Medical News Today defines medicine as “the practice of the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and the promotion of health,” and medical science programs take an integrated approach in studying the form and function of the human body as well as the science behind clinical medicine.
Degree programs in medical science are not to be confused with Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) programs, which you can learn more about here.
Highlighted courses and degrees in medical science
A significant number of institutions have general education requirements for most bachelor degree programs. General education courses include basic or introductory topics on natural sciences, mathematics and humanities.
Medical science degree programs usually include modules in biology, chemistry and anatomy. Other modules may include microbiology, pharmacology, genetics, neuroscience, biochemistry and psychology. With an interest in the future of the healthcare industry, some programs may also give focus to learning about clinical practice and ethics. Students can also expect to have some modules that are conducted in the laboratory, especially in specialisations that focus on medical research.
Aside from weekly classes, lab sessions, workshops and seminars, coursework may include written exams, case study analysis, presentations, group work and participation. As part of these, students may also be expected to conduct medical research. In the latter years of the program, a placement or internship may be required. Some institutions also require a major project, dissertation or thesis to complete the degree.
Most universities provide specialisation options for their students, either through optional electives or as a mandatory part of the degree program. Availability of specialisations would also depend on the offerings of each university.
Below is a short list of medical science specialisations and pathways offered by different institutions:
The accreditation of a degree usually depends on the country where the degree is awarded. In most cases, countries have their own accrediting systems for universities, students and graduates.
Graduates of medical science degree programs can end up in different professional positions. As such, there is no universal licensing or certification that Medical Science graduates must obtain to be able to find a position in the field.
A bachelor’s degree in Medical Science can typically take around three to four years of full-time study. The exact period of time would depend on the university of your choice and the country wherein it is located and what specialisations one decides to take.
Graduates of medical science have many opportunities to pursue further studies. One can explore the option of pursuing a Doctor of Medicine program, while another may find that a master’s degree in medical science or one of the many subjects associated with it more appropriate. It will, of course, depend on the educational and professional achievements of the individual interested in pursuing further studies.Image by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Entrance into a medical science degree program varies from institution to institution. For undergraduate applicants, some universities may require applicants to take an entrance exam, while some will take into consideration national or standard exams. A number of universities also take into consideration advanced placement exams, while some consider transfer credits for post-secondary students or applicants.
Some medical science degree programs have a grade requirement, either from the entrance or standard exam, from previous courses taken in secondary school or sometimes even both. Aside from taking these into consideration, some institutions may also give weight to grades or scores in subjects such as chemistry and biology. Various leadership experiences and letters of recommendation may also be taken into consideration. Some institutions also require a letter of intent or an application essay in addition to an admissions interview.
Most universities offering medical science as a degree are located in the UK and Australia. As such, international students may be asked for proof of English proficiency. For a complete list of requirements, you are advised to check out or contact the institution you are interested in applying to.
If you do not meet the entry requirements you may want to consider a pathway course.
Medical science degree holders can find work in hospitals, clinics and research centres. Some potential positions include research scientist, clinical research associate, diagnostic laboratory technician, hospital administrator, medical journalist and histologist. Some careers may require further certification.
Medical Science graduates will find that transferable skills gained throughout the degree program can be applied in pursuing their chosen career paths. These include attention to detail, logical and critical thinking as well as research, problem-solving and decision-making skills.
Find medical science programs available in the following countries.
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