Best Universities for Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences in UK

When it comes to biosciences, UK is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world for studies and research work. The top colleges for biotechnology and life sciences are concentrated in the US and the UK; more than 186 of the 821 universities in the Times Higher Education ranking (2019 – 2020) for life sciences are in these two countries. In this article, we will look at the 20 best universities for biotechnology and biomedical sciences in the UK. Additionally, we will look at the brief course content of the Undergraduate and Masters programs at those universities as well.


Best Universities for Biotechnology & Biomedical Sciences in UK


Co-authored by Parinita Gupta



University of Oxford


I spent three years at the University of Oxford (as a Research Assistant). I can say from my own experience, it’s certainly one of the best in the world.


It is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and is regarded as one of the world’s leading academic institutions. The University of Oxford consistently ranks among the world’s top five universities.


The Biomedical Sciences undergraduate course at Oxford has a duration of 3 years and has been designed to have practical laboratory work which forms an integral part of this program and you will be required to complete these practical elements to a satisfactory standard. As the course progress, it emphasizes scientific research where the students obtain the first-hand experience of laboratory research. Students can choose their own projects. This course ranges from cellular biology to integrated systems physiology, genetics and molecular & neuroscience and psychology.


The university is situated in Oxfordshire, England which is 90 km northwest of London, around 100 km from Birmingham and approximately 40 km from Reading by road. The average academic cost ranges between £24,500 – 30,500.


University of Cambridge


Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world. Cambridge Biomedical Campus is a leading location for the UK’s research and development sector and it occupies a central location within the city of Cambridge. Generally, the duration for this course is 3 years and the cost involved for the course is around £26,000- 30,000 for international students. For EU students it varies from £10,000 – 12,000 a year.


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University of Edinburgh


The University of Edinburgh is one of the world’s top universities and provides an environment for top class education and excellent facilities. They have a comprehensive 4-year Biomedical science graduate program includes Medical biology, Biological chemistry, Cells of organisms, medical microbiology, etc.


The students in the 1st & 2nd year study a general curriculum that provides a broad scientific foundation in the Biomedical Sciences. It covers the main cellular, molecular and genetic principles that relate to the function of the whole body and interplay between the major body systems. 3rd-year study provides choices through optional courses including physiology, pharmacology, neuroscience, infectious diseases, reproductive biology, endocrinology, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, and developmental biology. This choice exists simultaneously with a compulsory course in Biomedical Science. The 4th year is all about research and experiment program which is a key element of the final year.


The tuition fees for the overseas/ International students for Bachelors and Postgraduate program in Biomedical Science is around £27,500 – 28,500 per year.


Imperial College London


Imperial College is one of the world’s most respected colleges. Bachelor’s in Biomedical Science in this prestigious college is a full time 3 years course. The core modules they include in 1st year are Chemistry of Biological Interactions, Integrative Body Systems, Lab Pod I, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Statistics. The 2nd year covers Cancer Biology, Genetics and Genomics, Lab Pod II with optional modules like Cardiovascular and Thoracic Biology, Immunology and Inflammation, Microbiome in Health and Disease, Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Stem Cells and Reproductive Biology. The 3rd year mainly focuses on Project modules like Laboratory-Based Research Project, Literature-Based Research Project and Work Placement Based Project.


This prestigious college is located in the heart of ‘Albertopolis’ and is home to a huge range of architectural styles. The main campus is situated in South Kensington, on the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines. The tuition fee for this course is about £31,000 per year.


Related Article: Best Biotech-Pharma Hubs in the World


University of Glasgow


There are both undergraduate and postgraduate courses offered by the University of Glasgow. Biomedical Engineering (4 years BEng degree/5 years MEng degree) is taught as an undergraduate course here and Post Graduate courses are M.Sc. in Biotech (12 months full time) and M.Sc. in Biomedical Science (12 months full time). The core course includes Molecular genetics of Disease, Higher Skills in Biomedical Sciences, Designing a research project, Laboratory research project.


The main campus of University of Glasgow is located in the cosmopolitan West End of Glasgow and the tuition fees for the international students for 2020-21 are:


M.Sc. Biomedical Sciences – £22,000 per year (Full time)

M.Sc. Biotechnology – £23,500 per year (Full time)

Biomedical Engineering – £21,900 – 24,000 per year.


University College London (UCL)


Bachelor’s in Science and Masters Courses in Biotech & Biomedical science are available in UCL and the areas covered include anatomy, cell biology, developmental biology, genetics, immunology and infection, neuroscience, pharmacology, physiology, and psychology. The M.Sc. full-time course duration is 1 year. On the other hand, the Bachelor’s program is a full time 3 years degree program and the core modules covered in 3 years are provided below.


1st Year – Cellular and Molecular Biology, Chemistry for Biology Students, Introduction to Genetics, Introduction to Human Anatomy, An Introduction to the Mechanisms of Drug Action, Mammalian Physiology

2nd Year – Organs and Systems, Control Systems, Developmental Biology, Drug Mechanisms, Cells and Molecules

3rd Year – Lab-based or Literature-based research project


The tuition fees for overseas students (both UG and PG) in UCL for the academic year 2020/21 are £26,500 and £29,000 per year respectively. The main campus of UCL is primarily based in the Bloomsbury area of the London Borough of Camden, in Central London.


King’s College London


Degree in Biotech or Biomedical Science is one of the most popular courses for overseas students who opt for King’s College London. The courses are divided into modules and the required modules for 1st Year are Biochemistry, Chemistry for the Biosciences, Genetics & Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & Neuroscience, Fundamentals of Physiology & Anatomy, Fundamentals of Pharmacology, Skills for the Biosciences. In 2nd year, students may choose to study abroad at one of their partner universities and there are no required modules for this course. In the final year, all students must select either a Laboratory Research or Literature Project.


KCL is a public research university located in London, UK. The International tuition fee for the 2020-2021 academic year for this college is £26,700 per year.


University of Bath


The Bachelor’s in Biomedical Sciences is a 3 years full-time course starting in September 2020. The tuition fees for the overseas students for the academic year 2020-21 is £22,500 and liable to increase annually for all University of Bath students.


The students are expected to take 60 credits (ECTS) in each academic year. The compulsory modules for Year 1 are: Practical research and academic skills, Human physiology, Biochemistry 1, Cell and molecular biology, Functional anatomy, Cell Biology, Biochemistry 2.


For Year 2: DNA (making, breaking and disease), the dynamic cell 1, Pathology, Infection and immunity II: immunology, Molecular medicine, Medical microbiology.


For Year 3: Final year Lab project.


The University of Bath is a public university located in Bath, Somerset, UK. In 1996, it received its royal charter along with a number of other institutions following the Robbins Report.


Related Article: Is Studying Abroad Worth it?


University of St. Andrews


It is the oldest of the four ancient universities of Scotland and a world-class one. If you are an overseas student, the tuition fees for Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses will range from £22,500-£23,910.


The University of St. Andrews is a host of various Bachelor’s and Masters’s Degree programs like Chemical Biology, Microbiology, Molecular biology, etc. The 4-year Bachelor’s degree program comprises of mandatory modules and in the first two years of your degree, you will be introduced to core material relevant to all Biology degree programs such as animal and plant biology, molecular biology, cell biology, and genetics. In the third year, students study more specialized modules that allow them to prepare for their Honors degree. In the fourth year, they continue specific research modules in their chosen area.


University of Warwick


The University of Warwick offers both B.Sc and Masters in Biomedical Sciences. The duration of the course is 3 or 4 years and 4 years respectively. Let us discuss the core modules year wise for the bachelor’s degree program. Year 1 comprises Molecules such as Cells and Organisms, Agents of Infectious Disease, Physiology and Metabolism, Environmental Biology Lab, Quantitative Skills for Biology and along with that Tutorials and Laboratories.


The Year 2 comprises of Human and Animal Physiology, Molecular Cell Biology, Immunology and Epidemiology, and infection. The final year concentrates on Tutorials and Research project, Modern Approaches to Human Disease, One World Health and Neglected Tropical Diseases.


The fees for the academic year 2020-21 for Bachelors and Masters Program are £25,700 and £27,000 respectively. The University is located 5 km away from the Coventry City Centre, the main site of the University of Warwick comprises of three adjoining campuses, namely the Gibbet Hill campus, Westwood campus and University of Warwick Science Park.


University of Manchester


University o Manchester enjoys many international students who flock to this university for their graduate and post-graduate studies. Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering is quite sought after course here. The Bachelor’s program is for a duration of 3 years with a yearly academic cost of £24,000 for overseas students. The Master’s program costs the same around £25,000 per year.


The course content for Year 1: Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology, Anatomy, Physiology, The cells of the nervous system, Pharmacology, Molecular biology. Year 2 consists of studies in greater depth for specialization. Students will also need to undertake a dissertation. In the final year, students need to undertake an independent in-depth research project that may involve supervised practical work in a laboratory.


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University of Sheffield


Just like other universities, the undergraduate course in Biomedical Science/ Biotech is a full time 3 years course. The Master’s course is a 12-month course focused on understanding human health, unlocking new treatments, improving care and prolonging life. The full-time Bachelor’s degree program for overseas students is £23750 per year for the academic year 2020-21.


The Biomedical course comprises various modules for the 3-year course. For Masters in this course, the core modules are Literature Review, Laboratory Research Project, Critical Analysis of Current Science, Ethics and Public Awareness of Science. The tuition fees for the Master’s program are £26,000 per year. The University of Sheffield is a public research university situated in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England.


University of Leeds


This University provides both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Biomedical Science. The Master’s program is an integrated course that offers an additional year of specialist training. The course duration for the Masters and the Bachelor’s program is 4 years and 3 years respectively. Year 1 includes basic anatomy, microbiology, physiology and pharmacology, endocrinology and neuroscience. Year 2 gives an option to choose one area to specialize in pharmacology, neuroscience, physiology, and medical sciences. Year 3 concentrates on the research project and laboratory-based academics.


The tuition fees for international students for the session 2020-21 are £23,750. The University of Leeds is a public research university situated in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.


Related Article: List of Masters Programs in the UK with Placements and Internships


University of Bristol


This University provides both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Biotech and Biomedical Science. The course duration for the bachelor’s degree program is for 3 years full time. The yearly academic tuition fees for the undergraduate course are £24,000 for 2020. The Master’s program is a 1-year full-time program with yearly academic fees of £21,800.


The mandatory modules for Bachelor’s degree programs in Year 1 are Biochemistry – Cellular Composition and Cellular Processes, Normal and Tumour Cells, Pharmacology, Fundamentals of Body Function, Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. For the 2nd Year, the mandatory modules are Biomedical Research, Employability and Enterprise, Recombinant DNA Technology. 3rd year comprises of research and laboratory work. Most of the courses at the University of Bristol are based out of Clifton Campus.


University of Nottingham


The School of Life Sciences at the University of Nottingham aims to provide excellence in education in the biological and biomedical sciences. The Masters and the bachelor’s courses are quite sought after for overseas students. The tuition fees for the academic year 2020-21 are £23,700 (bachelor degree course) and £25,700 (Masters’s degree).


Ulster University


Ulster University offers a Bachelors’s program in Biomedical Engineering which combines biology and engineering. The demand for Biomedical Engineering is increasing amongst overseas students because of their lucrative career options. This is a full time 4 years course with yearly academic tuition fees of £14,000. The university also offers a 1-year full-time Masters Degree program which costs up to £15,750 per year.


Ulster University is Northern Ireland’s regional university with four campuses situated in Northern Ireland in Belfast, Coleraine, Derry, and Jordanstown.


Aston University


I am an alumnus of Aston University. I did my Masters in Pharmacology (2008 – 2009). It’s a great place to study Pharmacy, Pharmacology, and Biomedical Sciences. 


The Bachelor’s course at Aston University is offered in 3 years full time or 4 years full time with an integrated placement year. The tuition fees for the International students for the next session in 2020 are £18,900 (£2,500 during placement year) and these are reviewed annually with chances to increase in subsequent years. The university also offers a Postgraduate course on Biosciences which has a duration of 1-year full time. The tuition fee is around £19,000 per year.


Year 1 of the undergraduate program consists of mandatory modules like Biomolecules, Cells to Systems, Microbiology, and Genetics, Metabolism and Physiology for BMS. The 2nd-year study includes Clinical Sciences, Mechanisms of Pathology, Cell Signalling and Physiology, Clinical Genetics and Human Disease. The 3rd year is an optional placement year which gives you the opportunity to gain valuable career-boosting experience by setting your studies in a real-world context of a working environment alongside professionals.


The final year offers to study Immunology and Inflammation, Clinical and Food Microbiology, Research Project Preparation, Research Project, Professional Skills for Biomedical Scientists. Aston University is a public research university situated in the city center of Birmingham, England.


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Queen’s University Belfast


The Undergraduate course in Biomedical Science is a 3-year full-time program. They have established links with two universities of the USA (University of Nevada and Vermont) where several students are provided with an opportunity to work in their research laboratories. The course offers various disciplines like Clinical Bacteriology and Immunology, Clinical Biochemistry, Hematology, and Transfusion Science, Histopathology and Cytology.


1st year covers modules like Molecular Basis of Life, World of Microorganisms, Human Structure, and Function. The 2nd year comprises of Cell Biology & Clinical Genetics, The Sciences of Disease, and Professional Practice in Biomedical Sciences. The final year mainly deals with Research Project.


The tuition fees for the International students are £20,800 and it generally increases annually by inflation. The Queen’s University is located in Stranmillis Road in Belfast.


University of Dundee


The 4 years full-time Bachelors’s course in Biomedical Science at this University is quite sought after by the overseas students. The first two years cover core concepts including cell biology, biological organization, genetics, molecular mechanisms, and processes. This eventually helps in practical skills, including laboratory skills and data analysis.


Tuition fees for overseas students for the next academic session are £21,950 and it increases by no more than 5% per year for the length of your course. This University also offers M.Sc in Biomedical and Molecular Sciences. The duration for this course is 12 months and the fees are £22,950 for international students. The main campus of the university is located in Dundee’s West End in Scotland which contains many of the university’s teaching and research facilities.


University of Exeter


The University of Exeter offers both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Biosciences. The bachelor’s degree program is 3 years/ 4 years full-time program with a provision for opting Professional Training year between the 2nd and the Final year. The 1st year covers mandatory modules like Integrated Human Physiology, Fundamental Skills for Medical Scientists, Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology, and Cell Biology. Year 2 has compulsory modules like Disease, Diagnostics and Therapeutics and Principles of Medical Research. The final year emphasizes on Translational Medical Science, Research Project (Compulsory for Human Genomics & also for Pharmacology and Therapeutics).


The tuition fees for 2020 entry (overseas students) are £22,950. The university is located in the city of Exeter, Devon, where it is the principal higher education institution.


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Featured Image Source: Mayo Clinic

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