Discover more about BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science (Life Sciences)
“Studying this course provides an invaluable insight into the vital science that underpins medicine. Clinical placements provide a unique opportunity to see and run diagnostic tests, as-well as providing us with the opportunity to make life long contacts within the field of healthcare and biomedical sciences”.  
Neil Marshall, BSc Healthcare Science (Life Sciences)

PLEASE NOTE: This is the only clinical biomedical degree that will allow placement training in NHS laboratories from 2014. Students wishing to join NHS specialist services for their career as Biomedical Scientists will need to apply for the Healthcare Sciences Life Science training pathway.
Life science practitioners have key scientific and clinical support roles within the current and future NHS workforce. Roles span across the disciplines of clinical pathology (cellular pathway), haematology (blood science pathway), infection and immunity (infection science pathway) and provide the crucial backbone of clinical diagnostics within the NHS. 
Life science

Life science focuses on understanding the medicine underpinning human health, and the development of processes that result in different disease states. There is a key emphasis on the clinical pathology and diagnosis of human disease, and available treatment strategies. Clinical scientists have varied roles, from diagnosing cervical cancer or leukaemia, to investigating which bacterial strains are present in patient samples. Life scientists are therefore key members of multi-disciplinary NHS clinical teams, working to inform and support doctors, nurses, pathologists, and surgeons, to deliver diagnoses and patient centred care.

The modernising scientific careers agenda underpins the initiation of the Practitioner Training Programme providing highly skilled and qualified professionals for modern and future clinical diagnostics in biomedicine. Students will undergo training as part of the National Academy of Healthcare Sciences. Graduates from this accredited programme will be eligible for direct entry onto the highly sought after Scientific Training Programme (masters level) or NHS employment as healthcare science practitioners in clinical pathology, haematology, immunology or infection science.

Healthcare life scientists

Healthcare life scientists investigate the causes of illness and disease progression, carrying out tests on tissue, blood and other samples from patients. They play a crucial role in the clinical diagnosis of illness dictating treatment strategies for patients and in the development of personalised medicine for future therapeutics. Healthcare life scientists work in a variety of settings, including hospital diagnostic laboratories and specialist hospitals, agencies such as the National Blood and Transplant Service, or the Health Protection Agency, and within community clinics. 

Our integrated healthcare science (HCS) degrees

Our integrated healthcare science (HCS) degrees are the principal education and training route for Healthcare Science Practitioners (HCSP) in England and are delivered through a collaborative partnership between University of Plymouth and NHS laboratories, who will provide work placement training in each of the three years of the course. 

Degrees focus on the pathobiology of normal and disease processes. You'll gain expertise from specialist tutors and NHS workplace educators to allow merit in professional competencies required within modern and future healthcare practice. 

What you will get

First year introduces foundation knowledge and integrates rotational placement within core disciplines. You'll specialise within year two gaining knowledge in applied, complex and advanced investigations and apply their learning to a research project in year three. Many diagnostic techniques involved in the training programme can be viewed at the Lab Tests Online website. You'll benefit from professional clinical placements throughout the three years of the programme. 

You'll gain:
  • professionalism
  • specialist skills
  • knowledge of the ‘patient pathway’ 
  • and impact to patients and carers associated with their chosen discipline.
For work in the division of life sciences we offer the following degrees accredited by the NHS and National School for Healthcare Science:

BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science*
  • Blood science - To work in clinical biochemistry, immunology, haematology and transfusion medicine. Core techniques in coagulation screening, blood group and antigen screening, Blood film morphology, ESR, sickle cell screens, serological cross matching
  • Cellular science  - To work in cytopathology, histopathology and reproductive science. Core techniques in haematoxylin and eosin staining, PAP stains, immunohistochemistry, specialist cytology screening, andrology analysis
  • Infection science -To work in clinical microbiology including virology. Core techniques in MRSA and infectious swab screens, urine testing, TB and CI difficile testing, parasite screening, serological techniques, mycology. 
*Note : Individual awards subject to availability of NHS training places.

Additional information