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Course overview

Biomedical sciences play an important role in everyone's lives. They help us understand how our bodies work, what can go wrong with our bodies, and how we fix them. Medical Physiology and Therapeutics is a chance to learn about the body from its molecular level all the way through to the full complexity of the body as a whole.

At Nottingham, we teach you the medical sciences, with a focus on physiology, pharmacology, pathology, anatomy, histology, immunology, microbiology and psychosocial topics, through the human biosciences. You'll also have the option to tailor the course to your needs and interests as you go, through a variety of specialised optional modules.

Learn in our specialist facilities at our purpose-built medical school at the Royal Derby Hospital. You'll also benefit from our friendly team of clinical and non-clinical teachers and the strong relationship with our Graduate Entry Medicine and Foundation Year Medicine students who are also based in Derby.

We'll help give you the tools to succeed in your future career.

Why choose this course?

Biomedical sciences

Gain a broad understanding of biomedical sciences to prepare you for a broad range of career options whether in medicine, other health-related professions or something else

Tailor the course

Tailor the course in your final two years to best suit your developing interests and career goals

Smaller class sizes

Benefit from smaller class sizes and the close relationship with students on the medical courses at Royal Derby Hospital Medical School

Dedicated facilities

Learn in purpose-built dedicated facilities


Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level AAB-ABB
Required subjects

One of your A levels should be in biology or chemistry.

A pass is normally required in science practical tests, where these are assessed separately. However, due to the pandemic and the uncertainty of practical tests taking place, this will not required for 2022 applicants.

We do not accept citizenship studies, general studies, critical thinking or global perspectives.

Some offers of BBB may be made to applicants from a widening participation background.

GCSEs

English language and maths at grade 4 (C) or above.

IB score 34-32 (5 in biology or chemistry at Higher Level)

Foundation progression options

Medical Physiology and Therapeutics is one of the progression pathways for our Science with a Foundation Year course.

In order to progress on to the course you will be required to achieve the following scores:

  • 55% in Foundation Biological Science
  • 55% in Foundation Chemistry
  • 40% Overall average

We also accept students who have taken and completed the Science Foundation Certificate with Kaplan.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

  • Anatomy sessions
  • Case-based learning
  • Clinical relevance sessions
  • eLearning
  • Lab sessions
  • Lectures
  • Practical classes
  • Problem-based learning
  • Prosection
  • Self-study
  • Seminars
  • Small group learning
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

How you will be assessed

Assessment methods

  • Case studies
  • Coursework
  • Dissertation
  • Examinations
  • Formative assessments
  • Lab reports
  • Literature review
  • Portfolio (written/digital)
  • Poster presentation
  • Practical write-ups
  • Presentation
  • Short project
  • Verbal exam

Contact time and study hours

Medical Physiology and Therapeutics students have around 8 to 17 hours contact time per week covering lectures, practicals, workshops, tutorials and seminars. There are usually around 4 to 9 lectures each week lasting around an hour or so.

Students are expected to spend around 20 to 30 hours per week on self-study.

Class sizes are around 20 to 30 for seminars, workshops, and tutorials and around 60 for lectures depending on the module.

Study abroad

In your final year, there is an opportunity to study abroad on the Tropical Medicine and Beyond module which is based at our Malaysia campus. The module is open to students across the faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, and places are awarded on a competitive basis.

Find out more about one of our MPT student's thoughts on studying Tropical Medicine and Beyond in Malaysia.

Placements

While studying at Nottingham, you'll have the opportunity to take part in a number of different schemes and societies to help you develop your learning and skills.

These include:

Modules

You will begin by taking an in-depth look at body systems in healthy and diseased states. You'll gain an overview of:

  • cellular and human system physiology (such as the cardiovascular system) and how it is controlled
  • body system structure from anatomical and histological view points
  • how the body defends itself against infection and disease

You will also develop core study and academic skills.

Compulsory modules

Infection and Defence

This module provides an overview of medical microbiology and immunology to give an understanding of how the body defends itself against pathogens. You will study the pathogenic mechanisms of infectious disease and will learn how the immune system responds to foreign agents and pathogenic organisms. Exploring the epidemiology, aetiology and the principles of treatment of selected systemic infections will help to place the subject matter in a medical context which is further consolidated by the basic theory underlying immunisation and anti-microbial strategies. This module is delivered through lectures and lab-based practical sessions.

Cell Structure and function

This module will introduce students to the study of molecular and cellular biology, cell structure and function. The module will include an overview of structural and functional aspects of subcellular organelles, molecular biology of gene transcription and protein production, regulation of gene expression including basic concepts of epigenetics, introductory genetic inheritance and basic concepts of experimental design and quality assurance. A strong emphasis is placed on the acquisition of transferable skills through early laboratory experience. This module will develop students' practical and scientific method and writing skills. and encourage students to integrate theoretic knowledge with practical and transferable skills.

Study and Academic Skills

The aim of this module is to give you a good foundation in transferrable academic and study skills, numeracy skills and statistics to build upon as you progress in the course. It introduces essential aspects needed for research including good experimental study design, ethical consideration and communication skills as a broad base for future research. The need to develop full academic potential is encouraged through independent-learning, and reinforced via formative assessment activities and personal tutor input. 

Movement

In this module you will get an introduction to the study of musculoskeletal and nervous systems in the context of medical physiology and neuroscience. The module will cover the normal anatomy, physiology, and cell biology of skin and connective tissue, types of muscle and bone, before moving on to discuss joint structure, biomechanics, the nervous system, and the control of locomotion. This module is delivered through a mix of lectures, lab work, anatomy workshops, and group tutorials.              

Supply and Demand 1: Nutritional Supply and Demand

The aim of the module is to introduce you to the fundamental biomedical disciplines of haematology and biochemistry. The haematological content will provide a basis for understanding aspects related to diseases affecting blood. Basic knowledge regarding nutrition, metabolism, and digestion will allow broad understanding of the relationship between diet, production of energy and health, and appreciation of factors affecting metabolic balance and whole body homeostasis. You will have lectures, tutorials and lab-based practical sessions for this module.  

Supply and Demand 2: Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems

This module aims to provide a detailed understanding of the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, associated pathologies and investigative techniques, to underpin further study at subsequent levels. Transferrable skills are also introduced at an early stage to strengthen the development of core academic skills.

Supply and Demand 3: Renal and Endocrine Systems

The aim of the module is to provide an introduction to the organisation, structural features and functions of the endocrine system and renal system and to describe the homeostatic role of these systems in health. The content enables the exploration of the biological effect of select common disorders affecting growth and development will be used to introduce a knowledge and understanding of human pathophysiology and to develop problem-solving and inquisitive skills in healthcare science. 

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Wednesday 17 February 2021.

Year two will give you an overview of:

  • the nervous system
  • human reproduction, including pregnancy, birth and treating infertility
  • drug action and the treatment of disease, such as diabetes, renal disease and cancer

You will also begin to expand your knowledge through a choice of optional modules.

Plus, we'll start to prepare you for research and further investigations by incorporating statistics and ethical considerations in medical sciences into your learning.

Compulsory modules

Neuroscience

This module aims to further develop your understanding of human neurobiology from modules taken in year one. The module provides an overview of the anatomy, physiology, molecular, and cognitive aspects of nervous system function. The pathology of nervous system disease and injury is taught alongside a wide range of practical neurodiagnostic techniques; both current and developing therapeutic approaches are considered. This module is made up of lab work and taught classes, including some problem-based learning exercises. You may also share a large number of your lectures and undertake problem-based learning sessions with our medical students. This is especially useful if you are considering applying for graduate entry medicine after your degree in medical physiology and therapeutics.

Reproduction

In this module you will examine the core concepts in human reproduction. The emphasis of the module will be on physiological and biomedical mechanisms that underpin both male and female reproductive function, including pregnancy and birth. You will also learn about factors contributing to infertility and the main pathophysiological mechanisms implicated. Options available for treating infertility and the impact of the environment on reproductive outcomes will also be discussed. This module will consist of lectures and tutorials and scheduled problem-based learning sessions.

Contemporary Insights and Skills

This module aims to enhance and consolidate study and academic skills, demonstrate how the interplay between science, society and individuals impacts on health, and expand awareness of contemporary areas in medical physiology and therapeutics. Diverse topics spanning academic, practical, sociological, biological, statistical arenas are included in readiness for undergraduate studies and future employment. Practical application of information is essential as is involvement in group discussion and debate.

Pharmacology and Therapeutics

This compulsory module provides an overview of pharmacology (drug action) and therapeutics (the treatment of disease using drugs and other non-pharmacological methods) to help underpin study in other modules in years two and three. In addition, through seminars from clinical academics and case studies, you will learn about the principles of the therapeutic approach in a range of common diseases (e.g. diabetes, renal disease and cancer). Assessment of learning in the module includes use of an innovative ‘integrated therapeutics’ essay, in which you are able to demonstrate in-depth scientific understanding of the modern multi-pronged approach to treatment of disease.

Optional modules

Respiratory Diseases

This module extends basic understanding of respiratory physiology. You will develop an understanding of the biomedical basis for a range of common respiratory diseases in the UK (e.g. occupational, chronic obstructive lung disease and lung cancer), and the means by which they are investigated and diagnosed. Principles of management will also be discussed. You will also develop a wide range of clinical skills for diagnosis, including: percussion and basic palpation of the chest wall and thorax, auscultation of the breath sounds. The core anatomy and physiology will be delivered alongside applied teaching which focuses on the acquisition of clinical diagnostic skills in practical classes. The module facilitates the development of group work and written communication skills and requires you to apply your knowledge to mock clinical cases and write a detailed case study report.

Cancer Biology
Examine a selection of acquired and inherited cancers, and develop an understanding of the role of the genes involved and how they can be analysed. To study for this module you will have a two- or three-hour lecture once per week.
Cardiovascular Diseases

This module aims to teach the major methods for diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the cardiovascular system. Core anatomy and physiology is delivered alongside applied teaching focused on the acquisition of clinical diagnostic skills including, palpation, sphygmomanometry, auscultation, and electrocardiography. This knowledge will need to be applied to mock clinical cases and a detailed report on the findings of the diagnostic tests from one of these cases will be assessed. This module will allow students to develop generic clinical skills, consolidate previous learning, and develop group work and written communication skills.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Your final year will help you develop research skills and further your understanding of current medical sciences and therapeutics through research-led teaching.

You will design, plan and execute your own research project, supported by expert academics from our research groups.

Your research project will last throughout the spring semester and makes up for 50% of your final year results.

Compulsory modules

Research Design, Research Methods and Statistics

In this module you will learn specific methods for carrying out your own research in the medical and biomedical sciences. It will prepare you for research project work in a variety of settings covering topics such as literature searching, compiling bibliographies, advanced medical statistics, scientific writing, evidence-based health and clinical trial and design among others. You will study via lectures and workshops.    

Personal and Professional Development

This compulsory module has two main aims: to help you to develop ‘employability’ skills and skills for lifelong learning such as reflective practice. The module is delivered by academic staff in the school, with the help of advisers from the University’s Careers Service, external speakers and Nottingham alumni. Speakers come from a range of disciplines, including laboratory research, clinical research, physiological measurement commercial/government organisations as well as medical school graduates talking about their careers. By the end of the module, you will have learned about your strengths and weaknesses and reflected on these in a meaningful way, preparing you for life after graduation. 

Research Project and Audit

This module will fully immerse you in the research environment providing you with direct experience of contemporary research in the biomedical and clinical sciences. This enables the development of the practical and organisational skills needed for a career in scientific or clinical research. You will undertake a project that reflects the research activities of the School of Medicine by designing, planning and carrying out a research project under the guidance of an academic supervisor. The form of the research project will vary and can include laboratory-based work and/or clinical, patient-based studies. 

Optional modules

Rehabilitation and Long Term Conditions

This module will introduce you to some of the evidence which currently underpins rehabilitation and the management of long term conditions.  Rather than discussing a variety of diagnoses, you will focus on a neurological condition which affects young adults and use this from which the group can discuss common clinical problems and the contribution of different rehabilitation services. Initially, lectures will provide you with an overview of the condition and the underlying pathology. This will enable a review of knowledge of neuroanatomy and physiology and allow you to consider the action of different prescription drugs. Through a combination of lectures, small group discussions and workshops, you will gain an overview of the challenges which patients, relatives and members of the multi-disciplinary team experience when treating or living with a long term condition which has a marked impact on mobility and other activities. You will obtain an understanding of the secondary consequences and risks of a long term condition and the variables which can impede or facilitate rehabilitation. 

The Cellular Basis of Disease

This module will introduce students to core concepts related to aberrant cellular signalling and diseases. The content will focus on several diseases, such as cancer, dysfunctions of the CNS, cardiovascular disease etc., and consider the symptoms, basis of the pathophysiology, and therapeutic treatments. Practical methods used to investigate the diseases will also be taught, and combined with complementary laboratory practical classes and tutorials.

Ageing Systems Physiology

This module aims to equip students with a strong foundation in ageing physiology, coupled to a solid understanding of how research has informed this knowledge base. Uniquely, this module will provide clinical and societal context for students to understand the implications of age-associated changes in physiology across multiple body systems, with a number of sessions exploring how this has influenced recommendations (medical and lifestyle-based) for an ageing population.

Students are also expected to develop a number of transferrable skills such as written and oral presentation skills, in addition to key academic skills of contextualising and linking knowledge. By the end of the module students should be able to describe, in detail, the major age-associated changes in physiology across a number of body systems, and explain the impact of these changes in a number of spheres.

This module deals with the major physiological changes that occur with advancing age across a number of body systems, and relate these changes the both clinical and lifestyle considerations for an ageing population. Content will include:

  • The societal effects of an ageing population
  • Cellular ageing
  • Ageing body systems
  • Clinical considerations relating to ageing
  • Lifestyle considerations relating to ageing
Clinical Toxicology

This module will cover the basic principles of toxicology, molecular mechanisms and specific organ toxicities. These principles will be reinforced by a number of clinical cases based in important xenobiotics, toxic mechanism, target organ and toxic outcome.

Tropical Medicine and Beyond

This module introduces health affiliated students to diseases and treatment commonly found in tropical regions and is of concern and focus of the WHO. It also aims at increasing awareness of alternative and complementary treatment practiced in this region. An understanding of neglected tropical diseases will take students beyond looking at disease and medicine but at factors like education which can alleviate health issues amongst underprivileged populations.

There are 20 places available on the module.

Topics include malaria, dengue, leprosy, water-borne cholera and re-emerging tuberculosis (TB), most of which have been identified by UN as epidemics which need to be ended by 2030, under the health and well-being goal in UN’s global goals for a sustainable development agenda.  Lectures will be supplemented by onsite visits to a successful dengue ward and one of the remaining leprosy centres.

Lectures will also look at alternative and supplementary treatment from the tropics for non-infectious diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and common cancers.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

To be confirmed in 2021*
Keep checking back for more information
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2022/23 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

You should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. This may include:

  • Food and meals at the Royal Derby Hospital
  • Car parking should you bring your own car

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies.

Please note that these figures are approximate and subject to change.

Scholarships and bursaries

The Medical Physiology and Therapeutics Scholarship awards £1,000 to first year students on the BSc Medical Physiology and Therapeutics course. Up to three scholarships are available. If your application is successful you will be awarded a one-off payment in the first year of your study.

Find out more about the scholarship on our subject-specific awards page under the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships

Careers

As a graduate you'll have obtained a broad range of skills valued by employers. Our students regularly go on to further study or jobs in areas such as:

  • research in medical and clinical sciences
  • medicine (via 5 year medicine undergraduate courses or 4 year graduate entry medicine courses)
  • other healthcare graduate entry programmes like physician associates, midwifery, physiotherapy, radiography
  • Masters or PhDs in subjects like Public Health, Sports and Exercise Medicine, Cancer, Neuroscience, Molecular Biotechnology, and Infectious Diseases or the NHS Scientist Training Programme
  • physiologists
  • clinical perfusionists
  • clinical trials co-ordinators
  • technicians and technologists

Beyond biomedical sciences and the healthcare industry, graduates have also gone on to careers in areas including:

  • pharmaceutical sales
  • market research
  • data analysis
  • digital learning
  • management
  • public relations
  • finance and scientific communication

Students from the course have secured employment with a variety employers, including:

  • Ashfield Healthcare
  • Babylon Health
  • Basildon and Thurrock Hospital
  • Charles River Laboratories
  • DXW Digital
  • Glaxo Smith Klein
  • Illumina Biotechnology
  • Leeds General Infirmary
  • Nottingham City Hospital
  • Royal Derby Hospital
  • The Pharmacology Society

Average starting salary and career progression

85.3% of Medical Physiology and Therapeutics undergraduates from the School of Medicine secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £25,333.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

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Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017-18

Important information

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.