Duration: 4 years full time
UCAS code: B99F
Institution code: R72
BSc Biomedical Sciences with Integrated Foundation Year
Our Integrated Foundation Year for science is a thorough, skills-building course that will give you everything you need to start your study of BSc Biomedical Sciences with confidence.
Science underpins society and can help us provide answers to fundamental questions. Our Foundation Year sets you up so that you’re ready to take on those questions - providing you with opportunities to gain knowledge and understanding of how to get started in studying the sciences at university, including Biomedical Sciences.
Once you have completed your Foundation year, you will normally progress onto the full degree course, BSc Biomedical Sciences. There may also be flexibility to move onto a degree in another department (see end of section, below).
Biomedical Sciences develops your understanding of the biological basis of human disease and is ideal if you’re considering a career in biomedical research. You’ll learn essential elements of biochemistry, physiology, cell biology, molecular biology and genetics, centred around human function and disease. You can choose a pathway to tailor your degree to your own biomedical interests from a range of options taught by experts in their fields
You’ll develop the skills required to conduct standard laboratory procedures in Biological Sciences, including the safe handling of materials in experimental settings, taking into account their chemical properties, including any specific hazards associated with their use. You will also be able to demonstrate skills in the monitoring, by observation and/or measurement, of a variety of chemical or biological properties, events or changes, of both a quantitative and qualitative nature, together with their systematic and reliable recording and documentation, in the laboratory or the field.
On successful completion, you’ll be equipped with:
- An understanding of the theory, technology and clinical practice of human molecular genetics and molecular biology techniques
- An awareness of the applications of genetic engineering approaches to prevent disease
- The transferable skills needed to work in a wide range of sectors.
From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.
Interdisciplinary Approaches to Global Issues and Academic Skills provides the underpinning for the Integrated Foundation Year programme and is key to helping students achieve the requirements for entry into first year undergraduate study and transition effectively from school / college to HE.
- Interdisciplinary Approaches to Global Issues and Academic Skills 2
Mathematics. The foundation to all sciences. By engaging in mathematical reasoning you will develop your scientific thinking as well as problem-solving skills. Moreover, you will get to embark on a journey through the exciting world of maths and its application. This course will provide you with the skills to successfully continue onto a STEM degree. The course aims to aid you in developing familiarity and skills in differentiation and integration. The main mathematical topics and concepts in the course are algebra (simplification, rearrangement), sequences and series, number bases, logic, functions, graphing of functions, exponential and logarithm, trigonometry, vectors/matrices, complex numbers differentiation, integration, first order ordinary differential equations, probability, and statistics (mean, variance, normal, binomial distributions).
The aim of this module is to provide the calculus and statistics required for a foundation in engineering and physical science. This module will provide a foundation so that a student can apply calculus to real-world problems. The module also aims to aid students in developing familiarity and skills in differentiation and integration. The main mathematical topics and concepts in the course are differentiation, integration, first order ordinary differential equations, Probability, Statistics (mean, variance, normal, binomial distributions).
Knowing how to program is a highly sought-after skill, and is becoming increasingly important. Also, it is fun. This course equips you with the basic and foundational skills necessary to be successful in programming. We mainly use Python, but the skills learnt are also applicable to other languages. The course will contain foundational programming topics, including: how computers work, introduction to algorithms, basic data structures, control flow, programming libraries, data manipulation, input/output, file manipulation, dynamic structures and objects. Upon completion of the until you’ll will be able to understand variables, types and simple data structures (lists, strings, dictionaries and arrays), use functions to simply programs and promote code testing and reuse. Throughout the course there will be lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on problem-solving.
Students will learn key topics in pre-HE-level biological and earth sciences through an interdisciplinary, chronological curriculum. The module content is divided into three broad sections: origins, present and future. The history of the earth affords the opportunity to learn topics in biological chemistry, metabolism and physiology alongside planetary science and palaeontology. The second section of the module gives students the chance to learn about key challenges in communicable and non-communicable disease, climate change, biodiversity and the impact of environmental pollutants on human health. In the module’s final section the focus will shift to the future, and students will learn some of the opportunities presented in the management of ecosystem services, nucleic acid-based technologies and renewable energy sources.
Students will learn to perform some key experimental techniques in pre-HE-level biological sciences, and to analyse and present their results. The module will consist of a sequence of experiments carried out in an intensive period of preparation, data collection and reflection. Experimental work will be conducted both in the laboratory and in the field. Students will become familiar with a number of techniques and make connections with concepts from Foundation Life Sciences and the Environment, as well as with statistical techniques learned in Foundation Maths. There will be opportunities for students to design an experiment within a given framework of techniques.
Students will address a significant life science topic through their own directed research. Their work will be based on a topic presented in the Foundation Life Sciences and the Environment module, examining techniques that promise to mitigate current challenges in the life sciences. Under the guidance provided students will select a suitable topic, find and use appropriate secondary sources, and produce an oral report supported by visual aids. Students will investigate the ways in which their chosen approach may help solve a particular challenge, and acquire a critical appreciation of the hurdles to be overcome.
In this module you will develop an understanding of key scientific concepts and effective science communication. You will learn how to process and critique different forms of information, and how to communicate science to both scientific and non-scientific audiences using diverse media, forms and methods. You will also examine ethical issues surrounding research and intervention.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the fundamental chemistry of life processes and laboratory experiments. You will look at the basics of biological chemistry, including the chemical bonding and reactivity of important biomolecules, intermolecular forces, 3D structure and isomerism. You will analyse equilibria in acid/base biochemistry and solve related problems. You will also learn the basic biochemical lab techniques and carry out consequent data analysis.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the basics of biochemistry. You will look at some of the key techniques for biochemical analysis, including spectroscopy, and the fundamentals of protein structure. You will examine structure / function relationships in myoglobin, hemoglobin and the serine proteases, and learn to solve biochemical kinetic problems using the Michaelis-Menten equation. You will also consider how to solve thermodynamic problems, including equilibrium constants.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the fundamental physiological systems that are required to maintain complex multi-cellular animals, specifically those involved in communication, transport and homeostasis. You will look at how systems and specialised organs have evolved and interact to obtain oxygen from the environment whilst maintaining optimal internal conditions for cellular function. You will consider the mechanisms, organisation, functions and integration of the nervous and endocrine systems to show how neural (somatic and autonomic) and hormonal signalling enable an animal to sense and respond both consciously (e.g. movement) and unconsciously (e.g. internal homeostasis). You will also examine the evolution of the closed circulatory system, separated into pulmonary and systemic circuits and driven by a four-chambered heart, essential for the body-wide distribution of nutrients, oxygen and hormones, and for the removal of waste products.
This module will explain the function of some organ systems in humans and illustrates the consequence of disease on physiological function. The module will begin by explaining the structure, organisation and function of key brain structures, and how special sensory systems convert light, sound and position/movement into electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain: including how our ability to sense the environment can be disrupted by disease. This will be followed by an explanation of the function and regulation of the mammalian kidney and the lungs, and the roles of the adrenal gland. The module then covers aspects of basic haematology; the fluid and formed elements of blood and their role in inflammation and the control of bleeding following vessel damage. The module will end with an introduction to skeletal muscle function and its neural regulation, how movement is controlled and sensed by the somatic nervous system.This module will explain the function of some organ systems in humans and illustrates the consequence of disease on physiological function. The module will begin by explaining the structure, organisation and function of key brain structures, and how special sensory systems convert light, sound and position/movement into electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain: including how our ability to sense the environment can be disrupted by disease. This will be followed by an explanation of the function and regulation of the mammalian kidney and the lungs, and the roles of the adrenal gland. The module then covers aspects of basic haematology; the fluid and formed elements of blood and their role in inflammation and the control of bleeding following vessel damage. The module will end with an introduction to skeletal muscle function and its neural regulation, how movement is controlled and sensed by the somatic nervous system.
In this module you will develop an understanding of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell biology and the key functions of these structures and organelles. You will look at the origin of life and the principles of natural selection and evolution. You will also learn the practical technique involved in microscopy, including fixation techniques for the analysis of cell ultrastructure and aseptic techniques for bacterial culture.
In this module you will develop an understanding of genes and their behaviour in individuals organisms, in populations, and at the molecular level within the cell. You will look cellular genetics with respect to mitosis, meiosis, inheritance and recombination, and consider the fundamentals of gene expression, its control, and DNA replication. You will examine genome organisation, transcription, and translation, and gain practical experience of using techniques in microscopy, including slide preparation for the observation of chromosomes.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the main concepts of classic protein biochemistry including protein purification, enzyme kinetics, and enzyme structure. You will look at the basic principles behind a number of protein purification techniques, and consider basic enzyme kinetics using the Michaelis-Menten equation and derived methods to analyse kinetic data. You will examine the underlying biochemistry of a variety of analytical methods and their applications in research and diagnostics, gaining practical experience in performing some of these methods in laboratory practicals. You will also analyse the concept of biochemical buffers and learn how to make these from stock solutions.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the function and integration of selected human physiological systems in normal physiology and disease. You will look at endocrine control in the human body, specifically the role of the hypothalamo-pituitary axis and the function and regulation of thyroid hormones. You will examine the organisation and integration of the nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory and systems and the principles of whole muscle physiology. You will also consider the composition and functions of blood and haemostasis, and the analysis and interpretation of physiological experiments.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the chemical structure of DNA and RNA, and how genes are organised and expressed. You will look at gene characterisation using recombinant DNA technology, and will consider DNA as a template for RNA synthesis. You will also become familiar with molecular biology techniques that are widely used in the life sciences, including the preparation and handling of purified DNA, restriction enzyme digestions, and polymerase chain reaction.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the mammalian immune systems at cellular and molecular levels, and how this is determined by antibody structure and function, the complement system, and the impact of immunoglobulin genetics. You will look at the role of T cells as effectors and regulators of immune responses, allergic reactions, transplant rejection, and the HIV virus and the pathogenesis of AIDS on the immune system. You will examine antipody antigen reaction techniques used in immunology, and consider the isolation and purification of lymphocytes, their morphology and abundance.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the structure of the nervous system, including the main types of cells and the transmission of signals within neuronal networks. You will look at the process of synaptic transmission, including both electrical and chemical synapses. You will examine the different types of neurotransmitters and receptors and the mechanism of intracellular signaling, considering the role of second messenger signaling pathways. You will also enhance your practical skills, such as isolating and characterising synaptosomes and using these for the study of transmitter metabolism.
In this module you will develop an understanding of drug-receptor interactions and the methods used to characterise drug action. You will look at the factors that influence drug action and drug toxicity within the body, examining the concepts of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion. You will consider the pharmacology of a number of major drug classes, including antihypertensives, antidepressants, analgesics, general and local anaesthetics and drugs affecting the autonomic system.
You will carry out an individual laboratory or theoretical investigation, supervised by an appropriate member of staff, who will provide guidance throughout. You will apply the knowledge and skills learned throughout your studies, and learn to organise data in a logical, presentable and persuasive way. You will produce a report, around 8,000 words in length, and will deliver an oral presentation with a summary of your findings.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the theory, technology, and clinical practice of human molecular genetics. You will look at a range of genetic disorders and inborn errors of metabolism such as muscular dystrophies, cystic fibrosis, haemophilia, lysosomal storage disorders, haemoglobinopathies, mitochondrial respiratory chain disorders, neurotransmitter synthesis disorders, lipoprotein diseases and primary immunodeficiencies. You will examine the concepts and significance of human inherited disease gene mapping and consider the importance of the human genome project.
In addition to mandatory modules, there will be a number of optional modules available during year 2 and year 3 of your degree.
Teaching & assessment
In your Foundation Year, teaching methods include a mixture of lectures, practical classes and workshops, laboratory classes, individual tutorials, and supervisory sessions. Outside of the classroom you’ll undertake guided and independent practice. You will be assigned a Personal Tutor in the Department of Biological Sciences and will have regular scheduled sessions. In the Foundation Year, you’ll also be assigned a Personal Tutor in the Centre for the Development of Academic Skills (CeDAS). Assessments are varied; practical exercises, weekly problem sheets, set exercises, written examinations, laboratory reports. In addition the Foundation Year offers a full range of skills-based training.
For your degree course, teaching methods will include a mixture of lectures, seminars, individual tutorials, and practical field and laboratory work. Outside the classroom, students will be expected to undertake study to understand the taught material, and to carry out the assessed coursework. Assessment will be through a combination of examinations, project(s) and practical work.
A Levels: CCC
This course is suitable for non-standard entrants, including mature returners to study, those without Science qualifications or with Science qualifications below the standard required for entry to a degree.
We accept T-levels for admission to our undergraduate courses, with the following grades regarded as equivalent to our standard A-level requirements:
- AAA* – Distinction (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism)
- AAA – Distinction
- BBB – Merit
- CCC – Pass (C or above on the core)
- DDD – Pass (D or E on the core)
Where a course specifies subject-specific requirements at A-level, T-level applicants are likely to be asked to offer this A-level alongside their T-level studies.
Other UK and Ireland Qualifications
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall, with no subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. No subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.
Undergraduate preparation programme
For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, for this undergraduate degree, the Royal Holloway International Study Centre offers an International Foundation Year programme designed to develop your academic and English language skills.
Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Your future career
Biomedical Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London is structured to help students progress to further biomedical research. You’ll gain the invaluable skills and experience you need to work in a wide range of sectors, with a combination of lab experience and independent research making you an attractive prospect for potential employers.
The Department of Biological Sciences is a close-knit community, with our alumni regularly returning to share their knowledge and experience with current students. Our alumni have gone on to careers in sectors including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical research.
Fees, funding & scholarships
Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250
Eligible EU students tuition fee per year**: £25,200
Foundation year essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.
How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.
*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2023/24, the fee is £9,250 for that year.
**The UK Government has confirmed that EU nationals are no longer eligible to pay the same fees as UK students, nor be eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company. This means you are classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support a transition for those students affected by this change in status. Please see the fees and funding page for more information.
Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.
***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2022/23 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.
Year 1 discount for Foundation Year students: Your Foundation Year counts as Year 0. In Year 1, Home (UK) students taking an Integrated Foundation Year degree benefit from a 10% discount off the standard Home (UK) tuition fee for that year. Find out more