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B941 Biomedical Sciences with Placement Year BSc Undergraduate 2012


UCAS code B941
Degree BSc
Professional accreditation Institute of Biomedical Science
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 4 years
Location Durham City
Typical offers A Level
International Baccalaureate (IB)
Related qualifications

Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 1200

Course Content


First year modules provide a common platform of knowledge for all new students and a broad perspective of Biological and Biomedical Sciences so that the final choice of degree route can be taken at the end of the first year. After this there are numerous opportunities for you to tailor your degree to your own interests and personal development. Our placement scheme offers students the opportunity to gain experience in industry or in a relevant profession before graduating. Students acquire high-level research skills in residential courses that currently include field courses in Africa, Lapland or Scotland, or intensive training course in Cellular and Molecular Biology, before carrying out third year research projects that are unique to each student. In the final year, we also offer the Biological Enterprise option in which students learn about science and business and the Biology into Schools option for those considering a career in science communication or teaching.

Our students run their own independent Biological and Biomedical Sciences Society, with a programme of regular events and speakers.

For an undergraduate perspective on studying Biological Sciences at Durham City, please view our short video at

Level 1 

The first year programme covers fundamental aspects of biology including evolution, biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, physiology, and an overview of the diversity of organisms. You will also be introduced to essential scientific and transferrable skills through the tutorial system. Students who have not taken Chemistry at A-level must take the Chemistry for Biosciences module which is there simply to help you understand the basis of some of the more complex biological mechanisms.

Level 2

At Level 2, students can register for a degree in Biological Sciences to access maximum module choices or can specialise in Biomedical Science, depending on their interest and career goals. Students studying Biological Sciences can choose from module themes that include metabolic biochemistry, ecology, gene expression and recombinant DNA technology, molecular biology, cell biology, plant and animal physiology, animal behaviour, microbiology and immunology. The subject themes for Biomedical Science are developed at Level 2 with a core set of modules covering clinical biochemistry, endocrinology, histology and histopathology, molecular biology, microbiology, immunology, physiology and pharmacology.

Level 3

In the final year there is an emphasis on personal research and research training in close collaboration with members of the School's academic staff. All students carry out a scientific Literature Review. In addition, students can select to do either a Research Project or take the module in Biological Enterprise. The Research project may be based in the laboratory or field and provides the student with the opportunity to carry out an in-depth investigation on a subject allied to the research interests of an academic member of staff. Students studying Biological Enterprise will learn about commercial exploitation of a scientific discovery and apply the principles of starting a business in the biotechnology sector. This option is popular with entrepreneurially-inclined students and those wanting to learn about translation of scientific advances into products and services. Students who are considering a career in science communication or teaching may wish to take the Biology into Schools module, in which students design and deliver biology teaching material in schools. Students also choose from a range of lecture modules that are centred on the research interests of our academic staff and which address relevant topics at the cutting edge of knowledge.

Our degrees and modules have recently undergone major revision to offer wider module choice, and potential applicants are strongly advised to access our website at

Placement Degrees

The School has links with a wide range of private, public and voluntary sector bodies that provide work experience opportunities for undergraduates. On degrees with placement you will undertake a 40-week paid placement between your second and final years, for the award of the appropriate Honours Degree with Placement. We have a placement officer to advise and guide you and a placement supervisor will visit you while you are away from Durham. Placements are typically with organisations such as the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, the Natural History Museum, biotechnology companies such as AstraZeneca, pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline, government agencies, such as the Food & Environmental Research Agency and NHS laboratories, such as those at the James Cook University Hospital. Placements are usually in the UK but may also be overseas.

Teaching and assessment details

We use a balanced combination of traditional and innovative teaching methods, including lectures, seminars, regular small group tutorials and laboratory classes with active learning through practical investigation, project work and computer-aided exercises. Modules are assessed via a balance of continuous assessment, with strong emphasis on practical work, and examinations at the end of each academic year. Our courses are delivered with a research focus, which brings together the process and content of research activity allowing you to develop your scientific and critical skills. We place strong emphasis on the acquisition of skills that enhance your learning experience and prepare you for future employment, such as group work, time management, presentation and communication skills. These are taught through small group tutorials with a member of the School's academic staff in each year. Students are encouraged to take every opportunity to build their curriculum vitae to maximise their employment prospects. To facilitate this we work closely with the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre to provide career-enhancing opportunities and advice.

Students take an active part in course evaluation and improvements through annual module questionnaires and the annual programme review process. Issues that arise in-year are raised at the termly Staff-Student Consultative Committee meetings and by a student representative at the School's Board of Studies meetings.

Admissions Process

Subjects required, level and grade

In addition to satisfying the University's general entry requirements and the programme specific entry requirements above, please note:

We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. For more information please contact our Admissions Selectors.

B at GCSE Mathematics, Biology or Chemistry at A-level or equivalent, plus another Science subject at A-level or equivalent is required.

We do not accept two AS-levels in place of one A-level.

We do not include General Studies as part of our offer.

If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Centre offers multi-disciplinary programmes to prepare you for a range of specified degree programmes.

Please consult the University website for required evidence of English language proficiency.

We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

English Language requirements

IELTS 6.5 (no component under 6.0); TOEFL iBT 92 (no component under 23); Cambridge Proficiency (CPE) Grade C; or Cambridge Advanced (CAE) Grade A

Requirements and Admissions

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Fees have not been set for this academic year.

Scholarships and funding

Career Opportunities

School of Biological & Biomedical Sciences

A degree in bioscience from Durham will give you an excellent start to your working life. Not only will you receive an outstanding education in bioscience, you will also gain valuable transferrable skills to prepare you for future challenges, enhance your personal development, and improve your employment prospects.  Durham bioscience graduates readily find employment in a range of careers, including further higher education such as university postgraduate research, medicine, teaching; industrial research and development and biotechnology within the private sector; management; accountancy; conservation; ecological and environmental services; broadcast and print science journalism; environmental and biological patent law; the civil service; and the armed services. Graduates of the Biomedical sciences degree also satisfy the academic requirements for Health Professions Council registration, which following additional training (which can often be completed by placement on the course) will allow entry into the NHS as professional Biomedical Scientists.

Of those students who left in 2012:

  • 41% are in full time paid employment

Of those students employed:

  • 69% of those are in graduate level employment
  • Median salary £18,000

Of those in further study:

  • 100% are in graduate level study

A significant number of students progress onto higher level study following their degree in Biological Sciences. Some remain within their academic field of interest and pursue a taught or research Masters at Durham, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Imperial College, Warwick and King's College, London. PhD study is popular and graduates regularly compete successfully for funded places at Durham, York, Manchester, Exeter, Imperial College, Cambridge, University College London and Oxford. Others take a different route and pursue professional postgraduate programmes in law, journalism, finance and teaching to name but a few. Some students pursue careers in medicine and have competed successfully for a coveted place on a medicine degree course at Durham, Southampton, Warwick and Nottingham.

Employment development opportunities

The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre collaborates closely with the Biological Sciences Department. The link Careers Adviser delivers presentations to each year group on a range of areas including options with the subject, career decision making, successful applications and interviews, and advice for those considering further study. Additional CV drop in clinics are offered in the department where students can have 1 to 1 help and advice from the link Careers Adviser.

Unistats employment information

The following link to the Unistats information on Employment and Accreditation for each of the degree routes :

Biological Sciences

Biological Sciences with placement

Biomedical Sciences

Biomedical Sciences with placement

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Pre-application open days are the very best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments and opportunities to explore college options they will provide a full experience of Durham University for any prospective undergraduates.

Pre-application open days in Durham City will take place on:

  • Monday 25 June 2012
  • Saturday 30 June 2012
  • Saturday 22 September 2012

Further details, and information on how to book.  

Campus tours

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information

School of Biological & Biomedical Sciences


Durham biologists develop new technologies for human healthcare and tackle challenges that include climate change, biodiversity conservation and feeding an increasing human population.

The 21st Century Science. Bioscience is the fundamental science of life and recent key developments make the 21st Century the most exciting era in which important biological challenges will be met and resolved. Rated 6th in the Complete University Guide 2011, the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences has excellent facilities for both teaching and research offering high quality undergraduate teaching programmes and a supportive environment for staff and students.

Technical advances have resulted in the sequencing of the genomes of hundreds of species, and of thousands of individual humans; even the development of 'synthetic organisms' and a clearer appreciation of the drivers of global climate change. These leaps in our understanding of life and its environs places biological and biomedical scientists at the centre of research that directly affects the future of humanity. The goal of biological scientists is to explore and explain the basic processes of life, from molecules and cells to communities of organisms. Biomedical scientists focus on humans and the organisms that they interact with, helping scientists to understand the basis of a healthy life and the cause, effect, prevention and cure of disease. At Durham we actively research areas that impact on current global problems, including feeding an increasing human population, encouraging healthy ageing, supplying sustainable energy, responding to the effects of climate change and the conservation of biodiversity. Whatever your own interest is in biology and biomedicine, you will have a choice of modular courses taught by world-leading researchers. A Durham degree in biosciences will allow you to enter a world of discovery that is the basis of life and provide you with a background that will serve you well in a range of future careers.

RAE results


We have custom-designed buildings, all built since 1994, equipped with modern teaching aids that create a stimulating learning environment. During their research projects undergraduates have access to the latest technology for electron and confocal laser scanning microscopy, transgenic studies, DNA analysis and proteomics, bioinformatics, remote sensing, ecological field sampling and computer modelling. We are close to extensive woodlands and a botanic garden, which provide additional teaching resources and opportunities for field work.


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