Undergraduate study - 2025 entry
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

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. It 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.

The programme develops three important themes:

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

Year 1

You will take three compulsory courses covering:

  • medical sciences
  • medical biology
  • molecular and cellular biology

The compulsory Medical Sciences course defines this programme. It introduces 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 healthcare 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 an integrated approach to the structure, function and pathology 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, you will take 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. It builds on perspectives from:

  • the social sciences
  • public health
  • medical ethics

Clinical Biochemistry and Endocrinology 3 explores important disorders linked with metabolic syndrome with an emphasis on the utility of analysing biochemical markers to define and monitor disease progression or resolution.

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:

  • laboratory-based research
  • data/literature analysis-based research
  • qualitative 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 (2024/25)

Our facilities

Teaching takes place in the University's Central Area and at 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.

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?

We use a blend of learning and teaching approaches.

In-person teaching includes:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • discussion groups
  • workshops
  • 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. You will be taught by academic staff who are actively involved in internationally recognised research.

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.

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.

This programme is not a qualification in medical practice. However, you will gain the skills and knowledge required for a strong application 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: AABB (achievement by end of S5 preferred). BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6. (Revised 25 April 2024 to lower entry requirements from AABB by S5 or AAAB by S6.)
  • A Levels: AAB in one year.
  • 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 S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6. (Revised 25 April 2024 to lower entry requirements from ABBB by S5 or AABB by 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: 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.

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 year 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.


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. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • 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 65 with at least 59 in each component. We do not accept PTE Academic Online.*

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

Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.

English language requirements

(*Revised 24 May 2024 to change PTE Academic requirement from total 62 with at least 59 in each component, and to clarify that we do not accept PTE Academic online.)

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. Applicants will not be considered for second year entry where: they are applying with resit qualifications;they have taken their final examinations over more than one academic year; they have a gap in study since completing their eligible high school qualifications.

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