(BSc) Bachelor of Science
University of Essex
University of Essex
Life Sciences (School of)
Accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).
Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of providing eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as a biomedical scientist.
GCSE: Mathematics C/4
A-levels: BBB, including Chemistry or Biology and a second science or Mathematics. Psychology, Statistics, Physics, Applied Science, Human Biology, Geography, PE and Sociology (on a case by case basis) are all acceptable as second science A-levels.
BTEC: D*DD, depending on subject and units studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.
IB: 30 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555. Either must include Higher Level Chemistry or Biology and a second science or Mathematics grade 5. Computer Science, Design Technology, Physics, Sport, exercise and Health Science at Higher Level are all acceptable as second science subjects.
Standard Level Mathematics, if not taken at Higher Level, will also be required. We will accept grade 4 in either Standard Level Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches or Standard Level Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation.
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.
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programme Courses (formerly certificates) at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for.
We can also consider combinations with BTECs or other qualifications in the Career-related programme – the acceptability of BTECs and other qualifications depends on the subject studied, advice on acceptability can be provided. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.
Access to HE Diploma: 6 level 3 credits at Distinction and 39 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject and units studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.
T-levels: Merit, depending on subject studied -advice on acceptability can be provided.
What if I don’t achieve the grades I hoped?
If your final grades are not as high as you had hoped, the good news is you may still be able to secure a place with us on a course which includes a foundation year. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.
What if I have a non-traditional academic background?
Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.
You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here
If you are a mature student, further information is here
IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code
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.
Rules of assessment
Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.
External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment.
External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course.
They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards.
External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.
- An understanding of the multidisciplinary approach to the study of human disease.
- An understanding of the molecular principles that underlie biochemical reactions and biomedical processes.
- An understanding of biomedical methods and approaches and of the main body of biological knowledge that forms the basis of biomedical science.
- An ability to apply this understanding to analyse current biomedical problems and suggest solutions.
- A general scientific education including training in handling and interpretation of quantitative information and the ability to plan and carry out desk or laboratory based research under supervision.
- The key laboratory and workplace skills required for careers in biomedical science and related subjects that require an integrated understanding of biological, biochemical and molecular processes.
- The key skills of communication, numeracy, ITC use, problem solving, working with others, self-evaluation and self-improvement, and autonomous learning using biomedical science as a context and focus.
- A foundation of knowledge, understanding and skills required for further study and research in biomedical science.
- An awareness of the need for compliance with health and safety policies.
- An appreciation of the need for, and importance of lifelong learning, and personal development planning.
Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods
On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:
A: Knowledge and understanding
A1: Basic maths, physics and chemistry that are relevant to biomedical science
A2: The different levels of organisation and complexity, from molecules, through cells, organs, to humans
A3: Key biochemical, physiological and pathophysiological as well as pharmacological processes some of which is at an advanced level
A4: Theoretical and practical skills associated with being a practising biomedical scientist
A5: Appropriate practical scientific methods and approaches: observation, experimentation, modelling; and techniques used in their analysis
A6: Modern concepts and applications of biomedical science
Lectures are the principal method of delivery of A1-A6.
Lectures direct students to textbooks and on-line material (Years 1 to 3), and research papers (Year 2 and particularly Year 3).
Laboratory practicals in Years 1 and 2 complement lectures and develop A1 to A6.
Coursework associated with lecture modules in Years 1 to 3 develop A1-A6.
The research project in Year 3 develops A5 and also a range of A1 to A4, and A6 (depending on topic).
A6 is also developed through teamwork exercises in Year 3.
A1-A6 are also addressed in case studies (PBL elements) used in some lectures and practicals in Years 1 and 2.
Seminars with small groups are used in A1 (mathematics and chemistry, Year 1).
A1-A6 are assessed by:
Mutiple Choice Questions (Year 1)
Essays (Years 2 and 3)
Oral and written practical reports (Years 1 and 2)
Exercises in data analysis and interpretation (DAI), (Years 2 and 3)
Unseen written exams: short answer, essay and questions involving DAI (Years 2 and 3 only)
The Year 3 research project, covering a range of A1 to A6 (depending on project topic) tests understanding in depth and is assessed by an individual written report and by an oral presentation.
Oral and written presentations in the Issues module (Year 3) are used to assess A6.
B: Intellectual and cognitive skills
B1: Retrieve, select and collate appropriate biomedical information
B2: Evaluate primary and secondary evidence and arguments
B3: Analyse and interpret quantitative information in graphs, figures, tables and equations.
B4: Integrate and link information across course components, including material met in different years, from different disciplines
B5: Plan and conduct a research task (including logistics, risk assessment and ethical approval where appropriate)
B6: Present data correctly, choose and apply an appropriate statistical test and interpret the output
B7: Analyse and suggest approaches for dealing with clinical cases
Setting of directed learning topics (Years 1 and 2) develops skills in B1 and B2.
B1 and B2 are partly covered by training in exam essay writing in Year 1 tutorials, and further developed by coursework essays (Years 2 and 3).
B2 and B3 are taught by explicit inclusion of data analysis in lectures and classes in Years 2 and 3, and through progressive development of DAI coursework in Years 2 to 3.
B1-B3 and, in some cases B4, are developed through analyses and presentations of results of practical work in Years 1 to 3.
B4 is achieved by progressive subject development through the 3 years, problem based learning seminars in Years 1 and 2, and through the Issues course in Year 3 (BS306).
B5 is mainly taught via the Year 3 research project, but ethics in science are introduced in the Year 1 Transferable Skills for Life Sciences module.
B6 is taught in Year 1 Transferable Skills for Life Sciences module and developed throughout the degree via practical coursework (Years 1 and 2) and in the final year research project.
B7 is taught through problem based learning and case study elements in Years 1 and 2.
B1, B2 and B4 are assessed by coursework and exam essays (Years 1 to 3).
B2 and B3 are assessed by coursework and compulsory exam DAI questions (Years 2 and 3), practical reports (Years 1 and 2) and research project reports (Year 3).
B4 is assessed by integrative exam questions in Years 2 and 3 and coursework in BS306.
B5 is assessed within the 45 credit final year research project module BS831.
B6 is assessed in Year 1 & 2 practicals and Year 1 LSKS module.
B1 to B6 are also assessed in the Year 3 research project.
B7 is assessed by coursework in Year 2 and integrative exam questions.
C: Practical skills
C1: Able to carry out basic laboratory experiments safely and effectively following a written schedule
C2: Use appropriate laboratory or field equipment safely and efficiency
C3: Able to explain the principles and limitations of a range of more advanced practical techniques
C4: Able to use appropriate scientific software effectively (e.g. packages for calculation, visualisation, simulation, modelling or statistical analysis)
Skills C1 to C4 are mainly taught in supervised practicals in Years 1 and 2.
Lectures in Years 1 to 3 teach C3.
Independent project work in Year 3 also teaches and develops C1 to C4.
Safety issues (C1) are addressed through practical documentation (Years 1 and 2) and developed by students preparing risk assessments for Year 3 research projects.
C4 is addressed through IT and statistics training in Year 1 (Transferable Skills for Life Sciences).
The use of more specialised software is taught or developed in Year 2 practicals and the Biomedical Science: Practice and Employability module in Year 2 and in the Year 3 research project.
C1 is assessed through Years 1 and 2 practicals, and the Year 3 research project.
C2 is assessed in some Year 1 and 2 practicals.
C3 is assessed in many practicals in Years 1 and 2, the Biomedical Science: Practice and Employability module in Year 2 and in theory exams in Years 1 to 3.
C4 is assessed in some Year 2 practicals and in the final year research project.
D: Key skills
D1: Able to write clearly in: a) logically argued essays; b) longer reports, including basic scientific papers; c) a variety of other pieces of work for different target audiences; d) e-communications, in particular email. Plan, write and give oral presentations
D2: (i) Use current networked PC operating systems for normal file management,
(ii) Use current standard word-processing, spreadsheet, web browsing, web-page authoring, email and statistical packages,
(iii) Able to locate and use on-line catalogues and databases
D3: (i) Use appropriate precision, scales, units, scientific notation, ratios, fractions, percentages, powers of 10, logarithms and exponentials.
(ii) Use simple algebra and trigonometry.
(iii) Use approximations for mental arithmetic estimation and verification.
D4: Explore, analyse and find effective solutions for problems involving moderately complex information.
D5: Work effectively as part of a team to collect data and information and/or to produce reports and presentations
D6: Study independently, plan work and time to meet targets within deadlines; Reflect on feedback on assessed work and on their academic progress; Reflect, plan, record and document their personal developmen
Essay writing skills (D1) are taught in the Year 1 tutorials, the LSKS module and developed in all subsequent modules.
Required length of essays and reports increases from Year 1 to Year 3.
Writing for other target audiences is addressed in Year 3 "Issues courses".
Oral presentation skills (D1) are developed in some practicals and lecture modules (Years 2 and 3), the BMS: Hospital Experience and Skills Training module in Year 2, and BS306 and the Research Project module in Year 3.
Email communication is taught in the Year 1 LSKS module, and developed throughout as the basic administrative communication method.
IT use (D2) is taught in Year 1 in the LSKS module and developed throughout all years.
Most coursework from Year 2 onwards must be word-processed, and other computer produced work is required for some practical assignments in Year 2, in the Year 3 research project and BS306.
Library, on line catalogue and web skills (D2) are taught in Year 1; developed by provision of considerable module related material on the Web and through the preparation of the literature review (Year 3).
Web-based material (D2) is used in several modules including practicals.
D3 is taught in lectures and classes (Year 1), and developed in many subsequent modules (Year 1 to Year 3).
D4 is developed in "problem based learning" elements in Years 1 and 2 lectures, some practical sessions and BS306.
Team work (D5) is introduced in some Year 1 practicals, developed in Year 2 practicals, the BMS: Hospital Experience and Skills Training module in Year 2 and the research project (topic dependent) and BS306 in the final year.
D6 is addressed in LSKS in Year 1, developed through provision of explicit directed learning tasks (Years 1 and 2), increasing amounts of student managed learning from Year 1 to Year 3, attendance monitoring, rigid deadlines, feedback on assignments, and discussions with personal tutor.
Parts of D6 are also developed in the BMS: Hospital Experience and Skills Training.
D6 planning component is developed in the Year 3 Research Project module Additional guidance on Essay and Scientific Paper Format (SPF) writing and oral presentations are given in the on-line "Academic Skills" WebCT course available throughout the degree.
Students are also directed to the web-based MySkills resource area.
Writing skills (D1) are assessed through essays in coursework and exams (Years 1 to 3), in practical reports (Years 1 and 2), BS306 and the final year project report.
Basic email skills are assessed in Year 1 LSKS.
Oral presentation skills (D1) are assessed in some of the practical courses (Year 2), the BMS: Hospital Experience and Skills Training module, BS306 and in the Year 3 Research Project module.
IT and Numeracy skills (D2 and D3) are assessed through worksheets and exams in Year 1.
Thereafter, practical work, coursework and exam questions throughout the degree course assess numerical skills.
Most coursework from Year 2 onwards has to be prepared and submitted electronically.
Problem solving (D4) is assessed in BS306 (Year 3), DAI questions in Years 2 and 3 exams and the final year project.
D5 is assessed through team presentations in some Year 2 practical work.
D6 Independent study and deadline planning is assessed indirectly by examining directed learning material (Years 1 and 2), by awarding marks for evidence of additional reading, and by imposing strict deadlines for coursework assignments.
D6 Reflection and PDP are assessed through a reflective statement and e-portfolio in the Year 1 LSKS.
D6 Reflection is assessed in BMS: Hospital Experience and Skills Training module in Year 2 (BS214) where students have to keep a reflective diary.
The planning component of D6 is assessed in the Year 3 Research Project module.