BSc Medical Biosciences


ECTS: 180 credits

Start date: October 2017

Duration: 3 years full-time

Location: Distance Learning


New for 2017

Please note that our Biomedical Science degrees have been redesigned and renamed with effect from 2017 entry. For 2017 entry please see Medical Biosciences (below) and BSc Medical Biosciences with Management.


This new degree gives you the chance to apply your talent for problem-solving to the critical challenges facing human health.


You will explore the science underpinning medicine and its related fields, the principles and practice of biomedical science, and how they are applied in research, policy, and industry.


About the course

Our interdisciplinary course offers an innovative approach to learning.

You will study fundamental human biology and the molecular basis of human disease. Modules on cellular and molecular biology and pharmacology underpin, for example, infectious diseases and immunology, cancer and neurobiology.

During the unique and exciting Lab Pod modules, you will work on real life research questions in a learning environment that mirror an authentic research laboratory. You will explore a real scientific hypothesis and will be given opportunities to design, choose and perform experiments appropriate to test this hypothesis. 
In addition, the Lab Pods will integrate experiences that will develop and consolidate theoretical topics covered throughout the year. They will encourage you to develop your understanding of the causes of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, neurodegeneration and autoimmunity, and experience how scientists work to develop treatments and cures.

You will learn to think like a scientist with a research-intensive, laboratory-focused curriculum, whilst workshops on critical health issues and modules in science communication and ethics will broaden your outlook and employability skills.

Our extensive and fully integrated transferable skills programme is also designed to develop personal characteristics that employers value, including effective time management and resilience, good interpersonal, leadership, analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as an awareness of ethics, coupled with excellent verbal and written presentation skills.

In your third year you will choose specialist modules that examine global health problems and undertake a final year project. For this project, you will have the option to complete a 20-week intensive research project, a work placement, or a dissertation on a biomedical science topic.  Placement possibilities may include industry, hospitals, publishing houses, museums, charities and government agencies.

Students interested in careers which do not involve the ‘wet lab’ will be given the choice to pursue a shorter final year project, either in the form of a dissertation or placement on any topic related to biomedical sciences. You will be required to complement this body of work with additional Year 3 pathways and Students who love human biology but do not share the same enthusiasm for practical research will, therefore, still find their niche in this course.

Modules shown are subject to change depending on your year of entry.




Year 1

You study all core modules, including the lab module.



  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Protein Chemistry and Bioenergetics
  • Organisation of Integrative Systems (musculoskeletal and nervous systems; endocrinology; and haematology and immunobiology)
  • Statistics



  • Lab Pod I


Year 2

You study all core modules, including the lab module, as well as four optional modules.



  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Cancer Biology



  • Immunology and Inflammation
  • Neurobiology
  • Microbiome in Health and Disease
  • Cardiovascular and Thoracic Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Stem Cells and Reproductive Biology






  • Lab Pod II


Year 3

You can choose any three optional modules and one project. If a ‘dry’ research project or placement project is chosen then additional taught modules must also be chosen.



  • Data Science
  • Stratified Medicine
  • Obesity and Diabetes
  • Biology of Ageing
  • Targeting Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Nanotechnology and Bioengineering
  • Designing Drugs for the 21st Century
  • Global Health
  • Science Communication and Public Engagement




Choose from one of the following:

  • Lab research project
  • 'Dry' research project
  • Placement project



Teaching and Learning

Blended modules (combining online, small group teaching and face-to-face teaching), together with immersive learning environments (Wialls for complex data visualisation and 3D environments to ‘apprehend’ complex biological responses/events) and mobile technologies (we will provide all students with iPads) will be key features of the course.

Theoretical knowledge and practical transferable skills will increase in complexity over the three years so that you gradually develop your critical thinking, analytical skills, and ability to appraise information.

This will be complemented by a truly hands-on approach provided by an impressive laboratory-based programme and a 20-week long final-year project embedded in real work environments, such as research teams either based within Newcastle or other academic or pharmaceutical organisations.

Assessment methods

You can expect a variety of different types of assessment methods.


·       Essays

·       Lay articles/ press releases

·       Paper/ grant review comments

·       Written examinations

·       Report writing

·       Group business planning


·       Seminars

·       Journal clubs

·       Laboratory practicals


·       Laboratory practicals

·       Scientific papers


A minimum of 40% in overall assessment and a passing grade for each module will be required to progress from Year 1 to Year 2 and from Year 2 to Year 3.

Newcastle’s Medical Biosciences degree is designed for individuals who wish to progress to a variety of academic, research and other professional careers.

BSc Medical Biosciences courses are not accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science for careers in hospital clinical diagnostic laboratories, and it is not possible to transfer from Medical Biosciences to the MBBS programme.



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