UCAS code: B120
Duration: 4 years
School: Edinburgh Medical School: Biomedical Sciences
College: Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Introducing BSc Physiology
Physiology examines how humans and other animals do the following:
This discipline studies how:
- cells respond to changes in their environment
- cell functions are integrated in tissues, organs and living organisms
The understanding of fundamental physiological principles is central to our ability to identify potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of diseases. It links closely with other subject areas, including pharmacology and reproductive biology.
Physiology explores how information is sent from one cell to another through chemical or electrical signals and the integrated function of body systems that, for example, control:
In Years 1 and 2 of your BSc (Hons) degree, you will complete a broad programme of study in biomedical sciences. This structure is shared by all our undergraduate Biomedical Sciences degree programmes.
We introduce you to Physiology in your Year 1 and 2 compulsory courses.
Specialisation in Physiology will begin in Year 3. In your final year, you will focus on this discipline.
Our Biomedical Sciences programmes have a common structure in Years 1 and 2. This provides a foundation in the knowledge, understanding and skills needed for all of our specialist subject areas.
You will have opportunities to move between honours subject areas at the end of Years 2 and 3.
In Years 3 and 4, you will focus on exploring your chosen subject area in-depth.
The main theme you will study is 'the importance of biomedical sciences to medicine and health'. You will learn how biomedical science discoveries and breakthroughs have led to medical and scientific advancement.
You will take three compulsory courses covering:
- biomedical sciences
- medical biology
- molecular and cellular biology
Plus others from a range of biomedical and non-biomedical courses.
We expect you to take at least one course in biological chemistry.
The theme of your second year is 'foundational understanding of biomedical sciences'. This includes essential learning in biomedical disciplines.
You will take three compulsory courses:
- Biomedical Sciences 2
- Microorganisms, Infection & Immunity 2
- Cells to Organisms 2
You will also choose courses from a range of biomedical and non-biomedical options.
You will study compulsory courses, including:
- Biomedical Sciences 3 - cornerstone to the theme of 'developing knowledge from experiment'
- Physiology 3
You will also take a combination of optional courses that broaden your understanding of your chosen subject.
Additionally in this year, you will develop key graduate attributes, including analytical and communication skills.
The theme of your final year is 'research in practice'.
You will study a compulsory core course, plus two option courses that cover cutting-edge topics in more depth.
With individual support from a supervisor, you will complete a major research project. This can involve:
- original, laboratory-based research or
- data / literature analysis-based research.
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.
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 BioQuarter
- The Western General Hospital
All sites offer state-of-the-art lecture theatres and laboratory facilities.
Study materials are available online. Plus, you will have full access to the University's libraries and computer laboratories.
In Year 3, you will have the opportunity to study in:
- North America
How will I learn?
We use a blend of learning and teaching approaches.
In-person teaching includes:
- discussion groups
- laboratory work
This is blended with digital teaching using our virtual learning environment. There you will find electronic resources, including:
- video recordings
- laboratory simulations
- discussion boards
- supplementary reading and reference material
The importance of research underpins all years of study on the programme. Academic staff who are actively involved in internationally recognised research will teach you.
The balance between teacher-directed learning and independent personal study is an important element of student learning.
In Years 3 and 4, the emphasis moves towards self-directed study and discussion-based learning to enhance your learning experience.
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.
The broad analytical, scientific and personal skills you gain on this programme will equip you for a variety of careers.
A degree based on study in this area will particularly appeal to those planning:
- a career in biomedical research or a related area
- a graduate-entry career in industry, management or the public sector
Previous graduates have been employed in science and non-science sectors, including:
- policy research
A large proportion of our graduates choose to go on to further study before entering successful academic or industry-based research careers.
Standard entry requirement
The standard entry requirement is:
- SQA Highers: AABB by the end of S5 or AAAB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
- A Levels: AAB in one set of exams.
- IB: 34 points with 655 at HL
Minimum entry requirement
The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:
- SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB by the end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
- A Levels: ABB.
- IB: 32 points with 655 at HL.
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: Analysis and approaches or Mathematics: Applications and interpretation at 5. 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 C/4.
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of 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.
Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.
SQA, GCSE and IB
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
- 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: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component.
- TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
- C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
- Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
- PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.
(Revised 29 August 2023 to remove PTE Academic Online)
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, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
Please apply for only one Biomedical Sciences degree. If you apply for multiple degrees within the Biomedical Sciences suite only one application will be taken forward for consideration with the remaining applications being processed as unsuccessful. You will have the opportunity to switch between degrees in later years provided the required courses have been passed.
Second year entry
There are a limited number of places for second year entry each year. Achieving the required grades does not guarantee an offer for direct entry into second year.
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.
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