BSc Biomedical Sciences - University College London

Programme title:
BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences
Final award (BSc, MA etc):
(where stopping off points exist they should be
detailed here and defined later in the document)
UCAS code:
(where applicable)
Cohort(s) to which this programme
specification is applicable:
2008 intake onwards
(e.g. from 2015 intake onwards)
Awarding institution/body:
University College London
Teaching institution:
University College London
Life Sciences
Parent Department:
None (has its own administrative unit within the Faculty of Life
(the department responsible for the administration of
the programme)
Departmental web page address:
(if applicable)
Method of study:
Full time
Criteria for admission to the
Length of the programme:
A levels:
AAA (AAB for extreme extenuating circumstances) to include
Chemistry, and one other science subject, plus a pass in a further
subject at AS level or equivalent
IB Diploma:
38 points to include Chemistry and one other science subject at
higher level
3 years
(please note any periods spent away from UCL, such
as study abroad or placements in industry)
Level on Framework for Higher
Education Qualifications (FHEQ)
(see Guidance notes)
Relevant subject benchmark statement
Advanced Level (Level 6)
Not applicable
(see Guidance notes)
Brief outline of the structure of the
(see guidance notes)
Board of Examiners:
Name of Board of Examiners:
Biomedical Sciences BSc Board of Examiners
Professional body accreditation
(if applicable):
Date of next scheduled
accreditation visit:
The programme aims to attract outstanding students from all backgrounds and to provide them with an education of
the highest calibre. They will develop critical and analytical skills that will enable them to confront complex
problems. Thus, graduates will be equipped for further study, research, or for a wide variety of careers such as
those associated with medical research. In their first year, students will be introduced to a broad range of the
biosciences. This will enable students to either i) remain with a general programme or ii) transfer into one of our
specific degree programmes at the beginning of the second year. Regardless of the option chosen, students will
graduate with a detailed knowledge of current research in chose areas and will be familiar with the relevant
research techniques. They will work at the frontiers of knowledge and possess the judgement to develop their own
opinions and to question established ideas.
The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding,
qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:
A: Knowledge and understanding
Knowledge and understanding of:
Year 1:
1. Cell and molecular biology: nucleic
acids; protein structure; metabolic
biochemistry; cell physiology; cell
signalling and immunology.
2. The chemistry required to gain an
insight into biological systems at a
molecular level.
3. Human anatomy: the nervous
system; cardiovascular system;
respiratory system; digestive system;
endocrine system; musuculskeletal
system; the kidney and the special
4. The normal functioning of the body:
circulation; respiration; the
gastrointestinal tract; the nervous syetm;
endocrines and the kidney.
5. The genetics of humans and other
eukaryotes from peas to humans.
Mendelism, linkage, genetic ratios,
linkage maps, chromosomes,
mitochondrial inheritance, muttation,
quantitative genetics, family structure,
evolutionary genetics, diversity, natural
6. The application of mathematical and
physical principles important for
experimental biology. Quantitative
aspects of pharmacology are considered,
in particular in relation to the interaction of
drugs with their receptors.
Years 2 and 3:
If a student transfers into a specific
degree programme then the programme
specification for that degree will apply
from then on.
If the student remains with the Biomedical
Sciences programme a broad range of
course units is taken. A half unit is
statistics is a mandadory part of the
second year but apart from this there is a
considerable number of options so details
are not provided here.
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
Courses are taught through lectures, tutorials, practical
classes and web based interactive teaching.
Acquisition of (3) includes some demonstration
Acquisition of (6) emphasises experimental design and
statistical analysis of data.
Students are encouraged to undertake independent
reading to consolidate and supplement their knowledge.
Students are required to undertake assignments during
the term; these comprise essays, practical reports, webbased exercises and data handling questions.
During the second year students study research papers
in more depth and are taught some contemporary
research methods
During the third year the emphasis is on reading recently
published papers in the journals, there is very little use
of text books. Students will learn to use web based
search engines for researching particular topics. Much of
the teaching is seminar based and critical discussion is
encouraged. Students will either undertake a research
project in the laboratory of a member of staff or a
reading project. To undertake a research project
students must learn the relevant experimental
techniques and generate and then analyse their data.
These must be critically evaluated and a dissertation
produced. Students undertaking a reading project will
produce a report reviewing a topic under the guidance of
a member of staff.
A combination of unseen examinations and assessed
course work (essays, practical reports, data handling
exercises, web based exercises).
B: Skills and other attributes
Intellectual (thinking) skills:
1. Analysis and integration of
information gathered from a range of
sources, experimental, published and
2. Critical evaluation and interpretation
of evidence
3. Construction of arguments and
formulation of hypotheses using available
lines of evidence
4. Identification of problems and finding
appropriate ways of solving them
5. Development of creativity and
independence of mind
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
All of the teaching and learning methods outlined in A
contribute to the development of intellectual skills (1-5).
Feedback is a key element and in written coursework
students are encouraged to produce coherent, insightful
accounts (1,2). Guided and independent reading for
supervised essays and dissertations gives confidence
(2,5). In the final year research project there is continual
interaction with supervisors (1-5). Feedback is also an
important element in class discussions, in tutorial
sessions, in interactions with demonstrators and
teachers in practicals, and from teachers and peers in
oral presentation sessions (1-5).
C: Skills and other attributes
Practical skills (able to):
1. Acquire a basic knowledge of the
principles of measurement of biological
2. Obtain expertise in the assessment of
scientific evidence and the analysis of
3. Introduce the application of
computers for data acquisition, analysis
of experiments and interactive learning.
4. Assess scientific papers, reviews,
specialist books and text books from
library collections and electronic sources.
5. Perform experiments safely.
6. Where applicable, undertake a final
year laboratory based project using
advanced techniques specific to the
subject of the project.
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
Laboratory practicals provide opportunities for students
to acquire skills 1, 2 and 5. The final year research
project enhances these skills (6). Lectures on data
evaluation and statistics form an element of the research
project. Beginning in the first year, students are guided
via tutorials concerning assessing the literature (4) and
they improve on their skills during the following two
years. Computer based teaching (LAPT, WebCT,
Moodle etc) is expensive and expanding (3). It is used
principally in the first two years.
Student usage of computer-based teaching resources is
monitored so that ineffective use is detected (3).
Laboratory practicals are overseen by staff and
demonstrators and reports are marked (1,2,5). Project
supervisors assess performance in the laboratory and
the dissertation requires an understanding of current
literature (4) as well as data evaluation (2). Written
examinations indirectly test 4.
D: Skills and other attributes
Transferable skills (able to):
1. Manage time, prioritise work, meet
2. Use computers/IT to produce essays,
reports and visual aids for oral
presentations and web pages
3. Communicate information and ideas
effectively in written and oral form
4. Present numerical and graphical data
5. Work in co-operation with others,
sharing resources.
6. Work independently and take
responsibility for personal learning and
7. Understand career opportunities and
begin to plan a career.
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
Effective time management is an essential. Advice is
provided by course organisers and personal tutors (1).
Use of computers/IT to prepare written work may be
self-taught or acquired with peer help. Advice is also
provided at tutorials and there is feedback from the
marked work. Training courses are available to students
who wish to have more formal teaching (2). Presenting
information and ideas in written and oral form is
improved by feedback from the marked work and
personal tutors advise on basic skills for writing essays
(3,4). In laboratory practicals and in the project it is
important to be able to work effectively as a member of
the group (5). At the same time, as students progress
through the years, they are encouraged to become more
autonomous (6). The College Careers Service provides
information, advice and guidance to students in the form
of literature and web-based information. It also provides
personal advice on a one-to-one basis (7). Note that
guidelines on acquiring all the transferable skills are also
provided on the College Key Skills Grid web site
Completing coursework assignments on time and
assembling the project report by the deadline (1).
Marked coursework, including oral presentations, gives
evidence of key skills 2-4, while successful practicals
depend on (5). All forms of work at the most advanced
level in the third year provide evidence of independent
thought and research (6). Skill 7 is not assessed.
The following reference points were used in designing the programme:
 the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications
 the relevant Subject Benchmark Statements (;
 the programme specifications for UCL degree programmes in relevant subjects (where applicable);
 UCL teaching and learning policies;
 staff research.
Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the
learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes
full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information on the learning outcomes,
content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of each course unit/module can be found in The Division’s
Handbook and the Faculty module database (
The accuracy of the information contained in this document is reviewed annually by UCL.
Programme Organiser(s)
Dr Richard Tunwell
Date of Production:
2 May 2003
Date of Review:
January 2015
Date approved by Head of
January 2015
Date approved by Chair of
Departmental Teaching
Date approved by Faculty
Teaching Committee
January 2015
January 2015