What can you do with a biomedical science degree?

23 June 2021

Biomedical science combines the studies of pharmacology, physiology, and pathology with the overall aim of solving problems in public health. From unexpected disasters like the coronavirus pandemic to the increasingly ageing populations around the world, there are many medical needs today that require the expertise of biomedical science professionals.

A biomedical science degree is a challenging course but a strong qualification to graduate with. Biomedical sciences is a fascinating area. You’ll learn about many subjects such as the human body, genetics, how we fight off illnesses, how medicines work, how diseases are passed down, and many others.

Is biomedical science a good degree?

In short, the answer is yes! Increased demand in the biomedical science profession has led to many exciting opportunities for graduates and professionals alike. During your biomedical science degree, you’ll gain experience in laboratory work and learn the skills needed to plan, carry out and evaluate experiments. You’ll also learn to observe health and safety regulations and draw conclusions from scientific literature. Other transferable skills you’ll pick up include computing and the use of statistics, project management, and analytical and problem-solving skills, among others.

Biomedical science careers

Despite the many scientific applications of this field, jobs are not limited to research. For example, biomedical devices pass through a series of phases (development, testing, sales and marketing) before they are officially implemented as medical solutions. Therefore, a project team might be composed of lab technicians, marketing experts, salespeople and legal professionals, in addition to scientists of various disciplines.

Professionals working in biomedical sciences can work in either private or public sectors; you can pursue opportunities based on your interests. Whichever specialism you choose, you will need an undergraduate degree and then, often, a master’s or PhD as well. You’ll also need skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, and communication, alongside a high level of practical ability.

Please read on for some popular biomedical science degree jobs:

Biomedical scientist

The main role you can pursue with this degree is as a biomedical scientist. Biomedical scientists carry out tests and analysis on fluid samples and patient tissue. This work is important as it helps medical doctors diagnose and treat diseases. As a biomedical scientist, there are four main specialisms to choose from:

  • Infection sciences: screening for and detecting organisms and viruses that lead to diseases
  • Blood sciences: analysing blood samples for toxin levels or diseases
  • Cell sciences: carrying out cellular analysis of tissue samples to screen for diseases such as cancer
  • Genetics and molecular pathology: the use of gene analysis to diagnose and evaluate hereditary diseases

Day to day tasks of a biomedical scientist:

  • Preparation of samples for testing
  • Registration of patient data
  • Recording of test results onto databases
  • Sending results to doctors and medical staff

Biomedical scientists usually work full time, 37.5 hours per week, from Monday to Friday. However, depending on your specialism and employer, you may be required to work longer hours. Entry-level biomedical scientist roles in the NHS are typically between £24,214 and £30,112 (Band 5). Once you have more experience and become a senior biomedical scientist, you could earn anything between £37,570 to £50,819 (Band 7/8a).

Biomedical scientists are usually employed by public health services, pharmaceutical manufacturers, private hospitals, clinical pathology laboratories and universities. Within the UK, the NHS is the biggest employer of biomedical scientists.

Clinical scientist

Clinical scientists use investigative methods, such as clinical trials, to conduct research into the improvement of human health. They interpret results and suggest new methodologies related to treatment and diagnosis. They also analyse the effects of medical treatments and pharmaceutical products. They often have administrative responsibilities such as preparing grant applications for research funding and supervising lab technicians. Clinical scientists are usually employed in private and public hospitals, government agencies, private research firms, pharmaceutical companies and educational institutions. Some work from 9-5, five days a week, and others work longer hours and shift patterns.

The job outlook for clinical scientists remains bright around the world. Within the NHS, clinical scientists tend to be employed at Band 6, on a starting salary of £31,365. Once you are fully qualified, you will earn around £38,890 to £44,503. Senior and consultant clinical scientists earn anywhere between £45,753 (Band 8) to £104,927 (top of Band 9).

Forensic scientist

Forensic scientists work to investigate crimes and analyse evidence. They often collaborate with crime scene investigators, taking evidence and analysing it in a lab setting. Evidence often takes the form of fingerprints, hair, photographs, blood, and bullet fragments. Although forensic scientists should have a good working knowledge of the police, their backgrounds mainly lie in scientific fields such as biology and chemistry.

A starting salary for a forensic scientist in the UK is around £20,000. Once you have a few years of experience, this may increase to around £25,000 to £35,000. Senior forensic scientists can expect to earn £45,000 or more.

Other jobs you can pursue with a biomedical sciences degree include:

  • Medical writer
  • Medical chemist
  • Pharmaceutical marketing manager
  • Medical sales rep
  • Biotechnologist

Further study

To specialise within biomedical sciences, you may want to pursue a master’s degree or a PhD. Postgraduate study is a great way to deepen your knowledge or fast track into a particular subfield of biomedical sciences. Like many other subjects in STEM, a master’s degree will take one or two years, and a PhD in Biomedicine will take a minimum of three years. It is possible to progress straight from an undergraduate into a Doctoral programme if your grades are exceptionally high. Otherwise, a master’s degree provides a valuable pathway.

Study biomedical science in Scotland

The University of Aberdeen International Study Centre will help you adjust to the University’s learning culture and the Scottish education system. You will also improve your English language, subject knowledge and study skills. Our team will support you as you settle into life in Scotland.

Our pathway programmes are created for international students like you, designed to prepare you for degree study at the University of Aberdeen.

Undergraduate Foundation Programme in Life Sciences

To kickstart your career in biomedical sciences, start our three-term Undergraduate Foundation Programme in Life Sciences. This programme is equivalent to the first year of your undergraduate degree.

You’ll study subject-specific course modules as well as learn study skills and improve your English language. Once you successfully complete the programme, you will progress to the second year of a four-year undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen.

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