Biomedical Sciences | University of Oxford
Biomedical Sciences
A high resolution ray-traced ribbon model of human haemoglobin.
(Image credit: Shutterstock).

Biomedical Sciences

mortar boardUCAS codeBC98calendarDuration3 years (BA)
pencilEntrance requirements

A*AA excluding Critical Thinking and General
Studies

HeadSubject requirements
  Two from Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics
tickAdmissions test(s)ox.ac.uk/bmatcrossWritten workNone
bar chartAdmissions statistics*

Interviewed: 28%
Successful: 10%
Intake: 39
*3-year average 2016-18

phoneContactEmail Biomedical Sciences

Subject requirements:       Essential       Recommended       Helpful – may be useful on course

Unistats information for this course can be found at the bottom of the page

Please note that there may be no data available if the number of course participants is very small.

Biomedical science focuses on how cells, organs and systems function in the human body; an exciting and dynamic area that is highly relevant to the understanding and treatment of human diseases. Oxford is a highly respected and internationally recognised centre for biomedical research and students will benefit from tuition from leading experts working within a variety of nonclinical and clinical departments.

This course provides students with an intellectually stimulating education in modern molecular, cellular and systems biology and neuroscience. Please note this course does not provide medical training.

The Biomedical Sciences course at Oxford has been designed so that students initially acquire an integrated understanding of biomedical science that allows them to shape their subsequent studies towards the topics that interest them the most. Practical laboratory work forms an integral part of this programme and you will be required to complete these practical elements to a satisfactory standard in order to progress through the course. As the course progresses, increasing emphasis is placed on scientific research, as students obtain first-hand experience of laboratory research in the later stages. Students choose their own project and the possible areas for investigation within the University are wide ranging.

On the basis of the specialisation initiated by the selection of second-year modules and confirmed by the choice of third-year options, students will be awarded a degree in either Neuroscience or Cell and Systems Biology.

 Student in a lab students in a jcr student studying
“My course is already pretty specific in orientating the learning towards human biology, for those not wanting to be a medic. However, on top of that it allows you to specify options after first year. So, from second year onwards I am doing more specifically what I want to do. I can focus on the areas of human science that really interest me and cut out those that turn me off. This makes work much more enjoyable when you actively want to learn more about the subject, beyond the recommended reading list.”
TAMSIN
“The first year is so incredibly broad! I went into first year with no doubt in my mind that I'd be specialising in genetics or immunology, but a few psychology and neuroscience lectures later my whole plan had changed! If I didn't do Biomedical Sciences, I may have never even considered neuroscience as something to dedicate my career towards!”
JACK
“Although in school I was encouraged to apply for Medicine, my interests were much more about the science than patient interaction. The brilliance of the Biomedical Sciences course at Oxford is the luxury of choice. It has been designed in a ‘stepping stone’ fashion, providing students with a solid foundation of science in the first year and then allowing them to tailor the course to their particular interests over the following two years. You can tell they’ve really thought about the structure and it’s arguably one of the best and most exciting courses Oxford offers.”
MARK

Biomedical Sciences

A typical week

In your first year you would typically attend six to ten lectures, a Mathematics or Statistics class and a three-hour practical class each week. In addition, you will prepare for and attend weekly tutorials during which you will discuss, through consideration of experimental studies, the significance and limitations of a given topic with your tutors. Your remaining time will be available for independent study.

During the first two terms of the second year, your work is divided between around five lectures and one to two tutorials each week, in addition to practical classes, while the final term concentrates on experimental research in a laboratory. During the third year you will attend lectures, seminars and tutorials in your chosen specialist area.

Tutorials are usually 2-4 students and a tutor. Class sizes vary according to the type of class: workshops are typically 10 students, while practical classes are normally up to 40 students. Most tutorials, classes, and lectures are delivered by members of academic staff or research staff. Many are world-leading experts with years of experience in teaching and research. Some tutorial and class teaching may also be delivered by postgraduate students who are usually studying at doctorate level.

To find out more about how our teaching year is structured, visit our Academic Year page and the Medical Sciences website.  

Course structure

Please note that the structure for this course is currently under review. From 2021 entry, it may be possible to apply for an optional 4th year, leading to an integrated Master's degree. Further information will be available here in November.

TERMS 1–3 (YEAR 1)

COURSES

  • Numerical and scientific skills (Mathematics and Statistics, Chemistry and Physics)
  • Body and cells
  • Genes and molecules
  • Brain and behaviour

ASSESSMENT

Examined by five written papers at the end of the year. A satisfactory practical record is required for progression to Year 2.

TERMS 4–5 (PART I FINALS)
COURSES

Students select courses totalling ten units from a wide range of subject areas, which currently include:

  • Psychological processes and disorders
  • Neurophysiology
  • Cellular and systems physiology
  • Intra- and intercellular signalling
  • Genetics and developmental biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular pathology and immunology

The full list is available on the Biomedical Sciences website

ASSESSMENT

Examined by two written papers at the start of term 6. These papers contribute 20% to the final degree mark. An academic penalty will be applied for an unsatisfactory practical record.

TERMS 6–9 (PART II FINALS)

Terms 6-8

Students work on their research project.

Terms 6-9

Students select from a wide range of specialised options that cover:

  • Cell and systems physiology and pharmacology
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychology
  • Pathology and developmental biology

Students will choose whether they wish to graduate from the course with either a BA in Cell and Systems Biology or a BA in Neuroscience. The BA degree awarded will depend on the pattern of options chosen. 

The full list of current options is available here.

ASSESSMENT

Examined by four written papers during the third term of the final year. Students will also submit a project report and deliver a presentation on their research findings to the examiners. 80% of the final degree mark is determined by performance in the written papers and the project report/presentation.

The content and format of this course may change in some circumstances. Read further information about potential course changes.

Academic requirements

A-levels:A*AA excluding Critical Thinking and General Studies. 
Advanced Highers: AA
Highers: AAAAA Candidates are required to have an Advanced Higher in at least one from Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics, and two Highers from Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics.
IB:39 (including core points) with 766 at HL. Candidates are required to have two subjects from Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics at Higher Level.
BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma:Please see the Medical Sciences website for details. 
Or any other equivalent (see other UK qualifications, and international qualifications). 

Wherever possible, your grades are considered in the context in which they have been achieved.  (See further information on how we use contextual data.) 

Subject requirements 

  Essential: 

Candidates are required to have two of their A-levels from Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. If a practical component forms part of any science A-levels taken, we expect candidates to have taken it and passed. 

If not taken on to a higher level (A-level or equivalent), all candidates will need to show that they have received a basic education (achieving at least a grade C/4 at GCSE, Intermediate 2 or Standard grade (Credit) or equivalent) in Biology, Chemistry, Physics (GCSE Dual Award Combined Sciences or equivalent is also acceptable) and Mathematics. 

Please see the Medical Sciences website for further details.

If English is not your first language you may also need to meet our English language requirements.

Applying

All candidates must follow the application procedure as shown in applying to Oxford. The information below gives specific details for students applying for this course.

Admissions test  

Test: BMAT 
Test date:30 October 2019                                                                       
Registration deadline: 1 October 2019
Late registration deadline (with fee):15 October 2019

All candidates must also take the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) as part of their application. Separate registration for this test is required and it is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they are registered. We strongly recommend making arrangements in plenty of time before the deadline. Everything you need to know, including guidance on registration and preparation, can be found on the BMAT test page

Please note, the University of Oxford will not accept BMAT results from the September sitting for this course.

Written work 

You do not need to submit written work as part of an application for this course.

What are tutors looking for?

Tutors look for lively, receptive minds with the ability to evaluate evidence critically. You should be able to consider issues from different perspectives and have a capacity for logical and creative thinking. BMAT results will be considered when shortlisting candidates for interview. For more detail on the selection criteria for this course, please see the Medical Sciences website.

Careers

This course provides a strong foundation to pursue academic research, work in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors, or apply for an accelerated graduate entry course in medicine. In recent years, around two thirds of our graduates have gone onto study for a higher degree or a clinical qualification. 

The Biomedical Sciences course at the University of Oxford is a full-time, basic science degree course, offering education in cell and systems physiology and neuroscience. It is not accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science.

Oxford University is committed to recruiting the best and brightest students from all backgrounds. We offer a generous package of financial support to Home/EU students from lower-income households. (UK nationals living in the UK are usually Home students.)

Latest information for UK and EU undergraduates who will begin their course in 2020 can be found here. Further information for EU students starting in 2020 is available here.

The fees and funding information below relates to those who will start at Oxford in 2020.

Fees

These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2020.

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU£9,250
Islands
(Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
£9,250
Overseas£28,330

For more information please refer to our course fees page. Fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Living costs

Living costs at Oxford might be less than you’d expect, as our world-class resources and college provision can help keep costs down.

Living costs for the academic year starting in 2020 are estimated to be between £1,135 and £1,650 for each month you are in Oxford. Our academic year is made up of three eight-week terms, so you would not usually need to be in Oxford for much more than six months of the year but may wish to budget over a nine-month period to ensure you also have sufficient funds during the holidays to meet essential costs. For further details please visit our living costs webpage.

Financial support

Home/EU

A tuition fee loan is available from the UK government to cover course fees in full for Home (UK)/EU students undertaking their first undergraduate degree*, so you don’t need to pay your course fees up front.

In 2020 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to UK and EU students with a family income of around £42,875 or less, with additional opportunities available to UK students from households with incomes of £27,500 or less. This support is available in addition to the government living costs support.  See further details.

Islands
(Channel Islands and Isle of Man)

Islands students are entitled to different support to that of students from the rest of the UK.

Please refer the links below for information on the support to you available from your funding agency:

States of Jersey
States of Guernsey
Isle of Man

Overseas

Please refer to the "Other Scholarships" section of our Oxford Bursaries and Scholarships page.

*If you have studied at undergraduate level before and completed your course, you will be classed as an Equivalent or Lower Qualification student (ELQ) and won’t be eligible to receive government or Oxford funding

Fees, Funding and Scholarship search

Additional Fees and Charges Information for Biomedical Sciences

In the third term of the second year, students who undertake a research project may wish to remain in Oxford after the end of full term to facilitate completion of their project. (See the likely range of living costs for an additional month in Oxford.) However, this extended residence in Oxford is not a requirement and students should be aware that no financial support is available to help with any additional living costs during this time.

Contextual information

Course data from Discover Uni provides applicants with statistics about undergraduate life at Oxford. But there is so much more to an Oxford degree that the numbers can’t convey.

The Oxford tutorial

College tutorials are central to teaching at Oxford. Typically, they take place in your college and are led by your academic tutor(s) who teach as well as do their own research. Students will also receive teaching in a variety of other ways, depending on the course. This will include lectures and classes, and may include laboratory work and fieldwork. However, tutorials offer a level of personalised attention from academic experts unavailable at most universities.

During tutorials (normally lasting an hour), college subject tutors will give you and one or two tutorial partners feedback on prepared work and cover a topic in depth. The other student(s) in your college tutorials will be from your year group, doing the same course as you and will normally be at your college. Such regular and rigorous academic discussion develops and facilitates learning in a way that isn’t possible through lectures alone. Tutorials also allow for close progress monitoring so tutors can quickly provide additional support if necessary.

Read more about tutorials and an Oxford education

College life

Our colleges are at the heart of Oxford’s reputation as one of the best universities in the world.

  • At Oxford, everyone is a member of a college as well as their subject department(s) and the University. Students therefore have both the benefits of belonging to a large, renowned institution and to a small and friendly academic community. Each college or hall is made up of academic and support staff, and students. Colleges provide a safe, supportive environment leaving you free to focus on your studies, enjoy time with friends and make the most of the huge variety of opportunities.
  • Each college has a unique character, but generally their facilities are similar. Each one, large or small, will have the following essential facilities:
    • Porters’ lodge (a staffed entrance and reception)
    • Dining hall
    • Lending library (often open 24/7 in term time)
    • Student accommodation
    • Tutors’ teaching rooms
    • Chapel and/or music rooms
    • Laundry
    • Green spaces
    • Common room (known as the JCR).
  • All first year students are offered college accommodation either on the main site of their college or in a nearby college annexe. This means that your neighbours will also be ‘freshers’ and new to life at Oxford. This accommodation is guaranteed, so you don’t need to worry about finding somewhere to live after accepting a place here, all of this is organised for you before you arrive.
  • All colleges offer at least one further year of accommodation and some offer it for the entire duration of your degree. You may choose to take up the option to live in your college for the whole of your time at Oxford, or you might decide to arrange your own accommodation after your first year – perhaps because you want to live with friends from other colleges.
  • While college academic tutors primarily support your academic development, you can also ask their advice on other things. Lots of other college staff including welfare officers help students settle in and are available to offer guidance on practical or health matters. Current students also actively support students in earlier years, sometimes as part of a college ‘family’ or as peer supporters trained by the University’s Counselling Service.

More about Oxford colleges and how you choose