Biomedical Science BSc (Hons)

If you enjoy human biology and understanding how the body works in both healthy and disease conditions, Biomedical Science is an excellent degree choice for you.

There is an emphasis for our students to demonstrate competency in laboratory techniques and apply their knowledge to real life situations.

Key to this approach is our use of frequent and applied supported learning opportunities to develop theoretical, analytical and practical skills.

UCAS course code
York St John University
Course fees
2018 - 2019: Home & EU students: £9,250 per annum, International (non EU) students: £14,000 per annum
3 years full-time | Part-time options available on request
Start date
September 2018
Accredited by
Institute of Biomedical Science
Health Sciences

Course overview

Our Biomedical Science programme at York St John University allows you to study the causes of human diseases and discover the effects of these diseases at the molecular, cellular and tissue level. You will study human biology in both normal and disease states, then investigate the processes involved in diagnosis and treatment of human diseases.

Studying Biomedical Science here gives you an excellent experience of learning 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 can take advantage of our purpose built laboratories that have been completed in 2015 and will host practical classes for 15-20 students. The laboratories have been furnished with contemporary and high specification laboratory equipment for you to use throughout your studies. In addition to regular practical classes, you will be supported by open learning opportunities to perfect your academic skills and laboratory techniques. We will provide a supportive and structured environment in which you will develop the independent study skills required for lifelong learning.

Our programme is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS), the professional body for Biomedical Scientists. Following successful completion of your IBMS Portfolio of Competence, you may register as a Biomedical Scientist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You will have a broad-based scientific education coupled with relevant and current technical laboratory skills. In addition, you will develop 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


Heads of University Centres of Biomedical Science
Heads of University Business
 IBMS logo for web


Course structure


You will study a range of scientific core subjects including Biology, Physiology and Biochemistry to enable you to understand the biological and chemical processes that sustain life. You will then progress to explore the biology of disease through consideration of a range of human disorders, disease processes and associated investigation.

Throughout the programme you will develop Biomedical Science specific knowledge in the areas of Cellular Pathology, Clinical Biochemistry, Clinical Immunology, Haematology and Medical Microbiology.

Level 1

  • Professional Skills for Biomedical Sciences (Semester 1 and 2) - 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 (Semester 1 and 2) - 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 (Semester 1) - 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 (Semester 1) - 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 (Semester 2) - 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 (Semester 2) - 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 (Semester 1 and 2) - 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 (Semester 1 and 2) - 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 (Semester 1) - 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 (Semester 1) - 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 (Semester 2) - 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 (Semester 2) - 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) (Semester 1 and 2) - 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 (20 credits) (Semester 1) - 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 (20 credits) (Semester 1) - 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 (20 credits) (Semester 2) - 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 (20 credits) (Semester 2) - 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)

Programme specification

Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.

Learning support

York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of learning support services to assist students throughout their studies.

Teaching & Assessment

The Biomedical Science programme contains modules which build in complexity as you progresses through the programme. 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 on a spiral curriculum, where 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. 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 two hour 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. These sessions are called Supported Open Learning Sessions and you can use these 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 half of each semester in the laboratories, alongside the taught modules, completing the experiments for your Research Project in your chosen area. You will then write up your 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 Information Learning Services website 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.


All of the academic staff who deliver the Biomedical Science programme have a teaching qualification. The academic team are also 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 technician is also an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and is a trained Biological Safety Officer.

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 placements for our students. We have secured year-long placements in the NHS for 2016/17 and 2017/18 in the local hospital. Students can complete the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) portfolio during this year and following successful validation of the portfolio can register as a Biomedical Scientist following Graduation from our IBMS accredited programme. More information on the IBMS portfolio can be found on the IBMS website.

If you would prefer to work in an industry environment, we are exploring opportunities with the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) and other local companies to secure year-long and also shorter placements (six to eight weeks) between Years Two and Three of the programme. 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 Three 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 so that in each year of study only half of the modules contain a formal exam 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. Again, your assessments will build in complexity and the proportion of marks they carry 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 looked carefully at spreading your assessment load 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.

Calculate your tariff points.


Personal statement

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 will depend on whether you're a UK & EU student or an international (non-EU) student. Tuition fees are charged for each year of your course.

Find out more about funding for Foundation Year and/or Placement Year by visiting the Funding Advice pages of our website.

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

Tuition fees

UK & EU 2016 / 17

The York St John University tuition fee for the 2018 entry to Foundation Degree, BA and BSc, PGCE Primary and Secondary and UG Health Programme degrees is £9,250 per year for UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Fees & Funding

Overseas 2016 / 17

The York St John University tuition fee for the 2018 entry to BSc Biomedical Science is £14,000 per year for international students.

International Fees & Funding

Additional costs and financial support

Course-related costs

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

Accommodation and living costs

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

Study abroad

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

Financial help and support

Help and advice on funding your studies at York St John is available through our Money Advice service.


This short course of 3 days offered in the summer aims to give prospective students a “flavour” of what it’s like to work in biomedical science. The COMPACT scheme draws upon a range of scientific principles (e.g. experimentation, data analysis & presentation) and general transferrable skills to give students an insight into the process of scientific investigation. The student will gain an appreciation of what happens in a biomedical laboratory and how important this work is to humankind.

The aims of the scheme are to:

  • provide an overview of some biological principles in biomedical science
  • study these biological principles through experimentation
  • enable students to develop transferrable skills

Upon successful completion of the course and the tasks associated with it, students will be able to:

  1. comprehend and articulate basic biomedical science principles
  2. apply these scientific principles to experimental laboratory-based techniques
  3. collect and analyse data from laboratory experimentation
  4. use appropriate presentation skills to communicate results in the context of biomedical science.

If you have applied to York St John and would like to take part in the COMPACT scheme, then please contact the Subject Director (Sue Jones) for further information.

Short Work Experience / Placement Opportunity

If you have applied to York St John and would like to spend more time with us, in addition to an Applicant Visit Day, we can facilitate a short placement visit with us (1 or 2 days). These short placements will be with the subject technician so that you can see what work is carried out to support the laboratory classes. You could also participate in practical classes with current students if they are running during your visit. Please contact the Subject Director (Sue Jones) for further information.

International students

We welcome international students from all over the world at York St John University and have a vibrant international community. You can find out more on our International Pages about how you can study with us and what it’s like to live and learn in York, one of the UK’s most historic cities.

Unistats data for this course

Ask a question

Do you have a question about this course? Fill out our form to send a question to our Admissions team. Alternatively, you can call us on 01904 876922.