Find out more about the Biosciences at Lancaster University.
Lancaster University’s BSc Biomedical Science (Study Abroad) is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS). An IBMS-accredited degree, along with a training period in an NHS lab, represents a core route to employment in the NHS as a biomedical scientist.
The degree will provide you with a thorough grounding in the theory and laboratory techniques associated with biomedical science – a subject dealing with the study of life processes within the context of human health and disease. It is ideal for those with a broad interest in human life processes and disease as teaching places an emphasis on the molecules and mechanisms fundamental to life processes and how these are disrupted by disease.
Our Biomedical Science degree is designed to focus on the key aspects of modern day biomedicine. The course is highly-specialised and is taught jointly with clinical and biomedical staff from local hospitals. The course content is very structured and the majority of the modules are compulsory. If you would prefer a more flexible degree in this subject area, you might want to consider one of Lancaster University’s biomedicine degrees instead.
You will begin your Biomedical Science degree with the study of 15 wide-ranging modules, including Biomedical Science in Practice, Biomedicine and Society, and Diagnosis in Biomedical Science. In your second year, you will study subjects including Biochemistry, Cellular Pathology and Medical Microbiology.
You will spend your third year studying at one of our overseas partner universities building your global outlook and connectivity.
Lancaster University will make reasonable endeavours to place students at an approved overseas partner university that offers appropriate modules which contribute credits to your Lancaster degree. Occasionally places overseas may not be available for all students who want to study abroad or the place at the partner university may be withdrawn if core modules are unavailable. If you are not offered a place to study overseas, you will be able to transfer to the equivalent standard degree scheme and would complete your studies at Lancaster.
Lancaster University cannot accept responsibility for any financial aspects of the year or term abroad.
Returning to Lancaster for your final year of study, you will focus on aspects of human disease by studying modules on Cancer, Medical Genetics and Pathobiology. There are optional modules to select from in your third year, such as Neurobiology and Cell Signalling, Transport and Disease.
During the degree, you will carry out a laboratory-based project, drawing on the expertise of our academic staffs’ vast biomedical research experience. This includes research into skin, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers; Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases; arthritis and other human conditions and diseases.
Our IBMS accredited BSc Biomedical Science is a path to employment as a biomedical scientist in the NHS. The degree can also open up research-based careers in the biochemistry of human diseases and conditions, as well as in biomedicine.
In addition to the NHS, there are many opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry, with recent graduates employed by Glaxo SmithKline and ALcontrol Laboratories.
The transferable skills and analytical training you will gain during your biomedical science degree will allow you to enter science or diverse fields such as management, marketing and finance. You will gain practical skills such as laboratory competence and experimental design; numerical skills such as statistical analysis, data recording and presentation; and interpersonal skills such as team working, communication and negotiation.
Lancaster University is dedicated to ensuring you not only gain a highly reputable degree, you also graduate with the relevant life and work based skills. We are unique in that every student is eligible to participate in The Lancaster Award which offers you the opportunity to complete key activities such as work experience, employability awareness, career development, campus community and social development. Visit our Employability section for full details.
A Level AAB
Required Subjects A level Biology and one other science subject from Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics
GCSE Mathematics grade B or 5, English Language grade C or 4
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 6.0 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 35 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects including 6 in HL Biology and 6 in one further HL science subjects from Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics
BTEC Only considered for entry to the BSc Hons course variant. Subject to academic progression and availability students can transfer to the Study Abroad course.
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualifications. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
International foundation programmes
Delivered in partnership with INTO Lancaster University, our one-year tailored foundation pathways are designed to improve your subject knowledge and English language skills to the level required by a range of Lancaster University degrees. Visit the INTO Lancaster University website for more details and a list of eligible degrees you can progress onto.
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and some which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme to complement your main specialism.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, and the University will make every reasonable effort to offer modules as advertised. In some cases changes may be necessary and may result in some combinations being unavailable, for example as a result of student feedback, timetabling, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes and new research. Not all optional modules are available every year.
Anatomy and Tissue Structure
In this module, the anatomy of the human body is explored. The module begins with an overview of the components of the eleven systems of the human body. The various types of body tissue are examined and their structure-function relationships investigated. Several body systems are explored in detail for example skeletal system, urinary system, integumentary (skin) system and muscular system. Finally, vision and hearing are discussed.
In the laboratory, students will investigate blood, with emphasis on staining techniques used in order to identify types of white blood cells. In workshops, posters are prepared and PowerPoint presentations used to consolidate understanding of lecture material. A laboratory revision session is provided which enables examination of a range of tissues and organs, designed to aid revision of the major topics covered in this module.
Biomedical Science in Practice
This module aims to introduce Biomedical Science students to laboratory-based investigations of human health and disease.
The basic principles of Cellular Pathology, Medical Microbiology, Clinical Biochemistry and Haematology and Transfusion Science are investigated. Laboratory practical work enables students to investigate Cellular Pathology, Medical Microbiology and Clinical Biochemistry.
Students will develop an understanding of how common diseases such as cancer, chronic heart disease and diabetes mellitus develop. Finally, hospital-acquired infection will be explored. Understanding of several topics on this module will be consolidated during a case study workshop.
Biomedicine and Society
This module examines how biomedicine links into society. It initially looks at the historical developments of biomedicine, and key changes that have occurred often as a result of a dramatic change to society such as war. Students look at how ethics in particular have developed and how thinking and ultimately legislation has evolved in relation to unethical practice. Key ethical principles are explored in relation to both the treatment of humans and animals. To help understand the role of biomedicine in society the module examines the role of animals in experimentation, the ethics associated with running clinical trials with humans, issues related to contraception and the role the media plays in how society makes sense of developments in health care.
The module has a main weekly lecture but much learning and consolidation of knowledge occurs in smaller seminar groups where students are given the opportunity to share their learning through presentations and debates.
Biotechnology is one of the fastest moving fields in the biosciences. Genetic engineering techniques have allowed the manipulation of microorganisms, plants and animals to produce commercially important compounds, or to have improved characteristics. This module examines the techniques that are used in genetic manipulation and looks at examples of how the technology has been applied. The practical outcomes of genome sequencing projects and the way in which knowledge of the human genome can be applied to medicine and forensics are also considered. Practical classes and workshops allow students to perform some of the key techniques for themselves.
Cell Structure and Function
This module is an introduction to the structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. The first five lectures of the module will examine the main components of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and the way eukaryotic cells are organized into tissues. The techniques used to study cells will also be reviewed. The next two lectures will look in detail at the structure and function of mitochondria and chloroplasts and the chemiosmotic theory. This will be followed by a lecture on the way cells are organised into tissues. The final four lectures will cover reproduction in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and the eukaryotic cell cycle. The lectures are supplemented by two practical sessions, the first on light microscopic technique and the second covering organelle isolation
Diagnosis in Biomedical Science
This module will explore the theoretical basis for many methods routinely used in the medicine for diagnosis of immune system dysfunction, gastrointestinal tract diseases and endocrine disorders. The module will also enable investigation of methods employed to assess kidney function, haemostasis and drug use.
During workshops, case studies will be used in order to apply new knowledge to real life examples and a practical session will give students the opportunity to carry out an ELISA experiment.
Experimental Design and Data Analysis
In this module students will be introduced to the basic principles of experimental research design. We familiarise students with the principals underpinning the statistical analysis of quantitative data using examples from experimental studies in practice. We also offer students the opportunity to use basic statistics to analyse experimental data using statistical software (IBM SPSS). These practical sessions give students an opportunity to acquire data analysis skills. We cover the logic behind generating and testing hypotheses in experimental design and provide students with guidance on how to critically appraise published experimental research.
Students will gain an appreciation of the importance of experimental design in the study of human health; develop team-working skills; develop skills in self-directed learning using a virtual learning environment; experience the use of statistical software for performing statistical calculations; develop an ability to summarise and critique information from different sources in a coherent manner along with an understanding of how to report statistical results.
This module examines the way in which genetic information, encoded by the DNA of the cell, is replicated and passed on to each new generation of cells and whole individuals. The ways in which genes affect the characteristics of a cell or organism are explored at the molecular level. The fundamentals of these processes are very similar in all organisms but the unique features of eukaryotes and prokaryotes are highlighted. We will also examine the consequences of mutation and look at some examples of diseases and conditions caused by defective genes and alterations in chromosome number or structure.
Hormones and Development
The aim of this module is to introduce students to the mechanisms cells use to communicate with one another.
The structure and functions of several endocrine (hormone-producing) glands are investigated in lectures and workshops, such as the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands. The hormonal control of human reproduction is explained, followed by investigating the topic of fertilisation. Early embryogenesis is compared in a variety of organisms, supported by a laboratory session which enables a comparison of early embryogenesis in starfish, frog and chick. Finally, human pregnancy, development and fertility are examined with emphasis upon causes and treatment of infertility.
Physiology is the study of how the body works, and is largely concerned with homeostasis – i.e. how body function is maintained at a relatively constant level in different environments and circumstances. This course considers the physiology of the brain and the nervous system; the heart and the circulatory system; the external respiratory system (lungs, together with transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood) and the gastrointestinal system. There is also some limited information on the pathophysiology of relevant human diseases. Other aspects of human physiology, involving different tissue and organ systems, are covered elsewhere.
There is a workshop on neurophysiology (the Nernst equation), and practical classes that demonstrate the effects of exercise on blood pressure, the ABO blood grouping system, and the effects of pH on the activity of some key enzymes involved in digestion.
Impact of Microbes
This module introduces students to the world of microbiology. They will receive tuition from lecturers working on the cutting edge of microbiological research.
Topics related to viruses, bacteria, fungi and protists will be covered. Hands on practical sessions will help students to understand the dynamics of bacterial growth, how to culture and count microbes, antibiotic resistance assays and identification of bacteria.
Students will start to understand the mechanisms that bacteria use to cause human disease. Several fungi will be examined and students will learn how fungi are exploited in industry. Finally students are introduces to the protists; examine beautiful ciliates and flagellates and watch predatory protozoa in action.
Infection and Immunity
Covering a wide range of infectious organisms from viruses to worms, this module provides a comprehensive introduction to infection and immune responses of the host. The biology of the infecting organisms and the host’s immune response will both be examined as these are vital components in understanding the nature of the different types of infection.
Selected infections will be studied in detail in lectures and practicals and used as paradigms to illustrate principles of the host/pathogen interaction.
Molecules of Life
In this module, students will explore the chemistry of some of the most important molecules to life, including water, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. The module begins with an overview of basic chemistry for example atomic structure, bonding, pH and molecular shape. It looks at the properties of water and how these enable water to support life. The structure and bonding within nucleic acids, proteins and carbohydrates are explored with emphasis upon how this is related to function within a cell. Finally, the structure and functions of lipids are described, with emphasis upon the role of lipids, proteins and carbohydrates in biological membranes.
Workshops on this module enable use of RasMol molecular modelling software, making molecular models and problem-based learning.
The purpose of this module is to expand upon the introduction to proteins given in BIOL111. Our approach is to use specific examples to demonstrate different aspects of protein structure, and to illustrate the way that the different properties of individual amino acids contribute to the function of the proteins they make up. The course is split into two linked themes. Firstly, an introduction to the major structural features of proteins is given, with an emphasis on how protein structure relates to function. Secondly, an introduction to enzyme biochemistry is presented. We consider how enzymes catalyse biochemical reactions, how their activities can be described quantitatively, and how enzymes are regulated within the cell.
Skills in the Life Sciences
This module introduces and provides training in the general skills necessary for the study of bioscience. These include use and care of laboratory equipment such as microscopes, spectrophotometers, micropipettes and centrifuges. It will also teach liquid-handling skills, and to calculate concentrations, volumes and dilution of solutions, particularly the importance and use of the mole concept. MS Excel will be used to generate statistics and to plot curves.
The other main area covered is that of scientific reading and writing. Students will learn to recognize good and bad sentences, use correct paragraph structure, to search for, acquire and know how to read scientific literature, and to avoid plagiarism. Finally, students will learn the various forms in which science is communicated and the ways public understanding of scientific findings can be distorted.
At the end of this module, all students will be able to record scientific investigation, collect data, present results, place them in the context of existing scientific literature and write a short scientific report.
This module is an introduction to cellular biochemistry focusing on the core pathways of intermediary metabolism which are central to cellular function. Specifically, it focuses on two related and key areas of biochemistry. The first is enzymology; how do proteins function as biological catalysts and how are chemical reactions controlled within a cell? Students will investigate how the many chemical reactions which participate in metabolism are accurately regulated and organised.
The second is cellular metabolism; particularly, how do cells obtain energy from their surroundings to maintain their complex order?
The module will cover several seminal and Nobel Prize winning research topics including a detailed look at the key reactions of the citric acid cycle and the coupling of electron transport, proton pumping and ATP synthesis. The concepts and areas of biochemistry covered will be further illustrated by reference to the pathological state and human diseases which result from specific malfunctions in biochemical pathways and reactions.
This module explores the interactions that take place both within and between cells and which allow them to perform their function in the whole organism. Students will consider five key topics within cell biology:
- The methods used to study cells and the dynamic nature of the cytoskeleton
- The mechanisms and physiological significance of transport across membranes
- The mechanisms involved in cells receiving and acting upon information from outside of the cell
- The mechanisms of development of whole organisms, examining how individual cells become committed to a particular function as development occurs
- The regulation of the cell cycle, growth, and development. We will illustrate these topics using examples drawn from a range of biological system.
In this module you will develop knowledge and understanding of how the Biomedical Science discipline of Cellular Pathology is used to diagnose disease. Students will learn about different types of patient tissue samples and how these are fixed, processed and stained in order to identify diseased tissue. Students will gain practical experience with biomedical science colleagues from the Royal Lancaster Hospital during which they will stain, visualise and evaluate a range of samples in order to inform disease diagnosis.
This module explores core aspects of Clinical Biochemistry: Calcium Metabolism; Clinical Enzymology and Biomarkers; Liver Function Tests; Analysis of Serum Proteins; Endocrine system tests; Renal Function tests and Acid-Base regulation. Case studies will be used in order to apply new knowledge to real situations.
Practical work will enable students to: measure calcium and albumin in body fluids; carry out protein electrophoresis and measure enzyme activity. Each of these practical activities is based around case study scenarios, in order to demonstrate the value of these techniques in diagnosis.
The aim of this module is to provide students with the skills they need to begin their future careers. The module will enhance career awareness, develop oral communications skills and develop CV and cover letter writing. Workshops include sessions on LinkedIn, information skills, assessment centres, interview techniques and entrepreneurship.
This module takes a molecular approach to understanding heredity and gene function in organisms ranging from bacteria to man. It begins by reviewing genome diversity and how genomes are replicated accurately, comparing and contrasting replication processes in bacteria and man. The module discusses in detail molecular mechanisms, particularly those that ensure information encoded in the genome is transcribed and translated appropriately to produce cellular proteins.
Students will focus on the importance of maintaining genome stability and damaging effects of mutations in the genome on human health. Examples are drawn from a range of inherited genetic diseases such as phenylketonuria and sickle cell anaemia, paying particular focus to how mutations in key genes are driving cancer development.
Teaching is delivered by a series of lectures supported by varied practical work, workshops, guided reading and online resources. Laboratory practicals include investigating how exposure of bacteria to ultraviolet light induces mutations – providing a model for understanding how skin cancer may develop as a consequence of excessive sun exposure.
Haematology and Transfusion Science
This module enables the investigation of the constituents of blood in a healthy individual and in a variety of diseased states. A range of blood disorders will be discussed, such as leukaemias and anaemias, leading to an understanding of a range of diagnostic tests.
The function of platelets in preventing blood loss and the blood coagulation cascade will be investigated. This knowledge will be used to enable understanding of a range of bleeding and coagulation disorders and their diagnosis and treatment. Common blood tests will be discussed and carried out in the laboratory sessions, with the emphasis upon accuracy, comparison of results with a normal reference range and safe working practice in the laboratory. A case study workshop is used to enable students to interpret data and apply theoretical understanding gained during this module.
This course examines the relationship between microbe and host; with particular focus on bacterial and viral pathogens. The diversity of structure, function and metabolism of bacteria, in relation to their role as a cause of disease, is explored and practical skills in bacteriology are introduced. Morphology and reproductive strategies of viruses are examined and methods for controlling viral infections by vaccination or anti-viral therapies are described. The course introduces principles of clinical microbiology by focusing on epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment of infection and host immune defences. The theme is one of "emergence" illustrating how some new infections have come to be a problem in health care and the importance of protective commensal microbes. The laboratory classes focus on diagnostic processes and illustrate the contribution which the microbiology laboratory can make to clinical decision making and epidemiology. This course also deals with the way in which pathogens (mainly bacteria) survive, and sometimes grow, in the environment and the implications this has for health in the community. The course is given in collaboration with health service consultants and workers from the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust.
The aim of this module is to build on knowledge gained in earlier first year modules: Anatomy and Tissue Structure and Human Physiology. Students will focus on four weekly themes: heart and circulation; muscle and fatigue; nervous system and the urinary system. Students independently learn theoretical background information using online and text-based resources, supported by weekly case study discussions during seminars. Muscle electrical activity and fatigue, ECG and nerve conduction velocity will be explored through experimentation on student volunteers and online simulations.
Study Abroad Year
Students will typically study eight modules at one of our partner universities in North America or Australasia. These will include courses that are similar to our core Y2 modules at Lancaster.
Biosciences Research Project
The research project gives students first-hand experience of research and also the opportunity to be immersed in, and learn about, an area of work which is of current interest. Students plan, conduct and report on an open-ended investigation, often related to research interests of a member of staff. Projects cover a very wide variety of topics and may be carried out in a variety of ways. They involve a significant amount of original work and analysis to be carried out by students so that they gain experience in a range of skills, including experimental design and the testing of hypotheses. The results of the research are reported in an 8,000 word dissertation and an oral presentation.
In this module students are given an overview of the cellular and molecular processes that underpin the development of cancer. This will enable students to discuss the various factors that can affect cancer susceptibility. Students will look at the approaches taken to treat cancer, including some of the new generation of molecularly-targeted cancer therapies.
Every day our body does something remarkable, but we are completely unaware of it most of the time: our immune system is constantly protecting us from pathogens in our environment as well as threats from within. This highly evolved, interdependent collection of organs, cells and chemical messengers is continually scanning our tissues for any unwanted intruders or abnormal cells. When we get ill, with a cold for example, full mobilisation of our immune system sends armies of cells and molecules to fight the problem in what can sometimes literally be a fight to the death. Fortunately for us, our immune system wins the battle almost every time!
In this module we examine the various components of the immune system – the organs, cells, and messengers, and how they function in health and illness. We look at particular threats such as allergies, infectious diseases and cancer, providing students with a good understanding of how this vital component of our bodies keeps us well.
This module aims to provide an understanding of the organisation of the human genome, how disease genes are mapped and how mutations are identified leading to the development of diagnostic tests. The impacts of massively parallel next generation DNA sequencing, microarrays and SNP genotyping on gene discovery and disease diagnosis are examined. The application of modern genetic techniques to identifying susceptibility genes for complex, multifactorial traits will also be studied. A range of diseases will be examined in detail both in lectures and in case study workshop sessions. The final lecture looks at gene therapy and considers the future for treatment of genetic disorders. The practical session aims to give students an opportunity to study their own DNA in a forensics scenario, using techniques that are widely applicable in modern molecular genetics.
This course considers the aetiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of some of the major chronic diseases (excluding cancer) that affect human health, including: neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease; osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis; cerebrovascular disease; and the two major types of diabetes. Some of the lectures are delivered by experts who treat patients with these diseases in local hospitals. Teaching is through lectures, practical work, and group-based student discussions and presentations.
Talks given by the students themselves expand understanding to cover the pathobiology of many different chronic human diseases that are not covered formally in the lectures. There is also a practical class on diabetes that complements the lectures and teaches how some simple biochemical tests can be used for diagnosis and management of this condition.
Fees and funding
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2025/26 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2024/25 were:
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small college membership fee which supports the running of college events and activities. Students on some distance-learning courses are not liable to pay a college fee.
For students starting in 2023 and 2024, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2025 have not yet been set.
Computer equipment and internet access
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
Study abroad courses
In addition to travel and accommodation costs, while you are studying abroad, you will need to have a passport and, depending on the country, there may be other costs such as travel documents (e.g. VISA or work permit) and any tests and vaccines that are required at the time of travel. Some countries may require proof of funds.
Placement and industry year courses
In addition to possible commuting costs during your placement, you may need to buy clothing that is suitable for your workplace and you may have accommodation costs. Depending on the employer and your job, you may have other costs such as copies of personal documents required by your employer for example.
What is my fee status?
The fee that you pay will depend on whether you are considered to be a home or international student. Read more about how we assign your fee status.
Fees in subsequent years
Fees are set by the UK Government annually, and subsequent years' fees may be subject to increases. Read more about fees in subsequent years.
Fees for study abroad and work placements
We will charge tuition fees to Home undergraduate students on full-year study abroad/work placements in line with the maximum amounts permitted by the Department for Education. The current maximum levels are:
- Students studying abroad for a year: 15% of the standard tuition fee
- Students taking a work placement for a year: 20% of the standard tuition fee
International students on full-year study abroad/work placements will be charged the same percentages as the standard International fee.
Please note that the maximum levels chargeable in future years may be subject to changes in Government policy.
Scholarships and bursaries
Details of our scholarships and bursaries for students starting in 2025 are not yet available. You can use our scholarships for 2024-entry applicants as guidance.
The information on this site relates primarily to 2025/2026 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.
Our Students’ Charter
We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.
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