Medical Science

BSc (Hons)

UCAS code: B190

Start dates: September 2024 / September 2025

Full time: 3 years

Part time: 6 years

Location: Headington, Headington (Marston Road site)

Department(s): Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

Find a course



Our BSc (Hons) Medical Science degree takes you on a fascinating exploration of the human body. If you’re curious and have a strong interest in biology and physiology, this course is for you.

You’ll study how the human body functions in heath, including aspects such as integrated physiology, neuroscience and genetics, and also in disease (pathophysiology, human genetic disease). The strong physiology aspect aligns this degree closely with many areas of disease testing, and gives you experience of laboratory work that is core to most science careers, including those with a health focus.

Through academic and practical learning, we’ll equip you with the skills employers look for, including lab techniques, data handling, computing, report writing, oral presentations, and teamwork. Our department has excellent links with industry. NHS medical scientists and clinical leads are regular guest lecturers. Students have also successfully found internships with local companies and organisations.

We’re in the business of making people’s lives better. Learn with us and have a real-world impact.

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

Students working in a lab

Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Expert teaching

    On your physiology and clinical modules, we often use practising Clinical Scientists and Physiologists to co-deliver your module learning, helping you build an understanding of how your growing  knowledge and skills are used in professional settings.

  • Excellent grounding

    The degree provides a great foundation for applying to graduate-entry Medicine and Physicians’s Associate courses. It builds on core medical science subjects.

  • Future roles

    Many graduates are appointed to research posts in universities, research institutes, or biotechnology companies each year.

  • Strong industry links

    Our links with industry mean many students go on to work for local hospitals and research institutions. We also regularly welcome guest lecturers from industry. 

  • Research experience

    You’ll work with our academics in research groups. You’ll delve into pertinent subjects such as genetic damage induced by radiation and how the heart and lungs function.

  • 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 a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Most exchanges take place in the second year. Although we will help as much as we can with your plans, ultimately you are responsible for organising and funding this study abroad.

Course details

Course structure

This degree builds on core medical science subjects. It will give you a sound understanding of the human body in health and disease. You’ll choose modules to suit your interests.

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

In your second year, you’ll take the compulsory module Integrated Physiology which builds on the first-year human structure and function module. You’ll study Biochemistry of Cell Function, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Research Methods, Haematology & Immunology. You’ll decide whether to register your interest in taking an optional year-long work placement.

Alongside further advanced study, your final year will focus on your independent research project. You’ll gather, consider, and evaluate data, and report on your findings in your dissertation - a great way to display all your graduate-level skills and knowledge.

Medical science is a practical subject. Throughout your degree, we’ll train you to use equipment that is commonplace within the industry.

Students undertaking lab work

Learning and teaching

Teaching and learning methods include: 

  • lectures
  • practicals
  • tutorials
  • seminars 

You will have the opportunity to attend seminars given by visiting speakers from around the world.

As well as delivering this course in partnership with scientists working in local hospitals, we are able to invite colleagues and collaborators who are at the forefront of research to join us in exploring the scientific themes of medical science with you. This includes work on:

  • DNA repair
  • disease biofilms
  • clinically important immunohistochemistry tests
  • deep brain stimulation for symptom relief.

Our research in these areas underpins this course.

Medical science is a practical subject and we have a very good range of equipment. This includes: 

  • high-performance liquid chromatography equipment
  • confocal and electron microscopes
  • specialised laboratories for tissue culture
  • microbiology
  • physiology
  • microscopy.


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

Assessment methods include:

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

Reflective learning is encouraged through the 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.

  • Integrated Physiology

    This double module focuses on the integrated functions of systems physiology.  The module builds on the content of the 1st year module Human Structure and Function, exploring integrated physiological functions and responses to physiological disturbances involving the respiratory, cardiovascular and renal systems. We will look at how these systems interact to meet the special challenges of extreme environments or situations such as high altitude, diving, hot or cold environments and the prenatal environment.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Year 3 (optional placement year)

Optional modules

Professional Placement

During the second year of your course you will have the opportunity to register your interest in extending your course to four years by taking the following year (your 3rd year) as a sandwich placement in a relevant professional role. The placement module allows you to remain registered as a student during your sandwich year, and supports your continued academic development whilst in the workplace. You will gain insight into various aspects of work within a professional setting and you’ll develop new practical and career-supporting skills.

Although Oxford Brookes will support you academically during your placement year, you will need to organise the placement yourself – this might include applying for nationally- or locally-advertised placements or searching for suitable host companies.  You’ll need to fund any associated expenses (e.g. accommodation, travel) for your placement. You will be given help and advice how to think and go about this in your 1st year. 

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.

  • Pathophysiology

    The module explores the physiological mechanisms of disease states that disrupt the normal functioning of the respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, renal and neural systems. You will learn from lecturers who are actively engaged in cutting edge research or are highly experienced practicing physicians in the fields of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. In addition the content will include a review of dyspnoea (breathlessness) and angina (chest pain) as the cardinal symptoms of cardiopulmonary disease and recent advances in our knowledge of the neurophysiological mechanisms of these symptoms that has led to an exploration of new therapeutic approaches.

Optional modules

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.


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

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.


You’ll be fully prepared for a career at the cutting edge of medical science. Alongside training you in theory and practice, we blend career development guidance and support into our modules, and these activities will help to prepare you for the world of professional work.

Many of our graduates have gone on to work in bioscience companies, diagnostic labs, diagnostic clinics, or to study further either through an MSc or a research-focused PhD studentship. While you’re with us, we’ll arm you with the skills you need to be successful in the workplace.

Oxford provides many excellent work opportunities. We have organisations like, Abbott Diabetes Care, Oxford Biomedica, Oxford Science Park, Milton Park and Abingdon Science Park right on our doorstep. Popular roles include:

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

The BSc degree is well designed to provide a foundation for graduate-entry medical school or further academic training in the life and medical sciences.

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


Contextual offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 88

A Level: CCD

IB Points: 27


International qualifications and equivalences

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

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

International full time

Home (UK) full time

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

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time

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

International full time

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time

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

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

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.