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Undergraduate course

Applied Biosciences (Cancer Biology) BSc (Hons)

Do you have a natural curiosity? Investigate molecular mechanisms and disease stratification of cancer.

Student examining a test sample in a petri dish

This degree builds on your knowledge of human biology. You'll specialise in the metabolic and cellular changes associated with cancer at a molecular level. Investigate the mechanisms of intra and intercellular signalling. Explore tumour formation and disease progression and analyse contemporary treatment strategies.

York campus

  • UCAS Code – 7Y69
  • Duration – 3 years full-time | 6 years part-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 in Biology

    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

The York St John Experience

Course overview

If you want specialist knowledge in cancer pathology, this is the degree for you. You will investigate the progression of cancer, building on your in-depth knowledge of human biology and immunology. In your second and third year, you will specialise your studies. You will focus on the metabolic and cellular changes associated with cancer development and progression. We want you to understand cancer at a molecular level and use this knowledge to explore contemporary treatment options. If you are inquisitive and curious, you will thrive with us.

Our team of academic and technical staff will interact with you during and after your studies. They are passionate about helping you achieve your ambitions. While studying, you will develop your scientific knowledge and employability. Our focus on transferable and multidisciplinary skills give you a range of employment options when you graduate. 

We give you the opportunity to take your learning to the next level with placements. Gain hands-on experience both at the university and in local industrial laboratories. We will support you to organise short placements throughout your studies. Alternatively, you can choose to take part in a year-long external placement in industry. 

Our Applied Biosciences courses have distinct award titles but these titles represent a specialism, not a separate degree course. The Applied Biosciences suite will share all first year modules with the existing Biomedical Science degree and have the same entry criteria. You will be able to swap between courses at the end of your first year, but once you start your second year, you will need to remain on your chosen specialist route. Once you have studied all subjects in your first year, you can make an informed choice about which area you enjoy and would like to specialise in.

Have a look at the other specialisms available: 

Biomedical Science BSc (Hons)

Applied Biosciences (Medical Biochemistry) BSc (Hons)

Applied Biosciences (Bioinformatics) BSc (Hons)

Thinking about joining us through Clearing?

Join our award-winning Head of Biosciences Sue Jones to discover more about our Bioscience degrees.

This online event will take place at 2.00pm on Wednesday 12 August.

Register now

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 - You will study cellular and sub-cellular structures and their functions, plus the structure of intra and intercellular communication networks. This module also includes an 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.

Haematology, Immunology and Transfusion Science -This module analyses the constituents of blood in health and disease. You will study haemostasis, thrombosis and bleeding diseases, leading into blood transfusion/transplantation and the health and safety aspects of handling blood. Key causes and immunotherapies for 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.

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.

Cellular Signalling and Communication - This module covers the diverse mechanisms used by cells to communicate, including the major classes of signalling molecules and their receptors. You will explore the composition and classification of G-proteins, second messengers and protein phosphorylation (kinases and phosphatases) and their activation and modulation by toxins and disease.

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)

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.

Cancer Biology - This module considers the basis of carcinogenesis and the molecular, cellular and physiological hallmarks of cancer. You will investigate key oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes and their effects on cell signalling pathways, DNA repair, the cell cycle, apoptosis, senescence and metastasis.

Molecular Immunology - This module builds on your knowledge of the structural properties of immune receptors, antigen interactions and signal transduction. You will also explore the causes of reactive immunology, autoimmune diseases and allergies, plus treatment strategies .

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 and sepsis.

Pharmacology and Toxicology - This module considers the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic analysis of different types of drugs. You will also study pharmacogenomics and the new era of personalised medicine. Drugs treatments for a range of health disorders will be analysed, with emphasis on targeted therapies.

(all 20 credit modules except Research Project)

Teaching & Assessment

Modules build in complexity as you progress. In year one you'll consider the normal physiological state of the human body and how it responds to disease. Explore these disease states in more detail in year two and three.

Delivery and contact time

Each module runs on the same day each week throughout the semester. You'll study one subject each day. This mode of delivery is very popular in student feedback.

Depending on whether you have practical classes, your contact hours will vary week-to-week. Usually, each 20 credit module contains 10-15 workshops plus at least three practical classes. You can use the laboratories to enhance your practical skills in your own time. Academic and technical staff will supervise these sessions.

We expect you to undertake further reading outside of taught sessions. Completing coursework assessments is a further expectation. These may include:

- Laboratory reports

- Case studies

- Preparing posters or presentations

- Reading published journal articles.


We've designed the assessment strategy for this programme to allow you to show your skills and abilities. We use a wide variety of assessment types. We have a small number of examinations, and all modules have coursework assessments. We assess some modules by coursework only. We will always offer practice assessments before any formal assessments. Your assessments will build in complexity as you progress through the degree. This means you will have the subject knowledge and skills to tackle them. We also spread your assessments throughout the semester to avoid clustering of deadlines.

Entry requirements


UK Entry Requirements:

104 UCAS Tariff points

4 GCSEs at grade C or above (or equivalent) including English Language, Maths & double integrated Science

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

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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