Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

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

Year 1

You will take three compulsory courses: Medical Sciences 1 and two courses covering medical biology and molecular and cellular biology. You will also be expected to take at least one course in biological chemistry.

You will choose other courses from a range of biomedical and non-biomedical option courses. Medical Sciences 1 defines the unique identity of the programme, introducing a breadth of disciplines that integrate to contribute to our understanding of health and disease.

Year 2

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

You will take three compulsory courses: Anatomy and Pathology 2; Biomedical Sciences 2; and Microorganisms, Infection and Immunity 2, alongside additional courses chosen from biomedical, biological or other disciplines across the University.

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

Year 3

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

You will develop key skills in critical analysis, research and communication alongside increasing biomedical knowledge. You will study three compulsory courses: Health, Illness and Society 3; Clinical Biochemistry and Endocrinology 3; and Clinical Immunology and Haematology 3A, plus three optional courses.

The compulsory courses explore further the links between basic research and the clinical situation. Health, Illness and Society 3 is unique to this programme. It provides an important focus on developing awareness of healthcare-specific professional and ethical relationships, covering aspects of social medicine from the understanding of disease at a population level to the global allocation and use of healthcare resources.

Year 4

You will have opportunities to actively engage in research, discuss and analyse high-profile issues and reflect on and re-evaluate themes addressed in earlier years.

You will study the compulsory course Medical Sciences 4 alongside two optional courses that allow analysis of high-profile contemporary issues in medical sciences. With individual supervisor support, you will complete a major research project that involves either original, laboratory-based medical research, clinically-related research or 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 (2020/21)

Our facilities

Teaching takes place at both the University's Central Area and the King's Buildings campus. In the final year, some teaching takes place in the Chancellor’s Building at Little France, and at 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

An exchange agreement is in place with the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden that provides the opportunity for up to 2 students to study there during year 3 of the Medical Sciences degree programme.

How will I learn?

You will be taught through a combination of tutorials, lectures, practical work, problem-based learning and computer-assisted learning.

All courses are supported by a virtual learning environment that offers self-assessment tools, online course resources and student discussion forums.

How will I be assessed?

In-course assessment and exams are used in all years of the programme. Your degree classification will be based on your performance in Years 3 and 4.

Programme details

Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.

To give you an idea of what to expect from 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 details (2020/21)

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 and clinical trials management.

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

Although this programme is not a qualification in medical practice, the skills and knowledge gained provide an excellent platform for applications to graduate medical programmes. Graduates can also enter careers in veterinary medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy and physiotherapy. However, to enter these professions you will need to pursue further study and training.

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 at 5 and Mathematics at 5. From 2021, both the Mathematics Analysis & approaches and Applications & interpretation pathways will be accepted.

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

*(Revised 27 April 2020 to include TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition.)

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