Division of Surgery & Interventional Science


Orthopaedic Science iBSc

Orthopaedics now encompasses many different scientific disciplines, including materials science, biomechanics, medical physics, nanotechnology, molecular biology of skeletal tissues, tissue engineering, cell therapies and genetics.

Orthopaedic surgery itself is advancing rapidly with the benefit of these new areas in science. These advances in clinical practice depend on the findings of current medical research. More than ever, specialists in the field will need to be trained and involved in the research process to understand the scientific basis for these new developments.

The programme aims to present a broad-based understanding of how skeletal tissues function, how they degrade and repair and how the design, manufacture and fixation of implants can be improved. A large proportion of the programme is dedicated to a laboratory-based research project with training and hands-on experience in research methodology and skills needed to carry out medical research successfully in orthopaedics and other related disciplines.

Entry requirements
The successful completion of pre-clinical MBBS year 2.

How to apply

All MBBS students are required to complete an application form which will be available on Moodle. Further details about the allocation process for 2015/16 will be emailed to students in January 2015. 

Who can apply?

The IBSc is a compulsory part of the MBBS programme, however exemptions can be given in exceptional circumstances these will need to be approved by Dr Brenda Cross, Faculty Tutor.

External applicants

We are now accepting external applicants for this programme. For more information please see: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/slms/ibsc

See further information about the iBSc in Orthopaedic Science

If you have further questions please contact Programme Director, Dr Stephen Taylor: stephen.taylor@ucl.ac.uk

Mode of Study

  • Full-time: 1 year

A one-year intercalated BSc course comprises 4 “units”. In the Orthopaedic Science iBSc, there are 5 “taught” parts to the course, each one counting as a 'half-course’ unit and one research project, which counts as 1.5 complete units (3 half-units). A “taught” half unit is usually taken over 3 weeks. The research project lasts 3 months.


Core modules

The programme consists of five taught modules and one laboratory based research project. All modules are compulsory:

Clinical Aspects of Orthopaedics

This module will cover the following areas:

1. The scope of musculoskeletal pathology, including consequences of injury and its impact on quality of life and society generally. 

2. How the aetiology and disease mechanisms underlying the common musculoskeletal disorders lead to their typical clinical features. 

3. The systematic approach to assessing and diagnosing the musculoskeletal patient.

4. The medical and surgical possibilities for improving health-related quality of life in people with musculoskeletal disorders.

Skeletal Tissue Biology

This module aims to consolidate the students' knowledge of the structure and function of the tissues that form the musculoskeletal system. This will be advanced through the delivery of specific topics detailing the molecular composition of the constituent tissues and how this is regulated by cell activity. Subsequently, this knowledge will be used to gain an insight into healthy aging and repair of the musculoskeletal system.

Biomaterials and Biomechanics

The Musculoskeletal Biomechanics and Biomaterials module is divided into two components: Biomechanics and Biomaterials.  Biomechanics studies the structure and function of the human musculoskeletal system, by applying principles of mechanics. It introduces students to concepts of biomechanics and applies these concepts to human body movement, particularly those pertaining to gait, physical activity and loading to the joints. The biomaterials aspect of the module will introduce students to a spectrum of biomaterials used as medical devices in orthopaedic disorder treatment, biological-biomaterials interactions, host responses, and biomaterials evaluations. 

Research Methodologies and Transferable Skills

The aim of this module is to provide basic training of transferable research skills to students, such as the methods of research, critical analysis, writing/presentation, statistical analysis/interpretation, experimental & project design skills.   In addition, it will explain what scientific method means, how it is used, progresses and is regulated, the types of investigation available together with descriptions of the different ways in which it is important and environments where it is practiced. 

The module will assist students in developing a sound basic understanding of what research entails and the basics of good practice, from its philosophy to its interpretation and exploitation.

Good Research Practice

This module will further develop the understanding of the principles of scientific research and transferable skills.  It will focus on developing critical thinking, the generation of hypotheses, methodologies, statistics, interpretation of results and in understanding the foundations of Good Research Practice.  This module will also teach Research Management and Clinical Governance and will involve oral presentation and discussion of the research projects undertaken in the research project module. 


The final component of the iBSc is an intense, in-depth research project.

  • Good range of projects reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of the division
  • Supervised by lecturers and senior research staff
  • Linked to current research work
  • Written up as a mini-dissertation
  • Students encouraged to present at conferences and publish work in peer reviewed journals

Candidates are examined in the year in which they complete the programme.

A Student's perspective 

Mark Gavartin

Mark Gavartin

I am currently a 4th year clinical medicine student at the UCL Medical School, but I spent my 3rd year at the Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science in Stanmore to complete an integrated BSc in orthopaedic science. IOMS is a very different environment to the hustle and bustle of a city centre university campus, and - all jokes about the state of the buildings aside (though hopefully the impending arrival of the new hospital will change this!) - some of the work that goes on here is very special. Tracing back a long history of innovation and discovery in orthopaedics and its associated fields, it’s a true privilege to be taught by clinicians and scientists at the very forefront of translational research.

My project explored the biomechanical effects of footwear on gait, and I was supervised by Mr Andy Goldberg, Consultant Foot and Ankle Surgeon and Clinical Senior Lecturer. The experimental phase was carried out in a specialist clinical biomechanics facility at Staffordshire University, and allowed me to get to grips with running a complex experimental protocol and working with laboratory standard measuring equipment.

The year at Stanmore was a challenge, not only in adjusting to an academic environment, but also in getting to grips with a field that I was not previously familiar with, but ultimately a hugely productive and rewarding experience.

Programme Director Dr Steve Taylor  stephen.taylor@ucl.ac.uk 020 8909 5494
Programme Administrator  Kathryn Knapp  k.knapp@ucl.ac.uk  020 76795063