Biomedical Sciences (Biochemistry) BSc
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About the course
The modern biomedical scientist needs to be familiar with a wide range of subject discipline's and Brunel’s Biomedical Sciences degrees provide students with a sound grounding in all the ket subject areas.
The course allows you to develop good practical, analytical and transferable skills applicable to a wide range of employment opportunities such as medicine, MSc and PhD study, pharmaceutical research, pathology and diagnosis, clinical trials and data management.
Students will be encouraged to exercise their leadership, initiative and responsibility, and to appreciate the need for continual professional development.
The aim of the BSc Biomedical Sciences (Biochemistry) course is to emphasise the role of various biochemical pathways in normal metabolism, and also how these pathways may be altered during specific human diseases.
In addition you will study the main subject areas in biosciences and medically related research. These subject areas include genetics, cell and molecular biology, immunology, and anatomy and physiology, as related to human health, disease and treatment.
Level 1 is compulsory for all pathways, and gives a grounding in cellular and biochemical processes. Practical lab skills and research skills (IT, communication, information retrieval/analysis etc) are included to prepare you for the practical nature of the subject, and to give you a 'taster' of the various pathway options.
At Level 2, we more formally introduce the biochemical and molecular processes which are altered in various human diseases. The Career Skills study block develops employability skills alongside further practical skills needed by biomedical scientists.
At Level 3, you are given as much choice as possible to allow you to follow your interests. Topics are studied to a greater depth than in earlier years. All students must undertake a research project, which allows you to bring together the skills developed at Levels 1 and 2. This will probably be the greatest challenge of your degree, but also the most rewarding. You are usually associated with one of our research centres and your project will normally be clinically-related.
- The Human Body: Principles of Anatomy and Physiology
- Biochemistry: Structure and Function
- Research Skills
- Practical Skills in Biomedical Sciences
- Biology of the Cell
- Critical Thinking 1
- Career Skills
- Critical Thinking 2
- Molecular and Cellular Biology
- Genetic Engineering and Immunobiology
- Principles of Human Disease
- Analytical Biochemistry
- Metabolic Regulation
- Medical Biochemistry
- Final Year Project*
Optional (choose three)
- Genomic Medicine
- The Biology and Treatment of Cancer
- Cellular Pathologies
- Endocrine Disorders
- Medical Immunology
- Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology
Final year project*
In your final year you will be required to complete a research project of your own under the supervision of a member of staff. Final year projects are often the most fulfilling aspect of the course.
Projects may take a variety of forms (from lab-based research to complex data analysis), but it will be related to your chosen programme pathway, and may relate to your future career plans. Your project experience is often what sets you apart as an individual and employers usually ask about your project in interviews.
Read more about the structure of undergraduate degrees at Brunel
and what you will learn on the course.
- Our curriculum reflects up-to-date discoveries together with a detailed grounding in all major subject areas within biomedical sciences.
- The Royal Society of Biology has accredited Brunel's BSc Biomedical Sciences programmes, which assures employers that our graduates meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.
- During your first year, our flexible course structure allows you to switch courses if your interests change, and gives you the opportunity to specialise in an area of interest in later years.
- We will supply you with your own lab coat at the start of term, which has a specific design. You will also receive a one year subscription to the Royal Society of Biology.
- We have extensive state-of-the-art teaching and research laboratories.
- You will be taught by academics who are internationally renowned scientists in their fields of expertise and are involved in making major advances and breakthroughs in human diseases and syndromes, including: breast, prostate and skin cancer; leukaemia; progeria (premature ageing), tuberculosis; malaria; aspergillus infection; trinucleotide repeat diseases; aberrations caused by irradiation; and normal ageing. Our academics are also involved in the development of 21st century treatments for disease, such as: novel vaccines; stem cell, gene and antibody therapies; novel drug development; and artificial biomaterials.
- In your final year you will have the opportunity to contribute to our research programmes in cellular and biochemical pathways, the regulation of gene expression, DNA repair and immunological responses to microbial infection.
Brunel's Biomedical Sciences programme are accredited by the Royal Society of Biology.
Teaching and Assessment
The rapid change and development of knowledge in the biosciences necessitates a learning strategy that enables graduates to continue their self-education. We are therefore focusing on developing graduates who have a range of professional (including practical) and generic skills; who are capable of independent and life-long learning; who are able to apply their knowledge to unfamiliar problems and situations; who can critically analyse and interpret data and information; and who can communicate complex information with clarity.
We pursue excellence in both teaching and research, and believe that by linking the two we can provide the best education and experience for our students. Our degree programmes combine innovative and classical teaching methods with leading-edge research, and we recognise the value of practical experience in the learning process.
Biomedical sciences is a fast-moving field, and we ensure that text book information is supplemented with the latest scientific discoveries to give you a topical, up-to-date education.
As well as offering students some of the best teaching in our subject areas, we are committed to helping you progress confidently through the levels of your degree programme. Throughout your course, you will be supported by a personal tutor who will advise you on academic issues and provide pastoral care. In addition, you can approach subject lecturers, your project supervisor, and technical and administrative staff, who are all available to help. Should you decide to do a work placement, you will be allocated a tutor who will visit you at your place of work (unless you are abroad) and take a keen interest in your progress.
How will I be taught?
The course is taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars, and practical laboratory sessions.
Lectures – Most study blocks involve two hours of lectures per week. These give a broad overview of key concepts and ideas relating to your course and provide a framework for independent study.
Seminars – These examine lecture material in more detail, and are used to discuss issues arising from the study blocks. Typically, student involvement is greater than in lectures, and include formative activities that support learning.
Laboratory Work – Practical classes are an integral part of the course, and are included in most first and second year study blocks. They give you 'hands-on' technical experience, but equally important is the analysis, interpretation and reporting of the results you obtain. In the first year, competencies in basic laboratory skills are developed in the 'Practical Skills for Biomedical Sciences' study block.
One-to-one – You will have one-to-one supervision during your final year project, and at all levels you will have a personal tutor who is available to discuss personal and academic issues.
Your learning is assessed in specific assessment blocks, where you will be required to integrate information obtained from various sources, demonstrate critical and analytical thinking, application of knowledge, independent and reflective learning. These include coursework throughout the year and formal written examinations at the end of each year that test knowledge, understanding and problem solving in the main subject areas in biomedical sciences.
You must pass Level 1 in order to progress to the next level, but the grades do not contribute to your final degree classification. Level 2 grades contribute one third and Level 3 grades contribute two thirds to the overall degree award.
A biomedical science degree ensures you are readily employable on a wide variety of graduate-entry career paths. Many of our graduates find fulfilling work in clinical genetics laboratories, forensics laboratories, university, government or charity-funded research laboratories, clinical trials, and the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. A number of our graduates also go on to obtain higher degrees by research or by studying for further qualifications such as medicine, dentistry, ophthalmology or teaching.
We give all our students the opportunity to develop the skills and competencies needed for employment through a unique, credit-rated study/assessment block at Level 2, which is delivered in partnership with employers and the Professional Development Centre.
The Careers and Professional Skills Study and Assessment Blocks incorporate a wide variation of activities:
- Training and assessment centres where you can engage in networking; psychometric and aptitude testing; interview skills; role play interviews; teamwork exercises and producing a CV and covering letter.
- A Careers Day includes talks from a variety of external speakers who have taken different career paths after studying Biomedical Sciences. You are given the opportunity to meet and receive advice from these speakers to assist you with your own career plans.
- Participation in workshops to obtain library/data base research skills to assist you with writing scientific literature reviews.
- Laboratory sessions to allow you to develop your practical skills and to enable you to work efficiently and effectively.
For the duration of your course, you will regularly have the opportunity to practice:
- collecting, collating, interpreting and presenting numerical and literary data
- laboratory skills
- research skills
- oral presentation skills
- information technology skills
- report writing
- self-management and personal organisation
- the ability to work effectively both independently and as a member of a team
- time management
At Levels 1 and 2, the Board of Examiners award our best students with certificates to acknowledge their exceptional skills. This includes the award for Most Employability Skills at Level 2. At Level 3 the best students are also awarded prizes at the graduation ceremony. These awards provide students with an extra opportunity to compete when seeking employment.
In recent years, graduates have found employment with a wide range of companies, in both the public and private sectors. Some examples include:
- Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
- Home Office Forensic Science Service
- Laboratory of the Government Chemist
- Hospitals and NHS Research Centres
- Celltech Ltd
- Shell Ltd
- National Institute for Medical Research
- Unilever Research Ltd
- Bass Breweries
- Chester Beatty Research Institute
- Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology
- Parexel International.
Over 40% of our graduates go on to obtain higher degrees by research (taught MSc courses, MPhil and PhD) or by study for further qualifications such as medicine, dentistry, ophthalmology or teaching.
For those wishing to pursue a career as an NHS medical laboratory scientific officer, please note that this course is not IBMS accredited.
Your employability will be increased by undertaking a one-year work placement at a company or institution. These placements are a great opportunity for you to gain valuable experience in the work place.
Students enjoy applying their knowledge to real life situations and this experience leads to an increase in student confidence, which is directly reflected in their grade profile. Analysing the grade profiles of work placement students has shown a marked increase in their final year performance. Surveys have also clearly shown that placements provide students with a competitive advantage when seeking employment. In addition a work placement is quite frequently the first contact with a potential future employer.
Students at Level 1 and 2 are given the chance to meet and network with Level 3 students who have returned from their placement, to appreciate their experiences and the advantages.
Placement opportunities include:
- pharmaceutical research (eg Astra Zeneca, GlaxoSmithKline)
- basic research at various institutions (cancer research, infectious diseases, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and many others)
- hospital pathology laboratory diagnosis
- data management – clinical trials data analysis and interpretation.
The positive impact of a sandwich placement on graduate employment outcomes across Brunel is considerable. Those who have done placements are also much more likely to be in employment for which their degree was a formal requirement or where they believe their degree gave them a competitive advantage in recruitment.
Outcomes for placement leavers from Brunel's Biomedical Sciences courses included:
- 100.0% progressed into employment or further study
- 80.0% were engaged in a graduate-level activity (employment or further study)
- 66.6% of employed graduates were working in the top three categories of graduate employment
- The average starting salary was £20,200.
At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.
» More about Employability
Fees for 2016/17 entry
£9,000 full-time; £1,000 placement year
See our fees and funding page for full details of scholarships available to Brunel applicants
Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.
Entry Criteria 2016/17
- GCE A-level BBB, including B in Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Applied Science or Physics.
- BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma DDD in Applied Science.
- BTEC Level 3 Diploma DD in a related subject with an A-level at grade B in Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry or Physics.
- BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma D in a related subject with A-levels grade BB including Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry or Physics.
- International Baccalaureate Diploma 30 points, including 5 in Higher Level Biology, Chemistry or Physics.
GCSE Mathematics grade C and GCSE English grade C are also required.
- Access to Higher Education Diploma Complete and pass Access to Science course with 45 credits at Level 3 with Merit or above in all units. All Biology and Chemistry units must be Distinctions at level 3.
Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants as well as our full GCSE requirements and accepted equivalencies in place of GCSEs.
Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.
International and EU Entry Requirements
If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions
This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.
English Language Requirements
- IELTS: 6 (min 5.5 in all areas)
- Pearson: 51 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT: 60% (min 55% in all areas)
Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.
However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.
Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.
Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a number of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.