I could have totally applied for Medicine a second time round towards the end of First Year of Biomed, but I had started to fall in love with the subject, the people and the university itself – so I figured, why not give it a chance? After passing First Year on a high and having gotten all the ‘socialising’ out of my system *ahem*, second year slapped all of us on in the face.
No more spoon feeding, no more niceties – Biomedical Science is hardcore. Suddenly, we were thrown into the ever-changing world of science: expected to just churn out information through extensive reading and independent study. As challenging as it was, I really did fall in love with Biomedical Science during my second year of university.
I am ashamed to say that I started the degree having never heard of the field itself, but now I hold it as one of the most esteemed and happening areas to pursue. For those of you who may still be deciding between Medicine and other possible avenues, I’ll try and give a breakdown as to what Biomedical Science entails and the careers it can give rise to.
So what exactly is Biomedical Science?
Biomedical Science is essentially focusing on health and disease at the cellular and molecular basis, studying how the interconnecting bodily systems function and how we can interfere with and manipulate these systems in order to develop novel therapeutics. Of course this is just my own broad definition of the subject but the course envelops so much more and contains many clinical aspects as well! Understanding the molecular markers of disease and how these result in the physical presentations was particularly fascinating, and has given me such a solid foundation which I can build upon in my next degree.
What does the course entail?
Much of the content of Biomedical Science is similar to that of first year medical students, however the real difference is that Biomedical Science students learn everything in far more detail, and of course do not have the patient-based aspect. I don’t know about other universities but my course was a mixture of both lectures and practicals, and evaluated with both exams (MCQs and essays) and coursework (lab reports and even more essays!). The practicals were a series of laboratory experiments, often clinically based (but not patient related), and the modules ranged from Neuroscience to Cancer to Epidemiology to Pathology to Pharmacology and more! Although the content is seemingly endless, final year allows you to delve into the area that interests you the most through completing your very own research project (will expand on this in a later post).
What career prospects does a Biomedical Science degree present?
What I never expected was the sheer expanse of job prospects that a BSc can open you up to! This is just a small list of the types of jobs you can go into:
- Biomedical Scientist
- Forensic Scientist
- Healthcare Scientist
- Research Scientist (medical)
- University lecturer
- You can even go into banking and finance!!
If you want to find out more about these jobs, take a look at this website, it’s really useful!
So, is Biomedical Science a plausible alternative to Medicine?
I was wrong to refer to Biomedical Science as a ‘backup’ earlier – it is a full-on commitment and certainly isn’t a backup! It is by no means less important than medicine or less worthy, in fact, without Biomedical Science much of today’s medical procedures and treatments wouldn’t exist.
If you are in a position where you are trying to decide whether or not Biomedical Science is for you – let me try and lay down some helpful info!
If you enjoy:
- Science (duh!)
- Maths (yep, it follows you everywhere)
- Independent study (some research jobs require a lot of independent work but other Biomedical Science jobs are built solely on teamwork!)
- Research (reading reading reading!)
- Experimentation (both lab-based and theoretical!)
- Written work (reports etc.)
- Project management
Then I would highly recommend Biomedical Science for you (of course this list is non-exhaustive).
At this point, I had assumed Medicine was no longer an option for me and I had opened my mind to Biomedical Science, perhaps even started to envision myself in the lab, carrying out my own world-class research, and had even looking into career prospects within organisations such as Cancer Research UK! Little did I know that the next year would bring me right back to square one.
If you have any more questions regarding Biomedical Science drop me an email, I’m happy to chat 🙂
“Science is simply the word we use to describe a method of organizing our curiosity.” – Tim Minchin