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Student holding chemicals in a laboratory

Medical and life science

Put your future under the microscope

This undergraduate pathway will provide students with the necessary skills to begin studying at level 4 in courses related to Medical  and Life Sciences.

Key information

Undergraduate course


  • Foundation (4 Years)
  • First Year (3 Years)


  • January
  • May
  • September


  • Cambridge

Medical and life science overview

Students will be introduced to the core skills necessary to succeed in higher education, including thinking critically, researching and referencing appropriately, demonstrating appropriate numeracy and ICT skills, and communicating effectively verbally and in writing.

In addition to these fundamental study skills, Students will be given an introduction to the various scientific disciplines underpinning the life sciences. Fundamental mathematical skills will be covered in order to support students’ other subjects and give them confidence in manipulating data.

Students will be introduced to molecular and cellular biology, and how these fields are applied to real-world investigations. Students will also study the biology of micro and macro organisms, with reference to both human and animal structures.

Students will be introduced to the core concepts of chemistry, with a particular focus on organic chemistry, and will also be given a grounding in the core principles of physics, applied to living organisms.

Pathway progression

Successful completion of this pathway will lead to the award of the following from Anglia Ruskin University:

Please see our International and UK course matrix for entry point, intake and study location information.

Course structure

Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC)

This Element has been designed to help students develop their academic literacy, and
research and communication skills in preparation for undergraduate study. The areas of
reading, writing, speaking, and listening will be covered. ILSC also helps students
understand the institutional culture, practices, norms and expectations of the UK higher

A subsidiary aim of this Element is to ensure that students develop transferable skills of
effective and professional communication to support ongoing study, as well as providing a
basis to foster career and life-building skills.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

No previous technical experience is required for this Element, which provides students with
an introduction to practical ICT skills. This foundation will be needed for academic success
across many areas of higher education. The students will use industry standard office
productivity software and techniques to produce presentations, written assignments, and
charts and tables in spreadsheets.

Alongside practical skills, fundamental topics surrounding technology use will be discussed,
together with societal and ethical perspectives. The Element will enable students to discuss
the main challenges facing society and consider the implications of their technology use.

By the end of the Element, students should have sufficient mastery of the Microsoft Office
productivity suite to allow them to plan and produce presentations, use functions and write
formula to display, format and analyse quantitative data and produce written assignments to
a standard appropriate to higher education.

Critical Thinking

This Element aims to enable candidates to participate in and practice independent learning tasks for
deeper thought and investigation as needed for Higher Academic pursuits. This Element is designed
to teach, reinforce, and practice independent learning and critical thinking, as opposed to rote
memorisation for success in University and professional life. An open-class forum of discussion is
used to encourage critical thinking skills within academic and professional-facing contexts.

This Element enables candidates to invest in strategies that will deepen understanding and
interpretation of processes, motives, argument, rationale, credibility, and possibilities which will
then be applicable to a range of studies. Students will undertake research, based on an issue related
to their degree programme, to review the main points of examining an argument in depth. They will
learn to create a personal response that analyses the content of the issue under study.

Maths for Scientists

Foundation Maths for Science is a course that ensures students on the extended
programmes for degrees in the areas of Life Sciences, Biomedical and Forensic Sciences,
and Vision and Hearing Sciences have the necessary basic mathematical skills required for
entry to level 4. By the end of the course, students will be able to carry out basic
mathematical manipulations and understand the relevant key concepts required in order to
progress to their chosen degree course. Each mathematical concept is introduced by a
lecture, in which examples of how to use and apply the concept are demonstrated. Students
practise problems in a tutorial for each topic, using worksheets given out in advance of the
sessions. The worksheets include problems applied to the various degree pathways to which
the students will progress, to indicate the importance and applicability of mathematics to
their future degrees. The subjects covered are a range of arithmetic skills, algebra, areas
and volumes, trigonometry and basic statistics.

Cellular Biology

In this Element students will study the structure and function of cellular organelles, membranes and
transport systems, in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Eukaryotic cell diversity will focus on
mammalian blood composition, and the structure and function. In addition, cell metabolism – the
biochemical processes undertaken in living organisms – is a key focus of this Element. Cellular
respiration of glucose and the role of mitochondria will be discussed as well as the fundamental
principle of biology in the ability to renew (cells) and reproduce, both sexually and asexually; the
mechanisms of cell division via mitosis and meiosis.

The composition of cells, structure and function of the four groups of macromolecules – proteins,
carbohydrates, nucleic acids and lipids – will be studied. A specific focus will be the mechanism of
action of enzymes and factors such as pH and temperature that affect their function. This Element
will provide students with an introduction to key processes operating within living organisms,
including energy provision, transport, control and co-ordination alongside key ecological concepts.

Biology- Physiology

This element will study the science of body functions and their relation to the structure, or
anatomy, or the organism (physiology). In this element, main organ and regulatory systems that
work to enable the body to function and respond to change, whilst maintaining a constant internal
environment, will be studied. Although this element will focus mainly on the human body as an
example of a frequently studied organism, reference to other organisms will be made to illustrate
particular principles or to contrast different systems and mechanisms.

The structure and function of the major organ systems, including the cardiovascular, respiratory,
gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, nervous, endocrine, reproductive, and immune systems will be
studied. To function, the human body is required to maintain its internal environment within narrow
limits. The homeostatic mechanisms needed to maintain homeostasis will be investigated and how
they respond to differing conditions examined, with particular emphasis on thermoregulation and
osmoregulation. Examples of negative feedback will be used throughout the course to illustrate the
importance of how homeostasis is maintained. Classification and the basic principles of genetic
inheritance will be introduced and considered in the context of Darwin’s theory of natural selection.


This element provides an elementary introduction to chemical science. No prior knowledge of
chemistry is assumed. The study of materials and the undergoing chemical changes will be
discussed. These principles will then be developed further by exploring the periodic table, chemical
equations, calculating concentrations, quantitative chemical analysis such as colorimetry, chemical
equilibria and organic chemistry.

The practical element of the course will allow students to gain practice in some basic laboratory
techniques based on the concepts covered in the lectures. In addition, tutorials will be held for
students to ask questions and to practice exam-style questions from the relevant lectures.
Laboratory experience and exposure will also equip students with required transferable skills for
their University study. The focus will be on good laboratory practice and sustainable approaches
to chemistry.

Physics for Life Scientists

This element introduces the principles and laws of physics which underpin all life sciences. No prior
knowledge of physics is assumed, and the focus will be on those aspects which are specific to the
requirements of students for Level 4 and beyond. The element will be taught with a mixture of
lectures, workshops, tutorials and practicals.

The element will encompass aspects such as how organisms move in relation to their environment;
how organisms perceive their environment in terms of light and sound; how the physics of fluids
and gasses affect the anatomy and physiology of organisms; how electricity is used to allow
communication, how radioactivity impacts on organisms, and the applications of physics in modern
medicine. The practical aspect of this element will allow the students to develop an understanding of
how the theory they are taught in lectures is applied in practical situations

Related links

For more information about intake semesters and campus location please see our course matrices.

Find out the academic entry requirements for our courses listed by country. Unless stated, requirements are standard across all courses.

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