Biomedical Science (Including Foundation Year)

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Academic Year of Entry: 2023/24
Course overview
(BSc) Bachelor of Science
Biomedical Science (Including Foundation Year)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
Biomedical Science


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

UK applicants:

All applications for degree courses with a foundation year will be considered individually, whether you

  • think you might not have the grades to enter the first year of a degree course;
  • have non-traditional qualifications or experience (e.g. you haven’t studied A-levels or a BTEC);
  • are returning to university after some time away from education; or
  • are looking for more support during the transition into university study.

Standard offer:

Our standard offer is 72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent, to include a science subject.

Examples of the above tariff may include:

  • A-levels: DDD (including a science subject)
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP (in a science subject)
  • T-levels: Pass with E in core, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

For this course we require level 3 (i.e. A-level, BTEC, etc.) scientific study.

Considered science subjects from all qualifications include Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Maths, Geography, Sports Science and Applied Science.

All applicants must also hold GCSE Maths and Science at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent). We may be able to consider a pass in an OFQUAL regulated Level 2 Functional Skills Maths where you cannot meet the requirements for Maths at GCSE level. However, you are advised to try to retake GCSE Mathematics if possible as this will better prepare you for university study and future employment.

If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.

Mature applicants and non-traditional academic backgrounds:

We welcome applications from mature students (over 21) and students with non-traditional academic backgrounds (might not have gone on from school to take level 3 qualifications). We will consider your educational and employment history, along with your personal statement and reference, to gain a rounded view of your suitability for the course.

We might not need evidence of level 3 scientific study where you have relevant work experience in a scientific field, or where you have previous successful study at degree level.

You will still need to meet our GCSE requirements.

EU applicants:

Essex Pathways Department can consider those with EU nationality and residence in the EU. If you would like to know more about the eligibility requirements for Essex Pathways Department, including if we could consider an application from you, please get in touch for advice.

We will require the equivalent of the entry requirements detailed above from an acceptable high school qualification, including a specified grade in Maths and an acceptable science subject.

International applicants:

Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

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.

Course qualifiers


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

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.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 23 October 2023 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 0 - 2023/24

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  IA102-3-FY-CO  Introduction to Biology  Core  30  30 
02  IA123-3-FY-CO  Chemistry for Biology  Core  30  30 
03  IA128-3-FY-CO  Maths and Statistics for Biological Sciences  Core  30  30 
04  IA199-3-FY-CO  Research and Academic Development Skills  Core  30  30 

Year 1 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  BS141-4-FY-CO  Quantitative methods for Life Sciences  Core  15  15 
02  BS101-4-AU-CO  Molecular Cell Biology  Core  15  15 
03  BS104-4-SP-CO  Microbiology  Core  15  15 
04  BS131-4-SP-CO  Biochemistry of Macromolecules  Core  15  15 
05  BS102-4-AU-CO  Genetics and Evolution  Core  15  15 
06  BS132-4-AP-CO  General and Organic Chemistry  Core  15  15 
07  BS161-4-AU-CO  Anatomy and Physiology  Core  15  15 
08  BS143-4-AP-CO  Transferable Skills in Life Sciences  Compulsory  15  15 

Year 2 - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  BS214-5-AP-CO  Biomedical Science: Practice and Employability  Core  15  15 
02  BS238-5-SP-CO  Cell Biology and Cellular Pathology  Core  15  15 
03  BS235-5-AU-CO  Medical Microbiology  Core  15  15 
04  BS236-5-SP-CO  Haematology and Blood Transfusion Science  Core  15  15 
05  BS237-5-AU-CO  Clinical Biochemistry  Core  15  15 
06  BS220-5-SP-CO  Medical Genetics  Compulsory  15  15 
07  BS223-5-SP-CO  Immunity in Health and Disease  Compulsory  15  15 
08  BS221-5-AU-CO  Molecular Biology: Genes, Proteins and Disease  Compulsory  15  15 

Year 3 - 2026/27

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  BS831-6-FY-CO  Research Project in Biomedical Science  Core  45  45 
02  BS306-6-AP-CO  Issues in Biomedical Science  Compulsory  15  15 
03    Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
04    Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

  • 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

Learning methods

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).

Assessment methods

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

Learning methods

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.

Assessment methods

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)

Learning methods

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.

Assessment methods

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

Learning methods

Assessment methods

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.


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 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 students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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