Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

BSc Medical Sciences

UCAS code: B100

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh Medical School: Biomedical Sciences

College: Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

Study abroad

Introducing BSc Medical Sciences

Medical Sciences could be for you if you plan to enter a career in healthcare or a healthcare-related profession.

This programme examines the science behind the clinical practice of medicine and addresses key principles relating to human health and disease, such as:

  • diagnosis
  • treatment
  • prevention
  • education

You will investigate the science and develop the skills you need to contribute to advances in medicine.

Course selection

The course selection for this programme is based on the research strengths of our academic staff. They develop important medically-related themes and illustrate:

  • the contribution of different disciplines to advances in the understanding and application of healthcare-related science
  • the role of basic research in advancing medical practice
  • social and ethical issues surrounding research and medical practice

Year 1

You will take three compulsory courses:

  • Medical Sciences 1
  • Medical Biology
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology

Medical Sciences 1 defines the unique identity of this programme by introducing the breadth of integrated disciplines that contribute to our understanding of health and disease.

You will also choose courses from a range of biomedical and non-biomedical options. You should take at least one course in biological chemistry.

Year 2

You will expand your knowledge in basic biomedical sciences and develop an integrated approach to understanding the science behind medical practice.

You will take three compulsory courses:

  • Anatomy and Pathology 2
  • Biomedical Sciences 2
  • Microorganisms, Infection and Immunity 2

Anatomy and Pathology 2 is a programme-specific course that develops key healthcare themes. It introduces the integrated approach to the structure and function of the human body at different levels of organisation.

You will take additional courses from biomedical, biological or other disciplines across the University.

Year 3

You will develop expert specialised knowledge in medical sciences. This will allow you to understand current research and discuss its significance and implications.

In year 3 the unique identity of the programme is further defined by three compulsory courses and three optional courses.

Compulsory courses

Health, Illness and Society 3 helps you to understand and critically reflect on the relationships between health and society by drawing on perspectives from:

  • the social sciences
  • public health
  • medical ethics

Clinical Biochemistry and Endocrinology 3 uses the cardiovascular system to demonstrate how biochemistry and analytical chemistry can be applied to medical diagnosis.

Clinical Immunology and Haematology 3A demonstrates how the immune system:

  • develops
  • prevents infectious diseases
  • interacts with other body systems to limit or cause tissue damage

Year 4

You will have opportunities to:

  • engage in research
  • discuss and analyse high-profile issues
  • reflect on, and re-evaluate, the themes addressed in earlier years

You will study the compulsory course Medical Sciences 4 and two optional courses that analyse high-profile, contemporary issues in medical sciences.

With individual support from a supervisor, you will complete a major research project. This can involve:

  • original, laboratory-based medical research
  • clinically-related research
  • literature analysis-based research

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2021/22)

Our facilities

Teaching takes place in the University's Central Area and on the King's Buildings campus.

In your final year, some teaching will take place in:

  • The Chancellor's Building at Little France
  • The Western General Hospital

All sites offer state-of-the-art lecture theatres and laboratory facilities.

Study materials are available online. You will have full access to the University's libraries and computer laboratories.

Study abroad

We have an exchange agreement with the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. This provides the opportunity for up to two students to study there during year 3 of this programme.

How will I learn?

You will be taught through a combination of:

  • tutorials
  • lectures
  • practical work
  • problem-based learning
  • computer-assisted learning

All courses are supported by a virtual learning environment that offers:

  • self-assessment tools
  • online course resources
  • student discussion forums

How will I be assessed?

We use in-course assessment and exams in all years.

Your degree classification will be based on your performance in Years 3 and 4.

You will be prepared for careers in a range of areas, including:

  • laboratory sciences
  • the pharmaceutical industry
  • healthcare or medical teaching
  • medical writing
  • healthcare management
  • clinical trials management

Further study

The strong research element of this programme is the ideal preparation for anyone considering a career in postgraduate research.

Although this programme is not a qualification in medical practice, the skills and knowledge you will gain provide an excellent platform for applications to graduate medical programmes.

With further study and training, graduates can also enter careers in:

  • veterinary medicine
  • dentistry
  • nursing
  • pharmacy
  • physiotherapy

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAB - ABBB by end of S5 or AAAA - AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAB - ABB in one set of exams.
  • IB: 36 points with 665 at HL - 32 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 32 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: Biology and Chemistry at B. Higher Mathematics or Physics and Advanced Higher Biology and Chemistry are recommended. National 5s: Mathematics at B and English at C.
  • A Levels: Biology and Chemistry at B. Mathematics or Physics is recommended. GCSEs: Mathematics at B or 6 and English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: Biology and Chemistry, one at 5 and one at 6. Mathematics or Physics is recommended. SL: English and Mathematics at 5. From 2021, both the Mathematics Analysis & approaches and Applications & interpretation pathways will be accepted. If Mathematics and English Language do not form part of your IB diploma we will also accept GCSE Mathematics, or equivalent, at B/6 and GCSE English Language or equivalent at grade C/4. (Revised 20/05/21 to update SL requirements.)

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

For direct entry to second year the standard requirements must be exceeded, including the following:

  • SQA Advanced Highers: AB in Biology and Chemistry.
  • A Levels: AAB in one set of exams to include Biology and Chemistry.
  • IB: 36 points with 666 at HL to include Biology and Chemistry.

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 6.0 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 23 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 169 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for BSc Medical Sciences

Additional costs

No additional costs.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding