While biomedical science is a degree you should think carefully about if you want a job straight after university, certain universities can make your learning experience very favourable for when the eventual job search begins.
Their focus on student satisfaction and providing the means to excel in a work environment makes these universities an ideal candidate for the perfect alma mater!
These are the 5 best universities to study biomedical science in 2020!
UNIVERSITY of YORK
Faculty and Accreditation
Unlike most universities that have a faculty of life sciences, York university teaches this degree in their biology department.
This degree isn’t geared at making you a biomedical scientist at the end of the 3 years of study.
It is therefore not accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science. It is however accredited by the royal society of biology.
This is arguably a more prestigious accreditation and while it might mean you won’t be working as a biomedical scientist, it will mean you will find research and postgraduate vacancies much easier.
Aims and focus of the degree
The degree focuses on key transferable skills such as problem-solving, logical and creative thinking, and data interpretation and presentation.
Choosing a university-based solely on the fact that they have IBMS accreditation isn’t very wise as the majority of Biomed graduates never end up using this accreditation to become biomedical scientists, as this is its main purpose.
Even if you did, the inhospitable job market for biomedical scientists right now will prove it was a poor decision to study at a university purely for IBMS certification.
So at the end of the day, it won’t matter either way if your degree is accredited or not.
York is a top university worldwide and as such has stringent entry requirements.
Students are required to achieve AAB to ABB in A-Levels that must include biology and chemistry.
This is to ensure candidates are well prepared for a degree that is less vocational and more research and academics based!
Choose top Universities, not accredited ones!
Most universities accept lower entry requirements since their degrees prepare students for vocational roles and not pure academic research.
As such their “top graduates” aren’t as smart as an average candidate from the University of York for example.
This is why you should be very wary of accredited degrees offering low entry requirements for biomedical science.
While you might be happy that you have met the entry requirements, you might be enrolling on a course at a university that has a bad reputation for graduating less intelligent people.
These people will have a hard time on the job search because of the second-rate university they attended.
This is regardless of if they have a first-class of 2:1 degree with honours.
So if you have good grades, and are smart, aim high and apply for universities like York.
Fantastic NSS feedback
To top it all off, the National Student Survey revealed that student satisfaction was one of the highest for universities offering bioscience courses, with 97% of survey takers being satisfied with the course provided.
UNIVERSITY of SHEFFIELD
Sheffield is well known for its award-winning medical research department and their accomplished medical school, which is one of the few to still offer cadaver dissections.
They have a specific Biomedical Science department that provides the biomedical science BSc along with 6 other courses.
The course is research-led throughout meaning students will be exposed to cutting-edge techniques and discoveries right from day one.
The department is staffed by world-renowned academics at the forefront of their field, which includes knighted scientists and researchers, published professors, and well-accomplished teachers with doctorate degrees.
The course is well organised and structured such that students learn in a sequential and logical manner.
Far too often, universities write courses just to tick boxes and meet the minimum requirements for their degree to be accredited and nationally accepted.
Curriculum and learning experience
At Sheffield however, the focus is on providing the best learning experiences.
In year 1, students cover the fundamentals and develop basic laboratory competency.
The theory is taught in well planned out lectures and reinforced in smaller tutorial groups where students can ask questions and get a better grip on the subject matter.
Peer-assisted study sessions
Students also have the option to engage in Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS).
This is a university programme that provides weekly revision sessions to students of various abilities.
The sessions are run by more senior students known as PASS leaders, who have already studied the same modules and can, therefore, be very helpful to newer students.
Not only does this program help students with revision, but it also helps with the overall university experience.
Students find it easier questioning and generally interacting with other students as opposed to professors and personal tutors, which makes this program amazing by design.
The degree also has an option to spend a year on work placement. This is quite rare for life science and biomedical science degrees!
The placement occurs between the second and third year and is fully paid. You still, however, must pay tuition fees for the year, albeit significantly reduced while you’re on placement.
This gives you the ability to still come and see your tutor as you please and get any additional support from the university as a whole.
Common companies to do a placement at include RB, Eli Lilly, and GSK.
This will give a massive boost to your job prospects once you graduate, and is much more valuable than any degree you can get with so-called IBMS accreditation.
Year abroad in the final year
You may also choose to spend a year abroad in your third year and study biomedical science in America, Canada, Hong Kong, or even Singapore.
Sheffield allows students to spend their last year abroad and promises to assist in securing a place at an overseas university.
This degree isn’t accredited by IBMS, is this a problem?
Like most biomedical science degrees from GOOD universities, your career prospects aren’t just becoming a biomedical scientist.
In fact, this degree isn’t accredited by IBMS.
The aim of this course is to produce competent scientists that can go into biomedical research, biotechnology, and the pharmaceutical industry, likely after receiving a postgraduate degree.
There is a 4-year version of the course that has an integrated master’s, ensuring your path into research flows unimpeded.
Don’t limit yourself to becoming a biomedical scientist as the career options are endless!
UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK
Warwick is one of the top universities for biomedical science, aiming to deliver a robust course that combines human biology with its applications in the medical and healthcare field.
Choosing right from year 1!
From year one, students have the ability to choose options in which module they want to study.
This is different from most universities as usually elective courses are offered from year 2 onwards.
Each module is associated with CATS which are essentially credits, and one must take and pass a minimum of 120 credits each year.
Students have the option to even take additional modules such as language modules but must gain approval first.
Focus and aims of course
The course is centred around giving students hands-on lab experience, and providing them with problem-solving and research skills that easily transfer to any employers needs.
Degree classification and % contributions per year
In contrast to other biomedical science degrees, year 1 contributes 10% towards your degree classification.
Many courses accredited by IBMS completely ignore the first year, regardless of how well you did, and only count the 2nd and 3rd year of the degree.
80% of my degree classification was based on my third-year performance which also happened to be the year I didn’t perform my best!
Warwick has a more even split where your final degree classification is based on 10% of your year 1 performance, 30% of your year 2 performance and 60% of your final year performance.
As with most top universities, entry requirements are strict; Prospective students must achieve AAB or ABB in at least 2 sciences such as biology and chemistry.
If successful, students will gain entry to year one to study 6 core modules.
You will be expected from this early stage to develop your analytical skills as one of the core years 1 module is based around developing quantitative skills for biology.
Year 2 study
In year 2 students gain a better overview of these core modules by studying 4 new modules, each from different aspects of medical science.
Students will learn how the body is affected, both in health and disease, and the various approaches that are used to control these diseases.
Final year study
In the final year, students must complete 3 modules and 1 elective module of their choice.
A degree from Warwick university is very sought after in the job market, and graduates are known to find employment with companies that have a close relationship with the university.
These companies include AstraZeneca, NHS, KPMG, and Johnson & Johnson.
Wherever you end up working, you can expect that graduating from Warwick university will lead to roles in biomedical research, teaching, marketing, accountancy, and postgraduate study due to the core transferable skills built into the curriculum.
Consider studying for your degree at The University of Warwick!
UNIVERSITY of LANCASTER
Lancaster University has a reputation for scoring well on nationwide student satisfaction surveys, and their Biomed degree is no exception.
According to NSS 96% of students were satisfied with the overall course and agreed that staff were good at explaining things.
The university also released data showing that 100% of students who completed surveys found work or further study after graduating with a Biomedical Science BSc from their institution.
There is, therefore, no surprise to find Lancaster is one of the top Biomedical Science universities in the UK.
The entry requirements are similar to that of the top universities. Students must apply with A-levels ideally in the AAB region with subjects that must include A-Level biology and another science such as maths, chemistry or physics.
It has IBMS accreditation!
The university is ranked third overall in the UK for graduate prospects and is one of the few top-notch universities that also have IBMS accreditation.
As mentioned above, it isn’t a must for you to study at an IBMS accredited university, and often the accreditation may just be a facade to mask an otherwise poorly designed “tickbox” curriculum.
In this case, Lancaster universities have developed close relationships with companies such as NHS, Glaxo SmithKline, and ALcontrol Laboratories where graduates have been able to find employment almost immediately after graduation.
UNistats released that out of the 100% of graduates who are employed or in further study, 70% of those employed are in professional or managerial positions.
Combine this with the amazing NSS scores and you have the makings of a great university and a solid course.
This is not a statistic to be taken lightly, as far too often, graduates from biomedical science degrees finish their degrees unable to find work and unsure about what the next steps should be.
Lancaster university looks after their graduates and ensures appropriate support and resources are provided to ensure everyone will have the best chance of success after leaving their institution, and this is evident in their amazing post-graduation statistics.
UNIVERSITY of EXETER
Exter university is well known for its prestigious and world-renowned medical school but their Medical Sciences department is no different.
Successful students are encouraged to do a professional training year in the UK or abroad to gain experience working in a research team.
This experience will be invaluable once you graduate and begin looking for a job, not to mention will be a great addition to your CV.
Solid final year options
Exeter allows their students in the final year of study to choose an optional module out of Health Research, Human Genomics, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and Neuroscience.
Solid employment statistics
At Exeter, 79% of students were satisfied with the overall course and 88% agreed that staff were good at explaining things.
This is slightly lower than the other schools on the list however statistics show that 95% of graduates are in full employment or further study after completing at Exeter.
This is an amazing statistic and should be at the forefront of your mind if employment or further study is your priority.
Aims and focus of course
From day one of joining Exeter, students are part of a world-renowned research community, working with the top researchers in their various areas of cutting-edge science.
Learning is done via interdisciplinary small group learning where students can share ideas and learn together in a collaborative fashion.
Entry levels are luckily lower than most universities listed here. Students must achieve at least one A and one B in A-Level sciences.
Once accepted, students gain entry to the degree where they can enhance their medical knowledge in lectures, and work on their clinical practice in the state-of-the-art laboratories, receiving hands-on experience in cutting edge laboratory techniques.
The curriculum builds upon this foundation and explores the different aspects and physiology of disease, and how one may restore normal function.
curriculum based somewhat upon their highly successful medical school that have alumni amongst some of the most well-established doctors in the country.
Exeter takes a holistic approach to human health and is a must if your ambitions are to go onto graduate medicine afterwards.
Exeter is a top Russell group university and as such, anyone graduating from this institution will benefit from having a degree from one of the top universities in the country.
If your ambitions are to study medicine, I would, however, advise to avoid medical sciences or Biomed in general and simply apply to study medicine straight away.
Entry requirements to study Biomed at top universities are almost identical to that of the average successful medical applicant.
Find out the reasons why you shouldn’t use biomedical science to go into medicine.
If you are still unsure about which courses to study, consider checking out my short course where I walk you through several life sciences courses and which ones to study in the future!