Global biomedical education: Three leading universities for bachelor’s and master’s programmes

Source: St George’s, University of London
Source: St George’s, University of London

Biomedical scientists are trailblazers in the realms of healthcare and science, leading the way in tackling the big challenges of our time. Their tireless efforts to unravel the complexities of the human body, explore the enigmas surrounding various diseases, and ultimately discover treatments and vaccines for a wide range of health conditions through their extensive research have benefited countless many.  

If you find yourself captivated by these pursuits, then the field of biomedicine could be the one for you. While many career opportunities await, this is a highly demanding discipline that requires more than just skills. To excel, you must first choose a reputable university that provides outstanding research opportunities, unparalleled teaching quality, valuable placement programmes, accredited curriculum, and cutting-edge facilities. 

To help you make an informed choice, here is a list of the top biomedical schools that meet these criteria and more:

St George’s, University of London

Located in the thriving, multicultural neighbourhood of Tooting in southwest London, St George’s, University of London is the UK’s specialist health university and the only UK university based within a teaching hospital, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Founded in 1752, its focus on health, medicine and science education is a mission that has won it much recognition, including ranking eighth best university in the UK for research impact (Times Higher Education REF2021 Impact Scores) as well as #1 for graduate prospects on track (Complete University Guide 2024).

As St George’s is based in a large teaching hospital, the university provides a professional healthcare environment for its students. Students benefit from seamless access to lecture theatres, laboratories, hospital wards and clinics, as well as access to specialist expertise in clinical, epidemiological and laboratory research within both the university and the hospital. This immersion in a clinical setting allows students to connect and learn from a diverse group of healthcare professionals, forging invaluable knowledge and connections for their future careers.

St George’s offers a comprehensive range of courses in Biomedical Science, catering to different academic aspirations. Undergraduate options include the three-year Biomedical Science BSc and the four-year Biomedical Science MSci, while postgraduate options include the Biomedical Science MRes which features four distinct pathways: Antimicrobial Resistance, Molecular Mechanisms of Cancer, Infection and Immunity and Reproduction and Development.

St George’s Biomedical Science BSc and MSci courses provide a fascinating insight into the biological science behind health, disease and the development of medical therapies, equipping students with broad-based scientific knowledge to suit a wide range of career options on graduation. What especially makes these courses stand out are their optional Professional Training Year, an opportunity to gain valuable work experience in the sector and build professional and scientific skills.

The Biomedical Science MRes enables students to work directly alongside high-calibre leading researchers, respected within their fields, for up to nine months on a research project. In excellent facilities, students develop strong research knowledge and skills, including tissue culture, gene cloning and protein techniques, among others, as well as transferable skills such as critical appraisal, utilising large data and accessing technology for optical processes and microscopy techniques. Students receive excellent preparation for PhD studies, which can lead to a research career within academia or the pharmaceutical industry. Job opportunities are abound too — including research support staff, technicians, medical laboratory assistants, specialist services provision, equipment operators and laboratory management.

St George’s Biomedical Science graduates are set to join the leaders and pioneers that came before them; the university boasts esteemed alumni including Edward Jenner, who created the first vaccine against smallpox, as well as Henry Gray, who published the medical textbook “Gray’s Anatomy”. Learn more about how St George’s can take your Biomedical Science career far.

University of Plymouth

At the University of Plymouth’s School of Biomedical Sciences, students are being nurtured into future biomedical professionals through invaluable insights and guidance from faculty experts in cancer drug development, infection, and molecular biology. Through practical facilities, hands-on placements, and real-world interactions, they gain firsthand experience in their chosen profession while still at university.

This immersive experience, combined with instruction from subject-matter experts, pave the way for students to become the industry and research specialists of tomorrow. The school’s clinical lecturers, who are registered with professional bodies, actively practise in one of the country’s largest teaching hospitals. Drawing from their real-world experience in areas such as cardiac physiology and biomedical science, they enrich the theoretical knowledge students get through lectures, textbooks, and practical classes.

Such comprehensive education equips students to become highly sought-after graduates with excellent placement opportunities. Plymouth students have the privilege of collaborating with renowned pharmaceutical companies and participating in clinical diagnostics alongside the NHS as part of the esteemed Applied Biomedical Sciences programme.

But that’s not all. The School of Biomedical Sciences offers an array of accredited programmes as well These include the BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science, MSc Biomedical Science, BSc (Hons) Nutrition, Exercise and Health, BSc (Hons) Human Biosciences, and BSc (Hons) Clinical Physiology. The school provides a foundation route through the BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science with Integrated Foundation Year

University of Glasgow

Students thrive in the right environment with the proper support. At the University of Glasgow, aspiring health professionals learn from great teachers and pursue practical degrees such as Biomedical Sciences MSc and Biomedical Sciences MRes. Each pathway offers students a unique opportunity to gain specialised knowledge and skills.

Accredited by the Royal Society of Biology, both programmes ensure students gain a deep understanding of how their discipline works and how they can apply what they learn to a wide range of opportunities within the health industry.

Established in 1451, the University of Glasgow is a world-class university, committed to working with global partners to create high-quality biomedical experts with real-life impact. The university was named Times Higher Education University of the Year in 2020 and has been home to world-changing research and teaching for more than 570 years. 

By enrolling in the Biomedical Sciences MRes programme, students gain valuable hands-on research experience by completing two comprehensive research projects. Upon completion, they can advance their careers as biomedical scientists or use it as a stepping stone to pursue a PhD in the field of life sciences or medical sciences.

Similarly, the Biomedical Sciences MSc programme provides students with additional emphasis on teaching in the initial phase of the programme, along with one research project. Armed with the skills and techniques acquired during the programme, students undertake an in-depth research project. Past graduates have successfully secured employment in contract research organisations, clinical sciences, medical writing, pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries, as well as obtained PhD positions and pursued research development management roles.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International