England.  Change location
An image to illustrate the BSc (Honours) Biomedical Sciences
Course type
Degree  

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Credits
360  

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
Part-time study – 6 years*
Full-time study – 3 years*
Time limit – 16 years
*See How much time do I need?
Study method
Distance learning
Entry requirements
Find out more about
Entry requirements

BSc (Honours) Biomedical Sciences

Course code: R87

Understand how the human body works and how illnesses are diagnosed and treated. Learn more about how cells, tissues, organs, and body systems function together and their impact on each other in both health and disease. You’ll learn how the human body works by studying anatomy and physiology and how we prevent, diagnose and treat diseases. You’ll gain practical skills through our award-winning OpenSTEM Labs and, in some cases, by immersing yourself in extended reality.

  • Gain a contemporary understanding of the biomedical sciences
  • Explore health and disease from a multidisciplinary, evidence-based perspective
  • Develop investigative and laboratory skills using our state-of-the-art multi-award-winning OpenSTEM labs
  • Participate in innovative online collaborative and virtual experiences, including extended reality
  • Develop transferable skills that enhance your employability in a variety of settings

Stages 1 and 2 of this degree are the same as our Diploma of Higher Education in Biomedical Sciences (W24).

Course type
Degree  

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Credits
360  

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
Part-time study – 6 years*
Full-time study – 3 years*
Time limit – 16 years
*See How much time do I need?
Study method
Distance learning
Entry requirements

Find out more about Entry requirements

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • In Stage 1, you’ll study two 60-credit modules.
  • In Stage 2, you’ll study two 60-credit modules.
  • In Stage 3, you’ll study a 60-credit module, a 30-credit module and complete a 30-credit project module.

Prepare for OU study with an Access module

We offer two starting points depending on how confident you are or how long it’s been since you last studied. Choose to dive straight in at Stage 1, or if you’d prefer some extra preparation, you can get started with an optional Access module. See Entry requirements for more details.

You’ll study two 60-credit modules.

Stage 1 modules
ModulesCredits
You'll study both of the following:
Science and health: an evidence-based approach (SDK100)60
Human biology: a body in balance (SK190)60

You’ll study two 60-credit modules.

Stage 2 modules
ModulesCredits
You’ll study both of the following:
Investigating human health and disease (S290)60
Clinical laboratory diagnostics (S291) – planned for October 202560

You’ll study a 60-credit module, a 30-credit module and complete a 30-credit project module.

Stage 3 modules
ModulesCredits
You'll study all three of the following:
Biomedical perspectives on lifelong health (S370) – planned for October 202660
Translational medicine (SK322) – planned for October 202530
Science project module: health sciences (SXH390)30

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 19 March 2024.


Accessibility

Our qualifications are as accessible as possible, and we have a comprehensive range of support services. Our BSc (Honours) Biomedical Sciences uses a variety of study materials and includes the following elements:

  • Online study – most modules are online; some have a mix of printed and online material. Online learning resources could include websites, audio/video, and interactive activities
  • Pre-determined schedules – we’ll help you to develop your time-management skills
  • Assessment in the form of short-answer questions, essays, and examinations
  • Feedback – continuous assessment includes feedback from your tutor and using this to improve your performance
  • Using and producing diagrams and screenshots
  • Finding external/third-party material online
  • Accessing online catalogues and databases
  • Specialist software
  • Mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • Online tutorials
  • Group-work
  • Practical work

Every module has its own Accessibility Statement with more detailed accessibility information – you’ll find these on individual module descriptions.

Visit our Disability support page to learn about our services.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our BSc (Honours) Biomedical Sciences.

The class of honours (first, upper-second, lower-second or third) will depend on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

International recognition

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Find out more about international recognition of Open University qualifications.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 


There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.

At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.

Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you’ll need to succeed. If you’re not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.

Answer a few quick questions to check whether you’re ready for study success

Stage 1 comprises two modules: Science and health: an evidence-based approach  (SDK100) and Human biology: a body in balance (SK190). Check you’re ready for these modules with the resources below:

Biomedical Sciences or Health Sciences?

Biomedical Sciences and Health Sciences are related but distinct fields that vary in focus and scope.

  • Biomedical Sciences focuses on the underlying physiology of human health and disease and how diseases are diagnosed and treated.
  • Health Sciences has a broader scope that considers the science behind the health, healthcare and wellbeing of mind and body.

Stage 1 of our BSc (Honours) Biomedical Sciences (R87) and our BSc (Honours) Health Sciences (Q71) are the same. So you can change your qualification up to that point to suit your changing interests or aspirations.

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.

Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner

You can complete your studies in six years part-time and three years full-time. However, your last module (SXH390) ends in September, so you’ll receive your final results in late October rather than June/July. You should consider this if you’re planning further study and wish to use your BSc (Honours) Biomedical Sciences as an entry qualification.

Science, technology and maths Access module

What you will study

This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the sciences, technology and mathematics. It’ll help develop your study skills in advance of your OU qualification, and you get to explore a number of STEM subjects including science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT.

View full details of Science, technology and maths Access module

How much will it cost in England?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread the cost.

  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • Most of our students study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £3,636*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £21,816*.

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2025. Fees typically increase annually. In England, fees are subject to the part-time fee limit, as set out in section C of the University's Fee Rules.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

If your income is not more than £25,000 or you receive a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you start studying.


How will I study this course?

With our unique approach to distance learning, you can study from home, work or on the move.

You’ll have some assessment deadlines to meet, but otherwise, you’ll be free to study at the times that suit you, fitting your learning around work, family, and social life.

For each of your modules, you’ll use either just online resources or a mix of online and printed materials.

Each module you study will have a module website with

  • a week-by-week study planner, giving you a step-by-step guide through your studies
  • course materials such as reading, videos, recordings, and self-assessed activities
  • module forums for discussions and collaborative activities with other students
  • details of each assignment and their due dates
  • a tutorial booking system, online tutorial rooms, and your tutor’s contact details
  • online versions of some printed module materials and resources.

If you have additional needs, we can also provide most module materials in alternative formats. Find out more about materials on our accessibility webpage.


Tutor support

You’ll have a tutor for each module, who will introduce themselves before the module begins.

Throughout the module, they will:

  • mark your assignments and give feedback to help you improve
  • guide you to learning resources
  • support you, whether with general study skills or help with a specific topic.

Tutorials

Tutorials usually take place online, and they’re always optional.

Online tutorials are live presentations with module tutors in dedicated online tutorial rooms and are sometimes recorded.


Assessment

Our assessments are all designed to reinforce your learning and help you show your understanding of the topics. The mix of assessment methods will vary between modules.

Computer-Marked Assignments

  • Usually, a series of online, multiple-choice questions.

Tutor-Marked Assignments

  • You’ll have a number of these throughout each module, each with a submission deadline.
  • They can be made up of essays, questions, experiments or something else to test your understanding of what you have learned.
  • Your tutor will mark and return them to you with detailed feedback.

End-of-Module Assessments

  • The final, marked piece of work on most modules.
  • Modules with an end-of-module assessment won’t usually have an exam.

Exams

  • Some modules end with an exam. You’ll be given time to revise and prepare.
  • You’ll be given your exam date at least 5 months in advance.
  • Most exams take place remotely, and you will complete them at home or at an alternative location.
  • If a module requires you to take a face-to-face exam, this will be made clear in the module description, and you will be required to take your exam in person at one of our exam centres.

Progressing to a point where I felt more comfortable writing my assignments, and having my scores reflecting that, made me quite happy because it showed the hard work was being rewarded.

Patrick ‘Ricky’ Skene, BSc (Hons) Sport, Fitness and Coaching

Other support and resources

Throughout your studies, you’ll have access to our subject-specific Student Support Teams.

They’ll help you with any general questions about your study and updates to your OU account.

To help with your studies, you’ll also have access to:

  • our online library, with high-quality online resources to support your study
  • other university libraries in the UK and Ireland
  • the online Help Centre, which has general information about OU study and support, along with study skills advice
  • free Microsoft Office 365 software
  • IT and computing support from our Computing Helpdesk.

Find out more about student support and being a part of the OU community.

Skills for career development

This qualification develops key graduate skills for biomedical sciences, including intellectual, communication, presentation, information technology, interpersonal, teamwork, self-management and professional development skills. Through interactive online experiments and activities, you’ll develop your initiative and significant practical and professional skills. You’ll develop analytical, data interpretation and problem-solving skills through recording and analysing data in the laboratory or elsewhere; preparing, processing, interpreting and presenting data; and evaluating published claims by interpreting methodology and experimental data.

Career relevance

The qualification allows you to explore how the human body works and how illnesses are diagnosed and treated. It focuses on how cells, organs and body systems function together and considers their impact on each other in health and disease. It explores current developments in biomedical sciences and considers wider implications on a local, regional, national and global scale. This qualification will stand you in good stead for various graduate-entry careers, including life science and pharmaceutical industries, research laboratories or institutes, healthcare and diagnostics sales or marketing, education, food industry and safety, forensics and the health-related regulatory sector.

Accreditation

Note: This degree is not accredited by The Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime, if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training or work experience beyond your degree):

  • bioinformatician
  • biomedical researcher
  • biotechnologist
  • clinical trials assistant
  • further education lecturer
  • healthcare marketing
  • healthcare sales
  • health promotion specialist
  • health services administrator
  • laboratory technician
  • medical sales representative
  • medical writer
  • research assistant.

While an excellent grounding in the necessary knowledge and skills, this degree will not qualify you as a biomedical scientist – you will require further education/training.


Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 08/08/2024
Credit transfer: apply by 05/12/2024

Request your Science prospectus

Our prospectuses help you choose your course, understand what it's like to be an OU student and register for study.

Request prospectus