MSc Biomedical Science

Postgraduate, Full-Time

This internationally recognised course will prepare you for a fulfilling career as a biomedical scientist in the rapidly developing bioscience and healthcare sectors.

  • Napier code:

    74711MM

  • Course type:

    Full-Time

  • Duration:

    1 year, or 18 months for January start

  • Award:

    MSc

  • Location:

    Sighthill campus

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Course introduction

This course is designed to enable you pursue a career as a professional biomedical scientist in a variety of research, development and leadership roles.

You'll be supported by an internationally recognised and highly active biomedicine science group with varied research interests and links with healthcare industries, research institutes and the NHS.

This course is eligible for a SFC funded place for Scottish and EU students – please see the SFC funding page for more information on how to apply.


mba

This course provides detailed knowledge of key concepts in immunology, toxicology, pharmacology and disease biology and how these disciplines are applied in biomedical science.

You’ll gain critical understanding of specialist research areas and unique insights into the challenges currently facing biomedical science. You’ll also acquire an in-depth appreciation of research and development practices in the healthcare industries through guest lectures and site visits to specialised laboratories. These experiences will allow you to explore and critique issues of relevance to professional working practice, enhancing your skills in evidence based decision making.

There is an emphasis on developing your practical laboratory skills with various opportunities for hands-on experience in a range of current techniques and practices. In your final trimester you’ll undertake an independent project within a vibrant biomedical research team, allowing you to apply and further develop your technical, research and professional skills. There may be the opportunity to conduct your research project externally in a relevant organisation or industry.

You’ll also develop key skills including communication, problem solving, team work, project management, and leadership. You’ll learn through interactive lectures, workshops, tutorials and laboratory sessions, and by engaging with guided independent study. A variety of assessment tools are used to enhance and evaluate your learning.

This is a full-time course over one year and is split up into three trimesters. You can choose to start in either January or September There may also be some opportunities to study abroad.

This programme is also available as a Masters by Research.

Subjects include

  • Advanced immunology
  • Biology of disease and therapeutics
  • Molecular pharmacology and toxicology
  • Research skills
  • Molecular pathogenesis of microbial Infection
  • Drug design and chemotherapy
  • Research project

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

You’ll be prepared for employment in the rapidly developing bioscience and healthcare sectors. This may be in hospitals, NHS, local government or health and safety divisions in various roles including research, R&D support management and consultancy.

Opportunities also exist for qualified biomedical scientists in a range of industrial settings from smaller medical biotechnology enterprises to global pharmaceutical companies.

If you currently work in the biomedical sector, this programme will enhance your prospects for career progression. Graduates will also be qualified to continue their studies at PhD level and follow an academic career.


The entry requirements for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at a 2:2 or above, or equivalent. We look for applicants to have a background in bio-molecular sciences, such as: biology, biomedical science, molecular biology, immunology, genetics, virology or pharmacy in order to be eligible for the programme.

We may also consider lesser qualifications if you have sufficient relevant work experience gained in the pharmaceutical or healthcare industries, or as a medical laboratory scientific officer.

English language requirements 

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.


Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:

BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)

BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We are committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.


Modules that you will study* as part of this course

Advanced Immunology ( BMS11100 )

The innate and adaptive immune responses; the cellular and molecular components of the immune system; inflammation and vaccine adjuvants; role of dendritic cells and pattern recognition receptors (PRRs); antigen processing and presentation; role of B and T cells in immune responses; immunological techniques e.g. flow cytometry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); immune tolerance and autoimmune disease; transplantation; tumour immunology; hypersensitivity; Monoclonal antibodies and therapeutics.

Further information

Biology of Disease and Therapeutics ( BMS11101 )

Concepts of health and illness. Disease classification. Tissue responses to damage, acute and chronic inflammation. The principles and current developments in the pathogenesis, investigation and treatment of diseases, exemplified from the molecular level through to system level. Case studies of conditions such as cancer, endocrine disorders, cardiovascular disease, haematological disease; their causes, pathologies, the role of the diagnostic laboratory in diagnosis and the basis of treatments currently available. The advantages and disadvantages of current investigative procedures and treatments are discussed, and the role of lifestyle as a contributing factor in disease development is evaluated.

Further information

Drug Design and Chemotherapy ( BMS11105 )

Emphasis on: molecular targets in cancer: characterisation and structure of biological targets (genes; enzymes; receptors; nucleic acids). Design, synthesis and mechanism of action of inhibitors of telomerase, the G-quadruplex, DNA-topoisomerases, matrix metalloproteinases. Targeted therapies, drug delivery mechanisms, design of prodrugs; macromolecular prodrugs and nanoconjugates. Synthetic oligonucleotides, PNAs, DNA-and RNA-binding ligands: design and applications. Synthesis and development of non-nucleoside antiviral agents: HIV integrase inhibitors, protease inhibitors. Peptoids and peptide mimics. Mechanisms of intrinsic and acquired drug resistance and MDR. Contemporary drug design to combat resistant bacterial and protozoal infections. Laboratory work in selected drug synthesis, methods of purification and characterisation; solution and solid- phase combinatorial peptide methodology and biological (including enzyme) assays; molecular graphics.

Further information

Molecular Pathogenesis of Microbial Infection ( MIC11100 )

The host response to microbial infection: innate and acquired immune response to infection; inflammation; complement cascade; role of various cytokines; immunomodulators; autoimmunity. Viral pathogenesis: viral life cycles and virulence factors; adenoviruses, retroviruses and other medically-relevant viruses such as influenza, hepatitis. Invasion & colonisation of the host: molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis; virulence factors involved in adhesion, invasion and colonisation; molecular structure and genetic regulation of fimbriae, pili, flagella, capsular polysaccharides, LPS (&LOS), exotoxins; role of biofilms. Survival in the host: nutrient acquisition; iron acquisition; the stringent response; RpoS regulon; PhoPQ regulon. Combating microbial infection: antibiotics/antivirals/antifungals and resistance; bacterial physiology and mechanisms of resistance.

Further information

Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology ( BMS11110 )

The module will provide you with an introduction to the major aspects of the scientific study of drugs in man, not just with respect to the design of optimum drug therapy, but also looking at the differences between pharmacology and toxicology. You will learn about how drugs work, their limitations, and the variability of response. You will study how cells transduce messages from the plasma membrane into the cell and nucleus. You will learn about how the body’s endogenous signalling system works and how this informs drug development. This includes the basic principles of receptor theory, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and their relevance to establishing the theoretical and practical basis for the rational clinical application of drugs. You will also examine the cellular and molecular mechanisms of toxicology. This includes the basic principles of toxicokinetics (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion), and the factors affecting each. You will examine the cellular and molecular mechanisms of xenobiotic toxicity, together with toxicity testing in the pharmaceutical industry. You will gain an insight into how intracellular signalling mechanisms can be manipulated, resulting in new research methodology. You will also engage with the literature surrounding molecular pharmacology and toxicology in order to understand recent developments in research in this area. You will cover the concept of ion channels and G protein-coupled receptors, intracellular kinase cascades, calcium signalling and linked control of transcription factors. Manipulation of signalling cascades in therapeutics and research. Basic principles of receptor theory, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and rational drug design. Introduction to toxicology. Toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics. Detailed descriptions of specific toxicant and pharmacological examples. In vitro and in vivo models of toxicity. Mechanisms of xenobiotic toxicity and toxicity testing.

Further information

Research Project ( BMS11102 )

On-line literature searches. Literature review. Project formulation. Hypothesis generation. Experimental design. Development of practical skills/research technique. Data generation/collection and analysis. Use of appropriate statistical analysis. Evaluation of findings, critical analysis and conclusions, with reference to supporting literature. Communication of original research results in a report written in the style of a scientific paper.

Further information

Research Skills ( MIC11107 )

DNA purification, restriction and quantification; Cloning – vectors, ligation, screening and analysis of clones; Gene expression and protein purification; Protein analysis – quantification, detection and mass spectrometry; Principles of nucleic acid hybridisation and DNA synthesis to applications in PCR, sequencing microarrays and gene silencing techniques (RNA interference); In silico analysis and manipulation of RNA, DNA and protein sequence information (bioinformatics); “-omics” – comparative and functional genomics, proteomics.

Further information

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.