From cancer-screening to blood transfusions, from infections to genetic diseases, biomedical scientists research 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 advances in medical research.
At Essex, our research focuses on genetic diseases, infection and immunity, and age-associated conditions such as cancer.
On our BSc Biomedical Science, you study areas including:
The human immune system
Pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria
Haematology and blood transfusion
Mechanisms of neurological diseases
You discover the molecular basis of cellular dysfunctions, and describe modern strategies to diagnose and treat them.
As you may be aware, the UK Government has revoked legislation that requires all health and social care staff working in sites regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Whilst vaccination is not essential, we encourage our applicants and students to be fully vaccinated. Find out more about what this means for applicants to this course.
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.
We are the top university in the country for providing NHS placements as part of our applied biomedical science course.
We provide great support for our students through our collaboration with many hospitals such as Addenbrookes, Bedford, Broomfield, Ipswich, as well as Public Health England, Norwich, Kent and many others. A hospital placement gives you the opportunity to spend a year working in an NHS lab.
Take advantage of our ultramodern biomedical science facilities in our STEM Centre on campus.
You could spend your third year on a placement year with the NHS in an IBMS-approved lab. You complete a portfolio of assessed work, which results in HCPC registration after completion of the course. This provides you with hands-on experience using specialised equipment and techniques which are in demand from employers, and is a great route into work in an NHS hospital.
If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.
All BSc Biomedical Science students have the opportunity to learn about clinical biochemistry, cellular pathology, medical microbiology, and haematology and transfusion science. This time spent with NHS professionals improves your laboratory skills and helps you to develop an understanding of career paths in this sector. You will have the opportunity to do your final-year project while on placement supervised by highly experienced NHS professionals.
Many students choose to study biomedical science because they want to work in a biomedical sciences lab. Although there are plenty of private labs who can hire graduates, the NHS is by far the largest employer of biomedical scientists in the UK. To work full-time in an NHS lab, you will require both accreditation from the IBMS and NHS lab experience.
Our biomedical sciences courses are accredited, and we will provide you with a huge range of placement options (at around 40 different partner labs).
If you graduate without the addition of the placement year that we offer, you will need to make up that experience before you can work as a fully qualified biomedical scientist in the NHS. It is therefore a really important component and internationally recognised.
There are 44 universities in the UK that offer work-based placements, including the University of Essex. Between 2020-2022, the number of students who went on placement from all of these universities was 181, 180 and 176 respectively. This means that Essex’s contribution was 18% (32/181) in 2020, 19% (34/180) in 2021 and 18% (31/176) in 2022 (IBMS 2023). As a result, we are the largest contributor of biomedical science students on placement in the country.
Our expert staff
As one of the largest departments at our University, we offer a lively, friendly and supportive environment with research-led study and high quality teaching. You will 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. Dr Alsam is also the course director for BSc Biomedical Science.
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.
Recent spending by our University has allowed for major refurbishment and expansion of our School of Life Sciences, 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 protein purification, to cell culture and imaging, to molecular modelling
Receive training in your first year on using the Oxford Nanopore MinION, a portable handheld device that can sequence genomes in real time
You graduate ready to move into a wide variety of industrial and public sector careers, from the NHS to pharmaceuticals, research, health and safety, 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 others still have chosen to enhance their career opportunities by studying for MSc or PhD degrees.
Our BSc Biomedical Science course also provides the ideal background for entry onto postgraduate medicine programmes. We have an established scheme for helping students prepare their applications and an excellent success rate with respect to students gaining places at medical schools throughout the country.
Other recent graduate destinations include:
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.
"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
UK entry requirements
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.
Plus Standard Level Mathematics, if not taken at Higher Level. We will accept grade 4 in either Standard Level Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches or Standard Level Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation.
Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. 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.
You must also have a satisfactory Standard Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check. This is organised by the University and will be carried out during the second year, once a placement has been secured. A satisfactory Overseas Criminal Record Check/Local Police Certificate is also required, in addition to a DBS Check, where you have lived outside of the UK in the last 5 years for 6 months or more.
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
International & EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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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 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.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The following modules are based on the current course structure and may change in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.
We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.
Components and modules explained
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.
What this means
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.
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.
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 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:
The department or school the module will be taught by.
In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.
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.
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.
Microbes are essential for life, and they connect the health of humans, other animals and ecosystems. They help us digest our food, provide us with vitamins and are contribute to our health and wellbeing. Marine microbes provide about one-third of the oxygen we breath. And, by cleaning up pollutants and synthesising valuable products such as antibiotics, microbes are essential for the delivery of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. On the other hand, some microbes cause devastating diseases. Despite major advances in treatment and prevention, incidences of infectious disease continue to rise. You will learn about the vast diversity and evolution of these mostly beneficial microbes and learn about the pathogenicity of the harmful ones. You will examine how different viruses and bacteria invade, interact and replicate within their hosts. A series of four practical sessions in our new teaching laboratory will give you hands-on experience of growing, observing, purifying, counting and even killing microbes. This will provide you with sought-after skills, such as aseptic technique, serial dilution and data analysis.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.
Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.
The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are 'L' and 'S' respectively.
You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.
If you are an undergraduate student residing in the UK who has received an offer to study with us in October 2023, you will receive an email invitation to book onto one of our Applicant Days. Our Colchester Campus Applicant Days run from February to May 2023 on various Wednesdays and Saturdays, and our Southend Campus Applicant Days run from March to June 2023 on various weekdays and Saturdays. Applicant Days provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. We appreciate that travelling to university events can be expensive. This is why we have increased our Applicant Day Travel Bursary cap, allowing you to claim up to £150 as reimbursement for travel expenses. For further information about Applicant Days, including Terms and Conditions and eligibility criteria for our Travel Bursary, please visit our Applicant Days webpage.
If you are an overseas offer-holder, you will be invited to attend one of our virtual events. However, you are more than welcome to join us at one of our in-person Applicant Days if you are able to, so if you’d like to book a place, please contact our Applicant Day Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Colchester Campus
Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.
At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
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. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and
Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.