School of Biomedical Sciences

MSc Biomedical Science

Biomedical science focuses on the understanding of human health and disease, developing diagnostics and treatments that inevitably save and improve lives. Our research-informed MSc Biomedical Science programme aligns to the research disciplines within our newly formed Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research (replacing the Institute of Translational and Stratified Medicine – ITSMed), allowing you to focus your MSc in either cancer, neuroscience, or infection & Immunity.

Our programme provides you the opportunity to broaden your knowledge and practical skills and supports those interested in pursuing research at postgraduate level.

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MSc Biomedical Science (specialist) pathway options:

Students on the MSc Biomedical Science programme undertake three core modules plus one specialist pathway from three available options: 

  • Cancer Biology – examines the fundamentals of various cancers and real-world diagnostics to set you up for a future career in advanced cellular science.
  • Clinical Neuroscience – teaches the essentials of neurobiology with special focus on cause and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases (commences September 2021).
  • Infection & Immunity – explores molecular and cellular basis of infections and disease pathogenesis, antibiotic resistance, and immune system response. 

This gives each student core knowledge in molecular biology, theoretical and practical-based teaching in their chosen specialist area, and the option to undertake a pathway-focused research project with a dedicated supervisor. This forms the MSc Biomedical Science (specialist) programme with students able to graduate with their named specialist pathway - e.g. MSc Biomedical Science (Cancer Biology). 

Applications are accepted up until September (for a mid-September start) or until a pathway is full. A one-year full-time route is available for this programme. Please contact Philip.Warburton@plymouth.ac.uk for further information.

Key features

  • Select a specialist pathway focusing on Cancer Biology, Clinical Neuroscience* or Infection and Immunity.
  • Dedicated content covering genomics, proteomics and transcriptomics.
  • 50+ hours of practical-based learning per pathway.
  • 15-week, independent practical- or dry-laboratory research projects available, supported by a dedicated supervisor.
  • An international reputation in translational research; ranked 1st in the UK for Research Output in Clinical Medicine.
  • Significant financial investment in laboratory infrastructure including the newly constructed Derriford Research Facility.
  • Programme professionally accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).
  • 100% overall student satisfaction in the 2019-20 Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (Plymouth).
*Clinical Neuroscience pathway has been approved by the University for a September 2021 start and is undergoing IBMS accreditation.

Course details
  • Year 1
  • This programme offers the opportunity to specialise in either Cancer Biology or Infection and Immunity, through our dedicated, research-led, biomedical pathways. Both pathways incorporate three core modules covering molecular genetics and proteomics, project design and development, and a research dissertation project. Your chosen pathway will also include two dedicated discipline-specific modules focusing on their specialist theme: Cancer Biology and Therapeutics or Infection and Immunity. You will also contribute to designing and executing a research project with the support of your project supervisor from one of our Biomedical Research groups. Core modules run across both semesters one and two, while one of the two dedicated pathway modules runs in each semester. All modules are assessed through coursework, utilising a variety of written, presentational and practical elements, including a written project dissertation. This enables you to gain broad, transferable skills and experience.

    Core modules
    • BIOM5001 Molecular Biology: Genomics, Transcriptomics and Proteomics

      This module will provide a comprehensive overview of basic genomics and proteomics. An understanding of the latest experimental techniques currently applied to study these 'omics' will be delivered. The emphasis will be on microarray techniques, next-generation sequencing and high-throughput mass spectrometry for the analysis of molecules at the level of genome, transcriptome and proteome.

    Optional modules
    • BHCS5008 Infection and Immunity

      This module will provide knowledge of, and explore current areas of molecular and cellular biology of microbial diseases, and the mechanisms of pathogenesis. It will also explore the cellular and molecular processes, which will promote a critical understanding of immune defence in the context of immunology with respect to normal immune responsiveness and immunopathology.

    • BHCS5009 Cancer Biology and Therapeutics

      This module will provide an overview of current developments in cancer biology focusing on current research and understanding of the molecular, cellular and physiological basis of cancer, diagnostic and screening developments. Treatment and areas for future therapies will also be critically examined.

    • BHCS5010 Contemporary Applications in Cancer Biology and Therapeutics

      This module provides knowledge of a wide range of techniques used in modern cell biology from basic to advanced cell culture, diagnostic histopathology, cytotoxic and genotoxic investigations, flow cytometry, bioinformatics. Contemporary applications of cell biology will be explored in an in-depth critical manner.

    • BHCS5011 Basic and Clinical Neuroscience

      This module will provide an overview of current developments in Neuroscience focusing on current research and understanding of the molecular, cellular and physiological basis of neurological diseases, progression, diagnostic and screening developments. Treatment and areas for future therapies will also be critically discussed.

    • BHCS5012 Contemporary Applications in Neurobiology

      This module provides knowledge of a wide range of techniques used in modern neurobiology from basic to advanced cell culture, diagnostic histopathology, expression studies, imaging, disease model development, behavioural analysis, biostatistics. Contemporary applications of neurobiology will be explored in an in-depth critical manner.

    • BIOM5003 Contemporary Science of Infection and Immunity

      This module provides knowledge of the cellular and molecular basis of the microbial pathogenesis and immunity for a range of bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Current methods and techniques for investigative microbiology and immunology will also be explored in an in-depth critical manner.

  • Final year
  • In your final year, you'll focus on a research project in the discipline that interests you the most for your final award. 

    Core modules
    • BIOM5005 Project Design and Development

      The module will provide students with the knowledge to understand and critically review the current scientific literature and skills associated with the project design, development and knowledge transfer process.

    • BIOM5006 Research Project

      This module is comprised of independent self-directed study under the guidance of a project advisor. It includes the development of a research question and associated design and execution of a research study.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Biomedical Science programme specification 5768

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.
Entry requirements

You should have either:

  • A good honours degree (at least 2:2), or equivalent UK university or institute of higher education qualification in a relevant subject with a significant biomedical, biological or biochemical content related to the specialist subject(s) to be studied.

  • If you have overseas qualifications you can check how they compare with the UK equivalent through UK ECCTIS, who provide an advisory service.

Or:

  • Other qualifications and experience that the programme manager deems equivalent in subject content and level of attainment to any of the above.

English language:

  • If you did not complete your secondary or tertiary education in English you will need the equivalent of an IELTS score of 7 or equivalent.
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.
How to apply

When to apply

Most of our taught programmes begin in September. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.

If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Email: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk 

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

Programme Q&A

The MSc Biomedical Science programme lead, Dr Philip Warburton, will be available for a Q&A session via Zoom to give an overview of the course and answer your queries.

The next Q&A session for September 2021 entry is scheduled for 10:00-11:30, Wednesday 5 May 2021.

To join this session, please email Philip.Warburton@plymouth.ac.uk for the link or register via our postgraduate open day site.

Student insight

The programme has given me a vast amount of knowledge in many medical and scientific approaches. It has made me into a more critical-thinking person in regards to what is written and in the presented arguments.

Fatemah Alqallaf is a current student of the MSc Biomedical Science programme

Find out more about what Fatemah has to say about studying with us

James Butler – MSc Biomedical Science graduate

There is an active research community in the School of Biomedical Sciences which I knew would provide me with the mentoring, guidance and resources I needed to develop my research skills and run my own project.

James Butler is graduating with a distinction and has already secured a PHD studentship at the University of Plymouth.

Find out more about James

Biomedical Research Group

Non-invasive pre-natal testing. Self-disseminating vaccines. Molecular cell biology. With its impressive facilities and research activity, the Biomedical Research Group is leading the way in cellular and molecular biomedical science research.

Find out more about the Biomedical Research Group

Meet our staff

Specialising in a range of research areas, from stem cell transplantation to skeletal pathology, our team reflects the multi-disciplinary nature of biomedical science. You’ll benefit from their knowledge, expertise and insights during your course.

Focused research is the foundation of biomedical science.

People

Careers

Students from around the world study biomedical science at the University of Plymouth. We offer the latest facilities, research, support and teaching expertise. So you’ll leave ready for your career, or to further your academic study.

Career possibilities for our graduates include healthcare science, research support, government science and areas relating to scientific media.