Medical Science with Foundation Year BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (4 years)


September 2018


Open the door to a rewarding career. You'll focus on the science that underpins modern medicine. Understand how a healthy human body works, the effect of diseases and how normal function can be restored. Our extended course runs over four years, with the added benefit of a foundation year, giving you a solid scientific grounding to succeed on the BSc. This programme has been awarded interim accreditation by the Royal Society of Biology*.

Full description


The skills and understanding you'll require on this course will be well-regarded, not just in the healthcare sector but in many others. All employers value graduates who can analyse problems and find solutions.

After graduation you'll be in a strong position to pursue a career in the following areas, research scientist, lab technician, scientific writer, medical and healthcare regulations, patent law, clinical trials or medical sales.

We would recommend that you use your first degree to further your studies in a range of Masters of Science or choose a patient focussed discipline such as Physician Associate (two years Masters programme) or complete a PGCE and enter teaching.

As a life science degree, those with a 2:1 or above could apply for Graduate Entry Medicine programmes.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Biomedical Science Foundation
    A firm biological foundation is an essential requirement for studying a range of life science and health related courses. This module is designed to develop your life science scientific skills and in particular your biomedical science skills giving you an understanding of the key principles in biomedical science. The essential anatomical and physiological aspects of human biology will be covered and you will develop an understanding of the cellular and molecular process which underpins life sciences. Topics covered will included and introduction to prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, cell division embryonic development, metabolic pathways genetics, endocrinology and human physiology and nutrition. This module will be delivered using face to face learning and students will be expected to attend face to face sessions as well as participate in online study using our VLE, internet resources and online discussions as required The practical component of this module will ensure that you are familiar and competent with the principles of good laboratory practice and learn a range of fundamental life science laboratory techniques developing confidence in using equipment as well as collection, presentation and interpretation of data. Summative assessment for this module is by multiple choice question paper equivalent to 6,000 words.
  • Analytical Skills in Medical Science
    Mathematics and algebra are often daunting subjects for students but a good grasp of the fundamentals needed for analysis of biological, chemical and medical data is essential for you when studying a life science degree. This module is designed to provide you with the basic skills to handle and analyse scientific data. The fundamentals of algebra, geometry/trigonometry, probability theory and descriptive statistics will be simply explained in the context of real scientific data. You'll learn not only how to solve fundamental algebraic equations, express solutions to desired accuracy, and become familiar with classes of functions (exponential, logarithmic etc) but will be introduced to data presentation and descriptive statistics.
  • Practice and Professional Skills
    This module will help you develop a range of skills that will form a firm foundation for you to effectively build on during your degree. Professional skills such as self-motivation, goal setting and effective and timely delivery are essential to develop your full potential throughout your course and will be developed and reinforced during this module. During this module you'll develop the necessary skills for undergraduate study and build a foundation for academic and professional practice. An important part of our academic world is the effective use of technology and digital sources, not only ensuring that the resources you access are academically reliable but to be able to communicate science, both orally and in writing in a formal scientific style. During this module you'll develop confidence in rapidly acquiring and using scientific information and be able to understand, begin to analyse and present scientific findings. You'll be expected to attend face to face sessions as well as participate in on-line study using our VLE, internet resources and online discussions as required Assessment of this module will be by a presentation (small groups of students (max 4), lasting no more than 15 minutes, by video. Supported with production of a short written paper which demonstrates ability to use citation software.
  • Chemistry and Biochemistry for Medical Science
    This module provides a basic introduction to chemistry for life sciences. The study of materials and the undergoing chemical changes will be discussed and investigated using a variety of laboratory investigations, tutorials and lectures. These principles will then be developed further by exploring periodic table, concentrations and calculation of relative molecular mass, oxidation- reduction, chemical kinetics and thermochemistry. You will learn about quantitative chemical analysis such as spectrophotometry, chemical equilibria, pH, pKa, buffers; inorganic and organic chemistry. The final part of this module will be an introduction to the structure and function of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. The practical component of this course will allow you to gain practice in some basic laboratory techniques such as preparation of solutions and buffers, spectrophotometry and purification of an organic compound from a mixture etc. Assessment will be by a multiple choice paper equivalent to approximately 3000 words and a short laboratory report equivalent to 2000 words.
  • Biology of Disease
    One of the major goals of the life scientists is to develop an understanding of human disease, it’s prevention and treatment. This module will provide an introductory overview of globally important endogenous diseases (cancer, autoimmune etc.) and exogenous diseases (viruses, bacteria, protozoa and parasites) that affect us today. It will review both the basic biology of these major diseases and how we react to them in terms of pathology and immune responses. This module will also examine the methods we have developed, and are developing, to prevent and overcome human disease. Students will develop knowledge and understanding of the epidemiology of the global burden of disease and our current public health approaches to control them, including nutritional and environmental influence, antibiotics and vaccines. This module will be delivered using Face to face learning and you'll be expected to attend face to face sessions as well as participate in on-line study using our VLE, internet resources and on line discussions as required. Assessment will be by production of a 3,000 word equivalent essay which identifies and explores one globally important endogenous disease, i.e. Influenza, pandemics.
  • Applied Chemistry for Life Sciences
    This module examines the physical properties of atoms and the relationships formed in different phases of matter. An exploration is made into the influence that these atomic interactions have on the macromolecular properties observed. Bonding and Periodicity of the elements is discussed and the role of many common organic molecules, and their constituent elements are examined in detail with respect to their function in life processes. The theory of many techniques introduced in other foundation year modules (spectrophotometry, use of pH meters, titration). Summative assessment is through in class test with many formative assessment points along the way.

Year two, core modules

  • Cellular and Molecular Medicine
    This module provides a basis of cell biology and genetics enabling an understanding of life processes at the molecular level and the relationships between structure and function of biological molecules. It will be delivered using face to face learning and you will be expected to attend face to face sessions as well as participate in on-line study using our VLE, internet resources and online discussions as required. The practical component of this module will ensure that you are familiar and competent with the principles of good laboratory practice and learn a range of fundamental life science laboratory techniques developing confidence in using equipment as well as collection, presentation and interpretation of data. Regular formative tests will be delivered in class to enable you to monitor your progress. Summative assessment will be by 100% coursework activities made up of reports and in class computer exercises.
  • Anatomy and Physiology of the Human Body
    This module introduces the basics of human anatomy and physiology and provides an underpinning basis for other modules within the Medical Sciences courses. It’ll provide you with an insight into the main body systems and allow exploration of how these systems interact with each other and respond to internal and external stimuli leading to homeostasis being maintained. By providing you with this knowledge you’ll be better prepared when exploring aspects related pathophysiology in relation to disease. The module is taught using lectures and allows for discussions to take place allowing you to explore concepts related to the normal and abnormal functioning of the human body. Links with ill health, well-being and disruption to homeostatic mechanisms in relation to the physiological processes involved will be explored allowing you to place anatomy and physiology of the human body in context. The module is assessed using an essay which explores the role of homeostasis in health and illness.
  • Scientific Communication and Laboratory Skills
    This module will teach the preparation that’s required before carrying out laboratory work and conduct in the laboratory. It concerns the skills and training that’s required to operate common laboratory apparatus. Three questions must be answered, ‘why is the experiment being done?’ (the aim), ‘how is the experiment going to be carried out?’ (method), and ‘what happens after the experiment?’ How are the results going to be analysed and conclusions made? This module is delivered using face-to-face sessions as well as online study using our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), internet resources and online discussions as required. Regular formative tests are delivered in class to enable you to monitor your progress. Summative assessment will be by 100% coursework activities made up of reports and in class computer exercises.
  • Perspectives of Health and Illness
    This module introduces fundamental sociological and behavioural concepts and issues specific to health so that a wide range of factors contributing to and impacting on health can be considered. It provides the core knowledge and understanding to appreciate how and why patterns of health (and illness) vary across different communities. This module provides understanding of how modern society responds to illness and the role of medicine. It will be useful to help develop analytical thinking and reflection in a variety of contexts. An introduction to epidemiological approaches, health promotion and public health such as advocacy, empowerment and effective communication is included as a platform for later study. This module will to provide a broad appreciation of the complexity of values and principles that modern society places on health, wellbeing, illness and healthcare and approaches to health promotion Critical thinking skills, analytical skills and conceptual skills needed to link theory and health care practice will be a core aspect of this module. Case studies and discussion will be used to evaluate population health messages and to develop insight into contemporary and emerging debates about healthcare This module will be delivered using face to face learning and you will be expected to attend face to face sessions as well as participate in online study using our VLE, internet resources and online discussions as required. There will be opportunities to present develop presentation skills and to analyse epidemiological data. Assessment will be via a presentation on a public health issue with supporting references.
  • Biomedical Basics
    This module builds on Anatomy & Physiology delivered in semester 1. The content is multidisciplinary and introduces the biomedical disciplines that interact in the human body and form the basis of medical investigation and diagnostics. Initially the principle biomedical disciplines are defined (e.g. Genetics, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry Pathology, Cell biology pathophysiology, haematology) before focussing on the topics of haematology, microbiology and immunology to give an understanding of their relevance in causing and preventing disease and why they are importance subjects for diagnostic investigations and ultimately, treatment. The module focusses in three main biomedical disciplines - Haematology to provide background on the different elements that constitute blood and their functions. Microbiology to provide an understanding of bacteria, viruses and other important pathogens Immunology to provide a basic understanding of our human body defends against pathogens. A range of common dysfunctions will be used to translate how why disease occurs, the physiological consequences, investigations and diagnosis into reality. Furthermore, basic laboratory procedures relevant to the three areas, such as aseptic techniques, blood smears and gram stains, will put theory into practice and further improve understanding, lab skills and practical competence. You will be expected to attend face to face sessions as well as participate in on-line study using our VLE, internet resources. Summative assessment will be in two parts via extended practical report and examination.
  • Physiology and Metabolism
    This module provides an overview of the biological chemistry and the nutritional, physiological and biochemical processes in health. It will form a solid basis to enable appreciation of the major nutrient need and sources through the lifespan, how they are absorbed into our bodies and the metabolic reactions that occur to produce energy. As such, you will become aware of the major nutrient sources required for health through the lifespan, the physiological mechanisms of digestion and the major biochemical processes occurring in human cells including the major pathways of carbohydrate, amino acid, lipid metabolism. A broad understanding of the relationship between diet, energy production and health will from a basis to understand how factors influence metabolic balance and whole body homeostasis. Linkage to disease states also enable opportunities to appreciate, at a basic level, how select states (e.g. ageing, nutrient deficiencies, digestive pathologies, endocrine imbalance or genetic mutations) can disrupt normal metabolism and/or physiological function. A combination of lectures, practicals (including enzyme kinetics) and tutorials which will adopt a case-study approach will be utilised to facilitate the expansion of knowledge and understanding on the effect of altered states in health and in disease. Regular formative tests will be delivered in class to enable you to monitor your progress. Summative assessment will be by submission of 3 lab reports.

Year three, core modules

  • Applied Physiology
    This is a ‘systems–based’ module building upon the anatomy and physiology content from Year 1. Its aim is to provide a deeper understanding of central nervous system, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory and renal system physiology so as to enable an understanding of common pathologies. An overview of the causes, physiological changes and clinical diagnostic investigations of a range of common dysfunctions and diseases will add depth to understanding. Opportunities are also provided for students to acquire transferable, professional, and scientific skills through student-centred, problem based learning using medical case studies. This case study approach is used to promote transferable skills used in healthcare (e.g. team-working and delegation), to facilitate a deeper knowledge and understanding of specific aspects of human pathophysiology, and also to develop problem-solving, reasoning skills and independent research skills (transferable, professional, and scientific skills). The content of the module is delivered by a mixture of lectures and tutorials. Self-directed learning and problem-based learning are important aspects of the module and students will be expected to attend these scheduled problem-based learning classes and tutorials. Summative assessment by the submission of one practical report and one case study and a written exam on selected pathophysiological conditions.
  • Physiological Biochemistry
    Focussing on homeostatic regulation and communication, this module provides essential information to understand the different modes of cellular communication and the means by which responses are mediated to elicit a change in physiological response or function. The focus is firmly on the endocrine system and to introduce the important role and control of hormones so as to illustrate how a knowledge of physiological and cellular biochemistry has resulted in medical treatments for several common diseases due to hormone imbalance or inherited disorders. This module provides a firm platform for understanding of the impact of endocrinology in medicine and of the biochemical processes underlying normal and pathological endocrine physiology. This module will be delivered using face to face learning and you will be expected to attend face to face sessions as well as practical classes and participate in online study using our VLE and internet resources. Formative assessment will be via practical coursework (group exercises consisting of individual elements). Summative assessment will be by observed simulation clinical examination (OSCE) demonstrating achievement of all learning outcomes.
  • Principles of Pharmacology
    This module describes the principals involved in understanding how drugs produce their effects on the body by acting at specific targets (pharmacodynamics), and the disposition of drugs in body compartments with time (pharmacokinetics). Neurochemical transmission in the central and peripheral nervous systems is described. How the action of neurotransmitters was understood through the development of the concept of drug-receptor interactions is explained. The application of these concepts is illustrated by examples of the pharmacology of drugs used to treat cardiovascular and behavioural disorders. These ideas are underpinned by practical laboratory sessions illustrating these principles. This module is delivered using face-to-face sessions as well as participation in online study using our VLE, internet resources and online discussions as required. Regular formative laboratory tests are delivered in class to enable you to monitor your progress. Summative assessment is by a 6,000 word essay.
  • Social Sciences and Ethics in Medical Science
    This module explores relationships between personal judgment and professional ethical judgment in decision-making in healthcare to help develop an appreciation of the inter-related link between law, ethics, medical practice and research and the dilemmas that may be faced. It also helps development of analytical and reflective skills with the aim to understand the need for professional attitude in healthcare. Building on Year 1 studies, this module allows consideration of the impact of psychological, behavioural and social factors on health and health-related behaviour and also provides an awareness of the external factors influencing healthcare, policy and service provision in the UK. A range of issues related to health, illness and disability is explored to encourage an understanding of their implications for medical practice and professionalism in today’s healthcare service. The core module is the ethical basis of current healthcare practice and as such, principles of medical ethics are explored and clarified in terms of four basic principles. Debate and discussion of cases and situations in medical and healthcare practice content will help deepen an appreciation of the close relationships between personal judgment and professional ethical judgment in decision-making in medical care and also in medical research. Summative assessment is by a written case study.
  • Fundamentals of Epidemiology
    Fundamentals of Epidemiology introduces the basic concepts of epidemiology and biostatistics as applied to public health problems. Emphasis is placed on the principles and methods of epidemiologic investigation, appropriate summaries and displays of data, and the use of classical statistical approaches to describe the health of populations. Topics include the dynamic behaviour of disease; usage of rates, ratios and proportions; methods of direct and indirect adjustment, and clinical life table which measures and describes the extent of disease problems facing the world today. Various methods of epidemiologic study designs for investigating associations between risk factors and disease outcomes are also introduced. These data form the cornerstones of decision making at local and government level so time is spent to understand the evidence gathering process that accompanies this. Assessment is based around presentation and written tasks which will develop your ability to plan and rationalise actions using epidemiological data in the real world.

Year four, core modules

  • Research Methods
    You’re expected to complete a research project in your final year, and produce a research proposal. This module provides you with the necessary tools to undertake research using qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods of inquiry. This module will also serve to aid your critical analysis of the results of research articles read. It’ll build on those transferrable skills introduced from the beginning of the course, and will look at the development of a research project from conception to completion, concentrating on the forming and shaping of a study using a variety of approaches. This module will involve the development of an understanding of the use of statistics in research, and will introduce you to some of the statistical data analysis techniques used in medical and scientific literature. It’ll also create an appreciation for the rationale involved in making the correct choices when undertaking research, and evaluating the relative ‘strength’ of evidence-based practice in healthcare. Summative assessment is by production of a research proposal.
  • Clinical Pharmacology
    The therapeutic application of drugs for specific conditions is considered in this module. Attention is focussed on drugs acting on the central and peripheral nervous systems used to treat cardiovascular disease and behavioural conditions The basis of the incidence of undesirable side-effects brought about by combinations of drugs is explained. Finally, current progress in the tailoring of drugs to individual patients according to their genetic make-up is considered. Regular formative tests will be delivered in class to enable you to monitor your progress. Assessment will be by 100% coursework activities made up of reports and in class computer exercises.
  • Contemporary Issues in Medical Science
    The aim of this holistic module is to broaden understanding of the implications of contemporary medical research. Core to this module is an understanding of pathological processes and cancer, however, a range of selected topical medical issues demanding media attention (e.g. such as mental illness, obesity, communicable diseases e.g. Ebola and HIV) will also be included. Having a strong biomedical focus, the content will include causations, pathophysiology, medical signs and symptoms and investigation, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of illnesses/diseases. Subsequently, you will gain awareness of diverse issues such as why cells transform from benign to invasive, the prevalence, causes, morphological and molecular changes that characterise cancer cell phenotypes and treatment/prevention to the biological basis of MRSA or key emerging science, technologies and their applications will also be outlined such as the Human Genome Project or stem cell technology. Tutorial sessions will be in the format of a journal club with students presenting and critically evaluating relevant primary research papers and reinforcing the purpose and need for evidence based medicine. The content will be assessed by presentation of a contemporary issue in Medical Science to include a 2000 word commentary with reference list.
  • Major Project
    The individual final project module allows you to engage in a substantial piece of individual research focused on a topic relevant to their studies. The project topic will have been assessed for suitability with discussions with an appropriate project supervisor to ensure sufficient academic challenge and research feasibility. The project may be in the form of primary research (e.g. laboratory, human or questionnaire-based data, clinical service evaluation, clinical placement, or other relevant acceptable sources), OR in the form of an extended literature review. The chosen topic will require you to identify/formulate problems and issues, conduct literature reviews, evaluate information, investigate using suitable methodologies, process and analyse data, critically analyse, appraise and present findings using suitable methods or media. Regular meetings/contact with the project supervisor will take place, so that the project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction. Formative assessment is an individual presentation of the research topic, methodology undertaken (and any data acquired) in week 6/7. This will assist in a ‘feed-forward’ manner in the development of the final Summative assessment would normally include a substantial written project report.


We'll make sure you're progressing correctly in a number of ways, including multiple choice tests, essays, practical exams, short-answer tests, reflective essays, oral and poster presentations, scientific report writing and independent project work. In the early stages of your degree we'll use the best methods to make sure you gain a solid understanding of all the relevant subject matter. Later on, we'll focus on developing your critical appraisal skills, depth of understanding, and ability to work independently.

This is a four year programme

Please note that you will need to complete all of the above core modules. This course does not have any optional modules. Modules are subject to change and availability.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Medical Science, opened in 2014. Based on our riverside campus in Chelmsford and Young Street campus in Cambridge, we deliver innovative and clinically relevant teaching and research across three departments:

  • Allied Health
  • Medical Science and Public Health
  • School of Medicine

Thanks to our close relationships with the major clinical-care providers in the east of England, there are significant opportunities for collaboration and student placements across a variety of clinical sites.

We offer exciting opportunities for research and education in the allied health professions. We also translate science and epidemiology into health education and primary care, and deliver taught Master’s programmes to qualified medics. We have a flourishing community of PhD and MD(Res) students across all of our research fields.

Our advanced learning facilities include state-of-the-art clinical skills laboratories and simulation suites, which mirror real-life clinical situations. We also have a fantastic, modern library and a wide range of science labs and ICT suites.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)


International students, 2018/19 (per year)


Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter for undergraduate courses. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

From September 2018, EU students starting an undergraduate degree with us can access an £800 bursary.

Meanwhile, our £400 Books Plus scheme helps with the costs of study. There's no need to apply for this: if you're eligible you can simply collect a Books Plus card when you start your course.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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