Biomedical Science BSc (Hons)

Course overview

  • Course level
    Undergraduate
  • Course type
    Full-time
  • Duration
    3 or 4 years
  • Course options
    Optional placement year
  • UCAS code(s)
    C900
  • School

Entry requirements for 2019

  • A Level (2019 entry)
    ABB-BBB (must include Biology)
  • BTEC
    Are considered with the relevant A Level subjects, please see below for further details
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma
    32 – 31 Overall (HL 5, 5, 5 must include Biology)
  • GCSEs
    Five GCSEs all at grade C/4 and must include Mathematics and English Language
More information

Key dates

Accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS)

92% of BSc Biomedical Science students at Aston were satisfied Overall (NSS, 2018)

Employed Aston Biological Sciences graduates earn £1,600 (10%) more than the UK average one year after graduating (LEO, 2018)

Optional placement year

Course summary

This course is for you if you are looking for a qualification that will give you a springboard to work within the NHS and many health-related institutions.

Entry requirements for 2019

Duration:

  • 3 years full-time degree – all students initially register on this course, you will have the option to transfer to the 4 year degree courses in Year 2, see below for full details
  • 4 years full-time degree in Biomedical Science with industry placement year (IBMS accredited) – subject to availability of placements, see below for full details
  • 4 year full-time degree in Applied Biomedical Science with integrated clinical placement year in a clinical pathology accredited (CPA) laboratory (IBMS accredited/HCPC approved) – subject to availability of placements, see below for full details. Please note that a first year overall mark of 65% is required for transfer to this programme. In addition if you are an international student or do not have GCSE English at grade C or above, you will need an IELTS score of 7.0 with no element below 6.5 to transfer onto the Applied Biomedical Science programme.

UCAS Code: C900

Admissions Review Process

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and the whole application is reviewed which includes previous and predicted qualifications, any experience, references and motivation. Whilst the grades listed here are our entry requirements, we understand that predicted grades are only an estimate. We will therefore consider applicants with lower predicted grades if the application is of a high standard which includes a strong personal statement and academic reference. However, any offer made will not be lower than stated below. If you have already achieved your A level grades you may be eligible for our lowered offer scheme - this means that the grades that you will need in order to be accepted on to the course may be reduced. Whilst we normally look for evidence of recent study (which we define as the past 3 years), we also welcome applications from mature students who have achieved grades up to 10 years old, which will be considered on a case by case scenario. You will be required to make a full UCAS application which lists your education and work history up to the time of application along with sufficient references. Find out more about our admissions policy.

Applicant Visit Days

Once you have received an offer, you will be invited to an Applicant Visit Day to discover more about the course and Aston University.

Typical offers

GCSEs:

Five GCSEs which must include Mathematics and English Language all at grade C/4. Please note we do not accept Key skills or Functional skills in place of these.

A Levels:

ABB - BBB in three A level subjects which must include Biology.

Excluded Subjects: We welcome the following subjects as an additional A level, but not as one of the core three A levels - General Studies, Critical Thinking, Citizenship Studies.

A Level applicants who select this course as their Firm UCAS choice may be eligible for our lowered offer scheme. This means that the grades that you will need in order to be accepted on to the course will be reduced.

We welcome applications from students who have tried to improve their examination grades by taking resits and only your latest grades will be accepted. We treat these applications in exactly the same way as other applications.

BTEC:

We consider BTEC qualifications in any subject which are taken with the relevant A Level subjects as listed below:

BTEC qualification name BTEC grades required A Level requirements
Extended Diploma (QCF/National) Distinction, Distinction, Distinction (DDD) With this BTEC you must also achieve grade B in A-Level Biology

Diploma (QCF)

National Diploma

Distinction, Distinction (DD) With this BTEC you must also achieve grade B in A-Level Biology

Subsidiary Diploma (QCF)

National Extended Certificate

Distinction (D) With this BTEC you must also achieve grades BB in two A levels of which one must be Biology
90 Credit Diploma (QCF) Distinction, Distinction (DD) With this BTEC you must also achieve grades BB in two A levels of which one must be Biology
National Foundation Diploma Distinction (D) With this BTEC you must also achieve grades BB in two A levels of which one must be Biology

Access to Higher Education:

We accept the QAA-recognised Access Diploma which must consist of 45 credits at Level 3. You must obtain a minimum of 30 distinction and the rest must be at merit or distinction. Please note that we do not accept the English and Maths components within the Access qualification and you must meet the GCSE entry requirement.

Subjects Accepted: Applied Science, Biology combined with Chemistry, Biomedical Science, Biosciences, Combined Sciences, Health Sciences, Health Sciences Professions, Life Sciences and Sciences.

International Baccalaureate Diploma:

32 - 31 points overall and must include grades 6, 5, 5 – 5, 5, 5 in Higher Level subjects which must include Biology. You must also have Standard Level grade 5 in both Mathematics and English Language.

International students 

International qualifications: International students can discover more about the qualifications we accept on our international pages.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements.

For more information about qualifications view our Aston in your country webpage.

Foundation Programme route

International Foundation Programme in Science (Aston University): We also welcome international students with equivalent qualifications to apply for our courses. For international students without equivalent qualifications, it is also possible to gain entry to this course by completing an International Foundation Programme at Aston University, although please note the progression requirements and the entry requirements to our courses. 

International applicants expected to gain foundation diplomas from other providers are welcomed and will be considered on a case by case basis.

Foundation Programme in Science (Aston University): For students with good A-level (or equivalent) grades, but who narrowly miss our standard requirements, it is also possible to gain entry to this course by completing the Foundation Programme in Science at Aston University, however, please note there are specific entry requirements which must be checked:  Foundation Entry Requirements.

Non-standard qualifications

Degree: 

Year 1 entry: We consider applicants for year 1 entry who are undertaking a degree in a related field elsewhere. You must meet the GCSEs and A level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. Alongside this you must have gained (or be expected to gain) 60% overall and 120 credits with no fails at another recognised university. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.

Year 2 entry: Please note that second year transfers are not part of the standard admissions process and is up the discretion of the admissions team and tutor. Applications are only considered if there is space on that year of the programme. Typically, applicants for second year entry must meet the GCSEs and A level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. Alongside this you must have gained (or be expected to gain) 60% overall and 120 credits with no fails on an equivalent programme at another recognised university. The equivalency of the programme is reviewed by the Admissions Tutor and you will be required to provide an official copy of the programme specification of this. It is also expected that you have not previously attempted the second year of a programme elsewhere. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

External Foundation Programmes from another University:

We consider external foundation programmes for entry into our year 1 programmes on a case-by-case basis. We will always require applicants to have met the following criteria prior to application:

  • 5 GCSE’s at grade C/4 or above including Maths and English.
  • CCC at A-Level

If you meet the above pre-requisite qualifications, we will be required to review the programme specification of your foundation programme. After we have reviewed the programme specification a decision will be made. Any conditional offers made will be based on meeting a specific grade in your foundation programme.

Fees for 2019

For 2019 entry:

  • UK / EU students: £9,250 per year (£1,250 during placement year)
  • International students: £18,500 per year (£2,500 during placement year)

Explore the costs involved in university and the financial support that may be available to you.

Fitness to Practise information

In line with national requirements for courses leading to a health professional qualification, this course is also subject to Fitness to Practise Regulations.

Discover more about DBS Checks & Fitness to Practise.

Course outline

This course offers a springboard for graduates to work within the NHS and other health-related institutions. Practicing NHS biomedical scientists require a degree accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) – an endorsement we have held for over 10 years.

Hear from Roseanne, a graduate from this course as she discusses her experiences.

During the course, you will gain a deep understanding of the main principles of how the human body works. Going beyond this, you will discover how biomedical scientists find new ways to cure or treat disease by developing advanced diagnostic tools or new therapeutic strategies.

You will initially enrol on to BSc Biomedical Science (C900). You will then have the following options available to you: 

  • BSc Biomedical Science: A three year full-time course accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).
  • BSc Biomedical Science with integrated placement year: A four year full-time course involving an integrated placement in an industrial or research laboratory in the third year, accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS). You will apply for placements during your second year, with support from the university. If you are successful, you will transfer to this 4 year course.
  • BSc Applied Biomedical Science with integrated clinical placement year: A four-year course involving an integrated one-year clinical placement in a CPA accredited hospital laboratory in the third year. This is the route to take if you wish to become a professional Biomedical Scientist, working in the NHS. You will apply for placements during your second year, with support from the university. If you are successful, you will transfer to this 4 year course. The Applied Biomedical Science route is approved by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), the regulatory body for Biomedical Scientists, and graduates will immediately be eligible to apply to the HPC for registration as professional Biomedical Scientists. 

BSc Medical Bioscience course for students in Singapore

Students from Singapore can benefit from our BSc Medical Bioscience course delivered in Singapore through a collaboration between Aston University and the East Asia Institute of Management (EASB).

What you will study

2019 entry

Biomedical Science students study up to eleven modules each year equating to 120 credits. Each module comprises approximately 100 learning hours which includes lectures, tutorials, practical classes, directed student-centred learning and preparation for coursework assignments and examinations.

Year 1

Modules include*:

  • Microbiology I: provides you with an introduction to bacterial physiology, pathogenicity, infectious diseases and clinical microbiology.
  • Biochemistry: provides you with an overview of the structure of biological macromolecules and the small molecules from which they are assembled.
  • Physiology for Biologists: provides you with a theoretical and practical approach to the physiology of nerves and the nervous system, muscle, brain, endocrine glands, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, blood, kidneys, gastro-intestinal tract and digestion.
  • Inheritance and Population Genetics: examines the modes of inheritance of the gene. This module also introduces you to some of the underlying principles of population genetics.
  • Development and Human Anatomy: reviews the principles and foundation elements of embryology and the study of human anatomy.
  • Cell Biology provides a basic introduction to cellular components and processes involved in the birth, life and death of cells.
  • Molecular Biology: provides you with a basic introduction to the nature, properties, structure, function and replication of genes.
  • Introductory Immunology: provides you with an understanding of the immune system as an integrated system of tissues, cells and molecules. This module also explores the cellular and molecular basis of immunity and examines how these may be controlled.
  • Biomedical Key Skills: comprises a series of academic tutorials with a personal tutor and a series of workshops (and external lectures) on Biomedical Science and career management. This module also provides the student with an opportunity to develop core skills including communication, numerical and IT skills and explores the importance of team work, self-analysis and problem solving.

Year 2

Modules include*:

  • Microbiology II: covers microorganisms of medical importance including Gram-positive, Gram-negative and intracellular bacteria from the perspective of clinical manifestations, microbial pathogenesis; infection control and prevention.
  • Metabolism: provides you with an understanding of major pathways of intermediary metabolism and their integration and regulation.
  • Molecular Genetics: describes the molecular basis for the regulation of gene transcription and presents the key techniques in gene manipulation.
  • Biomedical Technology: provides an insight into the importance of tissue culture and enzymology in Biomedical Science.
  • Endocrinology: provides a detailed study of the endocrine system, extending and developing information covered in earlier parts of the course.
  • Human Physiology: provides a detailed study of the mechanisms and processes through which the body achieves and maintains homeostasis.
  • Molecular Pathology: examines some of the molecular mechanisms involved in cell growth, differentiation, maturation and senescence.
  • Immunology II: provides you with an understanding of the immune system as an integrated system of tissues, cells and molecules.
  • Biomedical Key Skills II: focuses on personal and professional development, group work, scientific communication and preparation for the placement year.

Year 3 - Optional placement year

The year involves a 30 week to twelve-month professional work placement between the second and final years of the degree. This offers you the opportunity to gain valuable experience and set your studies in the context of a working environment, alongside professional biomedical scientists. By obtaining relevant work experience you will also boost your future employment prospects.

Students undertake placements in settings such as hospital, industrial or research laboratories. Applied Biomedical Science with integrated clinical placement year students undertake their industry or clinical placement in a UKAS accredited CPA hospital laboratory.

Find out more about placement years in Life & Health Sciences.

Final Year

Modules include*:

  • Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease: provides a comprehensive view of the pathogenesis and diagnosis of infectious disease within the community and hospital setting.
  • Food Microbiology: provides a study of the relationship between food and health including the scientific, technical and manufacturing factors which influence food quality and safety.
  • Haematology/Transfusion Science: provides an in depth study of pathophysiology of haematological disorders.
  • Cellular Pathology: provides you with a comprehensive overview of the current practice of diagnostic cellular pathology and histological techniques.
  • Medical Biochemistry: provides a detailed study of the application of chemical and biochemical methods to the study of disease.
  • Biological Basis of Human Disease: considers the basic biological principles underlying the development of diseases in humans including obesity, cancer, motor neurone diseases, growth disorders, disease of the heart, liver, lungs, gastrointestinal tract and kidneys.
  • Biomedical Research Project: provides you with the opportunity to undertake a laboratory-based research project under the supervision of an academic member of staff.
  • Applied Molecular Biology: provides in-depth explanations of genetic engineering techniques and their applications.
  • Immunology III: builds on information learnt in the first and second years.
  • Biomedical Key Skills III: reviews the structure and function of the NHS, including people, places and funding.

*Details provided are intended to give an overview of the proposed aims and content in modules, they are not a complete exhaustive and definitive description of module content. 

 

2020 entry 

In order to offer you the best possible experience and keep BSc Biomedical Science up to date and relevant, the University is going through a transition period. The new University-wide 15/30 credit scheme will come into effect for the 2020/21 entry to the BSc Biomedical Science programme.

Modules:

Year 1:

  • Biomolecules
  • Cells to Systems
  • Microbiology and Genetics
  • Metabolism and Physiology for BMS.

Year 2:

  • Clinical Sciences
  • Mechanisms of Pathology
  • Cell Signalling and Physiology
  • Clinical Genetics and Human Disease.

Year 3 (optional):

  • Placement year.

Final Year:

Students are required to take one of the following two modules:

  • Cancer Biology
  • Bench to Bedside.

Students are required to take all the following modules:

  • Immunology and Inflammation
  • Clinical and Food Microbiology
  • Research Project Preparation
  • Research Project
  • Professional Skills for Biomedical Scientists.

Please note accreditation approval for this new structure is currently pending.

 

Learning, teaching & assessment

You will encounter a variety of learning opportunities, including

  • Lectures
  • Practical sessions
  • Interactive workshops and tutorials
  • Group work
  • Self-study courses.

You will be continuously assessed throughout the course. A wide range of assessments linked to learning outcomes are used, including

  • Examinations (unseen essay, short answer or multiple choice questions)
  • Essays
  • Practical reports (group or individual)
  • Presentations
  • Laboratory reports 
  • Project work
  • Computer based assessment
  • Peer assessment.

We specifically encourage team working in some assignments in which there will be peer assessments where you will assess the contribution of your colleagues and vice-versa.

Placement year

The year involves a 30 week to twelve-month professional work placement between the second and final years of the degree. Students undertake placements in settings such as hospital, industrial or research laboratories. This offers you the opportunity to gain valuable experience and set your studies in the context of a working environment, alongside professional biomedical scientists. By obtaining relevant work experience you will also boost your future employment prospects (placements on the 4 year course do not lead to eligibility to register with the HCPC on graduation). Placements may be unpaid.

Applied Biomedical Science with integrated clinical placement year students undertake their industry or clinical placement in a UKAS accredited CPA hospital laboratory. The availability of NHS placements is limited and they are allocated in competition. You will have to undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and occupational health checks; the cost of these checks will be payable by the student.

Find out more about placement years in Life & Health Sciences.

Professional accreditation

Four year integrated Applied Biomedical Science degree:

Graduates are eligible to apply to the Health & Care Professions Council for registration as Biomedical Scientists.

HPC logo

Three year full-time degree:

If students undertake this course but subsequently wish to practice as HPC-registered Biomedical Scientists, they will have to complete:

  • The IBMS training and registration portfolio in an approved clinical laboratory
  • Achieve a Certificate of Competence awarded by the IBMS.


Royal Society of Biology (RSB) – degree accreditation

RSB accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in biological knowledge and key skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of employers. The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.

RSB Accredited Degree

 

Your future career prospects

You will leave the university equipped with the essential knowledge and skills required for a variety of career opportunities. Our graduates enter careers in a wide range of areas or undertake postgraduate courses. Some choose careers as HCPC registered Biomedical Scientists, while others will choose to use their degree as a springboard into a variety of scientific or health related careers, including research, pharmaceutics, medical journalism, teaching, medical sales and marketing.

Recent graduates have gained the following roles:

  • Assay Development Technician, The Binding Site
  • Biomedical Researcher, Anglia Ruskin University
  • Biomedical Scientist, Birmingham Children's Hospital
  • Biomedical Scientist, Birmingham Women's Hospital (NHS)
  • Biomedical Scientist, Public Health England
  • Biomedical Scientist, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham
  • Biomedical Scientist, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust
  • Biotechnologist, GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines Singapore
  • Cell Biologist, GlaxoSmithKline
  • Graduate Trainee, Goodwater
  • Lab Analyst, Randox Testing Service
  • Lab Technician, Binding Site
  • Medical Rep, Ashfield
  • Medical Technologist, National University Health Systems
  • Medical Technologist, Raffles Diagnostica
  • MPhil/PhD Biomedical Sciences, Aston University
  • PhD Student, Aston University
  • Postgraduate Researcher, Aston University
  • Quality Assurance Officer, Aga Khan Hospital
  • Recruitment Consultant, Paramount Recruitment
  • Research and Development Assistant, Reckitt Benckiser
  • Research Assistant, Queen Elizabeth Hospital (NHS)
  • Supply Teacher, Grace Academy 
  • Technical Sales Representative, MAST Group Ltd
  • Technical Support Scientist, Russell’s Hall Hospital
  • Trainee clinical scientist - STP., Ashford and St Peter's NHS Foundation Trust.
Personal development

Our course helps you develop the knowledge and skills needed to maximise your career prospects. This course will enable you to develop key skills including: 

  • Fundamental laboratory techniques
  • Record keeping
  • Project development
  • Management
  • Critical analysis
  • Communication (written/oral)
  • Presentation
  • Team working
  • Report development
  • IT
  • Problem solving
  • Debating.
Facilities

You will benefit from:

  • Extensive and well equipped laboratories, with up-to-date equipment and projection facilities for demonstration purposes;
  • Refurbished lecture theatres and seminar rooms with modern audio-visual equipment;
  • A large computer laboratory;
  • A virtual learning environment used for general study, revision and assessment. This platform allows you to access a comprehensive range of study materials, scientific journals, e-journals, databases and much more.
  • Course texts and relevant journals are available from the library either electronically or in book form;
  • A newly refurbished and extended Aston University Library. The Library is open 7 days a week all year round, and at key times of the academic year, it is open 24 hours a day on 6 days a week.

Teaching LabMicroscopeShakerPipette

Staff

There are over 30 teaching and research staff in our biology group, with other School of Life and Health Sciences staff also undertaking biology and biomedical related teaching.

Programme Director: Dr Ann B Vernalis

Ann is the Programme Director for the BSc programmes in biology and biomedical sciences. She teaches Cell Biology and Developmental Biology in year 1,  Molecular Pathology, and Molecular Genetics (including Bioinformatics) in year 2. In the final year, she teaches options in Cell Biology (including cell culture) and supervises final year projects. Her main research interest is in cytokines and other mediators of inflammation. She collaborates with Prof Peter Lambert and others on the host response to bacteria infection and the therapeutic potential of tetracyclines to reduce inflammation. 

Admissions Tutor: Dr James Brown

James is the Admissions Tutor for the undergraduate biomedical & biological sciences programmes. He has been at Aston since 2009, and his current role is that of lecturer. His research interests include the regulation of cellular ageing by obesity and metabolic disorders, frailty in older adults with diabetes and the role of aquaporins in breast cancer.

James is happy to discuss the structure of the course and its content. If you need any guidance on the entry requirements, please direct these questions to our admissions team on ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk or call +44 (0)121 204 3302.

Meet the Biological Sciences team.

Find out more

Discover more in the following ways:

Why did you choose to study at Aston?

The contents of the course sounded extremely interesting. I liked the balance between taught content, practicals and independent reading. The quality of teaching was excellent. I loved that you could email lecturers any time of day in regards to lectures and you would get an answer the same day.

How do you feel your placement prepared you for your future career?

It allowed me to apply the knowledge I had gained in University to real world scenarios. As well as this, I learned a great deal over the year, not just scientific knowledge but also how to balance work and free time and how to contribute as part of a work force. It prepared me not only for my job in the future but also for my final year of Uni and was a major factor in the improvement of my performance in my exams.

What was the highlight of your placement experience?

The highlight of my experience was the healthcare experience. I was working in a busy laboratory in one of the most prestigious children’s hospitals in Europe, so the type of work I carried out was rather specialist. My placement allowed for the completion of the HCPC IBMS portfolio, meaning I was able to apply for a role as a Biomedical Scientist immediately after graduation.

How did the quality of teaching and student support enhance your time at Aston?

My course had some fantastic lecturers who really had a passion for us and truly wanted us to do well. Most lecturers were easy to access and were always willing to help. The lecturers were also active researchers in their fields so they were teaching us up to date and relevant information. The student support services, including The Hub, LDC and Student Union, all helped answer questions I had during issues with Student Finance, looking for housing in placement year, writing my first university standard assignment.

What was the highlight of your time at Aston?

My highlight of my time at Aston was being awarded 3 prizes at graduation, words can't describe how it felt to be recognised for 4 years of hard work!

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