UCL Division of Medicine


iBSc 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.

iBSc in Clinical Sciences
The iBSc in Clinical Sciences is part of UCL Medical School's intercalated BSc programme and 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.

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.

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:


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.


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.


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. 


Consisting of a choice of either two 15 credit modules or a single 30 credit module from other established intercalated iBSc programmes such as Physiology, Neuroscience, Infection and Pharmacology. The optional modules will be assessed as part of the parent BSc. Each 15 credits 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

MEDC0031 (core module) - 15 credits

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, an ethical debate and an unseen 3-hour written examination

The basics of clinical science

MEDC0030 (core module) - 30 credits

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

MEDC0032 (core module) - 45 credits

The clinical research project will constitute 45 credits 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 70%
  • Presentation & viva 17.5%
  • Supervisor’s report 12.5%

Projects selected over the past few years have included:

  • Improving the Safety and Delivery of Enteral Nutrition
  • Fluorescent Imager of Nerve Action Potentials
  • The Role of Comorbid Conditions in the Diagnosis of Hepatic Encephalopathy
  • Mapping Lipogenic Pathways in Cancer Cells
  • Bacterial Populations and Chronic Urinary Tract Infections
  • The utility of the EEG in the ICU
  • The Appropriateness of Current Teaching and Training in Acute Medicine
  • Gene Editing: The Use of CRIPSR/CAS9 in Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Unplanned Hospitalization and Death in Patients with Cirrhosis: the Predictive Validity of Indices of Frailty
  • The Genetic Variants Determining Cirrhosis Risk in Hereditary Haemochromatosis
  • The diagnostic and prognostic validity of the EEG in an intensive care setting
  • Determining ADH1C variants affecting risk of alcohol dependence, utilising a structural and functional approach
  • Ulnar neuropathy at the elbow: natural history and treatment options 
  • The commonest acute presentations of common disorders: de-bunking the myths of the taught curriculum
  • Optimising placement of naso-gastric tubes and saving lives: an RCT of a new pH detection device
  • Cloning, expression, purification and crystallisation of PNPLA3
  • Bacterial biofilms in chronic urinary tract infections
  • The immunomodulatory effects of azithromycin on immune responses in ANCA-associated vasculitis
  • Assessing fragility as a prognostic risk factor in patients with cirrhosis 
  • The effects of autologous plasma on macrophage polarisation in patients with systemic sclerosis 
  • The specificity of computational neuropsychometric tools for the diagnosis of hepatic encephalopathy
  • Heart rate variability: a non-invasive measure of haemodynamic status in cirrhosis
  • The relationship between video gaming, stress and appetite 
  • 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
  • Variations in the promoter region of the glutaminase gene and the development of hepatic encephalopathy in patients with cirrhosis 
  • The role of video recordings in the diagnosis of epilepsy 
  • Structural and chemical biology of noroviral proteases – a major therapeutic target for structure-based drug design Influence of the internet on patients’ choices in palliative care
  • Variability in distal median nerve conduction and its clinical impact on the diagnosis and management of carpal tunnel syndrome 
  • Gene editing for the treatment of hypercholesterolaemia
  • Structural characterisation of a cytomegalovirus drug target
  • The isolation and characterization of inter-organelle membrane contacts from cancer cells
  • The role of increased tissue stiffness in promoting mesenchymal stem cell activation in scleroderma
Optional modules

The IBSc in Clinical Sciences is made up of 90 credits of compulsory modules and 30 credits optional modules (taken as either one 30 credit module or as two 15 credit modules) as below:

There are approximately 50 optional 15 and 30 credit 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 15 credit modules, or 1 x 25% if you choose a 30 credit 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. The dates, days and times of the main lectures/tutorials on these optional modules can be accessed on the common timetable:

Custom timetable

No optional 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 take 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 over the past few years have included:

30 credit selections

Pharmacology of InflammationPharmacologyPHAR0013

15 credit selections

Fundamentals of Anaesthesia, Surgery and Acute PhysiologySurgical SciencesSURG0124
Advanced Anaesthesia, Critical Care & Acute PhysiologySurgical SciencesSURG0127
Molecular Basis of Neuropsychiatric DisordersAnatomy, Cell and Developmental BiologyANAT0012
Clocks Sleep and Biological TimeAnatomy, Cell and Developmental BiologyCELL0004
Sex, genes and evolutionBiosciencesBIOL0020
Cardiovascular Science & DiseaseCardiovascular SciencesCARD0004
Engaging the Public with ScienceHistory & Philosophy of Science & MedicineHPSC0036
Disease in HistoryHistory & Philosophy of Science & MedicineHPSC002
Population AgeingPopulation HealthIEHC0035
Global Eradication of VirusesImmunology, Infection & Cell PathologyINIM0014
Mathematical modelling in BiomedicineImmunology, Infection & Cell PathologyINIM0004
Immunodeficiency & Therapeutics Immunology, Infection & Cell PathologyINIM0030
Autoimmunity & TransplantationImmunology, Infection & Cell PathologyINIM0011
Neoplasia & its TreatmentImmunology, Infection & Cell PathologyINIM0031
Physics of the Human BodyMedical PhysicsMPHY0005
Medical Imaging with non-ionising radiationMedical PhysicsMPHY0016
Metabolic NeuroscienceNeuroscience NEUR0009 
The Control of MovementNeuroscienceNEUR0015 
Pharmacology of InflammationPharmacologyPHAR0019

Examination Success

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

Academic Year% of First Class Degrees

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

The application process is predominantly done through Moodle, and the decision-making is based on personal statements by programme tutors. Students submit four preferences of programme, with a personal statement for each of their first two preferences only. Internal applicants have to apply by the end of January.

Any queries about this process should be sent to medsch.mbbsy3@ucl.ac.uk.

Applications for external students will open in February and close at the end of March.


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

Course Director

Dr Jenny Rohn
Royal Free Campus
UCL Medical School
Rowland Hill Street
London NW3 2PF

Email: j.rohn@ucl.ac.uk

Administrative Contact

Miss Marie Haugen
Undergraduate Office
Royal Free Campus
UCL Medical School
Rowland Hill Street
London NW3 2PF
Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 9824
Email: marie.haugen@ucl.ac.uk

Open day

We hold a local open day at the Royal Free Campus for all students who are interested in the course in January.  Please email: Marie Haugen, course administrator, if you would like to attend.