Undergraduate Course

BSc Biomedical Science

(Including Foundation Year)

Now In Clearing
BSc Biomedical Science

Overview

The details
Biomedical Science (Including Foundation Year)
BD00
October 2021
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus
Essex Pathways

Our BSc Biomedical Science (including foundation year) will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your academic skills to support your academic performance.

This four-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study. During your Year Zero, you study three academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory academic skills module, with additional English language for non-English speakers.

After successful completion of Year Zero in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with our School of Life Sciences. On our BSc Biomedical Science course, you will explore 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 advanced in medical research.

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 at its heart. You will learn modern lab techniques, take part in specialist field-trips, and play your own part in adding to the ever-growing knowledge within biomedical science.

Why we're great.
  • Gain fast-track career progression within the NHS.
  • Take advantage of our brand new biomedical science facilities in our STEM Centre at our Colchester Campus.
  • We emphasise employability and have strong links with industry, government and NGOs.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Our expert staff

Two-thirds of our research is rated as “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 includes Dr Selwa Alsam, the 'Champion of Biomedical Science in East Anglia', 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 our School was awarded the Athena Swan Silver Award in October 2020, which reflects the work carried out by staff in our School to continue to improve equality, including a mentorship scheme, support for postdoctoral research staff, and financial help towards childcare costs for academics who wish to attend conferences.

Specialist facilities

By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:

  • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials
  • Our new Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
  • Our social space is stocked with magazines and newspaper, and provides an informal setting to meet your lecturers, tutors and friends

Recent spending by our University has allowed for major refurbishment and expansion of our School of Life Sciences facilities, 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 cell imaging systems, to CO2 incubators, to underwater video cameras
  • Receive training in your first year on using the Oxford Nanopore MinION, a portable handheld device that can sequence genomes in real time
  • 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 and 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 other still have chosen to enhance their career opportunities by studying for MSc of PhD degrees.

Other recent graduate destinations include:

  • Andrologist
  • Perfusionist
  • Studying medicine
  • Studying MSc or PhD
  • Working in NHS Hospitals at Cambridge, Chelmsford, Colchester, PHE in Colindale, Basildon, London, Bury St Edmunds, Kent, Ipswich, Norwich, Peterborough and Romford

We also work with our University's Student Development Team 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 website of the Biochemical Society and the Institute of Biomedical Science.

"Biomedical science at Essex completely grabbed my attention. It’s perfect for building knowledge, experience and skills in various aspects of human biology and provided me with the scaffolding that my future career could grow on. I am really grateful that I had a chance to work in such an inspiring environment. Staff at Essex have helped me with the application process and interviews for PhD positions that enabled me to successfully enrol for a fully funded PhD project, which is my next adventure after I graduate."

Giedre Ratkeviciute, BSc Biomedical Science

"I chose to study BSc Biomedical Science 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 Science, 2016

Entry requirements

Clearing entry requirements

Specific entry requirements for this course in Clearing are not published here but for most of our degree courses you will need to hold a Level 3 qualification. If you are interested in applying and have already received your results, use our Clearing application form to apply for 2021 entry and find out if you are eligible. You will be asked to provide details of your qualifications and grades.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall. Specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Student 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 required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Student 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.

Additional Notes

Our Year 0 courses are only open to UK and EU applicants. If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to your chosen degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College.

Structure

Course structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed as 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.

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently planned for 2021 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Introduction to Biology
(30 CREDITS)

The module aims to provide you with a general understanding and curiosity about biology with a balance of plant biology, animal biology and microbiology. This involves an understanding of the diversity, lifecycles and evolution of life on Earth, together with the biological processes that enable organisms to live, sense and adapt to the ecosystems that they inhabit. It will develop an appreciation of the relevance of sustainability to all aspects of scientific developments relating to biological sciences.

View Introduction to Biology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Chemistry for Biology
(30 CREDITS)

The module aims to provide you with the knowledge and understanding of chemistry needed to underpin advanced study in biology. This involves an understanding of the basic facts, concepts and terminology of chemistry relevant to modern biology.

View Chemistry for Biology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Maths and Statistics for Biological Sciences
(30 CREDITS)

The module covers the mathematical skills needed to proceed to any degree course within the School of Life Sciences. The syllabus covers the mathematics of basic arithmetic and algebra, graphs and rates of change as well as statistical distributions and hypothesis testing. The associated work in classes and lab sessions develops the skills used to solve problems applicable to the study of biological sciences, with classwork and online assignments being set and full solutions provided as part of the feedback process.

View Maths and Statistics for Biological Sciences on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: CORE

Research and Academic Development Skills
(30 CREDITS)

This blended-learning module is designed to support students in their academic subject disciplines and to strengthen their confidence in key skills areas such as: academic writing, research, academic integrity, collaborative and reflective practices. The students are supported through the use of subject-specific materials tailored to their chosen degrees with alignment of assessments between academic subject modules and the skills module.

View Research and Academic Development Skills on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Quantitative methods for Life Sciences
(15 CREDITS)

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 Quantitative methods for Life Sciences on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Molecular Cell Biology
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Microbiology
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 04: CORE

Biochemistry of Macromolecules
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 05: CORE

Genetics and Evolution
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 06: CORE

General and Organic Chemistry
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 07: CORE

Anatomy and Physiology
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 08: COMPULSORY

Transferable Skills in Life Sciences
(15 CREDITS)

You will develop your transferable skills in scientific writing (including referencing and avoiding plagiarism), teamwork and communication through oral presentations, study and research skills (including essay writing, lecture note taking, use of library and databases). Teaching and learning will be through a mixture of lectures, classes, and tutorials. The emphasis will be on small group, tutorial-style teaching and interaction with other students on this module, with assessments tailored to your degree subject area.

View Transferable Skills in Life Sciences on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Biomedical Science: Practice and Employability
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Cell Biology and Cellular Pathology
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Medical Microbiology
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 04: CORE

Haematology and Blood Transfusion Science
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 05: CORE

Clinical Biochemistry
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 06: COMPULSORY

Medical Genetics
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 07: COMPULSORY

Immunity in Health and Disease
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 08: COMPULSORY

Molecular Biology: Genes, Proteins and Disease
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Research Project in Biomedical Science
(45 CREDITS)

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 Biomedical Science on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Issues in Biomedical Science
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

Option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

Option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

Placement

Please note, vaccinations are required if students undertake an NHS placement.

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250

International fee

£16,850

EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fees and funding information

International fees and funding 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.

2021 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, August 14, 2021
  • Saturday, September 18, 2021
  • Saturday, October 23, 2021

How to apply during Clearing

Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision. There’s no need to call us to apply; just do it all online.

Find out more about Clearing

Interviews

We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following course after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism
  • BSc Nursing (Adult)
  • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
  • BA Social Work

The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have. Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.


Apply now
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The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification 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, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the 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 students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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