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Biomedical Sciences with Preliminary Year (BSc)

Entry year


The Cardiff Biomedical Science BSc is a research-led degree, exploring the biological science that underpins all of medicine and medical research.

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Course overview

Our Biomedical Sciences degree with Preliminary Year is a four-year course. The Preliminary Year covers key topics in Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics and leads to a BSc in any of the subjects offered by the School of Biosciences. The preliminary year is designed for students who don’t have a sufficient background in science, and it will provide you with the knowledge and understanding needed to thrive in the year one curriculum and beyond.

Biomedical science is the science that underpins medicine and medical research. Our Biomedical Sciences degree gives you the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects including human physiology; human anatomy; disease processes and their treatment; biochemistry; genetics and microbiology. 

The curriculum is informed by the extensive range of biomedical research undertaken within the School of Biosciences and at the University Hospital of Wales, enabling you to receive training in contemporary topics such as cancer biology, stem cells, tissue engineering, gene therapy and neurodegenerative diseases.

This programme offers a high degree of flexibility, offering you the freedom to shape your academic experience. Your degree title remains flexible up until your final year, allowing you to either continue with BSc Biomedical Sciences or switch to another of our bioscience courses. You can also choose to graduate with a more specialist degree title, including BSc Biomedical Sciences (Anatomy) and BSc Biomedical Sciences (Physiology). 

Your final degree title will depend on module selection, and your Personal Tutor will guide you through the options available to you. You may also have the option of switching to our four-year MBiomed integrated master's degree, which forms an excellent basis for a future career in scientific research.

Our Biomedical Sciences degree offers strong training for research scientists. Our graduates have gone on to a range of exciting and fulfilling careers in both scientific and non-scientific related fields, including scientific publishing, medical research, healthcare, toxicology, pathological science, journalism, medicine, teaching and veterinary science. Many also choose to further their studies by pursuing a master’s degree or PhD.

Distinctive features

Our Biomedical Sciences degree is closely linked to the research interests of our staff, allowing you to experience the excitement of learning in an active research environment. We attract substantial external research funding and this will enable you to make use of the latest equipment, techniques and facilities in your project work. The School is home to the Welsh Centre for Anatomical Education as well as leading the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute and Medicines Discovery Institute, allowing access to a wide range of exciting training opportunities. 

The specialist Anatomy modules studied on the BSc Biomedical Sciences (Anatomy) course involve human dissection under the direction of skilled experts within the Welsh Centre for Anatomical Education. We are the only university in Wales, and one of the few universities in the UK, to combine cutting-edge digital methods with traditional human dissection. 

You may also be interested in the following courses: 

  • BSc Biochemistry with Preliminary Year 

  • BSc Neuroscience with Preliminary Year 

  • BSc Biological Sciences with Preliminary Year (including option for Genetics)

UCAS codeB900
Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has approx 415 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives approx 2500 applications.

Our Biomedical Sciences course gives you the flexibility to move and change as you progress through your studies, so you can follow your interests and discover your industry as you discover your passions.

Entry requirements

AAB - ABB. If you are studying a science A level, a pass in the practical element (where applicable) will be required. Please note, General Studies will not be accepted. 

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

DDD in RQF/ QCF Extended Diploma.

IB Diploma with an overall score of 34-32 OR IB Diploma with 655 at Higher Level.

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Biosciences admissions criteria pages.

If you are an overseas applicant and your first language is not English, please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our accepted qualifications.

To include C/4 in Maths GCSE. 

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

Tuition feeDeposit
£9,000None

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Students from outside the EU (2019/20)

Tuition feeDeposit
£20,950None

Tuition fees for international students are fixed for the majority of three year undergraduate courses. This means the price you pay in year one will be the same in years two and three. Some courses are exempt, including four and five year programmes and Medical and Dental courses. Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Additional costs

Our field courses which take place abroad will incur an additional cost – primarily to cover student travel and accommodation. We strive to keep these to a minimum, for example we maintain our own Field Station and staff in Borneo, whose costs are not recovered from charges to students. We also offer some excellent Wales-based field courses which do not incur additional costs.

No additional charges are made for other aspects of tuition, although some services (such as student printing on demand) may incur a charge.

Course specific equipment

No specific equipment is required. The University will provide IT facilities (in a communal space), laboratories equipped with specialist equipment, and all specialist software required for the course.

Students are advised to have a personal laptop computer or equivalent.

Accommodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

This BSc course is full-time over four academic years (five including the Professional Training Year option), with 120 credits attained in each year. It begins with the Preliminary Year which covers key topics in Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics, and will underpin future studies.

Year one is made up of six 20-credit modules, with three 40-credit modules taught in year two. In the final year, the research project carries 30 credits and is accompanied by three 30-credit modules.

Year one modules involve lectures and supporting tutorials providing background theoretical knowledge as well as practical classes. All of our degree schemes share a common year one, which covers all aspects of the biosciences and has the big advantage of giving you flexibility of degree choice. Classes provide students with IT skills for biologists along with an understanding of statistical analysis of data, and coursework is used to develop written and oral communication skills.

In year two, we offer modules across a wide range of subjects. There is one required module in ‘Concepts of Disease’, but beyond this you have an almost free choice (subject to some constraints due to timetabling and numbers) to tailor the course to suit your interests. In all cases, extensive laboratory practicals help to develop practical skills and the ability to critically evaluate experimental data. Set assignments and reading are used to promote self-directed learning and the analysis of primary research literature.

The final year requires much more independent study, and all students must produce a substantial research-based (laboratory, literature, pedagogic or scientific engagement) report. Again we strive to offer as wide a choice as possible to allow you to tailor the degree to your study goals.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

Preliminary year

Our Preliminary Year forms the first year of a four-year degree programme leading to a BSc in any of the subjects offered by the School of Biosciences. The purpose of the Preliminary Year is to provide students who don’t have a background in science with the basis of scientific knowledge that will enable them to thrive in the year one curriculum and beyond. It is aimed at AS/A-level students who have good grades but in subjects not suitable for entry into year one, overseas students who do not hold science qualifications equivalent to the UK ‘A’ level, and mature students re-entering the education system.  This course is not available for students who have taken appropriate AS/A-levels but not achieved the grades required for first year entry.

The Preliminary Year covers key topics in Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics with 20 credits of optional modules that may be taken from other Schools, the Centre for Professional Education and/or the School of Modern Languages.

Preliminary Year modules involve lectures and supporting tutorials providing backgraound theoretical knowledge, as well as practical classes.  The course will also provide students with basic IT skills and an understanding of statistical analysis of data.  Coursework is used to develop writing and oral communication skills.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Medical Imaging and the Human BodyCE396810 credits
Diseases and Disorders of the BrainCE519410 credits

Year one

The first year is a common year, covering all aspects of the biosciences. This reflects the increasingly multi-disciplinary nature of bioscience research and has the added advantage of offering you flexibility of degree choice.

The modern, modular syllabus is delivered through lectures, tutorials, presentations, and practical classes carried out in spacious, well-equipped laboratories. It provides a firm foundation in all the biological disciplines, including biological chemistry, cell biology, microbiology, genetics, evolution, anatomy and physiology, animal and plant biology, and ecology, as well as focusing on developing practical and academic scientific skills. Modules may begin by overlapping with A-level studies, but will soon progress to greater depth and scope.

 

Module titleModule codeCredits
Skills for ScienceBI100120 credits
Structure and Function of Living OrganismsBI100220 credits
Organisms and EnvironmentBI100320 credits
The Dynamic CellBI100420 credits
Biological ChemistryBI101420 credits
Genetics and EvolutionBI105120 credits

Year two

The second year allows for more specialisation, and builds on the knowledge and practical skills gained in the first year. There will be a focus on data analysis and scientific communication, as well as advanced laboratory and field techniques. Understanding of experimental design, literature review, statistical analysis and critical analysis skills will act as a foundation for further study in year three.

Alongside a required module in ‘Concepts of Disease’, you will select two additional 40-credit modules from a choice of ten, leaving you free to pursue particular areas of interest. Available module topics include the brain and behaviour; stem cells; anatomy; developmental biology; neuroscience; and physiology.

Throughout the year you will continue to develop a broad but deepening knowledge of the biomedical sciences from which you can specialise further in the final year.

During year two, you can also opt to switch to the five-year course with a Professional Training Year, which is taken after the second year, subject to an appropriate training place being identified.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Animal Diversity and AdaptationBI213140 credits
Genetics and its ApplicationsBI213240 credits
Ecology and Conservation - Part ABI213330 credits
Ecology and Conservation - Part BBI213410 credits
Cell BiologyBI223140 credits
BiochemistryBI223240 credits
Developmental and Stem Cell BiologyBI223340 credits
Molecular Biology of the GeneBI223440 credits
PhysiologyBI233140 credits
Concepts of DiseaseBI233240 credits
Practical AnatomyBI233340 credits
Brain and BehaviourBI243140 credits
Fundamental NeuroscienceBI243240 credits

Year three

Our final year curriculum enables you to specialise in more detail within one of the major research themes of the School. This approach immerses you in the research culture of the biosciences by means of research-driven teaching and a final year project that allows you to investigate a topic in much greater depth.

Application of core knowledge to the solving of problems and critical evaluation of models, ideas and current debates is a primary focus of the third year. This stage of the course will involve an extensive degree of self-directed study in order to develop skills in independent work and lifelong learning, which will help to prepare you for the professional environment.

As well as a 30-credit research project, you will complete three 30-credit modules (including a compulsory module in ‘Contemporary Topics in Disease’). Modules cover a range of topics including cancer mechanisms, diagnostics and therapeutics; infection biology; and advanced musculoskeletal biology and tissue engineering.

At the start of the final year, you have the option of applying to transfer to the MBiomed course with integrated Master’s, depending on satisfactory academic progress and space availability.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

We provide a student-centred educational experience based on academic excellence and informed by world-leading research. We seek to support every learner in an inclusive learning culture.

Core knowledge and understanding is acquired via lectures, practical classes, research seminars, workshops and tutorials, whilst advanced knowledge and understanding is acquired through independent study, group work and project work.

You will be expected to undertake independent study, and increasing independence of learning is expected as the course progresses.

Selected elements of the course may be available through the medium of Welsh and you can also request a Welsh-speaking Personal Tutor for pastoral and academic support.

Students with disabilities will be fully supported in co-ordination with the University’s Disability and Dyslexia Support Service.

How will I be supported?

All of our academic staff are experienced researchers in their respective fields and are passionate about sharing their knowledge and expertise with students.

The primary interaction with academic staff will be during lectures, laboratory practical sessions, workshops or small-group teaching sessions (tutorials). You will also be allocated a Personal Tutor who will provide pastoral support and academic advice throughout the course.

Lecturing staff are contactable in association with teaching sessions or by email, and operate either an ‘open door’ policy for students who have specific queries about course material, or a system of booking meeting times. Each degree scheme also has a degree scheme co-ordinator who can advise on academic issues and each year of study has a year co-ordinator who can advise on administrative issues related to the course of study. There is also a convenient Education Office with a friendly and experienced team who can answer most administrative queries.

Feedback

Feedback on your study, work, and progress will take many forms, from formal written comments on your submitted work to more informal conversations and advice during classes and practicals. Throughout the course, we will provide detailed feedback on all assessed coursework. This is normally provided through a dedicated online system, which enables you to conveniently access your feedback via a computer or tablet device. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your academic and personal development progress with your Personal Tutor, and to discuss examination essay papers in order to improve your performance. During practical work and the research project, you will receive regular feedback from the supervising academic.

How will I be assessed?

Module in the preliminary, first and second years are normally assessed through a combination of coursework and examinations. Coursework assessments may take the form of written practical reports, structured reports, class tests, structured answer tests, group work, poster and oral presentations and computing/statistical problem-solving exercises.  Assessments may be summative and count towards the final module mark, or formative, helping you to learn and practice key skills and knowledge through feedback.  End of module exams comprise a machine-marked structured answer section (assessing breadth of knowledge) and a written answer section (assessing depth of knowledge in specific topics).   

In the final year, taught modules are assessed by examination and extended analytical coursework. Your final year research project is assessed by a supervisor’s evaluation and a written report.

What skills will I practise and develop?

Throughout the course, students will develop scientific competencies as well as key transferable skills that will be invaluable whatever your future career choice. These include:

  • independent learning and self-directed study;
  • collating, organising and analysing information to create logical and persuasive arguments;
  • analytical thinking and problem solving;
  • communicating complex ideas in a clear, effective way (using all media);
  • working effectively in a team and as an individual;
  • IT competency, including presentation, graphics and statistics packages;
  • performing and interpreting statistical analyses of data;
  • effective time management and organisational skills.

As a result of engaging fully with this course, you should be able to:

  • critically analyse, synthesise and summarise information from a variety of sources;
  • discuss the relationships between structure/formation and function/regulation of molecules, organelles, cells, tissues, organisms and populations;
  • effectively communicate scientific, and other, information to a variety of audiences, including the general public, using a range of formats and approaches;
  • discuss current issues of research, investigation and/or debate;
  • synthesise an argument or point of view, based on solid data and evidence;
  • determine the validity and rigour of statistical outcomes;
  • build on knowledge and understanding of the role and impact of intellectual property (IP) within a research environment;
  • work effectively within a group-based environment, both as a leader and a member of a team;
  • demonstrate the skills necessary for independent lifelong learning (for example working independently, time management, organisational, enterprise and knowledge transfer skills);
  • identify, and work towards, targets for personal, academic, professional and career development;
  • demonstrate leadership and planning skills for setting, and meeting, achievable goals within the workplace.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

Our Biomedical Sciences degree offers strong training for research scientists and a significant proportion of our graduates go on to study PhD or master’s degrees. Many others have successful careers in science-related fields such as medical and scientific research, biological industries, healthcare, toxicology, medical or scientific publishing, and pathological science, amongst many others.  

Our BSc Biomedical Sciences degree is also one of the recognised ‘feeder’ degrees for Cardiff University’s Graduate Entry to Medicine programme. 

Our graduates have many transferable skills that are also attractive to a wide range of employers in more general areas of industry, commerce, public service, administration and management. Furthermore, a degree in the Biomedical Sciences can act as a stepping stone to further training in professional areas including teaching, dentistry, nursing, veterinary science and accounting.  

In 2016/17, 93% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported that they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating.

Placements

This course does not include any formal work placements. However, we strongly encourage students to undertake informal work placements during the summer vacations in order to enhance employability.

Fieldwork

Field work is possible as part of some modules, and we run several specialised, project-based biological field courses in a variety of locations throughout the world. These courses include an independent research project, often involving the behaviour or ecology of animals.

Depending on module choices, availability and timetabling constraints, Biomedical students may have the option of taking one of our field courses.

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