Undergraduate study - 2018 entry

Subject area: Medical Sciences

Why choose Medical Sciences at the University of Edinburgh?

  • The College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine has a long-established reputation for excellence in medical and biomedical research and teaching. Our academic staff are involved in cutting-edge biomedical research, rated as internationally-excellent or world class, and bring a breadth and depth of research-based knowledge and expertise to their teaching and supervision.

  • We combine the expertise of academic staff with a flexible programme structure and state-of-the-art facilities to provide an outstanding student learning environment that fosters individual intellectual development.

  • You will have the opportunity to undertake research project work with top-rated laboratory or clinical research groups.

Study abroad

Edinburgh is renowned for biomedical research and I like that lecturers incorporate the latest developments into their teaching material. It keeps you up to date with what issues are facing scientists today.

Lewis Green BSc (Hons) Medical Sciences graduate
Lewis Green BSc (Hons) Medical Sciences graduate

Our BSc (Hons) Medical Sciences is a multidisciplinary programme that provides the knowledge, skills and personal and professional development appropriate for graduate entry to medicine, medical research or careers in one of the many healthcare or healthcare-related professions.

A platform of compulsory courses delivers core material in biomedical sciences, medical sociology and medical ethics that underpins and directs advances in 21st-century medical practice. In addition, your option course choices offer you the flexibility to explore the broader biological, physicochemical, clinical and social sciences that underlie contemporary healthcare.

Our programme develops healthcare-related themes with a particular emphasis on current medical research and its significance for advances in medical/clinical practice. Opportunities exist for students to undertake research within groups recognised as delivering internationally excellent, and in some areas world-leading, research.

Medical sciences is founded on developing skills in academic research and scientific enquiry to encourage an awareness and understanding of the research that is needed to continue to advance clinical practice.

Alongside a depth of knowledge in medical sciences, you will also develop a level of understanding and a breadth of skills that will enable you to contribute to, and guide, public debate on issues that affect healthcare for present and future generations.

Transferring to Medicine MBChB

Up to five offers for entry into Year 2 of the Edinburgh MBChB programme will normally be made to final-year BSc (Hons) Medical Sciences undergraduates. Application for these places should be made through UCAS.

Medical sciences undergraduates applying to the MBChB are required to have the appropriate academic qualifications, need to have sat the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) and, if shortlisted, will be interviewed along with other shortlisted graduate applicants.

Offers will be made before the end of the first semester of Year 4 of the medical sciences programme.

Medical sciences students will not normally be able to transfer to the MBChB programme during their studies.

Year 1

You will take three compulsory courses: Medical Sciences 1; Medical Biology 1; and Molecules, Genes & Cells 1. 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 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 & Pathology 2; Biomedical Sciences 2; and Microorganisms, Infection & 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 & Society 3; Clinical Biochemistry & Endocrinology 3; and Clinical Immunology & Haematology 3A plus three option courses.

The compulsory courses explore further the links between basic research and the clinical situation. Health, Illness & Society 3 is unique to this programme and 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 option 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.

Are there additional costs?


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 the Western General Hospital.

All sites offer state-of-the-art lecture theatres and laboratory facilities. You will also have access to the University’s library and computer facilities.

Study abroad

There is currently an opportunity for up to two students to study in Year 3 at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

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 alongside a dedicated medical sciences electronic personal development portfolio.

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.

You will be prepared for careers in a range of areas, including biomedical or clinical 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.

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