Introduction

Enhance your undergraduate degree with a year's placement in an industrial, commercial or research environment.

This programme is studied on campus.

In the first two years of your degree you will gain a broad knowledge of subjects related to medical science and in scientific research methods. In addition, you will enhance your critical analysis abilities while developing your interpersonal skills through team-working and oral/written communications.

Advanced knowledge of pharmacology will be acquired in the third and fifth years of the programme. The University of Aberdeen has a distinguished history both in teaching pharmacology and of pharmacological innovation. The University has been recognised by the British Pharmacological Society as a site of special scientific interest based on its achievements in pharmacology and is associated with a Nobel Prize for research which led to the development of insulin as a treatment for diabetes. The University is also one of the top 10 UK Universities for spin-out company formation.

In your fourth year you will undertake a year's industrial placement and graduate after five years with an MSci (an undergraduate Masters degree) instead of a BSc. Placements vary considerably but in general terms, you will be placed in an industrial, commercial or research environment where you will obtain a breadth of practical experience to complement your degree programme and enhance your employability.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MSci
Duration
60 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
B9BF

What You'll Study

A degree in Biomedical Science (Pharmacology) is taught via a selection of compulsory and optional courses to enhance your learning and prepare you for a future career or further study. In each year you will take courses adding up to 120 credits. Depending on the number of compulsory and optional courses offered by your degree, you can also choose other eligible courses which fit your timetable.

Year 1

Year 1

Year 1 will prepare you for more detailed studies of human physiology pharmacology that will be made in the second year of study.

Compulsory Courses

Introduction to Medical Sciences (SM1001) - 15 Credit Points
  • Topics covered in this course span medical science through the ages; from ancient civilizations to the modern day science of genomics and synthetic biology.
  • Alongside lecture material, in depth practical classes will cover biomedical measurement techniques, forensic science and a research-based mini project.
  • Also included in the course is a trip to the Institute of Medical Sciences where you will gain access to cutting-edge laboratories and equipment.
  • Overall, this course is a journey through some of the key milestones that underpin the discipline of medical science we see today.

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Chemistry for the Life Sciences 1 (CM1020) - 15 Credit Points

This course covers the foundations of chemistry that underpin the life sciences at a molecular level. The course aims to consolidate a general background in chemistry by putting chemical concepts into a life sciences context. The basic concepts of chemistry will be covered, along with organic molecules, acids and bases, and the basic principles behind the driving forces of reactions.

Laboratory classes introduce important practical techniques, with experiments that reinforce and complement the taught material.

The course will allow students to continue with other chemistry courses as part of their enhanced study by providing discipline breadth.

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The Cell (SM1501) - 15 Credit Points
  • cells are the fundamental unit of life – without them life could not exist, and as such understanding how they function is crucial to our understanding of biology and medical science;
  • this course provides theoretical knowledge in a diverse range of topics covering the fascinating world of cells, from molecules like DNA, to how different cell types function within our bodies;
  • all practical classes are research based and will provide theoretical knowledge and skills training in many areas of molecular and cell biology;
  • employability skills will also be explored through a highly interactive session run by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise

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Chemistry for the Life Sciences 2 (CM1512) - 15 Credit Points

Chemistry plays an important role in the life sciences, explaining the shapes and properties of biomolecules, and helping to provide an understanding of how biological processes work at a molecular level.

The shapes and function of important biomolecules will be covered. Organic molecule reaction mechanisms will give insight into how different types of molecules can be synthesised. The energetics and importance of equilibrium in driving reactions will be covered.

Methods of chemical analysis and measurement introduce other important topics linking the chemical and life sciences.

Workshops and labs complement lectures by consolidating learning and developing problem-solving and hands-on practical skills.

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Professional Skills Part 1 (PD1001)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students and above, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

  • Select a further 60 credit points from courses of choice.
Year 2

Year 2

Year 2 courses will build on your understanding of medical science and explore pharmacology in more detail.

Compulsory Courses

Physiology of Human Cells (BI20B2) - 15 Credit Points
  • Physiology is the science of understanding life. It allows you to explore and understand why your body does what it does and how it does it;
  • This introductory physiology course explores living processes at the level of cells and molecules;
  • The course lays down many of the fundamental concepts of physiology required to appreciate advanced study of many of the medical science disciplines;
  • You will gain practical experience and understanding of electrophysiological techniques required for the study of electrically excitable tissues, like nerves and muscle;
  • You will also gain valuable experience in the key skill of writing formal scientific reports

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Molecular Biology of the Gene (BI20M3) - 15 Credit Points
  • this course will provide a comprehensive understanding of how genetic information is stored, how it is accessed by the cell to form functional proteins and how the release of this information is controlled to produce a healthy human child;
  • understanding this process is essential to understanding the basis of human disease and the course will examine how genetic differences affect disease susceptibility;
  • this popular, comprehensive and cutting edge course will equip students with the essential knowledge, skills and confidence in molecular biology required to progress on all courses undertaken in the School of Medical Sciences

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Foundation Skills for Medical Sciences (SM2001) - 15 Credit Points
  • this course is the cornerstone to all the advanced science courses in later years and provides you with key skills for success in science;
  • feedback from employers drove the course design to give specific and focused science skills to enhance your employability;
  • analytical, professional, data interpretation, experimental design and problem solving skills are core elements that are essential for any graduate career portfolio;
  • this course and the additional specifically developed online resources have been commended by employers and students alike.

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Physiology of Human Organ Systems (BI25B2) - 15 Credit Points
  • the digestive, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal and reproductive systems are covered using a variety of innovative teaching methods;
  • you will participate in practical classes where students act as subjects and investigators. These will reinforce lecture material, develop scientific acumen and build team working skills;
  • focussed and interactive problem solving sessions apply knowledge to clinical scenarios, and begin developing fundamental skills critically required in the final years of the degree;
  • informal teaching sessions allow one-to-one staff-student interaction and encourage discussion in a non-threatening environment;
  • a low stakes in-course mock exam is included to prepare you for the high stakes degree exam

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Energy for Life (BI25M7) - 15 Credit Points
  • understanding the fundamental workings of cells is important to a wide range of scientific disciplines;
  • this course integrates the key metabolic and biochemical processes that underpin human, animal and plant life in relation to health and disease;
  • this core knowledge prepares you for more advanced study in all areas of life sciences and has wide ranging applications;
  • you will also participate in an award winning practical series focussed on drug discovery which will build essential employability skills in experimental design, data analysis and practical laboratory skills

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Research Skills for Medical Sciences (SM2501) - 15 Credit Points
  • this course cultivates literature research skills, building confidence in team-working and communication through scientific writing and seminar presentation;
  • it encourages student-led learning and organisation in researching a topic on human health or disease of your own choice, with tutors providing guidance;
  • you will learn to use online and library resources to search for information from primary research articles and relay that information in the form of a written report and a Powerpoint presentation to peers and academic tutors;
  • these are all fundamental skills for scientific researchers, but are also transferrable talents for many other career pathways

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Human Anatomy A (BM2009) - 15 Credit Points
  • this course will teach you what we know about anatomy of different parts of human body and how it relates to development, various injuries and disorders;
  • you'll get a chance to work with prosected human cadaveric specimens and medical images such as MRI scans;
  • course will increase your practical skills, improve your problem-solving and image interpretation skills, and help you understand why fundamental anatomy and imaging are important to understanding human health & disease;
  • this course will focus on the anatomy of the back, upper & lower limbs, thorax and abdomen;
  • learning is facilitated by videos and 3D anatomy resources on MyAberdeen

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Human Anatomy B (BM2509) - 15 Credit Points
  • this will teach you about the anatomy of different systems of the human body and how it relates to growth, development, various injuries and disorders;
  • you will get a chance to work with the prosected human cadaveric specimens, medical images such as CT and MRI scans;
  • will increase your practical skills, improve your problem-solving and image interpretation skills, help you understand why fundamental anatomy and imaging are so important to understanding human health and disease;
  • this will focus on the anatomy of pelvis, perineum, head, neck and brain;
  • facilitated by videos and 3D anatomy resources on MyAberdeen

View detailed information about this course

Year 3

Year 3

In year 3, you will move on to focus on your chosen specialism of pharmacology, and your courses will reflect this.

Compulsory Courses

Biochemical Pharmacology and Toxicology (PA3004) - 30 Credit Points
  • this will be the first specific Pharmacology course encountered, and lays appropriate foundations upon which advanced Pharmacological understanding is developed;
  • critical concepts of pharmacological and toxicological relevance are covered in-depth at a molecular and biochemical level, with the ultimate significance to the human organism also studied;
  • a modern and recently developed practical thread (partly funded by the British Pharmacological Society) permits application of lecture materials, and enhances employability through development of relevant core practical skills;
  • research-led special topics are also embedded where the materials studied are put in context through teaching driven by recent organ system medical research

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Working Out: Placement & Career Skills (BT3006) - 5 Credit Points
  • A pre-requisite for all students intending to apply for a year’s industrial placement.
  • This course covers the skills necessary to complete placement applications by exploring CV preparation, writing covering letters, completing application forms, identification of your skill sets and good interview technique.
  • The course will prepare you for the workplace by making you aware of general employability skills and by helping you identify your own transferable skills.

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Cardiovascular Physiology and Pharmacology (BM3501) - 15 Credit Points
  • cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Using teaching informed by high-quality research this course provides a comprehensive understanding of cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology;
  • you will learn how the knowledge of physiological processes is directed into identifying drugs targets for disease, which will improve your understanding of drug discovery;
  • insight into the molecular and cellular action of drugs in the cardiovascular system will prepare you for your final year research project;
  • wider transferable skills include problem solving, data interpretation and training in the ethical and safety aspects of recruiting human subjects in research.

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Neuroscience and Neuropharmacology (BM3502) - 15 Credit Points
  • during this course, you will start to appreciate why the diagnosis and treatment of various neurological and psychiatric disorders is both an art and a science;
  • students will use real-life examples from case studies to help develop and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding;
  • practical classes will enhance students understanding of why developing new neuropharmaceuticals is challenging and will improve their laboratory and analytical skills;
  • this course will help students understand why multidisciplinary teams are essential in improving our understanding and treatment of neurological and psychological disorders;
  • this course will improve your problem-solving, scientific writing, practical and data handling skills

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Mechanisms of Disease and Principles of Chemotherapy (PA3802) - 15 Credit Points
  • by understanding the process of a disease we can find ways of both treating it and/or preventing it;
  • this course uses the examples of cancer, infectious disease and inflammatory disease to illustrate this;
  • the factors leading to or causing the disease will be described;
  • using this knowledge the way in which the drugs used to treat the disease work will be discussed;
  • problems that arise from drug treatment such as drug resistance will also be covered

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Neuroscience Research Topics (BM3804) - 15 Credit Points
  • the course outlines structural and functional alterations occurring in neuronal tissue during development, in the adult and in disease states;
  • the course aims to identify and explain the mechanisms underlying these events and to provide an understanding of their functional consequences by building on the expertise of neuroscience researchers;
  • you will gain cutting edge, in depth knowledge of nervous system development, function and the pathology of specific disease states affecting the nervous system;
  • wider transferrable skills will be gained, such as scientific writing, problem solving, and practical assessment of nervous system function, thus developing graduate attributes and skills for employability

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 30 credit points from courses of choice.
Year 4

Year 4

You will spend year 4 on placement in an industrial, commercial or research environment.

Compulsory Courses

Industrial Placement (BT5007) - 120 Credit Points
  • an industrial placement allows students to experience workplace culture and makes them more effective employees following graduation;
  • placements vary considerably but in general terms, students are placed in an industrial, commercial or research environment where they obtain a breadth of practical experience to complement their degree programme;
  • students are employed by their host company and can expect to work a normal 40 hour week, possibly on a number of projects, over a full calendar year;
  • tutorial assistance from a member of the University academic staff is available via email and / or telephone throughout the year

View detailed information about this course

Year 5

Year 5

The Honours year aims to explore in depth, specific aspects of pharmacology. An important feature is the ten-week research project, carried out in research laboratories at the University or in local research institutes.

Compulsory Courses

Advanced Molecules, Membranes and Cells (BM4004) - 30 Credit Points
  • the core professional knowledge you need, to be able to contribute to research-level biomedical science, especially in fields of pharmacology and physiology;
  • active research scientists explain the latest developments in our understanding of brain function in health and disease, hormone and steroid signalling systems, epithelial biology and cellular homeostasis;
  • small group practical classes in working laboratories introduce core research and data analysis techniques;
  • research scientists present in depth material on core research techniques – transgenic animals, genome editing, biological imaging, patch clamp analysis and ‘omic’ technologies

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Molecular Pharmacology (PA4005) - 15 Credit Points
  • this course provides topical reviews of receptor diversity, expression and signalling in the contexts of both basic science and applications in the treatments of disease and ill health;
  • modern and developing aspects of pharmacology are linked with proteomics/ genomics, therapeutics and methods of drug discovery;
  • specialist emerging aspects of molecular pharmacology including biased ligands and receptor trafficking and their role in disease will be studied in detail;
  • in addition to lectures the course includes advanced data analysis-based tutorials and data presentation which will enhance transferable skills and add to graduate portfolios

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Molecular Toxicology (PA4302) - 15 Credit Points
  • this course extends previous knowledge in the area of drug metabolism and toxicology;
  • the process of drug development will be examined from the importance of understanding the metabolic profile of drugs and their transport to covering molecular aspects of pre-clinical toxicology;
  • external Experts from academia and the pharmaceutical industry contribute to the teaching and assessment of this important area;
  • this course opens up new opportunities for employability in academia and the pharmaceutical industry

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Pharmacology Project (PA4501) - 60 Credit Points
  • the project offers a wonderful opportunity to carry out cutting-edge literature or laboratory-based scientific research;
  • with around 150 projects to choose from, this is a fantastic opening to follow your interests working with academic staff and leading scientific researchers;
  • the project forms the zenith of your degree and fosters further development of the scientific skills and knowledge you have gained and heightens analytical and critical thinking abilities;
  • the opportunity to be part of novel, yet-to-be published research projects can be career-defining, and provides the ideal experience to prepare you for postgraduate study and other future careers

View detailed information about this course

Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

You will be taught using a variety of methods and styles and we continually seek to make the teaching engaging, exciting and responsive to the latest research in your subject area. The research we carry out in the School directly informs and guides our teaching, particularly in the final Honours year. Our commitment to teaching is recognised by the range of University of Aberdeen Student-led Teaching Awards given to staff from our School.

As a student, your learning is supported by MyAberdeen, our virtual learning environment from which you can access the lecture Powerpoint slides, online practice tests, links to related reading, and tutorial support material.

We make innovative use of 'educational voting' handsets in class- remote control 'clickers' that allow each and every student to electronically respond in class by anonymous vote to questions posed by the lecturer.

Your academic development is supported from year 1 through to year 5 by an assigned personal tutor, who acts as adviser and mentor throughout your University career.

Learning Methods

  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lab Work
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
  • practical assessments of the skills and competencies learnt on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, year of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Biomedical Sciences (Pharmacology)?

  • You will spend the fourth year of your degree in paid employment and graduate after five years with an MSci (an undergraduate Masters degree) instead of a BSc.
  • The programme provides you with the scientific content of pre-clinical medicine plus the opportunity to study cellular processes from the whole-body perspective.
  • You will gain a thorough grounding in the core medical sciences as well as your chosen specialism of pharmacology.
  • The people involved in your teaching are at the forefront of pharmacology research and some may also be involved with successful spin-out companies.
  • You will acquire core skills and knowledge vital to the modern workplace which will also provide you with the ideal training for progress to graduate programmes in medical research, medicine, dentistry and other healthcare professions.
  • Excellent teaching; 92% of our students were satisfied with teaching on courses in the School of Medical Sciences, and 91.8% of our students were satisfied that staff made the subject interesting (2014 National Student Survey).
  • Modern teaching facilities and laboratories which will enhance your learning and provide you with an opportunity to experience working in a research-focussed laboratory environment.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

SQA Highers - AAAB*
A Levels - ABB*
IB - 34 points, 6 at HL*
ILC - 5H with 4 at H2 and 1 at H3, with H2 and H3 from Chemistry and another science or mathematics subject, OR AAABB including AB from Chemistry and another science or maths subject. The grading within band B must be at B2 or above.

*Including good performance in Chemistry and one other science/mathematics subject.

Advanced Entry - Advanced Highers AAB or A Levels AAB, or IB 36 points (6 at HL), including Biology and Chemistry, one of which must be an A-grade.

Further detailed entry requirements for Sciences degrees.

English Language Requirements

To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee Waiver

For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU £1,820
All Students
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £18,400
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

The Biomedical Sciences degree primarily prepares you to follow a broad range of careers in science relating to medicine. In this respect, the quality of your training will permit you to take advantage of international career opportunities in research and development. The degree can also form the basis for an application to enter Medicine or Dentistry.

Our degree programmes are built to enhance your employability and three flagship options give our degrees a distinctively different flavour from many others. All our degrees offer:

  • A 10-week full-time research project in the final year, which will provide you with valuable experience of working in a medical science research environment
  • An industrial placement year and graduation with an undergraduate MSci
  • Highly relevant and sought after experience in bio-business, aimed at giving you an understanding of the commercialisation of scientific ideas and an opportunity to learn about the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries

The BSc Biomedical Sciences degree is not accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Sciences (IBMS) and thus our graduates do not achieve their HPC registration at graduation, but instead, if they choose this career path, will gain it following an additional conversion course within hospital laboratories.

What our Alumni Say

  • Aidan Seeley
    Aidan Seeley, PhD in cancer biology at

    Aidan Seeley

    Job Details
    PhD in cancer biology
    Graduated
    The University of Aberdeen has an overwhelming level of support for students. The staff at the University are engaging and have a natural flare for the topics they teach, which inevitably enthuses students.

Our Experts

Other Experts
Dr Derek Scott
Dr Steve Tucker
Professor Heather Wallace
Dr Fiona Murray
Dr James Hislop
Programme Coordinator
Professor Gordon McEwan

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Useful Fact about this Degree

Biomedical scientists in Aberdeen have made major medical advances, including the discovery of Insulin (Nobel Prize) and the discovery of Endorphins with improved quality of life for people globally

Facilities

Image for Library facilities
Library facilities

Library facilities

A dedicated Medical Library on the Foresterhill Health Campus and the fantastic facilities in the Sir Duncan Rice Library at King’s College, are complemented by online access to the key medical and health sciences journals and textbooks.

Image for The Institute of Medical Sciences
The Institute of Medical Sciences

The Institute of Medical Sciences

Focused on developing future effective therapies, the Institute of Medical Sciences houses nearly 400 researchers and support staff working on cutting-edge biomedical subjects aimed at understanding the human body's response to infection and disease.

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Dedicated teaching labs

Dedicated teaching labs

Our commitment to teaching is underscored by our recent rebuild and modernisation of the teaching lab space dedicated to practical teaching at years 1, 2 and 3.

Image for useful fact about this Degree

100 Percent Satisfaction for Pharmacology

Source: National Student Survey 2016

Find out more

Key Information Set (KIS)

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX