Biomedical Science

BSc (Hons)

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?

Order a Prospectus Ask a question Attend an open day or webinar

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.

  • Study abroad

    You may be able to go on an international study exchange while you are at Brookes. However, recently for Biomedical Science this has proved not possible due to a lack of overseas BSc Biomedical Science degrees that are IBMS accredited, taught in English and have a compatible course structure. We are investigating new links and will help as much as we can with your plans, but ultimately you are responsible for organising and funding any study abroad.

     

  • 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

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

    along the way. This will help you build crucial knowledge and skills for the field of biological sciences.
     

  • Introduction to Biochemistry B

    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. 

    To 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

    The module considers the biochemistry of eukaryotic cells with an emphasis on mammalian tissues. Using several approaches, we will explore the biochemistry of eukaryotic cells, including the chemical nature of the compounds that are involved in cellular processes.Examples of diseases caused by failures in these processes reinforce understanding and provide relevance and application. The module emphasises relationships between events at the cellular level and at the systemic level, building a clear picture of the importance of biochemical events in human health and disease. In addition, some of the most relevant biomedical diagnostic techniques will be discussed.

  • Molecular Biology

    During this module we will explore the many ways in which our genes are controlled mutated and repaired. We will study how chromosomes are organised, and how that organisation influences the production of the proteins they encode.  We will review the story of the human genome project, we’ll consider the mutation and repair of our DNA, and how our knowledge of genomes and genome sequences can be used in medical and forensic settings. You’ll learn about the processes of recombinant DNA technology and you’ll work in the labs over the course of the module to clone a gene using some of the core methods of molecular biology. 

  • Research Methods for Healthcare Sciences

    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.  

    You’ll begin to work with a research scientist during this module, who will steer your research project. They will suggest reading, discuss the background and goals of your project, and support you through the course of the experimental work and data analysis over the following year.  

  • Cellular Pathology

    This module offers a study of the development and application of analytical techniques used in histology and cytology. It includes techniques for distinguishing between normal and diseased cells and tissue components, using coloured dyes and immunohistological techniques. The structure of normal cells and tissues is related to their function, and a range of common and/or important will be studied with a view to selecting the appropriate methods required to identify and demonstrate particular pathologies. Future trends and quality issues within the discipline will also be explored.

  • Microbiology

    The module considers the structures, metabolism, regulatory signals, replication and growth exhibited by microorganisms. You will be introduced to a number of examples of microbes, including viruses, bacteria and protozoa, particularly those that are pathogenic in humans. The interaction and impact of microbes with humans will be considered, along with an introduction to the challenges facing medical interventions against pathogenic microbes in different parts of the world. 

    You will learn how to work safely in a Category 2 microbiology containment laboratory, where you will plan and execute a series of simple experimental procedures that are important for the diagnosis of common bacterial species. You will practise aseptic techniques, and apply a core virological method – the plaque assay - to address an experimental question with your classmates.

  • Genetics

    Recent advances in molecular biology techniques have produced an abundance of knowledge about the genomes of organisms, including our humans. An understanding of the basic concepts of genetics – that is, of heredity and the variation of inherited characteristics – is essential for us to understand and explore this exciting and rapidly expanding area of science.  Teaching and learning approaches in this module will build on basic understanding of inheritance, genetics and genome structures that are introduced in the 1st year module Cell Biology & Genetics. We have a particular focus on genetic analysis, and our dedicated computing lab will allow you to get to grips with some of the basic tools available to do this.

  • Haematology and Immunology

    This is a module of two halves, each dedicated to an important arm of blood diseases, with emphasis on the modern approaches to diagnosis of red and white blood cell disorders.  The haematology content will cover the basic concepts of red blood cell blood development and disorders and will consider the science of blood transfusions. During the immunology section you will learn about the different white blood cell types that function as our formidable immune system.  Cells of both the innate and acquired immunity will be explored, including the incredible T cells and B cells which form the main barrier to infectious diseases.

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

    A Research Project is your chance to do brand new research and find out what it’s really like to be a professional scientist – gathering, considering and evaluating data, then communicating it clearly and critically to others. This is the pinnacle of your degree, working with a supervisor (and possibly others) to collect novel scientific data about a specific topic. You are likely to use a range of theoretical, experimental and/or bioinformatics methods or you may use tools such as data mining, patient or volunteer surveys, questionnaires and other forms of investigative research.

    Projects allow you to make the transition from student to professional, building on all you have learned to develop and practice a range of superior skills and abilities. Working largely independently you will gather, analyse and present your findings, and argue your conclusions to others in a clear and well-written formal report.

  • Infection, Immunity and Immunology

    Infection, Immunity and Immunology is an honours level module that will build on knowledge from your 2nd year modules, to understand infectious disease caused by viruses, bacteria and parasites in a host and the response of the host’s immune system. The pathogen-host interaction, molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity, treatment and drug resistance will be studied. The theory of modern infectious disease diagnostics and the role of the medical microbiology laboratory in infectious disease diagnosis and identification will also be explored. You will also study the mechanisms of immunological disease and disorders such as allergies, immunodeficiency and autoimmunity.

  • Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmacology

    This module offers a study of how biochemistry is applied in hospital pathology laboratories for the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of disease. The module begins with a study of the principles and applications of routine methods used in clinical biochemistry. Metabolic and clinical aspects of disease are studied with a view to selecting the appropriate methods and markers required to diagnose, monitor and treat disease as well as to detect complications. Tests for the diagnosis of heart, liver, bone, kidney, endocrine diseases and inborn errors of metabolism are discussed, as well as screening for drugs of abuse, therapeutic drug monitoring and population screening. The module also introduces pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism, as well as the effect of certain drugs on organs such as the liver and kidney.

  • Genomic Medicine

    The aim of this module is to reflect on the growth of genetic analysis  as part of healthcare diagnostics, treatment and monitoring. As technologies advance, the ability to use whole genome data offers clinicians more information on the pathology of diseases, but at a cost of being much more complex. This module sets out to inform the key areas in this field, and how it can be used in practise in healthcare.

    Building on your knowledge (from 2nd year modules) of genome structure and function, the module will look at the levels of genomic variation across patient groups and populations, and how this may be linked with disease. Themes will include epigenetics, population studies, the ethical issues surrounding genetic testing and personalised medicine.  We will use bioinformatic tools used in medicine and research today for the reading of genome sequence data and how it might be used to predict or identify disease.

Optional modules

Neuroscience

Neuroscience uses skills and knowledge from physiology, anatomy, molecular biology, physics, medicine, psychology, mathematics, computing and even philosophy, to understand how the brain gives rise to behaviour and consciousness. The module begins by exploring the structure and function of the brain at the molecular, cellular and anatomical level, including development of the brain, motorsensory function and the phenomenon of adult neurogenesis. We will then consider in depth a range of specific functions of the brain, such as learning and memory, speech and language, motor control, vision, sleep and chronicity.

Advanced Genetics and Genomics

The aim of this module is to reflect on the growth of genetic analysis  as part of healthcare diagnostics, treatment and monitoring. As technologies advance, the ability to use whole genome data offers clinicians more information on the pathology of diseases, but at a cost of being much more complex. This module sets out to inform the key areas in this field, and how it can be used in practise in healthcare.

Building on your knowledge (from 2nd year modules) of genome structure and function, the module will look at the levels of genomic variation across patient groups and populations, and how this may be linked with disease. Themes will include epigenetics, population studies, the ethical issues surrounding genetic testing and personalised medicine.  We will use bioinformatic tools used in medicine and research today for the reading of genome sequence data and how it might be used to predict or identify disease.

Human Genetic Disease

An exploration of the application of techniques of molecular biology and genetics to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. These disciplines are at the leading edge of advances in diagnosis and therapy and we will examine their role in causation and treatment of a range of conditions, which may include cystic fibrosis, diabetes neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease), behavioural disorders, and other genetic disorders. There is an emphasis on tutor-directed independent study.

Molecular Biology of Cancer

The module will explore our current understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie human cancer and explore some of the possible therapeutic targets and treatments. Understanding the molecular and cellular basis of disease is vital for dissecting the mechanisms of disease pathogenesis and for designing appropriate and effective treatments.

Evidence Based Medicine and Diagnostics

Evidence Based Medicine (EBM), also known as Evidence Based Practice, refers to the deliberate, careful and thorough use of clinical research, review and appraisal to ensure patients receive the best possible clinical care. This module will explore many aspects of evidence-based medicine, introducing public health and policy, drug design, diagnostic screening and epidemiology. The module will also include the wide range of diagnostic tools which are available and used within the health system in the UK. 

Advances in Bioscience Research

The module engages with and explores specific contemporary issues in bioscience research. Students will attend a range of lectures from staff on areas of their research specialisation, and then focus on two staff research areas for their assessment. The module aims to develop students' understanding of key research priorities within the biosciences, and to critically evaluate key literature within the areas of focus.

Professional Skills and Techniques

This module focuses on the development of the professional skills, personalised to your career ambitions. You will select three ‘podules’ from a selection of podules, which draw upon our research expertise and links with external partners. Podules will cover a wide range topics relevant to your degree, such as advanced microscopy, protein biochemistry, species identification, geographic information systems, entrepreneurship or science communication. Each podule consists of an introductory lecture, plenty of hands-on experience, and a seminar in which you will learn more about the application of ‘your’ skill in different contexts.

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)
£1,500

International full time
£16,100

International sandwich (placement)
£1,500

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

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time
£9,250

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

Home (UK) sandwich (placement)
£1,500

International full time
£16,100

International sandwich (placement)
£1,500

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

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.