledge gained from a previous module Scientific Skills, progressing your skills that underpin the practice of biomedical and medical science. Also you will focus on the needs of professions linked to health understanding and healthcare practice. The key themes you’ll look at are:

    • experimental design and hypothesis
    • statistical methods
    • professional communication and ethics
    • data handling
    • accessing literature
    • keeping an experimental record.
       

Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Biochemistry of Cell Function

    Want to make your stamp on eradicating some of the world’s major diseases? In this module you’ll discover how the biochemistry of eukaryotic cells plays an intrinsic role in the function of cell biology, with a special focus on mammalian tissues. You’ll be introduced to a number of key experimental procedures and laboratory techniques which will enable you to explore the chemical nature of the compounds in these highly fascinating cells, enlightening your knowledge on cellular processes.

    You’ll develop an in-depth understanding of the biochemical events that occur when these cellular processes fail and give rise to diseases. You’ll also deepen your knowledge on both a cellular and systemic level, and absorb yourself within the enthralling biomedical diagnostic techniques delivered by leading experts in the field, equipping you with vital skills for the world of work.
     

  • Molecular Biology

    Investigating DNA and molecular concepts has never been so encapsulating. Learn about the structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes alongside top scientists in the field, helping to address the world’s biggest challenges. Secure knowledge on the latest experimental evidence supporting cutting-edge concepts and laboratory techniques. 

    You’ll gain a solid insight into the most up-to-date biomedical applications and modern molecular tools used to implement recombinant DNA techniques and DNA sequencing, complementing the Genetics Module. Your learning journey will be supported into the Biomedical Science and Medical Science employability routes, for which there is a growing demand, and you’ll be thoroughly guided by leading specialists on making successful job applications for those who embark on placement work experience. 
     

  • Research Methods for Healthcare Sciences

    Interested in pioneering clinical research methods and taking healthcare sciences forward to the next level? Bioscience research approaches will train you to turn the complex analytics of the whole clinical research development cycle into meaningful specialist knowledge, allowing you to understand and devise rich regulatory frameworks for academia, research establishments and the pharmaceutical industry.

    Fundamental approaches to eukaryotic cell culture are explored, and potential applications of cell culture are introduced, including recombinant protein expression, and genetic analysis. Acquire skills to gather and record information, and communicate your ideas effectively to drive research forward and successfully improve commercialisation based on good clinical practice.

    You’ll be supported by leading research supervisors who will impart their latest knowledge on research ethics, biological and chemical hazards, and teach you key principles to support your career aspirations. 

  • Cellular Pathology

    In this module, you’ll be investigating disease at a cellular level using laboratory techniques that will enable you to embark on a rewarding career combating some of the most serious diseases threatening humanity.

    You’ll cover a range of topics including histology and cytology of major organs and systems of the human body and will build vital knowledge on the pathology of common diseases. 

    You’ll focus on learning the essentials of cellular pathology preparing you for the research or clinical context. Throughout this module you’ll have access to support from our in-house experts and specialists in the cellular pathology field. 
     

  • Microbiology

    Ever wondered about the fundamentals of life on planet earth? In this module you’ll be studying just that, investigating organisms that are too small to see with the naked eye, including bacteria, fungi and viruses. Your study will cover structures, metabolism, regulatory signals, replication and growth exhibited by these fascinating microorganisms, particularly those that are pathogenic in humans.

    You’ll identify the interaction and impact of microbes with humans, which is right at the heart of the global medical intervention challenges we face today. You will learn how to work safely with microbiological organisms, and use specialist knowledge to plan and execute experimental procedures used in diagnostic laboratory work safely with bacteria and viruses.

    You’ll build the transferable skills that are much sought after in workplaces, taking your employability to the next level.
     

  • Genetics

    How are our genes passed from one generation to the next? How does DNA play a role in our genetic makeup? What is the science behind evolution on earth? All these questions and more shall be answered in this encapsulating module exploring the field of genetics.

    You’ll gain specialist knowledge on real-world biomedical applications and computational analyses techniques, which will provide the perfect foundation to your further studies. You’ll benefit from gaining specialist knowledge from experts in the field. Whether it’s healthcare, endangered species, or cancer research, as a graduate you can expect your skills to make a lasting impact on society. 

  • Haematology and Immunology

    Our ability to understand how to treat and cure disease, and to positively impact human health across the globe is the reason why many scientists strive to understand the science behind haematology and immunology. You could be joining that mission. The concepts you’ll learn in this module will equip you with the fundamental knowledge of cells, molecules and genes involved in the blood and immune system. You’ll be introduced to how these components can protect us, however, can also have the ability to harm us and contribute to disease.
     
    You’ll explore the mechanisms and therapies in identifying and diagnosing blood diseases and clinical blood disorders. In addition, you’ll study the experimental working methods used in the discovery and development of novel drugs and preventative vaccines, and find out how these therapies can improve human health and transform immune systems.
     

Year 3 (optional placement year)

Compulsory modules

  • Professional Placement (only for 4 year sandwich mode)

    You can extend your course by taking a sandwich year in a relevant professional role, during which you’ll remain registered as a student. We’ll support your continued academic development in the workplace (e.g. a research, pharmaceutical or hospital laboratory). You’ll gain insight from working in a professional setting and develop new practical and career skills, whilst contributing to the work of the professional team hosting you. You’ll organise the placement yourself, with our help and advice, e.g. by applying for advertised placements or finding suitable hosts.

    You’ll need to fund associated expenses during your sandwich year, usually your placement will be salaried. For a career as an NHS Biomedical Scientist, as well as your BSc Hons in Biomedical Science, you must register with the Health and Care Professions Council via an Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) Certificate of Competence Registration Portfolio. A placement in an IBMS laboratory can give you this opportunity.

Year 4 (or year 3 if no placement)

Compulsory modules

  • Research Project

    This is the culmination of your degree, and your chance to delve into the world of research to pioneer your own breakthrough. As part of this module you’ll have the opportunity to create an individual piece of research related to your degree subject, working alongside a supervisor from the Department of Biological Sciences at Oxford Brookes University. You’ll be encouraged to explore opportunities to develop your project outside of the University, under the guidance of your tutor. You’ll participate in formal sessions that are designed to help you consider possible project choices and provide you with the necessary knowledge to search for outside project opportunities. 

  • Infection, Immunity and Immunology

    In this module, you’ll study the fascinating world of the immune system and its response to infectious microbial diseases. Your study will look at how the immune system interacts with pathogens and vaccines. You’ll investigate how diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites are manifested in host-pathogen interactions, and will explore advanced diagnostic techniques. You’ll also consider immune-related diseases such as hypersensitivity, allergy, autoimmunity and immunodeficiencies and will explore the modern immunodiagnostic techniques used to diagnose these disorders in clinical laboratories.

  • Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmacology

    In this module, you’ll gain an indispensable insight into the mode of action of pharmaceutical drugs within the human body. You’ll explore how biochemistry is applied in hospital pathology laboratories for the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of disease. You’ll begin your study on the principles and applications of routine methods in clinical biochemistry. You’ll learn how to select the appropriate methods required to diagnose, monitor and treat disease as well as detect complications by investigating metabolic and clinical aspects of disease. You’ll be part of a discussion about heart, liver, bone, kidney, endocrine diseases, and inborn errors of metabolism. You’ll also explore the roles of the laboratory in screening for drugs of abuse, therapeutic drug monitoring and population screening.

  • Genomic Medicine

    Our understanding of the genome is constantly growing. In this module, you’ll be introduced to the fundamental elements of genomics, human genetics and genetic variation. You’ll explore genetics in connection to disease and how genomic medicine can be utilised in relation to disease mechanisms. You’ll get the chance to investigate the effects of gene mutations and variations in DNA sequences (gene polymorphisms) in human health, with an opportunity to join in on an in-depth discussion on linkage. In addition, you’ll learn all about personalised medicine and the role of a key enzyme in the liver (cytochrome P450) in the metabolism of drugs and toxicity.

Optional modules

Neuroscience

Neuroscience examines the brain, which is responsible for our entire nervous system; including how we process formation which influences how we feel, behave and remember things. This module will give you a fascinating insight into the latest major research fields in neuroscience. At the beginning of the course, you’ll review the structure and function of the neurone, explore human neuroanatomy and the development of the vertebrate nervous system.

As you delve deeper, you’ll then focus on the development of the brain, and how neural systems give rise to sensory perception, learning and memory, speech and language, motor control, vision, sleep-wake cycling and circadian rhythm. You will have the opportunity to develop and carry out your own in-depth study on a particular interest in neuroscience research, which will be assessed by a series of case studies and a reflective journal based on a visit to Oxford University / OUH clinical neuropathology.

 

Advanced Genetics and Genomics

You'll learn about major theoretical and technological advances in Genetics and Genomics, and their significance in addressing challenges in biological and medical research. You’ll focus on the variation of population history, selection inference, and analysing variation in complex traits. You’ll also explore the use of comparative genomics and the evolutionary relatedness among groups of organisms (phylogenetics) to make connections between evolutionary relationships, and investigate genome evolution.

Your learning journey will encompass microbiomes in human health and ecosystems, and the study of gene function. You’ll get hands on with key techniques such as retrieval of data from public resources, population statistics, genome-wide association studies, gene annotation, transcriptome analysis, transcription factor binding prediction and characterisation of epigenetic modifications. You’ll devise a research programme addressing a current challenge in biological and medical science.

Human Genetic Disease

By studying this module, you’ll gain an insight into the application of techniques associated with molecular biology and genetics, and the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. You’ll gain knowledge of advances in diagnosis and therapy and you’ll examine their role in causation and treatment of a range of conditions, including cystic fibrosis, diabetes neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease), behavioural disorders, and other genetic disorders. You’ll be encouraged to work independently alongside your tutor guidance.

Molecular Biology of Cancer

This fascinating module will introduce you to the fundamentals of cancerous cells at a molecular level. You’ll explore the nature and causes of cancer with particular emphasis on the underlying biological mechanisms. You’ll investigate the role of oncogenes, tumour suppressor genes, and cell signalling. Furthermore, you’ll explore other cellular processes such as the cell cycle, apoptosis, cell growth and division, and DNA repair in cancer development. You’ll find that a special focus around the concepts of the ‘hallmarks of cancer’ will also introduce you to the emerging field of cancer genomics as well as cover the therapeutic options for tumour patients.

Evidence Based Medicine and Diagnostics

In this module, you’ll develop a fundamental understanding of biomedical, clinical, and epidemiological health-based research. Your new-found knowledge will support your decision making in health science. You’ll set your foundations for entering clinical leadership roles that require you to be able to assess and synthesise evidence using a variety of diagnostic tools which are currently applied in the health system. In addition, you’ll explore several key challenges in healthcare and identify how evidence can be used to shape health practice and policy. Your learning will incorporate tutor-led discussions, and a range of specialist speakers from both within and outside Oxford Brookes University. 

Advances in Bioscience Research

This module will introduce you to exploring specific contemporary issues in bioscience research and will invite you to consider how these issues can be taken from the lecture room into the real world. You’ll get the opportunity to focus on two staff research areas, and will develop your understanding of key research priorities within biosciences. You’ll also develop your ability to critically evaluate key literature within your specialist focus area. On completion of this module, you'll be well equipped with the analytical and critical evaluation skills to work in a range of sectors in research.  

Professional Skills and Techniques

You’ll focus on the development of your professional skills and personalise your career ambitions. You’ll select your study elements, which will allow you flexibility and draw upon your research expertise and links with external partners. Some of the wide range of topics you’ll cover will be relevant to your degree, such as advanced microscopy, protein biochemistry, species identification, geographic information systems, entrepreneurship or science communication. You’ll gain hands-on experience on how to competently perform techniques, and you’ll hear from professionals working in the sector, who will provide an insight into their career. You will learn how you can make a difference in the world and existing job market with the new knowledge and skills you’ll gain. Self-reflection is encouraged on this module, and you’ll get the chance to demonstrate your learning through a written report, talk, poster, leaflet, protocol, or oral viva.

Molecular Medicine

This module is designed to provide a background to the endeavour of scientific research, and forms a fundamental stage in your development as a bioscientist.  Research moves forward through the application of the scientific method, helping us to design suitable experiments to investigate relationships among natural phenomenon, or to solve a medical or technical problem. A number of important concepts and practices are required for performing research in such a way that the results are reliable and meaningful. These will be explored within the module, building on your earlier learning and preparing you for your own research project, which is part of your final year.  

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Careers

Our (BSc) Biomedical Sciences degree prepares you for a career at the cutting edge of biomedical science. Alongside training you in theory and practice, many of your modules will also help prepare you for the world of professional work.

Our graduates are highly prized by industry and the NHS. The course IBMS accreditation is recognised by the NHS. And gives graduates an advantage if they want to work in the NHS to start the NHS Biomedical scientist training programme. 

We’ll arm you with the skills you need to keep ahead in a rapidly changing workplace. Many have gone on to work in biological, clinical, pharmaceutical, or medical areas. 

Popular roles include: 

  • biomedical scientist
  • biochemist
  • biotechnologist
  • medical research scientist
  • lab technician
  • forensic scientist
  • clinical research associate
  • microbiologist.

Many leading universities around the world now have graduate medical schools, and this degree is also a great way to prepare for entry. 

Our own MSc Medical Genetics & Genomics degree is an excellent next step for graduates, who want to explore the modern world of genetics. 

Student profiles

Entry requirements

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. The combination of A-level grades listed here would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29

BTEC: DMM

Contextual offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 88

A Level: CCD

IB Points: 27

BTEC: MMM

International qualifications and equivalences

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time
£9,250

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

Home (UK) sandwich (placement)
£1,600

International full time
£16,900

International sandwich (placement)
£1,600

Home (UK) full time
£9,250

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

Home (UK) sandwich (placement)
£1,700

International full time
£17,750

International sandwich (placement)
£1,700

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time
£9,250

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

Home (UK) sandwich (placement)
£1,600

International full time
£16,900

International sandwich (placement)
£1,600

2025 / 26
Home (UK) full time
£9,250

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

Home (UK) sandwich (placement)
£1,700

International full time
£17,750

International sandwich (placement)
£1,700

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

financefees@brookes.ac.uk

Please note, tuition fees for Home students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning Home students at the maximum permitted level.

Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students. 

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support. 

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

You will need basic personal protection equipment for your laboratory practical classes. A lab coat costs around £27 and safety glasses can usually be bought for a few pounds.

Information from Discover Uni

Full-time study

Part-time study

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.