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Undergraduate course

Biomedical Science (with placement) BSc (Hons)

Study human disease using laboratory skills in this fascinating degree, with placement opportunities for experience in industry.

student in biolab with sample

Biomedical Science is the study of human disease, looking at the causes of disease and the effect on the normal structure and functions of the human body. Biomedical scientists perform key roles in the NHS and private healthcare services, using scientific knowledge and laboratory skills to diagnose patients.

100% of Biomedical Science students were satisfied with their course. (National Student Survey 2020)

100% of Biomedical Science students felt that they were challenged to achieve their best work. (National Student Survey 2020)

York campus

  • UCAS Code – 7Y63
  • Duration – 4 years full-time
  • Start date – September 2021
  • School – School of Science, Technology and Health

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points to include a minimum of BCC at A2 with a grade B or above

    4 GCSEs Graded C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language, Maths and Double Integrated Science

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

Discover why York St John is The One

Course overview

All students who register for the 3 year Biomedical Science degree programme will have the opportunity to transfer to the award title of Biomedical Science (with placement) during Year 2 of study.

Both our 3 year and 4 year programmes are accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS), the professional body for Biomedical Scientists. If you transfer to the Biomedical Science (with placement) programme and undertake an NHS placement, you can train to become a Biomedical Scientist. Following successful completion of your IBMS portfolio during the NHS placement and completion of your degree, you will be issued with a Certificate of Competence and may register as a Biomedical Scientist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

During your studies, you will investigate the processes involved in healthy individuals, along with diagnosis and treatment of human diseases. You will have an excellent learning experience in a small cohort of students (below 50 per year), in a student-centred environment in the heart of the beautiful city of York. You will spend lots of time in our purpose built laboratories that host practical classes for 15-20 students. The laboratories contain contemporary and high specification laboratory equipment for you to use throughout your studies. In addition to regular practical classes, you will be supported by further opportunities to perfect your academic skills and laboratory techniques. We will help you to develop your discipline specific skills, research skills and personal transferable skills to prepare you for a range of careers after graduation.

We look forward to welcoming you to York St John University to begin your scientific career.

Dr Sue Jones - Subject Director, Biomedical Science

Course Structure

Level 1


  • Professional Skills for Biomedical Sciences - This module will develop your study skills, laboratory skills and professional skills to help you during your course and in future employment or studies. Topics include analysis of scientific data, report writing and some statistical analysis, plus how to undertake laboratory techniques safely and with precision.
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology - You will study the organisation of the nervous system and endocrine control of cell function, plus the structure and function of the cardiovascular, pulmonary, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal and the renal systems.
  • Biological Molecules and Reactions - You will analyse the major classes of biomolecules (nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids), their physical and chemical make-up and how these properties affect their biological functions.
  • Cellular Biology and Genetics - You will study cellular and sub-cellular structures and their functions, the structure of chromosomes and genes and their replication during cell division. This module also includes analysis of the genetic basis of some common human diseases.
  • Biochemistry and Metabolism - This module examines how and why energy is derived from biological molecules such as carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. Amino acid and protein metabolism and the regulation of biochemical reactions using enzymes are also studied.
  • Introductory Microbiology and Immunology - This module provides an introduction to microorganisms, their culture, structure and classification. Microbial interaction with humans leads into an introduction to immunology and our innate defences against infection.

(all 20 credit modules)

Level 2


  • Research Methods and Professional Practice - This module will further develop your laboratory skills, research skills and ability to work competently to improve your academic and professional skills, thus enhancing your ability to work autonomously and your employability.
  • Infection and Immunity - This module will examine host-pathogen interactions in relation to the immune response. The development of disease, diagnostic assays and immunotherapies for cancers, autoimmunity, immunodeficiency and allergy are also studied.
  • Clinical Biochemistry - This module explores the principles and application of methods used in clinical biochemistry for the diagnosis, evaluation and prognosis of diseases. Organ function tests, lipoproteins and cholesterol, diabetes, renal function and the biochemical effects of malignant disease are all considered.
  • Cell and Molecular Biology - This module examines the structure and function of bacterial and eukaryotic DNA in detail. The tools of molecular biology including gene cloning, restriction enzymes, PCR, DNA sequencing, constructing plasmids and selection of clones are also investigated.
  • Haematology and Transfusion Science - This module analyses the constituents of blood in health and disease. The discussion of haemostasis, thrombosis and bleeding diseases leads to a discussion of blood transfusion / transplantation and the health and safety aspects of handling blood.
  • Cellular Pathology - The effects of injury and disease on cells and tissues will be discussed in this module. Tissue preparations for histopathological examination, including histology, fixation and processing, staining methods and immunohistochemistry will be examined.

(all 20 credit modules)


All students who register for the 3 year Biomedical Science degree programme will have the opportunity to transfer to the award title of Biomedical Science (with placement) during Year 2 of study. You will be eligible to apply for year-long NHS or industry placements during Year 2 of the Biomedical Science programme.

There are a limited number of placements available in any year and places are not guaranteed, with the selection process taking place in Semester 1 of Year 2.

Applicants will be offered placements after detailed consideration of each individual application. This will include reviewing your academic performance in years 1 and 2.

The selection process by the Placement Tutor will involve practitioners. You will also be required to have an interview with your chosen placement provider.

If successful, you will then transfer to the Biomedical Science (with placement) degree programme at the end of Year 2. You will normally undertake your placement from September to September. There is no bursary available to support students during this year, but you can access your student loan during this year to cover commuting costs to the placement provider. Whilst undertaking your placement, you will be enrolled on a Placement module at York St John University, to allow you access to the library and Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) during this year.

Prior to placement the University will ensure that each student has an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS check) if required. You will also have started a programme of vaccination against hepatitis B. The University will meet the cost of the enhanced DBS check and the purchase of the IBMS portfolio for each student who is selected to go out on placement. The University will also facilitate the HepB vaccinations.

Level 3


  • Research Project (40 credits) - You will be assigned an approved project which offers the opportunity to undertake a substantial piece of laboratory research work. The module will develop communication and presentation skills, individual research skills and allow you to apply your knowledge to a particular research problem.
  • Medical Microbiology - This module will explore the isolation and identification of medically important bacteria and viruses and the epidemiology of infectious disease. Diagnostic techniques for gastro-intestinal disease, urinary tract pathogens, respiratory tract infections and sexually transmitted infections will be discussed.
  • Clinical Genetics - This module will explore the role of genetic variability in human diseases, plus gene expression, mRNA processing, translation and post-translation modification of proteins linked to disease. Gene therapy and novel treatments for genetic disease will also be discussed.
  • Biology of Disease - This module discovers the biological basis, clinical presentation and treatment of important non-infectious human diseases including cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, COPD, neurological disorders, cancer and other genetic diseases.
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology - Pharmacokinetic analysis of drugs, pharmacogenomics and the new era of personalised medicine will be discussed. Drugs used in the treatment of bacterial, viral and fungal infection are examined with cancer chemotherapeutics, with emphasis on targeted therapies.

(all 20 credit modules except Research Project)

Teaching & Assessment

The Biomedical Science programme contains modules which build in complexity as you progress. Modules studied in Year One consider the normal physiological state of the human body and how it responds to disease. These disease states are explored in more detail in Years Two and Three of the programme. Specific subject areas including physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, genetics and immunology are explored and the changes that happen at the organ level, cellular level and molecular level are all studied in detail.


The Biomedical Science programme is built so that themes are revisited and subject-specific knowledge is developed throughout the degree in increasing complexity and detail. Each year of the programme follows the same structure: two modules (20 credits each) run in Semester One, two modules (20 credits each) run in Semester Two and last two modules (20 credits each) run throughout the year (Years One and Two). In Year Three, the Research Project module (40 credits) runs throughout the whole year, alongside two modules in Semester One and two modules in Semester Two.

Each module runs on the same day each week throughout the semester, so that you study one subject on each day and this mode of delivery is very popular in student feedback.

Contact hours

Your contact hours may vary week-to-week depending on if you have practical classes that week or not. Typically, each 20 credit module contains 10-15 workshops covering the taught material plus at least three practical classes. In addition to the timetabled hours, you can use the laboratories to enhance your practical skills, supervised by academic staff, technical staff and mentored by students in the year above. You can use these sessions to earn open badges that you collect as part of your key skills modules. The badges are awarded when you are observed and deemed competent at a particular method. You can display these electronic badges in online portfolios and use them to enhance your employability as they show additional laboratory skills and engagement in addition to the taught modules you have completed.

In Year Three you will spend several weeks completing the experiments for your Research Project in your chosen area alongside the taught modules. You will then write up your project work as your Year Three dissertation.

Self-study time

Outside of taught sessions, you will be expected to undertake further reading around the subjects you are studying and complete coursework assessments that include laboratory reports, case studies, reading published journal articles, scientific writing and preparing posters or presentations for assessment.

We have extensive electronic textbooks as part of the reading lists for modules that you can access from the Library from anywhere, interactive databases which include animations, videos and quizzes to support the taught sessions and academic staff will also direct you to relevant sources to support your learning.


The academic staff who deliver the Biomedical Science programme have teaching qualifications and / or Fellows of the Higher Education Academy and the Subject Director is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. The team have research profiles and are actively engaged in both pedagogical research (learning and teaching-based) and scientific research. The subject technicians are Associate Fellows of the Higher Education Academy and trained Biological Safety Officer / phlebotomist.

We regularly have Biomedical Science practitioners from across Yorkshire delivering taught sessions and practical classes for students alongside the academic staff, plus visiting lecturers who are Biomedical Science graduates or research professors at other universities.


The programme team work closely with York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and local Industry laboratories to organise short placements for our students on the 3 year degree programme in the summer between Year 2 and 3.

The academic staff can also offer short laboratory based placements at the University after Year Two summer assessments, where students can undertake some novel research in our Biomedical Science laboratories.

These placement opportunities are in addition to the extensive practical classes, supported open learning laboratory sessions and the Year 3 laboratory-based Research Project.

Assessment methods

The assessment strategy for Biomedical Science has been carefully designed to allow you to demonstrate your skills and abilities using a wide variety of assessment types. We have limited the number of examinations and all modules contain additional coursework assessments and some modules are assessed by coursework only. You will have a formative (practice) assessment in advance of any summative assessment (the marks count towards the module mark) you undertake throughout the degree. Your assessments will build in complexity as you progress through the degree, so you will have built your subject knowledge and skills to enable you to tackle them successfully. We have also spread your assessments throughout semester in all years of study, to avoid clustering of deadlines.

In Year One you will be examined, primarily, on your breadth of knowledge via multiple choice and short answer examinations. Coursework assignments will include: laboratory report writing, data handling and interpretation, case studies and laboratory competency. As you progress through Years Two and Three, you will have the opportunity to demonstrate increasing skills of analysis, synthesis and criticism through a wide variety of assessment types, including written and oral assessments, case studies, posters, scientific writing, oral presentations, laboratory competency and the research project dissertation. This dissertation is your opportunity to demonstrate your autonomy in data handling and critical interpretation skills that you have developed throughout the degree in a research context.

Entry Requirements


The minimum entry requirements for this course:

  • 104 UCAS Tariff points to include a minimum of BCC at A2 with a grade B or above in Biology, or a minimum of DMM from a science based BTEC Extended Diploma. This must include a minimum of three Biology specific modules and where this is not evidenced an additional A2/AS in Biology may be required.
  • In addition, we normally expect you to have achieved A2 or AS Chemistry and other sciences. For applicants who have already achieved their A2s we would consider CCC if all subjects are sciences.
  • 4 GCSEs at grade C or above (or equivalent) including English Language, Maths and Double Integrated Science (or equivalent)
  • Please note, we do not accept Adult Numeracy or Key Skills in lieu of GCSE Maths
  • A minimum of 30 points from the International Baccalaureate to include Higher Level Biology at a grade 5
  • Access Diplomas to include 45 credits at Level 3 meeting or exceeding 104 UCAS Tariff points, and must be completed in no more than two years. Preference will be given to applicants who have a named Access to Science/Medicine/Health Diploma. Applicants on broader Access Diplomas must have a minimum of three modules at Level 3 in Biology.
  • Mature students without standard academic qualifications must be able to demonstrate an equivalent level of knowledge. This may be evidenced through CPD documentation/certificates or work based portfolios. An associated interview will be mandatory.

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements. Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our international pages.

If your first language is not English you must show evidence of English language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Personal statements

Essential criteria

As well as a strong standard of written English, we also look for the ability to demonstrate knowledge in the subject. This can be done in a variety of ways, for example, through previous study, reading relevant textbooks and/or completing lab-based work experience that involves science skills e.g. lab assistant. Please note, you need to demonstrate more than personal experiences.

Valued criteria

Candidates can demonstrate a real enthusiasm for the subject that goes beyond achieving good grades in exams. Examples of this include:

  • Doing further relevant study
  • Discussion of future career plans
  • Evidencing transferrable skills e.g. team work, independence, initiative
  • Showing an awareness that postgraduate study may be necessary to specialise in a specific area in future
  • Engaging in activities which involve elements of scientific engagement
  • Completing volunteer work e.g. through Duke of Edinburgh Awards
  • Attending relevant conferences
  • Subscribing/reading relevant journals/magazines

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

Fees and funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK or EU, or internationally (outside the UK/EU). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK and EU 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 202 entry onto this course is

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time.

These prices apply to all UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page.

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

International 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 entry to this course is £12,750 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK/EU.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a student visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree.

International Fees and Funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

All undergraduates receive financial support through the York St John Aspire card. Find out more about the Aspire scheme and how it can be used to help you purchase equipment you need for your course. 

Aspire Card

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