Medical Science BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year)



You can choose to study this course over four years, with a foundation year. If you choose this option, the first year of your study will be delivered by our partner, Cambridge Ruskin International College (CRIC) on our Cambridge or Chelmsford campuses. In years 2 to 4 you'll study with us in Chelmsford.


Interested in the science that underpins modern medicine? Study on our full-time Medical Science degree course, accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. Based in our Chelmsford SuperLabs, you’ll understand how a healthy human body works, learn how disease develops and discover how normal function can be restored. We work with industry partners to make sure you’re career ready.

Full description


We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it. When you graduate, you'll be highly competitive in the employment market because of your extensive theoretical knowledge, combined with a high level of practical skills.

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, data scientist, clinical trials or medical sales.

We recommend that you use your first degree to further your studies in medical science or choose a patient focused discipline such as Physician Associate (two-year Masters degree) or complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and enter teaching. For those wanting to a career in research, you can apply for direct entry into PhD study or an MSc/MRES.

For students who complete their first year of BSc Medical Science to an exceptional high standard, there may be the opportunity to transfer to Year 1 of MBChB Medicine. It must be noted that this is a highly competitive route and there is limited availability. As a life science degree, those with a 2:1 or above could apply for Graduate Entry Medicine programmes.

Modules & assessment

Level 3 (foundation year)

  • Foundation in Optometry, Medical and Life Sciences
    This module will provide students with the necessary skills to begin studying at level 4 in courses related to Optometry, Medical Science and Life Sciences. Students will be introduced to the core skills necessary to succeed in higher education, including thinking critically, researching and referencing appropriately, demonstrating appropriate numeracy and ICT skills, and communicating effectively verbally and in writing. In addition to these fundamental study skills, Students will be given an introduction to the various scientific disciplines underpinning the life sciences. Fundamental mathematical skills will be covered in order to support students’ other subjects and give them confidence in manipulating data. Students will be introduced to molecular and cellular biology, and how these fields are applied to real-world investigations. Students will also study the biology of micro and macro organisms, with reference to both human and animal structures. Students will be introduced to the core concepts of chemistry, with a particular focus on organic chemistry, and will also be given a grounding in the core principles of physics, applied to living organisms. The module is made up of the following eight constituent elements: Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC); Information Communication Technology (ICT); Critical Thinking; Maths for Scientists; Cellular Biology; Biology – Physiology; Chemistry; Physics for Life Sciences.

Year one, core modules

  • Cellular and Molecular Biology
    Cell biology studies the properties of cells including their physiological properties, their structure, the organelles they contain, interactions with their environment, their life cycle, division and death. Molecular and cellular biology are interrelated, as most of the properties and functions of a cell can be described at the molecular level. You’ll cover the relevance of cell biology to medicine with reference to various diseases, cancer cell biology, technologies and bioinformatics. The practical element of this module will ensure you’re familiar and competent with a range of fundamental laboratory techniques and skills. You’ll not only develop confidence in using equipment to collect data, but also in the presentation and interpretation of this data. You’ll have regular tests in class with feedback to allow you to monitor your own progress and understanding. In addition, you’ll work in a group to create a poster presentation.
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
    The human body is a complex collection of systems interacting in a way that allows it to meet the demands of a daily routine. It has the ability to adapt to changing environments to maintain the internal environment within the physiological range for its survival. This module will span 2 semesters. In the first semester, you’ll focus on the basics of human anatomy and physiology that provide an underpinning basis for future modules. Links with ill health, well-being and disruption to homeostatic mechanisms will be put into context of normal anatomy and physiology. Followed up by cell structure, function and histology, the nervous system and endocrine system, and the musculoskeletal - and respiratory systems. In semester two, you’ll study the organ systems, including the cardiovascular system, urinary system, the lymphatic system, digestive system and the reproductive system. Where appropriate, you’ll be introduced to relevant pathophysiology in parallel with the normal structure and functioning of the systems. You’ll undertake physiology-based practical sessions in the SuperLab that will develop your practical lab skills.
  • Scientific Communication and Professional Skills
    Secure the scientific and professional skills that are essential for employment in the scientific industry. We’ll teach you the pre-laboratory work, planning and prep, health and safety and laboratory experimental design needed to work safely and competently in a lab. Secure the professional skills and training needed to operate common laboratory apparatus, such as glassware, microscopy, pH meter, weighing and measuring volumes, pipetting and spectrophotometer. Communication of scientific information is vitally important for your employability and it spans many forms such as laboratory reports, journal articles and presentation skills. We’ll teach you the skills you need to succeed. Skills such as referencing, and searching for literature will be addressed. You’ll cover related numeracy skills such as SI units, converting between different expression of concentration, and basic statistics. You’ll present your findings to different audiences (scientific and non-scientific) using a variety of methods. We’ll enhance your digital literacy skills, allowing you to drawing graphs, use functions in spreadsheets, present data in tables and creating presentation slides. Regular formative activities will be undertaken in class to enable you to monitor your progress, such as online quizzes and laboratory activities. You’ll complete a lab report and deliver an oral presentation.
  • Principles of Human Nutrition
    Explore the basic principles of human nutrition with an introduction to the core concepts and topics within nutritional science. We’ll introduce the broad nature of applied nutrition as a discipline (public health, clinical nutrition and food science and technology) and demonstrating the importance of a multidisciplinary approach from these applied fields and how they align to optimise health and wellbeing. Get to grips with the concepts of nutritional status, nutritional balance and turnover, along with macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). The Key functions and biochemical roles for each macro- and micronutrient for human health will be explored including food sources, dietary reference values, and associated disorders with deficiency and excesses. Investigate issues facing Public Health Nutrition, Clinical Nutrition and Food Science malnutrition, obesity, food safety and food policy (contamination and poisoning). You’ll delve into the function of the Association for Nutrition (AfN) with respect to maintaining high standards in terms of ethics and professional conduct, alongside the role of Registered Nutritionists in the UK. The importance of engagement with professional bodies and societies will also be discussed including the Royal Society of Biology and the Institute of Food Science and Technology. You’ll bring your learning together in the form of a portfolio, the basis for your professional development throughout your degree.
  • Principles of Biomedical Science
    Biomedical science is the application of biological sciences to the study of medical sciences. This module builds on the Human Anatomy and Physiology module and looks at the multidisciplinary nature of biomedical science. Biomedical science requires a sound understanding of each of the constituent clinical disciplines. These are medical microbiology, clinical biochemistry, haematology, histopathology and cytology, clinical genetics and clinical immunology. Focus on global diseases and infections, alongside methods of prevention and cure. Explore the diagnostic techniques used to analyse human samples in the investigation of causative agents. A range of common human diseases, such as cancers, anaemia, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and microbial infections will be used to provide background theory. Explore the mechanism of pathology, the physiological consequences to the human body and range of diagnostic investigations used as part of a differential diagnosis. Gain an understanding of the basic laboratory techniques which are relevant to the biomedical disciplines, such as aseptic technique, human blood smears, polymerase chain reaction and gram stain. You’ll put theory into practice to enhance your understanding, develop professional and practical skills and to enhance your employability profile. You’ll be assessed in a group through the oral defence of an e-poster based on a patient case study involving a disease or infection.
  • Principles of Metabolism
    Get an overview of the biochemical, nutritional and physiological processes in health and disease. Form a solid basis to enable you to appreciate 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. You’ll become aware of the major nutrient sources required for health and the major biochemical processes occurring in human cells including the major pathways of carbohydrate, amino acid, lipid metabolism. Understand the relationship between diet, energy production and health forming a basis to understand how factors influence metabolic balance and whole-body homeostasis. Linkage to disease states also allows you 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. You’ll complete a skills log throughout this module alongside regular tests to facilitate your expansion of knowledge and understanding on the effect of altered states in health and in disease.

Year two, core modules

  • Essential Physiological Biochemistry
    Biochemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. By controlling information flow through biochemical signalling and the flow of chemical energy through metabolism, biochemical processes give rise to the complexity of life. Over the last decades of the 20th century, biochemistry has become so successful at explaining living processes that now almost all areas of the life sciences from botany to genetics are engaged in biochemical research. Today, the main focus of pure biochemistry is on understanding how biological molecules give rise to the processes that occur within living cells, which in turn relates greatly to the study and understanding of tissues, organs, and whole organisms. This module builds on ‘Principles of Metabolism’. It demonstrates how the physiological actions of selected organs can be explained by their particular biochemical processes. It focusses on the metabolic integration, rather than pathways, investigating the liver, communication systems (endocrine and neurological), blood and vascular system, muscle and adipose tissue and renal biochemistry. You’ll have regular in class test to prepare you for the end of module exam.
  • Applied Pathophysiology
    This is a ‘systems–based’ module building upon the anatomy and physiology content from the previous year. It’ll provide a deeper understanding of the pathophysiology of the various systems including the cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary, gastrointestinal, endocrine and nervous system. An overview of the causes, pathophysiological changes and clinical diagnosis will add depth to your understanding. Opportunities will be offered to you to acquire professional and scientific skills through problem-based learning using medical case studies. This case study approach is used to promote transferable skills (e.g. team-working and delegation), to facilitate a deeper knowledge and understanding of specific aspects of human pathophysiology, and to develop problem-solving and reasoning skills. In-class discussions on pathological conditions will be facilitated along with regular class tests. The assessment will consist of two elements a submission of a case report on laboratory results of two case studies and a written examination on selected pathophysiological conditions.
  • Principles of Pharmacology
    Understand the principals of pharmacology. Including how drugs produce their effects on the body by acting at specific targets (pharmacodynamics), as well as the absorption, disposition of drugs in body compartments with time, metabolism of drug molecules and ultimately the elimination of drugs (pharmacokinetics). In addition, the mechanism of chemical neurotransmission in the central nervous system and the autonomic nervous system will be explored along with the function and neurotransmission in the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Drugs acting on both systems, their mechanism of action and their applications will also be discussed, as well as the action of neurotransmitters through the development of the concept of drug-receptor interactions. You’ll learn how drugs are producing their effects and the different mechanism of actions they show when interacting with their receptors, how to distinguish between agonists and antagonists and how to create dose-response curves and how to interpret them. The application of these concepts will be illustrated by examples of the pharmacology of drugs used to treat cardiovascular and behavioural disorders. You’ll have regular in-class tests to help you monitor your progress and the final assessment will be via an exam.
  • Fundamentals of Epidemiology
    Here you’ll be introduced to 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 tables that 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 and therefore time is spent on understanding the evidence gathering process. You’ll debate and discuss medical ethics, to appreciate the close relationships between personal and professional ethical judgment in decision-making. You’ll also collect epidemiological data in and out of the clinical setting. Formative and summative assessments are based around presentation and written tasks that will develop your ability to plan and rationalise actions using epidemiological data in the real world.
  • Research Methods
    As you’ll be completing a research project in your final year, this module will give you the tools you need to undertake qualitative and quantitative research; culminating in the development of your research proposal. You’ll develop your critical analysis of published research and build on those transferrable skills introduced from the beginning of the course. You’ll look at the development of a research project from conception to completion, concentrating on the shaping of a study using a variety of approaches. You’ll be introduced to the use of statistics in research and will use statistical data analysis techniques used in the medical and scientific literature. You’ll gain 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.

Year three, core modules

  • Applied Pharmacology
    You’ll consider the therapeutic application of drugs for specific conditions. You’ll cover the principles of drug action on major organ systems including the cardiovascular, central and peripheral nervous system, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and the endocrine system. Explore major disease processes in each system and the mechanisms by which drugs exert their pharmacological/therapeutic effects. This includes a thorough grounding on intrinsic and extrinsic factors influencing physiological function, incorporating mechanisms at the integrated systemic. You’ll focus on changes in structure and function in different physiological conditions (including ageing) and disease states and to pharmacological control of homeostasis. Understand undesirable side-effects brought about by combinations of drugs. You’ll learn the importance of pharmaco-economics and pharmacovigilance in clinical pharmacology and the regulatory aspects of the pharmaceutical industry. This module will cover aspects of genetic factors that affect the metabolism of foreign compounds and drug-receptor interactions. Hear current views on the relationship between pharmacogenetic polymorphisms and disease susceptibility and potential approaches to drug design using pharmacogenomics. Pharmacogenetics promises a future where a therapeutic regimen is tailored to individual patients (i.e. personalised medicine). Your assessment will be 100% coursework activities made up of reports, in-class test and case studies.
  • Biotechnology
    You’ll explore the use, manipulation and application of biotechnology in areas such as health, industry, and the environment with particular emphasis in pharmaceutical and medical sciences. Knowledge of current key examples of the use of biotechnology in these areas will be investigated. You’ll learn through face-to-face and independent study to develop an in-depth knowledge on mechanisms by which biological systems can be manipulated. Workshops will be held to critically examine recent advances in biotechnological products. Case studies will introduce you to the assessment and therapeutic efficacy of biotechnology products and explore the major approaches in pharmaceutical and medical sciences. You’ll analyse examples of research studies pertinent to biotechnology and investigate the importance of ethics within research and its application. You’ll debate the development of biotechnology products. You’ll be required to submit written coursework as well as a 10 min video of role-play of an interview covering topical issues and debating the therapeutic efficacy of biotechnology products.
  • Specialist Case Studies
    Designed to help you integrate your specialist subject knowledge in the wider context of medical and pharmaceutical science. You’ll work together with students from different disciplines and interest areas on a patient scenario to identify the diagnosis. You’ll then collaborate to establish the most effective treatment for the diagnosis. This will be achieved through student-led discussions, workshops, practicals, tutorials and lecturers, all centred on problem-based learning. You’ll be assessed in a mock court, where you’ll need to justify your findings and defend your evidence, from probing questions from a panel of judges. Team working, leadership and management are an essential skills which employers are increasingly seeking evidence for. To enhance your employability skills, you’ll be assessed on your ability to lead one of your in-class team activities. You’ll create an agenda prior to the session that you’ll lead (as a ‘chairperson’), document the key points of the discussion through creation of the minutes from the meeting, and write a short reflective account of your experience from your session (such as time management and facilitating a team discussion). This will be a pass/fail assignment.
  • Contemporary Issues in Medical Science
    Broaden your understanding of the implications of contemporary medical research. Core to this is an understanding of pathological processes and cancer, however, a range of selected topical medical issues demanding media attention (e.g. mental illness, obesity, communicable diseases e.g. Ebola, 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’ll explore 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. 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. Formative in-class critical appraisal of relevant research will be conducted. Summative assessment by submission of a review paper on a contemporary topic within the field of medical science and a written exam.
  • Undergraduate Major Project
    The Undergraduate Major Project is the culmination of the degree – it gives you a chance to demonstrate all you have learned. This project module is very different from other modules. Although you are supervised, the onus is on you to identify the research question and generate aims, objectives and hypotheses. The Undergraduate Major Project therefore allows you to engage in a substantial piece of individual research that will focus on a topic relevant to you, which follows on the research proposal and ethics application developed in the ‘Research Methods’. Your project may be in the form of primary research (e.g. laboratory, population studies, generating questionnaire-based data, clinical service evaluation, or other relevant acceptable research). Your chosen topic will require you to apply your subject knowledge and apply suitable methodologies. Importantly, you’ll apply and demonstrate your problem-solving skills through creative and innovative thinking.


We'll make sure you're progressing correctly in a number of ways, including course work, essays, exams, short-answer tests, 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.

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 Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care is the largest in ARU, with over 7,000 students. Our Faculty is teeming with expertise and primed to meet the demand for creating health professionals, teachers, doctors, scientists and educators for the three districts we serve: Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough.

We have been training undergraduates for professional roles for over 25 years, with a reputation for quality, dedication and ambition balanced with student satisfaction.

We know that to give our students the very best experiential learning, prior to getting into the workplace, simulation is second to none, for safe, realistic, learning environments. We have invested heavily in purpose built simulated wards, science labs and skills space, to support our students through their learning.

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 starting 2020/21 (per year)


International students starting 2020/21 (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

UK and EU students can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments

International students

You can pay your tuition fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

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.

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.

Foundation year entry requirements

  • 5 GCSE passes at grade 3 or D or above and evidence of two years post-GCSE study at Level 3
  • If you have achieved at least grade E in one A level, or equivalent, you are exempt from the two year post-GCSE study requirement, but you still have to meet the GCSE requirements
  • If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificate level of proficiency of at least IELTS 5.5 overall including 5.5 in each band/component
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 postgraduate 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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