4 July 2017
Studying a science course is exciting and hard work, with a lot of practical sessions that are really fun. Here's the lowdown on my Medical Science degree.
I’ve just finished my second year studying Medical Science. Especially in first year, there are a lot of practical sessions which are really fun, and you’re able to do lots of advanced practicals which make you feel like a real scientist!
However, there were a couple of things that I would’ve liked to know before I started the course, especially when it came to the practical sessions. Here are some Q&As that I think will be useful for you before you start the course.
A level 2 lab works with organisms which could pose a potential biological risk. Due to this risk, specialist clothing such as gloves, goggles, and lab coats are worn so not to cause potential harm or injury. Special biohazard containers are used for any biological samples used as well as correct containers for any contaminated sharps.
It is a protective barrier between your skin and clothes and to the samples being handled. Due to the level of the lab and if there are any experiments going on around you, you must be protected in case any thing is split of dropped onto your clothing.
In your first year, you get a three-hour session every fortnight. However, it will decrease in your second year. Depending on your course, you may have more practical sessions than others. Pharmaceutical Science has more laboratory sessions due to the majority of modules in second year being chemistry- or drug-based. As Medical Science becomes more theory-based in the second year, there will be fewer lab sessions taking place; however if the module is practical, there is more sessions. There are more practical sessions in first year, as everyone must know certain tissues and organs in detail and practical sessions help with that.
Every module applies to the course even though it may not look like it. Medical Science deals a lot with experiments and the wider community and therefore everyone must know certain topics which allow you to be the best kind of medical scientist. The course is not just biology based, and each student must be able to apply a lot of different topics to the course to progress as a student as well as a graduate.
You don’t have to be Einstein to study this course, however you must have a passion for biology and also a relatively sound knowledge of the subject. If your biology or chemistry knowledge isn’t the best but you still want to study this course, there is a foundation option, which allows you to learn to relevant topics to succeed in the course and to increase your confidence when you start the course!
There is always work to do and books to read to help you in the course. There isn’t a massive workload, however you must be prepared to put the hours in and to study hard to achieve the best possible grades.
There are lots of resources to help you progress in your course. There are a lot of books you can access in the library as well as help from your lecturers and tutors in case you get stuck. There is the SuperLab to complete practicals as well as the physiology lab which is used for the Applied Nutritional Science students.
The three courses are linked quite closely and they all need to have a general understanding of the anatomy to understand how everything works when they relate it to each of the course. In the first year there are a lot of shared modules with a couple modules being specific to each course. As the years progress, the modules become more specific to each course and there aren’t as many shared modules.
There isn’t much to do or read to prepare for the course. I would suggest getting a couple of the books on the reading list from the John Smith's book shop on campus. Apart from that, just make sure you’ve got lots of paper and pens – and try and make some friends so you know a few people when you start!