Artificial hip and knee joints, replacement blood vessels and heart valves, artificial teeth and fillings, contact lenses, modern drug delivery systems and tissue engineering are just a few of the growing number of applications of biomedical materials. This degree offers you the opportunity to gain a comprehensive background in the medical science and engineering of materials for repairing or replacing damaged, diseased or missing tissues in the human body.
The Biomedical Materials Science course is one of the few courses focussing equally on the biological and material sciences and our graduates, therefore, find career opportunities in a wide range of areas related to medical and dental sciences. “As long as humans cannot replace lost tissue like a salamander, the development of biomaterials and biomaterials-based tissue engineering scaffolds will be crucial for the well-being of an ageing population. Characterisation and development of novel biomaterials are what the Biomedical Materials Science course is about.” Dr Mike Hofmann, Biomaterials Researcher Also referred to as 'The Biomaterials Course', the programme is multidisciplinary and taught in several departments, including Dentistry, Medicine, and Metallurgy and Materials. The course is centred around the Biomaterials Unit one of the principal research units within the School of Dentistry, which links clinical work with both clinical and scientific research. Our state of the art laboratories are based at the brand new Dental Hospital.
You will study the structure and properties of materials – including polymers, ceramics and metals – anatomy, physiology, introduction to cell and molecular biology and bacteriology, alongside biomechanics and a general introduction to the development and clinical use of biomaterials. The first year also includes a study skills course providing you with a basic working knowledge of the use of search engines, IT and statistics. Wherever possible, lecture material is reinforced with practical classes. After the examination period in the summer, you will visit local hospitals where you will observe, for example, a hip or knee replacement operation being performed.
In this year you focus on the reactions of the body to biomaterials, how these materials are designed and made into components to be used in the medical application. You will also learn about the factors that affect the performance of biomaterials in service. Modules cover cell and molecular biology, orthopaedic and dental biomaterials, microscopy, infection and immunology and materials design. Practical sessions will give you a further experience of handling and testing biomaterials.
Your final year gives you the opportunity to get involved in state of the art ongoing research within your extensive two-semester final year research project. You will learn more about tissue engineering and biomaterial design, develop your laboratory and project management skills and deepen your scientific knowledge. You will ultimately present your research project as a dissertation accompanied by a poster, both of which draw on your scientific writing and presentation skills acquired in the first and second year. Your work may ultimately be published in a scientific journal.
Why study this course
Hospital location: You will be based at the new Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry, the only course of its kind to be based in a Hospital. This means there will be the direct input by clinicians into the course content, therefore, ensuring the clinical relevance of our teaching. Equal emphasis on material and biological sciences: Taught across several departments including Dentistry, Medicine and Metallurgy and Materials, this truly multidisciplinary course is one of the few courses in the UK that covers both materials and biological science equally, meaning you will develop a broad knowledge base in both areas. This will allow you to choose from a wider variety of career options in the field of biomaterials once you graduate. Orthopaedic Biomaterials focus: As an area of medicine relevant to an increasingly ageing population, orthopaedic biomaterials is an important focus of your study at Birmingham. From hip replacements to tissue engineering, you will learn about how artificial materials are enabling to replace diseased joints and bones through a growing number of biomaterial applications. Small year groups: You will enjoy the close-knit community atmosphere created by our small year group and therefore quickly settle into University life, easily make friends with your course mates and build strong working relationships with teaching and support staff. Final year research project opportunities: In the third year of the course you will undertake a research project of your choice. This will take place in our state of the art research laboratories working alongside postgraduate PhD students and staff. Guaranteed interviews for Dentistry: For the top students in their year who want to pursue a career in Dentistry after graduation we guarantee interview places for studying Dentistry at the University of Birmingham.
- Number of A levels required: 3
- Typical offer: AAB
- Required subjects and grades: Two sciences required at A-level, one of which has to be Biology or Chemistry.
- General Studies: Not accepted, but a good performance may be taken into account if you fail to meet the conditions of the offer
Additional information: BTEC Extended Diploma in Science related subject accepted when offered in addition to an AS Level in a Science, at grade C, or good GCSEs (grade Bs). Grades DDD required. BTEC Diploma in Science related subject accepted alongside 1 A level BTEC Subsidiary Diploma accepted alongside 2 Science A levels Other qualifications like a Foundation Year, an Access to Science course, or a combination of qualifications are considered. Please contact the Admissions Tutor or Admissions for further information. Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS): Students will be required to complete a successful Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before admission to the programme as we are based in a Hospital.
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,6,5 at Higher Level (to include Chemistry or Biology) with a minimum of 32 points overall. Standard English language requirements apply. Learn more about international entry requirements. Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities.
Our Biomedical Materials Science graduates have little problem in securing employment or further training. Many go on to do medical and biological research, while others have followed a variety of career options in health care and related areas, such as blood perfusion, optometry, audiology and work in medical device regulatory authorities. Some graduates continue their studies in pursuit of degrees in Medicine or Dentistry. A significant proportion has also entered traditional graduate career areas such as finance, publishing, accounting and IT.