Healthcare Sciences: Physiological Sciences/Life Sciences BSc (Hons)

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Undertake clinical placements and specialise in either Physiological Science or Life Science. Choose from two main routes. Improve your career prospects. 

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Overview

Physiological Science route

Much of the work in the physiological sciences is directly with patients. We offer two courses in this area: Audiology, where you measure, diagnose and treat hearing and balance issues, and Cardiac Physiology, where you will perform and interpret tests used for diagnosis and monitoring in the field of cardiology, such as ECGs.

If you would like to follow this route, then you should apply for BSc (Hons) Physiological Sciences (UCAS code: B120) and then apply to your preferred route during the first year. You will then graduate with a BSc (Hons) degree in either Healthcare Science (Cardiac Physiology) or Healthcare Science (Audiology).

Life Science route

The Life Science route will give you a thorough grounding in pathology and the scientific investigation of human health and disease. Pathology is the analysis of patients’ specimens to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. You will graduate with skills and technical knowledge in a range of biomedical techniques and you will be capable of expert analysis and interpretation. We offer four courses in this area: Blood Sciences, Infection Sciences, Cellular Sciences and Genetic Sciences.

If you would like to follow this route, you should apply for BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science (UCAS code: B940) and then apply to your preferred route during the first year. You will then graduate with a BSc (Hons) degree in Healthcare Science (Cellular, Infection, Genetic or Blood Sciences).

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Why us?

  • An accredited course to become a healthcare science practitioner in the NHS, with a starting salary range of around £21,000 which could lead to a salary of over £80,000
  • All Healthcare Science courses fulfil the requirements of the NHS's Health Education England Healthcare Science Programme Board specification for the Practitioner Training Programme (PTP)
  • BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science (Life Sciences) courses are approved by the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) and lead to eligibility to join the HCPC register as a Biomedical Scientist
  • 'Hands on' approach to learning in our state-of-the-art interactive learning facility 'The Living Lab'
  • The University has over 100 years of expertise in teaching science
  • Longstanding partnerships with regional NHS Trusts ensure a high quality work-based learning experience
  • You will be taught by academic staff as well as Healthcare Science Practitioners and will gain practical workplace experience alongside academic learning in your chosen specialism

Course structure

Unlike most of our degree courses, you cannot apply directly for this course. Instead, you complete the first year of either Biomedical Science BSc (Hons) or Physiological Science BSc (Hons) and if you secure a clinical placement (subject to availability and successful interview) you move onto this course, BSc (Hons) Healthcare Sciences: Physiological/Life.

Your exact degree award will depend on the placements and modules that you have completed. There are two main routes: Physiological Science (Cardiac Physiology / Audiology) and Life Science (Blood Science / Cellular Science / Infection Science / Genetic Science).

The content of the course will prepare you for working in the NHS as a healthcare science practitioner. 

Healthcare Science (Cardiac Physiology) BSc (Hons)

Year 1 (national level 4):

All core modules

  • Human Physiology (20 credits)
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology (20 credits)
  • Microbes and Host Defences (20 credits)
  • Clinical Practice and Professional Practice for Healthcare Science* (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Sleep Science (20 credits)
  • Introduction to the Practice of Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Sleep Science (20 credits)
    *Here you will be required to undertake a suitable 10-week work placement in your first year.

Year 2 (national level 5):

All core modules

  • Research and Analytical Skills for Biosciences (20 credits)
  • Instrumentation, Signal Processing and Imaging (20 credits)
  • Pathophysiology of Common Cardiovascular and Respiratory Disease (20 credits)
  • Cardiac Physiology: Electrocardiography (20 credits)
  • Cardiac Physiology: Ambulatory Monitoring and Exercise Electrocardiography (20 credits)
  • Professional Practice and Work-Based Training in Physiological Sciences 1* (20 credits)
    *You will also be required to undertake a suitable 15-week work placement at the end of your second year.

Year 3 (national level 6):

All core modules

  • Professional Practice and Work-Based Training in Physiological Sciences 2* (30 credits)
  • Healthcare Science Research Project (30 credits)
  • Applying Cardiac Physiology: Development and Disease (20 credits)
  • Applying Cardiac Physiology: Patient Centred Care and Provocative Testing (20 credits)
  • Applying Cardiac Physiology: Invasive Cardiology (20 credits)
    * Here you will be required to undertake a suitable 25-week work placement in your final year.

 

Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Healthcare Science (Audiology) BSc (Hons)

Year 1 (national level 4):

All core modules

  • Human Physiology (20 credits)
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology (20 credits)
  • Microbes and Host Defences (20 credits)
  • Clinical Practice and Professional Practice for Healthcare Science* (20 credits)
  • Applied Physics and Measurements (20 credits)
  • Applied Anatomy, Physiology and Pathophysiology (20 credits)
    *Here you will be required to undertake a suitable 10-week work placement in your first year.

Year 2 (national level 5):

All core modules

  • Research and Analytical Skills for Biosciences (20 credits)
  • Applied Physiological Measurement and Instrumentation (20 credits)
  • Processes of Audiological Rehabilitation (20 credits)
  • Pathophysiology of Hearing and Balance (20 credits)
  • Fundamental Principles of Audiological Assessment (20 credits)
  • Professional Practice and Work-Based Training in Physiological Sciences I (20 credits)
  • You will also be required to undertake a suitable 15-week work placement at the end of your second year

Year 3 (national level 6):

Core modules

  • Professional Practice and Work-Based Training in Physiological Science 2* (30 credits)
  • Healthcare Science Research Investigation (30 credits)
  • Psycho/Social Aspects of Hearing Loss (30 credits)
  • Advanced Principles of Audiological Assessment (30 credits)
    *Here you will be required to undertake a suitable 25-week work placement in your final year.

Optional modules - choose one

  • Vestibular Assessment (10 credits)

Healthcare Science BSc (Hons)

Blood Science or Cellular Science or Genetic Science or Infection Science

Year 1 (national level 4):

  • Fundamental Principles in Biomedicine (20 credits)
  • Human Physiology (20 credits)
  • Chemistry for the Biosciences (20 credits)
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology (20 credits)
  • Microbes and Host Defences (20 credits)
  • Clinical and Professional Practice for Healthcare Science* (20 credits)
    *Here you will be required to undertake a suitable 10-week work placement in your first year.

Year 2 (national level 5):

  • Pathophysiology and Therapeutics (20 credits)
  • Molecular and Cellular Analysis (20 credits)
  • Infection and Immunity (20 credits)
  • Blood Science (20 credits)
  • Research and Analytical Skills for Biosciences (20 credits)
  • Professional Practice and Work-Based Training in Life Sciences* (20 credits)
    *Here you will be required to undertake a suitable 15-week work placement during your second year.

Final year (national level 6):

Core modules

  • Healthcare Science Research Investigation (30 credits)
  • Advanced Professional Practice and Work-Based Training in Life Sciences - 25-week placement (30 credits)

You will also undertake specific modules and placements that will determine the exact title of your degree

  • Healthcare Science (Blood Science) BSc (Hons)
  • Healthcare Science (Cellular Science) BSc (Hons)
  • Healthcare Science (Infection Science) BSc (Hons)
  • Healthcare Science (Genetic Science) BSc (Hons)

Your degree title will depend on which of the following four options you choose:

Blood Science route

  • Clinical Biochemistry (20 credits)
  • Clinical Immunology (20 credits)
  • Haematology and Transfusion Science (20 credits)

Cellular Science route

Core modules

  • Cellular Pathology (20 credits)

Optional modules - choose two

  • Clinical Biochemistry (20 credits)
  • Clinical Immunology (20 credits)
  • Haematology and Transfusion (20 credits)
  • Human Genetics and Genomics (20 credits)
  • Medical Microbiology (20 credits)

Genetic Science route

Core modules

  • Haematology and Transfusion Science (20 credits)
  • Human Genetics and Genomics (20 credits)

Optional modules - choose one

  • Cellular Pathology (20 credits)
  • Clinical Biochemistry (20 credits)
  • Clinical Immunology (20 credits)
  • Medical Microbiology (20 credits)

Infection Science route

Core modules

  • Clinical Immunology (20 credits)
  • Medical Microbiology (20 credits)

Optional modules - choose one

  • Cellular Pathology (20 credits)
  • Clinical Biochemistry (20 credits)
  • Human Genetics and Genomics (20 credits)
  • Haematology and Transfusion Science (20 credits)
  • These are equipped with wide-ranging facilities from proteomics to drug discovery. These include a MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer and nanoHPLC MALDI spotter both 2D-gel based proteomics and bacterial identification, a new BD Accuri bench top flow cytometer for cell based assays, and an imaging suite including facilities for light, confocal and electron microscopy. You will have access to the physiology laboratories equipped with specialist equipment and instrumentation to demonstrate a range of physiological mechanisms including cardiac, respiratory and autonomic mechanisms. We have a number of laboratories dedicated for final year projects where you will gain first-hand research experience.

    Bioscience laboratories
  • We’ve got thousands of books and e-books on pharmaceutical and biomedical science, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.
    Some of the most important sources for your studies include:

    • Embase: A complex database covering drug research, pharmacology, pharmaceutics, toxicology, clinical and experimental human medicine, health policy and management, public health, occupational health, environmental health, drug dependence and abuse, psychiatry, forensic medicine and biomedical engineering/instrumentation
    • PsycARTICLES: Includes information about the psychological aspects of medicine, psychiatry, nursing, sociology, pharmacology and physiology
    • PubMed: Contains life science journals, online books and abstracts that cover fields such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine and health care
    • Science Direct: Offers more than 2,000 full-text journals published by Elsevier
    • Web of Science: Covers a broad range of science areas
    Library Services - sciences
  • Our Patient Diagnostic Suite is a multi-professional facility featuring a range of near patient testing/point of care resources for audiology, cardiology and laboratory medicine assessment and diagnostics including consultation areas for simulated patient assessment and feedback.

    Patient Diagnostic Suite
  • Map and directions

Facilities

Sunderland's exceptional facilities include state-of-the-art equipment for pharmaceutics, medicinal chemistry and pharmacology.

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is 112 UCAS points from a minimum of two A Levels or equivalent (e.g. 1 x AVCE double award) including biology or chemistry. Please note we do not accept General Studies AS or A Level.

We accept a maximum of 6 points from Level 3 Key Skills qualifications.

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication, Application of Number and Information Technology. If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

In order to undertake the work-based training you will need a satisfactory disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and a medical check and be subject to interview by the hospital work placement provider. This selection process will be undertaken during the first year of the course.

If English is your second language we require a minimum of IELTS 7.0 (or equivalent).

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK or EU
  • £11,500 if you are from outside the EU

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

City Campus by night

Employment

Healthcare science offers attractive salaries and career prospects.

If you switch to this degree you will be well-prepared to apply for roles as a healthcare scientist within the NHS.

Career options

NHS salaries for staff working in healthcare science range from around £21,000 to around £80,000 per year.

At entry level, the work involves obtaining diagnostic data from patients and working as part of a multidisciplinary team that also includes doctors, nurses and radiographers.

Experience

This course provides significant amounts of work-based learning, with compulsory unpaid placements amounting to 10 weeks in year 1, 15 weeks in year 2 and 25 weeks in year 3.

The University of Sunderland is committed to ensuring that every student has an impressive range of opportunities to enhance their CV and gain valuable experience.

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