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Royal Free BAMS

iBSc in Clinical Sciences

iBSc in Clinical Sciences is designed to develop the student’s interest, knowledge and understanding of clinical science and its application to medicine. The course will offer an insight into state-of-the-art biomedical science, including exposure to leading research scientists, research methodology, the translation of basic science research into novel therapies for human disease, and the philosophy, governance and social implications of health research. There will also be basic training on clinical examination, history taking and clinical skills. All students will also be required to undertake an original research project.

Students View:

‘I really enjoyed the core module. It challenged me, but I feel that the talks have bettered my ability to understand the logic needed for the scientific method, and its use in answering research questions. It has been a privilege to meet the speakers, and hear their advice regarding academia and careers. I think that the incredible variety in topics has actually highlighted the potential for the intellectual linkage of seemingly unrelated fields of medicine.’

Programme Outcomes

The programme provides the students with theoretical knowledge in the following areas:

  • Research methodology including statistical methods as applied to medical research
  • Translational clinical research
  • Ethics and governance of applied health research

By the end of the programme students will have acquired an understanding of:

  •     The key concepts of clinical science as applied to medicine
  •     The interface of basic and clinical science
  •     Clinical research methodology

In addition they would also gain:

  • An appreciation of ethical and governance requirements of research
  • The ability to evaluate scientific literature
  • The ability to design and complete a research project, including practical experience in laboratory, clinical or epidemiological research

Course Structure

The programme has four components:

1. Clinical Transitions (core module) – 0.5 unit

This is an introduction to clinical methods and practice and will include clinical skills teaching; lectures and demonstrations combining anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and histology with clinical medicine; an introduction to clinical measurements and investigatory techniques and opportunities for ward work and clinical bedside teaching. Assessed by course work and practical exercises; will contribute 12.5% to the overall mark.

2. The Basics of Clinical Science (core module) – 1.0 unit

The course provides a combination of seminars with small group discussion with individuals working at the cutting edge of technological advances, as well as laboratory visits and practical demonstrations. Assessed by course work, practical exercises and unseen examinations; will contribute 25% to the overall mark.

3. A Clinical Research Project – 1.5 units

Assessed by supervisor's report, written report and viva presentation; it will contribute 37.5% to the overall degree mark. There are a range of project titles to choose from. 

4. Optional modules – 1.0 unit

Consisting of a choice of either two 0.5 unit modules or a single 1.0 unit module from other established intercalated iBSc programmes such as Physiology, Molecular Medicine, Infection and Pharmacology. The optional modules will be assessed as part of the parent BSc. Each 0.5 unit will contribute 12.5% to the overall degree mark. Thus, the optional module(s) will contribute a total of 25% to the overall degree mark.

Clinical Transitions  

CLCS3003 (core module) - 0.5 unit

Module contents

This module will provide students with the essential skills to undertake data retrieval from a variety of sources, to design clinical investigations and undertake statistical analyses. It will also provide opportunities for students with little or no clinical experience to familiarize themselves with the clinical environment as time will be spent in the clinical skills centre acquiring a variety of skills including phlebotomy and cannulation and several evenings will be spent working alongside clinical staff on a several inpatients ward in the Royal Free Hospital. There will be opportunities to gain an understanding of disease processes and presentation though small group teaching on the wards. The ethical and moral dilemmas facing clinicians and scientists alike in an increasingly litigious world will be explored in depth; topical ethical dilemmas will be debated.


Assessment will be based on a combination of: a reflective diary; a poster presentation; an ethical debate and an unseen 2-hour written examination

The Basics of Clinical Science 

CLCS3001 (core module) - 1 unit

Module contents

This course introduces the student to aspects of clinical scientific practice. The evolution of current regulatory practice will be traced from eugenics to the modern era of often unnecessarily restrictive, political correctness. The origins and outcomes of errors in medicine will be themed and the effects of enquiries such as Alder Hey, Bristol and Shipman on modern clinical practice will be reviewed. The role of both complementary medicine and the pharmaceutical industry in medical practice will be critically examined. The clinical/research interface will be explored through practical classes on clinical data retrieval systems, structured writing and medical statistics. The ways in which basic scientific research has contributed to the understanding of disease pathogenesis and influenced clinical practice will be detailed and explored through visits to research, investigational and treatment facilities. There will be opportunities to spend time in small group discussions with individuals working at the cutting edge of technological advances.


Assessment will be based on two pieces of course work and an unseen written 3-hour examination.

Clinical Research Project

CLCS3901 (core module) - 1.5 units

The clinical research project will constitute 1.5 units and will therefore account for 37.5% of the final degree mark. There are three stages to the assessment, each of which will contribute to the total, albeit with different weightings, viz:

  • Written report 65%
  • Presentation & viva 15%
  • Supervisor’s report 20%
Projects Undertaken in 2012/2013
  • Cloning, Expression, Purification and Crystallisation of PNPLA3
  • Ulnar neuropathy at the Elbow: Natural History and Treatment Options
  • The Diagnostic Utility and Predictive Validity of Hand Grip Dynamometry as a Measure of Nutritional Status in Patients with Cirrhosis
  • Investigating Granuloma Formation in Response to Proteinase 3 in ANCA-associated Vasculitis
  • Heart Rate Variability – a Non-Invasive Measure of Haemodynamic and Inflammatory Status in Cirrhosis
  • The Relationship Between Video Gaming, Stress and Appetite
  • The Role of Video Recordings in the Diagnosis of Epilepsy
  • Characterisation of Skin Fibroblasts from Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease Patients – a Potential Prognostic Marker for Disease Progression
  • Evaluation of Clinical Decision Support Tools and Early Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer
  • The Utility of Percutaneous Biopsy for the Assessment of Suspicious Biliary Strictures
  • The Innate Immune Response to Urinary Tract Infection in Women at Risk of Preterm Birth
  • Khat-Related Liver Injury Among Somali Immigrant Populations in the UK
Projects Undertaken in 2011/2012
  • The prevalence of hepatic encephalopathy in patients with cirrhosis post-TIPS and its pre-procedure prediction
  • Arterial calcification in patients with chronic kidney disease
  • Pancreatic steatosis
  • How much information does video of clinical events add to the electroencephalogram (EEG) and vice versa?
  • Investigating the aetiology of systemic autoimmune ANCA associated vasculitis
  • Use of immunohistochemistry to confirm protein expression of genes identified using whole genome RNA expression profiling of ERCP biliary brushings in biliary tract cancer
  • Alcoholic liver disease – histology
  • Appraisal of a new system for the analysis of the EEG in patients with hepatic encephalopathy
  • A rationally attenuated vaccine and anti-viral drugs for Dengue fever – targeting the STAT2-NS5, host-pathogen interaction
  • Role of endosomal toll-like receptors in keratinocyte activation by systemic sclerosis autoantibodies
Projects Undertaken in 2010/2011
  • An investigation into the structural basis by which Dengue virus inhibits the innate immune response
  • Procalcitonin and other viomarkers in bronchiectasis
  • Development of novel diagnostic markers and therapies for intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms of the pancreas
  • Association of birth order and growth variability with adult body composition and metabolism in young South Asian women
  • Association between body composition, body proportions and lung function in young Black children
  • A novel analytical method for the diagnosis of paediatric myasthenia using stimulated single fibre electromyography
  • Cardiovascular risk assessment in South Asian patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis using risk scores, pulse wave analysis and carotid ultrasound
  • Hepatitis C virus-related encephalopathy: objective evidence from an EEG study 

Optional Modules

The IBSc in Clinical Sciences is made up of 3.0 compulsory modules and 1.0 optional module (taken as either 1 unit or as two 0.5 units) as below:

Core module: Clinical Transitions: Term 1 0.5 unit

Core module: Basics of Clinical Sciences: Term 1 1.0 unit

Research project: Terms 1 to 3 1.5 units

Optional module(s): Term 2 1.0 unit

There are approximately 40 optional 0.5 and 1.0 unit modules for you to choose from. These are drawn from other BSc on offer at UCL. They have been selected because their content is interesting/ innovative and because they are rigorously assessed to a standard comparable to the other Clinical Sciences IBSc modules.

The marks for the optional component contribute 25% to your overall degree mark, either as 2 x 12.5% if you choose two 0.5 unit modules, or 1 x 25% if you choose a 1.0 unit module.

Details of these optional modules will be provided before the start of the year with information on the parent BSc, the module title and code, and their unit equivalents. The dates, days and times of the main lectures/tutorials on these optional modules can be accessed on the common timetable:

Custom timetable

No additional modules can be taken in Term 1 as our core modules run full-time during the first nine weeks.

The optional modules will be variously assessed. Most have an element of coursework, together with a written unseen examination which takes place in April/May.

The optional modules are your own personal choice. You do not need to choose a theme or even modules that tie in with your research project.

Selections made by students between 2006/07 and 2012/13 have included:

1.0 Unit selections
Neurodegenerative diseases Neuroscience ANAT3029
Biochemistry of health and disease Biochemistry & Molecular Biology BIOC3011
Foetal and neonatal physiology Physiology PHOL3003
Cell signalling in health & disease Physiology PHOL3004
Space medicine & extreme environment Physiology PHOL3009
0.5 Unit selections
Neurodegenerative diseases Neuroscience ANAT3028
Molecular CVS Molecular Medicine BIOC3017
Sex, genes and evolution Human Genetics BIOL3012
Madness and society History of Medicine HMED3004
Medicine in modern society History of Medicine HMED3006
Disease in history History of Medicine HMED3010
History of Asian medicine History of Medicine HMED3014
Evolution in science and culture Philosophy, Medicine & Society/ History of Medicine) HPSC3027
Advanced topics in philosophy of medicine Philosophy, Medicine & Society HPSC3028
Science communication in digital environments Philosophy, Medicine & Society HPSC3033
Allergy, Immunodeficiency and Transplantation Infection & Immunity IMMN3006
Pathology of chronic disease Infection & Immunity IMMN5005
Clinical microbiology Infection INFN3002
Physiological monitoring Medical Physics MPHY3012
Medical Imaging with non-ionising radiation Medical Physics MPHY3891
Neuropharmacology Pharmacology PHAR3001
Respiration in health & disease Physiology PHOL3001
Topics in clinical psychology Psychology PSYC3107
Transplantation: science and practice Surgical Sciences SURG3010


Examination Success

The course has been running since 2006 and is extremely successful. Over 70% of students have been awarded first class honours, students regularly are offered PhD studentships and six students have been awarded places on academic foundation programmes.

Academic Year % of First Class Degrees PhDs offered
2012/13 75 1
2011/12 40 1
2010/11 100 2
2009/10 88 4
2008/09 75 2
2007/08 66 -
2006/07 50 -
National/International Awards

Core Pharma Prizes have been awarded to ten students for their project proposals: these prizes, each worth £1,000, and were competed for nationally

Two students have been awarded Core Pharma Prizes, worth £1,000 for the most outstanding research in the field of gastroenterology undertaken by a BSc, MD or PhD student nationally.

Two students have been awarded research prizes of £500 each by the Medical Council on Alcohol.

BASL prizes have been awarded to one student for the best clinical research poster presentation and to another for best clinical research oral presentation.

EASL prize has been awarded for the best poster presentation at a monothematic meeting

A number of travel scholarships were awarded to facilitate participation in national and international conferences to present research findings AASLD (1); BASL (2); BSG (1); EASL; International Neuroscience Society (4).

How to Apply

From 2012/13, this course will be open to students who have successfully completed MB BS Years 1 and 2. The deadline for applications for 2014/15 is to be announced.

Please follow this link to apply.  If you have any queries please contact the IBSc Administrator:

Rebecca Holmes
Year 3 Administrator
0207 679 0870


Please feel free to contact either the programme tutor or the course administrator if you have any queries about the course.

Course Director

Dr Marsha Morgan
UCL Institute for Liver & Digestive Health
Royal Free Campus
UCL Medical School
Rowland Hill Street
London NW3 2PF
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7433 2873


Administrative Contact

Mr Tom Olney
Medical Student Administration
Royal Free Campus
UCL Medical School
Rowland Hill Street
London NW3 2PF
Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 9242


Open Days

We attended the IBSc Fair in January 2013 - Dr Morgan's presentation explains further about what the course has to offer.

We hold an open day at the Royal Free Campus for all students who are interested in the course shortly after the IBSc Fair.  Please email: Tom Olney, course administrator, if you would like to attend.