If working at the cutting edge of breakthroughs in healthcare excites you, then a degree in biomedicine may be exactly what you are looking for. The field of biomedical science is expanding rapidly, with new careers and different specialisms constantly developing.
Laboratory based research roles are the primary career path for biomedical graduates and these include roles such as biomedical scientist, forensic scientist and microbiologist. However, the degree course doesn’t limit you to research science roles - biomedical science graduates can be found in a wide variety of fields, ranging from dental therapist, genetic counsellor through to careers in academia.
What new skills will I learn?
During your degree course you’ll gain a wealth of biomedical science skills. Your extensive laboratory experience will prepare you for planning, conducting and analysing experiments within the field of biomedical science. You’ll develop a host of technical skills whilst using a range of specialist laboratory equipment. You’ll also be required to undertake independent study; developing critical reading techniques, the ability to research and interpret scientific literature.
Alongside these subject-specific skills, you’ll also gain a wealth of transferable skills that will prepare you for either your future career, or for further study after graduation:
Analytical skills - during your biomedical science degree you’ll undertake research experiments and project that will develop your ability to collect and analyse information. You’ll need to carry out analytical testing on a daily basis so employers will be looking for this skill within your CV.
Computer skills and data analysis - as a biomedical science graduate you will be proficient in using technology to analyse your results, confident with IT skills and highly analytical when confronted with large amounts of data.
Strong oral and communication skills - the ability to communicate your findings, to report back and to follow up on research will be pivotal in your future role.
Accuracy - when patients and medical staff are waiting for results, or making decisions based on your findings, then working well under pressure is paramount!
Numeracy - if you are considering a biomedical science degree, then it’s likely that you already have pretty strong numeracy skills. However, through the three years of your undergraduate degree, you’ll further develop these skills, applying them to analysing statistics and data in a medical setting.
Teamwork - during your course you’ll be required to work with fellow biomedical science students on research projects, other students from across the university and academic and laboratory staff.
Careers in biomedical science
A degree in biomedical science will open up a wide range of career opportunities. You may choose to stay within the field of biomedical science, or you may branch out into other areas where the knowledge gained through your degree will be equally important.
Let’s take a look at some of the main career routes and what jobs you can get with a biomedical science degree...
Biomedical scientist - working as a biomedical scientist you’ll be responsible for undertaking a variety of tests and research projects to help diagnose, treat and potentially eradicate illnesses and diseases. Many graduates work within the NHS in one of the four specialist areas: infection sciences, cellular sciences, blood sciences, genetics and molecular pathology. Professional registration as a biomedical scientist is required via the Health & Care Professionals Council (HCPC).
Research scientist - if you are keen to help develop or improve drugs treatments and medical products, then a career as a medical research scientist may be right for you. Medical research scientists are involved in a wide range of research ranging from conducting clinical trials, through to investigating the prevention and potential cures of human disorders. Those working within this field are usually employed within higher education institutions, hospitals and research institutes.
Technician - for those with a more technical interest, the role of a technician may be more exciting. Technicians support the laboratory, delivering essential scientific technical services. Those looking to enter this area would need to obtain professional recognition as a Registered Science Technician via the HCPC.
Toxicologist - the field of toxicology draws many biomedical science graduates who have enjoyed the laboratory element of their studies. You’ll need to enjoy planning and undertaking laboratory tests, alongside having a desire to investigate potential new medicines, toxic materials, harmful chemicals and their impact on humans, animals and the environment.
Microbiologist - if you’d like to focus on the microscopic organisms that affect us and our environment, then this may be a great career path. Microbiology is a broad area that encompasses a variety of disciplines. Usually employed within hospitals and pharmaceutical industries, you’ll study viruses, bacteria, fungi and algae.
Biotechnologist - this exciting and growing field of science offers employment opportunities within research or higher education institutions, the NHS, commercial organisation and government laboratories. You’ll be involved in manipulating living organisms to aid the development or improvement of vaccines, medicines, food productivity or safety.
Forensic scientist - as a forensic scientist your main focus will be to identify and examine materials associated with crimes. Your inquisitive mind will enable you to work independently and methodically to use your scientific evidence to support a prosecution or defence team in a criminal investigation.
Clinical scientist / Medical physicist - a biomedical science degree develops your analytical and applied scientific techniques, key skills for clinical scientists and medical physicists. These careers involve using scientific investigations to assist healthcare workers with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Working alongside doctors, you’ll be vital to the development, planning and implementation of patient treatment programmes.
Using your degree in other sectors
Medical science is not the only area where your biomedical science degree will be valuable. Many graduates progress into sectors that use their knowledge and skills in different ways. Those interested in working within the environment and conservation sector, may choose to pursue a career as an environmental engineer, where their analytical and research skills are highly valued.
The technical skills gained during the degree are equally applicable within the manufacturing and production sectors. In addition, an increasingly popular option is to consider a career within higher education, following further study in your chosen field.
Getting started in biomedical sciences
If you’d like to find out a bit more about the different ways to study biomedical sciences at Surrey take a quick look at the University’s biomedical science degree course information.
Find your pathway to international study at the University of Surrey International Study Centre, which offers you the chance to gain all the skills and experience required to study biomedical science through the Life Sciences International Foundation Year. With a mix of general subjects skills and subject specific modules, alongside the opportunity to improve your English language skills, this one-year course will prepare you for studying an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey.
Hear more from one of our recent students about their time at the International Study Centre: