Biomedical Sciences: About the Course
Biomedical Science is an exciting and rapidly-moving subject area, highly relevant to major issues facing society today.
The University of Oxford is an internationally recognised centre for biomedical research and teaching. It has excellent facilities for biomedical sciences students, which include outstanding libraries and a purpose-built teaching centre that houses computing and laboratory facilities. Oxford aims to recruit and select the brightest and best students from the UK and the rest of the world, so you will have the chance to join a high-performing international cohort, encompassing students from a diverse range of backgrounds.
This broad and flexible programme ranges from genetics and molecular and cellular biology to integrated systems physiology, neuroscience and psychology. At the heart of the educational experience at Oxford is the tutorial system, which offers you the chance to review theories with tutors and further explore ideas that arise in discussion with them.
The course is truly interdisciplinary in nature, with a number of departments and units contributing teaching, including Biochemistry, Experimental Psychology, Pathology, Pharmacology, and Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics.
The broad first year will ensure that you receive a strong foundation in all aspects of the subject, and training in relevant study skills. You will attend lectures, practical classes and tutorials that will introduce you to systems biology (body, brain and behaviour) and to cell biology (cells, molecules, genes), as well as classes in essential physical, mathematical and statistical concepts to give you the confidence to work with primary literature later in the course. You would typically attend six to ten lectures, a mathematics or statistics class, and a three-hour practical each week. In addition, you will prepare for and attend weekly tutorials during which you will discuss, through consideration of experimental studies, the significance and limitations of a given topic with your tutors. Your remaining time will be available for independent study.
Entering the second year, a wide range of options of differing weight are available in the following themes:
- Psychological processes and disorders
- Cellular and systems physiology
- Genetics and developmental biology
- Cellular pathology and immunology
During the first two terms of the second year, this work is divided between around five lectures and one or two tutorials each week, in addition to practical classes, while the final term of year two concentrates on experimental work in a laboratory.
By the beginning of your third year, you will have chosen whether you wish to graduate from the course with either a BA degree in Cell and Systems Biology or a BA degree in Neuroscience. Depending on this choice, sStudents can select from a range of specialised options such as systems neuroscience, development and disease, immunity, and molecular pathology, in which they attend, lectures, tutorials, and seminars. The course in the third year is intended to encourage both in-depth, focussed study, and also integrative thinking that seeks out connections between different research disciplines. After completing the third year, it is possible for students to exit the course with a B.A. in either Cell and Systems Biology or Neuroscience, though most will continue on to the fourth year to acquire the MBiomedSci Master's degree.
During the fourth year, you will be working almost exclusively on your extended research project and attending original research seminars to bolster your understanding of experimental biomedical sciences. By the end of year 4, students will be able to:
- appreciate the practical and conceptual aspects of modern biomedical research
- frame hypotheses
- write research proposals
- design and execute experiments
- analyse and interpret experimental outcomes
- contribute constructively to a research group
- create peer-reviewed journal articles
- disseminate research findings to peers and to the general public