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Biomedical Science

BSc (Hons)

Key facts


UCAS code

B900

Start dates

September 2021 / September 2022

Course length

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

Part time: part-time study is possible

Accreditation(s)

Accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science

UCAS Tariff Points

104

  • Institute of Biomedical Science

Overview


The BSc (Honours) degree in Biomedical Science is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science. The degree studies how the human body works and you’ll discover how our growing knowledge is helping scientists and clinicians to understand, detect, manage, and treat diseases.

The knowledge you’ll acquire during the degree will prepare you for a broad range of scientific careers. The degree is well suited to supporting career progression within the NHS, such as a Biomedical Scientist. The course also is a strong starting point for careers in clinical, research or medical areas, and for entering scientific roles in various industries. The academics are expert researchers in varying subjects linked to bio-medicine,like molecular drug delivery systems.

Our strong links with employers such as the Oxford hospitals and bioscience companies enhances your learning and prepares you for employment after graduation. If you choose to study with a sandwich year, you will be supported seeking a placement in a bioscience company, research laboratory or in an IBMS-accredited hospital training lab.

How to apply


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

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

A Level: Including one A Level or a comparable Level 3 qualification in a science subject (e.g. Physical Education, Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physics, Psychology).

GCSE: Grade 4 (C) in English, Maths and Science. For English and Maths, Level 2 Functional Skills are accepted as alternatives to GCSEs.

If you do not have a background in science we encourage you to consider our Life Sciences foundation year taught at Abingdon and Witney College.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences

Go

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, or if you would like more preparation before you start, you can take an international foundation course. Once you enrol, you will have a guaranteed pathway to this degree if you pass your foundation course with the required grades.

If you only need to meet the language requirements, you can take our pre-sessional English course. You will develop key language and study skills for academic success and you will not need to take an external language test to progress to your degree.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Many of our courses consider applications for entry with credit for prior learning. Each application is individually assessed by our credit entry tutors. 

If you would like more information about whether or not you may be eligible for the award of credit, for example from an HND, partly-completed degree or foundation degree, please contact our Admissions team.

We operate the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Application process

Full time Home / EU applicants

Apply through UCAS

Part time Home / EU applicants

Apply direct to the University

International applicants

Apply direct to the University

Full time applicants can also apply through UCAS

Tuition fees


Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

Home/EU sandwich (placement)
£1,380

International full time
£14,800

International sandwich (placement)
£4,000

Home (UK) full time
£9,250 (subject to confirmation, November 2020)

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module (subject to confirmation, Nov 20)

Home (UK) sandwich (placement)
£1,500

International / EU full time
£15,200

International / EU sandwich (placement)
£1,500

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2020 / 21
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

Home/EU sandwich (placement)
£1,380

International full time
£14,800

International sandwich (placement)
£4,000

2021 / 22
Home (UK) full time
£9,250 (subject to confirmation, November 2020)

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module (subject to confirmation, Nov 20)

Home (UK) sandwich (placement)
£1,500

International / EU full time
£15,200

International / EU sandwich (placement)
£1,500

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

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, if any, 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.

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements. In the event of changes made to the government advice and social distancing rules by national or local government, the University may need to make further alterations to the published course content. Detailed information on the changes will be sent to every student on confirmation in August to ensure you have all the information before you come to Oxford Brookes.

Learning and assessment


The Biomedical Science degree will prepare you for a career in a hospital or research laboratory environment but can also lead to many other careers in biological, clinical, pharmaceutical or medical areas. The course is taught at the University by our own staff, with some aspects taught by health professionals from the local hospitals.

This lays the foundation for the advanced modules in Year 2 and your final year where these themes are further developed. The emphasis is on the interdisciplinary nature of causes and treatment of disease, so that you become aware of the many ways in which our understanding is applied to medicine and other health-related disciplines.

A feature of Year 1 is a series of tutorials with your academic adviser (a member of the teaching staff who is responsible for overseeing your academic progress while you are at university). The tutorials are designed to help you adjust to academic life at university and establish good study habits

Year 3 can be an optional professional placement in a laboratory concerned with research or clinical work.

Students undertaking lab work

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Cell Biology & Genetics (double)

Cell biology is the study of how cells work and how they differentiate to form multicellular organisms. This module is an introduction to cell function - students will study the different types of molecules within cells and learn about cellular organelles and their functions.  

During the module, students will learn about the increasing levels of complexity and the diversity of cell types that have arisen through the action of evolution.  A major component of the module is 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 is, in turn, translated into proteins that do most of the work in the cell.

Introduction to Biochemistry A

A general introduction to the chemical principles that underpin cellular functions is crucial for any student of the biological sciences.  The chemical concepts studied in this module 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) along the way.

Introduction to Biochemistry B

The chemical concepts studied in this module are built on the topics presented in the above module, Introduction to Biochemistry A, and range from energetics and cellular metabolism to biochemical change (enzyme kinetics and mechanisms). We again consider cellular macromolecules, broadly looking at bioenergetics, cellular metabolism, enzyme kinetics, protein structure and function.

Human Structure and Function (double)

This module provides a detailed insight into physiology - the way that the human body performs vital functions. Because body function is dependent on the form or structure of the body, we will also study relevant .areas of anatomy.  Body functions are complex and individual organs don’t function in isolation, but rather they work within organ systems. This module explores systemic physiology - the study of these organ systems – and we 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 look at how the body maintains its balance, and think about when things go wrong.

Scientific Skills

Professional & Experimental Skills

These two modules work together and are designed to give you good opportunity to learn and practice the skills you will need to undertake a degree in biosciences, to perform well in your core taught modules, and to potentially begin a career as a bioscientist.  Lectures and practical classes combine to help you understand and apply experimental techniques and use basic but commonly used laboratory equipment.

The modules use small-group tutorials where you’ll learn other key skills essential for bioscientists presentation and applicable to many professions.  These include finding and judging the quality of reading sources, and how to use these sources for your own learning, understanding and communication. You’ll practice different forms of academic writing through a range of assessments, and you’ll be encouraged to use simple study tools to help you manage your time well, get the most out of your feedback, and work with a team of your fellow students.

Year 2

Compulsory modules

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. 

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.

Biochemistry of cell Function (double)

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.

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.

Haematology & 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.

Research Methods in 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.  

Year 3 (optional placement year)

Compulsory modules

Biomedical Laboratory 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

Clinical Biochemistry

Clinical Biochemistry is the analysis of biological components in, primarily, the blood and urine as a key tool in the diagnosis and therapy of disease, the analysis of treatments and drug trials, and the characterisation of models of disease. This module offers a study of the development and application of analytical techniques used in clinical biochemistry for the diagnosis of disease.

Clinical Pharmacology

This module aims to discuss the role and fate of drugs within the body.  The twin aspects of the module are the study of pharmacodynamics (effectively, what drugs do to the body) and pharmacokinetics (what happens when the body metabolises those drugs).  Pharmacodynamics includes the consideration of specific molecular targets of drug action and the therapeutic and toxic effects of drugs on cells and on the major organ systems of the body. Pharmacokinetics will discuss how drugs reach their targets and how they are cleared from the body by the action of key enzymes. Natural diversity (polymorphisms) in the genes encoding some of the key metabolic enzymes will also be discussed, as influencing the value, toxicity and stability of drugs in different individuals. Drug discovery and clinical trials will also be introduced.

Infection, Immunity & 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.

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.

Project (double)

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.

Optional modules

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.

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.  

Evidence Based Medicine

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. 

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

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
  • Lectures and seminars
  • Placement
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.)

Year 1

  • Lectures and seminars - 27%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 73%

Year 2

  • Lectures and seminars - 27%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 73%

Year 3 (optional placement year)

  • Lectures and seminars - 0%
  • Placement - 100%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 0%

Year 4 (or year 3 if no placement)

  • Lectures and seminars - 18%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 82%

Learning and teaching percentages are indicative. There may be slight year-on-year variations.

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

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
  • Written exams
  • Coursework
  • Practical exams

Year 1

  • Written exams - 45%
  • Coursework - 55%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Year 2

  • Written exams - 45%
  • Coursework - 55%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Year 3 (optional placement year)

  • Written exams - 0%
  • Coursework - 100%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Year 4 (or year 3 if no placement)

  • Written exams - 41%
  • Coursework - 59%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Assessment method percentages are indicative. There may be slight year-on-year variations.

Study Abroad


You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Most exchanges take place in the second year and you would need to study on a BSc Biomedical Science degree oversees that also has IBMS accreditation. Although we will help as much as we can with your plans, ultimately you are responsible for organising and funding this study abroad.

 

After you graduate


Career prospects

A degree in Biomedical Science from Oxford Brookes University is the first step to a career as a biomedical scientist in the NHS. Many leading universities around the world now have graduate medical schools, and this degree is also an excellent preparation for entry.

Our students pursue a wide diversity of career options. Opportunities include biomedical research and professional paramedical fields such as clinical biochemistry, clinical microbiology or pathology, where you would be involved in cutting-edge health care delivery in a hospital.

As many as fifty per cent of our graduates each year are appointed to research posts in universities, research institutes or biotechnology companies, while others pursue careers allied to medicine and health care.

Our courses are designed to equip you with the skills you need for employment. We put a strong emphasis on developing the multidisciplinary graduate attributes needed to keep ahead in a rapidly changing workplace.

Further study

Graduates often go on to further study including master’s degrees, such as the MSc Medical Genetics & Genomics at Oxford Brookes, PhDs and graduate medicine or dentistry.

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.

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.