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MSc/PgDip/PgCert Biomedical Sciences

Gain an advanced scientific understanding of disease at a cellular level focusing on current methods used in in-vitro diagnosis. As part of the course you can choose to specialise in one area of the pathology laboratory directorate, either cellular pathology, infection and immunity or blood sciences.

Course length 12-24 Month(s)
Location City Campus

Course description

If you have a background in biomedical science, biology, medicine and life sciences, this course allows you to develop your knowledge in selected areas of biomedical science.

You gain advanced knowledge and understanding of the scientific basis of disease, with focus on the underlying cellular processes that lead to disease. You also learn about the current methods used in disease diagnosis and develop practical skills in our well-equipped teaching laboratories.

As well as studying the fundamentals of pathology, you can choose one specialist subject from • cellular pathology • microbiology and immunology • blood sciences. Your work focuses on the in vitro diagnosis of disease. You develop the professional skills needed to further your career. These skills include • research methods and statistics • problem solving • the role of professional bodies and accreditation • regulation and communication.

This course is taught by active researchers in the biomedical sciences who have on-going programmes of research in the Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre together with experts from hospital pathology laboratories.

Most of your practical work is carried out in our teaching laboratories which contain industry standard equipment for cell culture, quantitative nucleic acid and protein analysis and a sophisticated suite of analytical equipment such as HPLC and gas chromatography.

Many of our research facilities including flow cytometry, confocal microscopy and mass spectrometry are also used in taught modules and projects and our tutors are experts in these techniques.

The teaching on the course is split between formal lectures and tutorials, and laboratory-based work. A third of the course is a laboratory-based research project, where full-time students are assigned to a tutor who is an active research in the biomedical research centre. Part-time students carry out their research project within the workplace under the guidance of a workplace and university supervisor.

Three core modules each have two full-day laboratory sessions and the optional module applied biomedical techniques is almost entirely lab-based. Typically taught modules have a mixture of lectures and tutorials. The research methods and statistics modules are tutorial-led with considerable input from the course leader who acts as personal tutor.

The course content is underpinned by relevant high quality research. Our teaching staff regularly publish research articles in international peer-reviewed journals and are actively engaged in research into • cancer • musculoskeletal diseases • human reproduction • neurological disease • hospital acquired infection • immunological basis of disease.

Professional recognition

This course is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) who commended us on
• the excellent scientific content of our courses
• the supportive nature of the staff which provides a positive student experience
• the laboratory and teaching facilities, which provide an excellent learning environment

Entry requirements

2017 entry requirements

You need one of the following

• a minimum of a 2:2 honours degree in a biological subject or equivalent

• a professional qualification of equal standing to an honours degree, for example MIBiol by examination, FIML

• other qualifications such as HND, HNC or unclassified degree in biological subject, plus significant relevant work experience

You may also be able to claim credit points which can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete your qualification at Sheffield Hallam. Find out more

If English is not your first language you will need an IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in all skills, or a recognised equivalent. If your level of English language is currently below IELTS 6.0 we recommend you consider an appropriate Sheffield Hallam University Pre-sessional English course which will enable you to achieve the required level of English.

If you do not have such academic qualifications we may consider your application individually, based on your personal, professional and work experience, and other formal qualifications. You may also be able to claim credit points which can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete your qualification at Sheffield Hallam. Find out more

Course structure

Full time – September start – typically 12 months

Full time – January start – typically 12 months

Part time – September start – typically 24 months

Part time – January start – typically 24 months

Typical modules may include

Course structure

The masters (MSc) award is achieved by successfully completing 180 credits.

Core modules

Biomedical laboratory techniques (15 credits)
You learn about a wide range of techniques used in the modern laboratory, from processing tissue samples, histology, immunohistochemistry and microscopy to flow cytometry, blotting techniques and mass spectrometry. You also gain experience of a number of these techniques within the laboratory setting.

Evidence based laboratory medicine (15 credits)
Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) is defined as 'the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of the current best evidence in making decisions about the care of patients'. Having been initially applied to therapeutics, EBM is increasingly being applied to the practice of laboratory medicine. This module aims to explore the current thinking around the assessment of laboratory investigations in terms of analytical validity and clinical utility and considers management and accreditation issues which impact on the successful implementation of an evidence based approach to laboratory medicine.

Cell biology (15 credits)
This module gives you an advanced knowledge of cellular organisation and cellular mechanisms in both health and disease. You also learn about cellular interactions including cell signalling, signal transduction, cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions.

Molecular diagnostics (15 credits)
During this module you study the application of molecular biology to disease diagnosis, then examine how genetic abnormalities are detected within diagnostic and research laboratories. You learn about techniques including PCR amplification and mutation detection by quantitative PCR approaches, DNA sequencing, Fluorescence in situ Hybridisation (FISH), Hybrid Capture together with practical experience of mutation detection.

Research methods and statistics (15 credits)
You develop the skills needed to formulate, carry out and report on a research or development project. These skills include creativity or invention as well as more formal skills such as application of knowledge and searching the literature. Statistical analysis of experimental results also forms an important part of this module.

Research project (60 credits)
During this module you work with an individual tutor to design and carry out a research project. This includes a critical review of the literature, considerable laboratory work, analysis of data and an appreciation of the meaning and application of your work.

Optional modules

45 credits from
Applied biomedical techniques (15 credits)
The aim of this module is to develop laboratory competence in a number of chosen techniques which may include • flow cytometry • RNA extraction • cDNA synthesis • real time PCR and quantitative analysis • SDS gels and western blotting • ELISA and activity assays.

Cellular and molecular basis of disease (15 credits)
This module provides you with an understanding of the major cellular and molecular changes which are the underlying cause of a variety of diseases. The exact role of these changes in a number of specific diseases is illustrated. It extends and applies the knowledge gained in the cell biology module.

Cellular and molecular basis of cancer (15 credits)
This module provides you with the understanding of the major cellular and molecular changes that occur during cancer development, and how cancer-specific genetic changes may be exploited by novel cancer therapies.

Human genomics (subject to approval) (15 credits)
In this module you gain an understanding of the basic principles of how genetic information is stored, copied and passed on through generations. This includes the structure of DNA and how genomes are replicated, the mechanisms and control of genome expression, how variation in the DNA sequence arises and how that variation can affect an individual. You explore how genetics at the whole genome level (genomics) and transcriptional level (transcriptomics) has been facilitated by rapid advances in sequencing technologies. You also study the principles of different sequencing technologies and how the data generated can be analysed. Genomic applications in healthcare are central to diagnosis and new-born screening, and are also allowing the development of stratified treatment regimens and non-invasive prenatal testing. Beyond the genome and the transcriptome you study proteomic changes in a diagnostic and research setting. This module aims to equip you for the genomic age.

Blood sciences (30 credits)
In blood sciences you develop an advanced knowledge relating to the laboratory diagnosis and clinical management of disorders of the haematological system and disorders of major organ systems which present with biochemical abnormalities. You learn about the underlying pathology and rationale for diagnostic testing strategies for key disorders.

Cellular pathology (30 credits)
This module is designed to advance your knowledge of cellular pathology which underpins the histopathological and cytological laboratory diagnosis and clinical management of both neoplastic and non-neoplastic diseases. Teaching staff are involved in research and many are pioneering histopathologists in their own field. As part of the module you critically evaluate the application and limitations of current and new instrumentation and technologies for the diagnosis and management of common pathological conditions. Taught material is supplemented with tutorial sessions and a guided tour of the histopathology department at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

Microbiology and immunology (subject to approval) (30 credits)
This module advances your knowledge of public health, molecular and sub-cellular aspects of microbial infection and immunological response to infection, as well as the immunological basis for non-infectious disease. This module is particularly relevant to biomedical scientists and other life scientists.

The postgraduate certificate (PgCert) is achieved by successfully completing 60 credits.
The postgraduate diploma (PgDip) is achieved by successfully completing 120 credits.

Assessment Assessment methods include written examinations and coursework such as
  • problem solving exercises
  • case studies
  • reports from practical work
  • presentations.
Research project assessment includes a written report, presentation and portfolio.


This course enables you to start to develop your career in various applications of biomedical science including pathology, government funded research labs or the life sciences industry. It is also for scientists working in hospital or bioscience-related laboratories particularly as biomedical scientists who want to expand their knowledge and expertise in this area.


Home / EU student

Please note tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation. More information can be found in the ‘Tuition Fee Increases’ section of our Fees Regulations (PDF, 2.10 MB)

2016/17 academic year

Full-time – typically £6,300

Part-time – typically £2,100 a stage for PgCert, PgDip and MSc stages

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are available across the majority of subject areas.

2017/18 academic year

Full-time – typically £6,400

Part-time – typically £2,135 a stage for PgCert, PgDip and MSc stages

International student

2016/17 academic year

Typically £12,500 for the course

2017/18 academic year

Typically £13,250 for the course

Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs information

International and European entry qualifications

If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.

How to apply

Complete the application form available at www.shu.ac.uk/study/form

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and student Regulations.

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