Undergraduate Course

BSc Biomedical Science

BSc Biomedical Science

Overview

The details
Biomedical Science
B990
October 2019
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus

From cancer-screening to blood transfusions, from infections to genetic diseases; biomedical scientists research the causes and diagnosis of diseases and the effectiveness of the medicines that cure them. You apply the concepts of biochemistry and cell biology to the study of health and disease in the human body. Our multidisciplinary approach means you learn skills that are at the forefront of advances in medical research.

At Essex, our research focuses on genetic diseases, infection and immunity, and age-associated conditions such as dementia, cancer and heart disease.

On our BSc Biomedical Science, you study areas including:

  • The structure of viruses, and how they interact with cells in infected organisms
  • The anatomy and structure of the human immune system
  • Pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria
  • Drug design

You discover the molecular basis of cellular dysfunctions, and describe modern strategies to diagnose and treat them.

Why we're great.
  • 92% of students in our School of Biological Sciences expressed overall satisfaction with their course (NSS 2018)
  • You have the opportunity to spend a year working in an NHS lab
  • Take advantage of our brand new biomedical science facilities in our new STEM building on campus

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university

Placement year

Alternatively, you can spend your third year on a placement year with the NHS in an IBMS-approved lab. You complete a portfolio of assessed work, which results in HCPC registration after completion of the course. This provides you with hands-on experience using specialised equipment and techniques which are in demand from employers, and is a great route into work in an NHS hospital.

All Biomedical Science students also have the opportunity to participate in a one-week summer school, where you learn about clinical biochemistry, cellular pathology, medical microbiology, and haematology and transfusion science. This time spent with NHS professionals improves your laboratory skills and helps you to develop an understanding of career paths in this sector.

If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

Our expert staff

As one of the largest schools at our University, we offer a lively, friendly and supportive environment with research-led study and high quality teaching. Two-thirds of our research is rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014), and you learn from and work alongside our expert staff.

Our research covers a wide spectrum of biology – from the cell right through to communities and ecosystems. Key academic staff for this course include Professor Elena Klenova, who specialises in molecular oncology, Professor Nelson Fernández, who works on viral and bacterial infections and autoimmunity, and Dr Selwa Alsam, who is researching hospital-related infections and human microbial diseases including MRSA, wound infections, and infection control.

The University of Essex has a Women's Network to support female staff and students and was awarded the Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award in November 2013 in recognition of its continuing work to support women in STEM.

Specialist facilities

Recent spending by our University has allowed for major refurbishment and expansion of our School of Biological Sciences, including:

  • Work in an open and friendly department, with shared staff-student social spaces
  • Conduct your final-year research alongside academics and PhD students in shared labs
  • State-of-the-art research facilities, from protein purification, to cell culture and imaging, to molecular modelling
  • Receive training on using the Oxford Nanopore MinION, a portable handheld device that can sequence genome data in real time, which has been used to track recent outbreaks of zika and ebola, and has even been used on the International Space Station
  • Teaching facilities including new undergraduate laboratories

Your future

You graduate ready to move into a wide variety of industrial and public sector environments, from the NHS to pharmaceuticals, research, health and safety, teaching.

Our students have gone on to work in a number of laboratory-based roles in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and in hospitals, clinics and healthcare companies. Others have gone on to work in sales, publishing and management, while others still have chosen to enhance their career opportunities by studying for MSc or PhD degrees.

Biochemistry and biomedical science courses also provide the ideal background for entry onto postgraduate medicine programmes, and eight of our 2011 graduates obtained places at medical schools across the UK.

Other recent graduates have gone on to work for the following high profile organisations:

  • NHS Hospitals at Cambridge, Chelmsford, Colchester, Colindale, Basildon, Bury and St Edmunds, Harlow, Hastings, Ipswich, Norwich, Peterborough and Romford
  • Nuffield Health
  • HSBS
  • John Lewis

We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

For more information on careers in Biochemistry and Biomedicine, visit the websites of the Biochemical Society and the Institute of Biomedical Science.

“I chose to study BSc Biomedical Sciences because it allowed me to keep my career paths open. Before I started, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Essex helped me streamline my goals and taught me great employability skills, with a large emphasis placed on the realities of the working world. I did my dissertation project in an NHS hospital microbiology lab, which meant I graduated from Essex with a good working knowledge of the industry and the processes of applying for a job, and now I’m a healthcare scientist at Public Health England.”

Joshua Irawo, BSc Biomedical Sciences, 2016

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A-levels: BCC, including Chemistry or Biology and a second science or Mathematics. Where applicable a pass is required in science practical element of A-level Biology, Chemistry or Physics.
GCSE: Mathematics C/4

IB: 28 points, including Higher Level Chemistry or Biology and a second science or Mathematics grade 5, plus Standard Level Mathematics or Maths Studies grade 4, if not taken at Higher Level. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Please note that Maths in the IB is not required if you have already achieved GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above or 4 in IB Middle Years Maths.

Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here.Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Structure

Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. Below is just one example structure from the current academic year of a combination of modules you could take. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

Molecular Cell Biology

The building blocks of life, plants and animals depend on the actions of individual cells. Investigate the biochemical characteristics of the small molecules and large macromolecules that allow cells to function. You examine the origins of life, cell structure and function, energy transductions, synthesis of molecules, and the eukaryotic cell cycle.

View Molecular Cell Biology on our Module Directory

Genetics and Evolution

Why do we all look different? Are some illnesses hereditary? Are animals born ready-suited to their environment? From the early theories of Mendel to modern studies in molecular genetics, you explore how scientists have answered these questions over the last 150 years. Examine how the structure and function of DNA allows genetic material to be expressed, replicated and inherited, and consider how genetic variation leads to adaptive evolution. From developing new technologies in gene cloning to the applications for modern medicine, you explore how geneticists are building on the earlier achievements in this fundamentally important field to enhance our understanding of life on earth.

View Genetics and Evolution on our Module Directory

Biochemistry of Macromolecules

Explore the building blocks of life. From the proteins that make up our genetic code to the lipids that envelope our cells, explore the structure, function and biological role of the major macromolecules. You investigate the basic principles of protein structural bioinformatics and protein structural evolution, examine how ligand-binding equilibria may form the basis of diverse biological phenomena, learn the structure and properties of monosaccharides and polysaccharides and review the major types of lipids. This module develops key skills in analysis and interpretation of data, biochemical methodology and calculation of biochemical parameters.

View Biochemistry of Macromolecules on our Module Directory

General and Organic Chemistry

Many recent advances in biological research have been born from an increased understanding of the molecules involved in systems and processes. But what do things look like beyond molecular level?<br><br>Study how molecules are formed from individual atoms, and how the properties of these constituent atoms influence molecular structure and reactivity. Examine the fundamental concepts of chemical bonding, electronegativity, acidity, basicity, hydrogen bonding and review the common organic functional groups and different types of isomerism.

View General and Organic Chemistry on our Module Directory

Scientific and Transferable Skills for Biosciences

Develop your skillset and boost your CV. This module prepares you for the coursework, laboratory practicals and research projects that you will encounter during undergraduate study. Get to know referencing systems and learn how to effectively communicate scientific information. Use scientific units and simple algebra and demonstrate understanding of logarithms, exponentials, geometry and elementary calculus. Learn how to design experiments, handle data and display, interpret and analyse basic statistics. Teaching and learning will be through a mixture of lectures, classes, practicals and tutorials, with an emphasis on developing the key transferable skills needed for a career in biosciences.

View Scientific and Transferable Skills for Biosciences on our Module Directory

Biomedical Science: Practice and Employability (Assessed in Following Year)

With two parts to this module, you’ll gain experience in biomedical science as practiced in a modern NHS laboratory. Part A is a Summer School which takes place after your first-year summer exams. You will take part in workshops and practicals lead by Biomedical Scientists from local hospitals. These experiences will introduce the major disciplines of biomedical science and the professional requirements for NHS laboratory careers. In part B you will learn how to write and assemble compelling CVs, application forms, and prepare for interviews. You will be taught by a range experts and also learn how to plan for the future through Professional Development Planning (PDP).

View Biomedical Science: Practice and Employability (Assessed in Following Year) on our Module Directory

Microbiology

Get to know the culprits of some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Despite major advances in treatment and prevention, incidences of infectious disease continue to rise. Vast diversity, rapid evolution and the opportunistic nature of micro-organisms present a significant challenge. You examine how different viruses and bacteria invade, interact and replicate within living hosts, and explore the consequent impact on ecology, industry and disease. A series of four practical sessions allows you to get hands-on and develop valuable skills. You learn how to purify, observe, count and kill micro-organisms in our purpose-built labs, gaining experience of aseptic techniques, serial dilution, response to antibiotics, and staining.

View Microbiology on our Module Directory

Anatomy and Physiology

Explore the anatomical components and major systems of the human body. In this module you will build your vocabulary of the key terminology of anatomy and physiology, as well as learn the structure and functions of these major body systems and how the body is controlled by the nervous and endocrine systems.

View Anatomy and Physiology on our Module Directory

Biomedical Science: Practice and Employability

Get career-ready. This unique module is designed to give you an in-depth view of the day-to-day work of a Biomedical Scientist, introducing you to the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) and Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), as well as preparing you for the graduate job market.<br><br>You work alongside practicing Biomedical Scientists, who join us from local hospitals to run workshops and practicals, introducing you to major disciplines such as haematology and blood transfusion, cellular pathology, medical microbiology and clinical biochemistry. This is an excellent opportunity to boost your CV, demonstrating you are up-to-speed with safe laboratory practice, including effective observations, measurements and accurate records, and can apply key skills in information retrieval, communication, data analysis and interpretation, numeracy, problem solving and group work.<br><br>You also work with a range of employability experts, who will help you to plan your career and set personal development goals, as well as effectively assemble CV’s, complete application forms and prepare for interview.

View Biomedical Science: Practice and Employability on our Module Directory

Medical Genetics

5.5% of the population will have developed a genetic disorder by age 25. But how does genetic disease occur? From understanding the molecular basis of genetic disease, to the techniques used in NHS laboratories for diagnosis and screening for genetic disorders, you address the nature and inheritance of both single gene and complex genetic disease, and explore the effects of abnormalities in human chromosomes. Developments such as gene therapy, the 100,000 genomes project and manipulation of embryos will also be discussed.

View Medical Genetics on our Module Directory

Molecular Biology: Genes, Proteins and Disease

Molecular biology is central to our knowledge of how biology "works" at a molecular level. This module explores the breadth of processes involved in the regulation of gene expression and the proteins that are made. You also discover the ever-expanding range of molecular biology techniques, including PCR, cloning and mutagenesis, and how these are applied to investigate and treat disease.

View Molecular Biology: Genes, Proteins and Disease on our Module Directory

Immunity in Health and Disease

Our bodies are under attack. So how do we defend ourselves against foreign invaders? Explore the anatomical and structural components of the immune system and assess what happens in the event of immunodysfunction. Utilising real-world case-studies (eg AIDS), and looking at specific examples (eg allergy and transplantation) you will review important aspects of clinical immunology and immuno-pathology, gaining an understanding of auto-immunity and immune-deficiencies. You will also consider the future of human immunology – evaluating how far vaccines can protect us against disease. Using the knowledge you have gained you will be able to identify areas of current immunology understanding that could lead to positive medical intervention.

View Immunity in Health and Disease on our Module Directory

Medical Microbiology

Consider the structural diversity, function and method of genetic transfer among various deadly infectious agents, assessing their role in the natural world and infectious disease. You will evaluate different methods of diagnosis, review methods of hospital-acquired infection control and investigate the different pathways of transmission. You also address treatment options, reviewing the efficacy, side-effects and toxicity of drugs as well as considering the impact of disease upon society.

View Medical Microbiology on our Module Directory

Haematology and Blood Transfusion Science

Blood analysis can lead to a range of diagnoses, from coagulation disorders to leukaemia. So how do abnormalities in genes, proteins and cells lead to diseases of the blood? Investigate the biochemistry and cell biology that underpins haematology, and explore its uses in medicine – particularly in NHS laboratories. You will also review the practicalities and limitations of blood transfusions as well as exploring the School’s latest research into possible blood substitutes.

View Haematology and Blood Transfusion Science on our Module Directory

Clinical Biochemistry

Discover the importance of enzymes on human health. Consider the mechanisms and kinetics of hydrolytic enzymes, explore methods for protein analysis and purification and assess the use of recombinant DNA technology in the large scale production of proteins in the laboratory. You also study of the importance of lipids, carbohydrates and hormones in health and the diagnosis of disease.

View Clinical Biochemistry on our Module Directory

Cell Biology and Cellular Pathology

Explore how the structural organisation of the nucleus and cytoskeleton affects gene expression, cell division and cell-cell communication. You also discover how cells regulate growth, proliferation and cell death, and explore how disruption of these processes leads to cancer. Discussion will centre on the principles and practice of histological screening, with an emphasis on changes observed in specific cancer types.

View Cell Biology and Cellular Pathology on our Module Directory

Issues in Biomedical Science

Are all scientific advances good news? Investigate the ethics and impact of new research, from discussing how limited economic resource restricts accessibility of new treatments, to how health professionals can best help the public make informed decisions. Even research as exciting as stem cell technology, with the possibility it carries of curing genetic illness, must be considered from an ethical point of view.

View Issues in Biomedical Science on our Module Directory

Research Project in Biomolecular Science

This module gives you the chance to conduct an individual scientific investigation on a topic relating to your degree specialisation. Develop skills to identify a suitable question and then design an experimental approach to obtain data addressing this question. This module assesses your analysis and presentation of these data in a suitable scientific paper format report and the research, understanding and critical writing about the scientific literature relating to your project as well as your oral project presentation skills and response to questions, the planning and management of your project work, your progress reflection and your employability skills.

View Research Project in Biomolecular Science on our Module Directory

Molecular and Developmental Immunology

How does the immune system know when to trigger a response, and how are immune responses regulated? You’ll examine the immune process at a molecular level and also developmental aspects of immunity and it will assist you in understanding current developments in the field. You’ll look at the way cellular and molecular components of the immune system are integrated to provide immunorecognition in health and disease. Explore how landmark concepts in immunology evolved from hypothesis to experimental discovery, and consider the ways in which clinical immunotherapy approaches allow scientists to manipulate the immune system.

View Molecular and Developmental Immunology on our Module Directory

Stem Cell Biology and Ageing

This module describes the fundamental principles of stem cell biology and molecular mechanisms and factors that define their 'stemness'. It also covers the processes that govern their differentiation into specific cell types.

View Stem Cell Biology and Ageing on our Module Directory

Molecular Basis of Cancer

The aim of this module is to provide you with current knowledge and understanding of cancer. We will discuss general aspects of cancer biology (cancer statistics and risk factors, origins and multistage nature of cancer, metastasis and angiogenesis). The identification and isolation of oncogenes and tumour suppressors and the mechanism of action of their products will be analysed. We will explore cancer molecular biology and signalling pathways in cancer. We will discuss cell cycle and apoptosis and their role in the maintenance of normal cell populations and in the emergence of cancer. The principles of some of the current approaches in cancer therapy will be discussed.

View Molecular Basis of Cancer on our Module Directory

Cell Signalling

The module describes the fundamental principles of cell signalling and communication in the context of development, health, biological stress, and disease. You explore the biochemistry of signal transduction, control, integration, and signal processing as implemented by biological systems, and consider the newly developed tools of post-genomic biology.

View Cell Signalling on our Module Directory

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Teaching

  • Learn through a combination of lectures, laboratory sessions and coursework
  • Gain experience collating and interpreting data, and reporting findings clearly and concisely
  • Participate in an optional one-week summer school learning from NHS professionals

Assessment

  • Degrees are awarded on the results of your written examinations together with continual assessments of your practical work and coursework
  • Contribute towards real-world research projects in your final year of study

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250

International fee

£16,980

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU fee information

International fee information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2018 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, October 27, 2018
  • Tuesday, December 18, 2018
  • Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.

Applicant Days and interviews

Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our applicant days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.

Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you’re invited to one, this will take place during your applicant day. Don’t panic, they’re nothing to worry about and it’s a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we’ll send you all the information you need beforehand.

If you’re outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email visit@essex.ac.uk so we can help you plan a visit to the University.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

We want you to throw yourself in at the deep end, soak up life and make the most of those special Essex moments.

Home to over 13,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

 

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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