MSc Biomedical Science part-time by distance learning.
The course is primarily designed for career advancement for those working as Biomedical Scientists in the hospital sector or working in the wider discipline of biomedical science, including bio-pharmaceutical and bio-industries.
This course currently allows specialisation in either: cellular pathology, clinical chemistry, haematology, or medical microbiology, and provides the opportunity for critical reflection and evaluation of current practice and policy, enabling lifelong learning and professional development in biomedical science.
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About this course
In this section
For those who follow the approved pathway this course allows specialisation in in one the key disciplines of Biomedical Sciences including: cellular pathology, clinical chemistry, haematology, or medical microbiology, and provides the opportunity for critical reflection and evaluation of current practice and policy, enabling lifelong learning and professional development in biomedical science.
This programme is not suitable for the purposes of HCPC registration
In both the spring and summer semesters of second year, students work on their project, where the research project is carried out within the laboratories in their place of work under the supervision of suitably qualified staff.
For those entering the MSc to complete the research project only
Applicants who have a PgD in Biomedical Science and who wish to apply directly for entry onto the MSc programme, (including Ulster students who have previously graduated with the Postgraduate Diploma) are required to take the bridging module, Research Proposal (BMS832). This 10-credit point module supports students in developing an acceptable research project and ensures that the appropriate research governance approvals are in place, prior to commencement of laboratory work. Students are required to successfully pass BMS832 with an approved project before proceeding to the Project Module.
The MSc programme is delivered by staff with many years' experience teaching on our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Of the academic staff within the School of Biomedical Sciences, over 81% are recognised practitioners (associate/fellow/senior fellows) of AdvanceHE. Many hold the Postgraduate Certificate in University Teaching (PgCUT) or Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice (PgCHEP), or hold alternative equivalent qualifications.
The School of Biomedical Sciences enjoys a national and international reputation for excellence in teaching and research. The Biomedical Science Reserach Institute is, ranked within the top five, out of 94 universities submitted in the UK REF2014 panel in terms of research power in biomedical science. In REF2014 our research environment was awarded an unprecedented 100% 4* (world-leading), 95% of our research impact was scored world leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*) and 81% of research published papers were judged to be world leading and internationally excellent (4* and 3*).
This part-time, distance-learning MSc programme runs over two academic years and students can enter the programme in September or in January. The research project is carried out in the student’s place of work under the supervision of suitably qualified staff.
- September 2020
- January 2021
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
The taught modules in this course are assessed by a combination of coursework and/or examination.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
In this section
Advances in Medical Biotechnology and Healthcare Delivery
This module will introduce students to medical biotechnology as applied to the delivery of healthcare. Both historical and developing biotechnologies will be examined. The influence policies, regulation and bioethics will be explored. The UK's current health services will be the primary focus however global contexts will also be considered. Students will be encouraged to explore possible future scenarios which are driven by technological change or where technology is developed to meet healthcare service needs.
Introduction to Personalised Medicine & Pharmacogenomics
This module seeks to develop students' knowledge of important and emerging areas within personalised medicine. It explores the role of pharmacogenetics developing an understanding of the molecular aspects of stratified medicine and creates a foundation for future learning in modules to follow. The module reviews the methods of biomarker discovery and translation and considers the issues surrounding personalised medicine research and its application into society.
Evidence-Based Practice in Healthcare Sciences
A work-based module where students review, after consultation with their line manager, an aspect of their professional practice identifying evidence to support their recommendations, initiate the keeping of a professional reflective diary and submit a report of evidence to support their action research plan. Students currently not in employment will be given advice on suitable topics from the module co-ordinator.
Stem Cell Biology
This module is optional
This module provides a comprehensive overview of stem cell biology. It covers all the major areas of stem cell science including stem cell derivation, differentiation, medical applications and bioethics. It is designed to equip student with skills to critically evaluate current scientific literature describing stem cell advances.
Diabetes: Science and Therapeutics
This module is optional
This module provides a comprehensive overview of the scientific background to diabetes and diabesity. It covers all the major areas of current scientific knowledge including mechanisms of insulin secretion, diabetes pathophysiology, clinical diagnosis and therapeutic strategies. It is designed to equip student with skills to critically evaluate current scientific literature describing diabetes and diabesity physiology, pathobiology and therapeutic advances and care.
Advances in Cellular Pathology
This module is optional
The module provides an in depth understanding of the theory and practice of diagnostic pathology and it introduces important recent developments in the area. The module is designed to provide the student with both the theory and detailed methodology of recent advances in diagnostic technology. This information will allow the student to critically evaluate the potential of the new technology in the clinical diagnostic laboratory setting. In addition, it provides the technical and practical tools necessary for a career in a research setting
Recent Advances in Clinical Chemistry
This module is optional
This module provides an in-depth understanding of key concepts and biochemical investigations in clinical chemistry and a critical appreciation of recent advances employed within clinical chemistry.
Haematology in Health and Disease
This module is optional
This module provides an in-depth understanding of key concepts in haematology and transfusion science, with emphasis on their relevance in health and disease, as well as an appreciation of the application of these concepts in clinical practice.
Advances in Medical Microbiology
This module is optional
This module provides an advanced understanding of key aspects of Clinical Microbiology, with an emphasis on pathogenesis, diagnostics, infection control/prevention as well as global concerns and challenges such as antimicrobial resistance, bioterrorism and emerging pathogens. The content and assessment combines the science of microbiology with developments in vaccinology and diagnostics to ensure an appreciation of translational medicine in clinical microbiology practice.
Applied Research Methods
This module provides the foundation for research in the biosciences. The design of experimental investigations and the use of biostatistical methods are discussed. The module requires the completion of computer practicals, a critical evaluation of published literature, problem-based assessments and issues relating to research governance are included.
This module, which is normally practical based, provides the opportunity, through research or advanced scholarship, to integrate knowledge of the biomedical sciences by the advanced study, research and elucidation of a chosen topic in the biomedical sciences. It is conducted under supervision.
This module is optional
This module develops essential skills, knowledge and understanding of biomedical informatics in relation to basic and applied research and practice. Providing an overview of biomedical informatics and its application.
This module is optional
This module provides an in-depth understanding of the key concepts of Quality management as it applies to organisations.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
In this section
Applicants must: (a) have gained: (i) a second class honours degree or better in Biomedical Science or in Biological Science which contains a significant element of biomedical sciences from a university of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, or from a recognised national awarding body, or from an institution of another country which has been recognised as being of an equivalent standard; or (ii) an equivalent standard (normally 50%) in a Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma or an approved alternative qualification;
and (b) provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grade C or equivalent);
Students should be employed as a biomedical scientist, trainee biomedical scientist or equivalent in a hospital or research laboratory or have access to similar laboratory facilities.
Specialist taught modules require that students have studied that specialism at Level 5 or can demonstrate their ability to undertake the module through the accreditation of prior experiential learning.
In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Exemptions and transferability
Studies pursued and examinations passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institution, or evidence from the accreditation of prior experiential learning, may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the programme provided that (a) they shall register as students of the University for modules amounting to at least the final third of the credit value of the award at the highest level. (b) no exemption shall be permitted from the dissertation.
Careers & opportunities
In this section
This course provides an academically challenging and vocationally relevant science education for those following a career in the Biomedical Sciences in the Health Service, pharmaceutical or bio-industries. Graduates may also choose to proceed to higher postgraduate degree programmes (MPhil/PhD) within the biomedical sciences. A number of modules in the MSc programme can alternatively be taken individually as continued professional development (CPD) activity.
Accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).
Zara Moffatt/Karen Gibson, Admissions Office - Coleraine Campus
International Admissions Office
For more information visit
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