Medical Science - 3991

Program Summary

Faculty: Faculty of Science


Campus: Sydney

Career: Undergraduate

Typical Duration: 3 Years  

Typical UOC Per Semester: 24

Min UOC Per Semester: 6

Max UOC Per Semester: 27

Min UOC For Award: 144

UAC Code: 429700

Domestic Entry Requirements: See Domestic Entry Requirements

International Entry Requirements: See International Entry Requirements


Bachelor of Medical Science

View program information for previous years

Program Description

This three-year degree program is jointly offered by the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Science. It provides the basis for a career in biomedical research and is also an appropriate first degree for students planning to enter graduate medical or paramedical programs.

Medical Science is the area of science which underpins the practice of medicine. It incorporates the study of structure and chemistry of the cells that make up living organisms (Cell & Molecular Biology and Biochemistry) with particular reference to humans, and specifically of the structure and function of the human body (Anatomy and Physiology). It then deals with the general processes leading to disease (Pathology), the role of bacteria, viruses and other micro-organisms in disease (Microbiology) as well as drugs which are used to cure human diseases (Pharmacology). Other areas available for study include the way in which our form and function is inherited (Genetics), the processes of development from the fertilised ovum (Embryology), the natural defences of the body (Immunology) and the study of the structure and function of the brain (Neuroscience).

Students completing this program with exceptional performance may have the opportunity to enrol in an Honours program leading to an Honours degree.

A limited number of high-performing students may be able to gain entry to the UNSW Medicine program with advanced standing. For more information, please click here.

Students intending to apply for entry via this pathway must have completed all compulsory courses by the end of Stage 2.

Program Objectives and Graduate Attributes

At the successful completion of this program, graduates will:-
  1. Be able to demonstrate an understanding of biomedical science and its relevance to society, as well as an understanding of science as a profession and the skills required;
  2. Have knowledge of the components of biomedical sciences and their relationship to one another with an ability to appropriately apply theoretical, computing or laboratory techniques in these areas as relevant;
  3. Have knowledge and skills in scientific inquiry, analysis, and reporting, including an ability to formulate hypotheses, appropriately use scientific literature and data, analyse and synthesise information, and draw conclusions;
  4. Demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving skills in diverse contexts;
  5. Be able to communicate effectively and appropriately to a range of audiences, for a range of purposes, and using a variety of modes;
  6. Be able to self-manage and work independently with an ability to take responsibility for their own learning, and an appreciation of the value of learning;
  7. Be able to work effectively within a team and contribute positively to collaborative scientific research;
  8. Be able to work responsibly, safely and with respect to diversity, within ethical, academic, and regulatory frameworks relevant to biomedical science.

Program Structure

Stage 1

Semester 1
Semester 2
Assumed Knowledge

It is assumed that students have completed Chemistry and Mathematics at high school in order to enrol in appropriate Chemistry and Mathematics courses in their first year of this program. The assumed knowledge for these courses are:-
  • CHEM1011 Chemistry A requires completion of Year 11 Chemistry;
  • CHEM1031 Higher Chemistry A requires completion of Year 12 Chemistry;
  • MATH1041 requires completion of HSC Mathematics with a score of at least 60
Students who have not met this assumed knowledge, will need to consider enrolling in a (bridging course, or meeting the assumed knowledge some other way. Bridging courses are the preferred option as otherwise, students will need to take summer school and will not be in the same classes as the rest of the first year cohort during the semester. However, if students cannot undertake a bridging course, they may do the following:-
  • Chemistry: Where students have not completed chemistry at high school, they can enrol in CHEM1001 Introductory Chemistry in semester 1, CHEM1011 Chemistry A in semester 2, and CHEM1021 Chemistry B in summer semester. CHEM1001 will then count as the student's science elective to meet program requirements;
  • Mathematics: Where students have not completed any Mathematics, or have done General Mathematics, or have not achieved the necessary grade in HSC Mathematics, they should consult with the Science Student Centre about their options.

1 Instead of taking SCIF1111 Perspectives in Med. Science in semester 1, students may take SCIF1131 Science: Perspectives in semester 2, depending on the science elective students wish to take and when that course is offered.

2 Instead of taking MATH1041 Statistics for Life and Social Sciences in semester 1, students may take this course in semester 2, depending on the science elective students wish to take and when that course is offered.

3 Students with a strong Mathematical background (i.e. a result over 90 in HSC Mathematics, or combined result over 100 in HSC Mathematics and HSC Mathematics Extension 1) may consider enrolling in higher level Mathematics courses instead of MATH1041 Statistics for Life and Social Sciences in their first year. Where students are interested, and able, they can get approval from the Program Authority (Science Student Centre) to enrol in MATH1131 Mathematics 1A or MATH1141 Higher Mathematics 1A (semester 1) and MATH1231 Mathematics 1B or MATH1241 Higher Mathematics 1B (semester 2). MATH1231 Mathematics 1B (or MATH1241 Higher Mathematics 1B) will then count as the student's science elective. This is useful for students interested in Bioinformatics who may like to take stage 2 Mathematics and Statistics courses as their free electives.

4 Only one of these courses is required. Students who have achieved at least a credit in BABS1201 can take either BABS2204 Genetics or BABS2202 Molecular Biology I. All other students should take BIOS1101. Students wishing to complete a major in Medical Microbiology or Molecular Biology must take BABS2202 in their first year. Students wishing to complete a major in Molecular Genetics must take BABS2204 in their first year.

5 Courses defined as "Science" courses are shown in Table 1 of the Bachelor of Science (program 3970). Courses may be offered in semester 1 or semester 2, and students should refer to notes 1 and 2 above about how they can rearrange their BMedSci first year program to undertake a science elective in semester 1.

Stage 2

Semester 1
Semester 2
Stage 3
  • 24 UOC of Directed Electives
  • 12 UOC of Free Electives
  • 12 UOC of General Education Electives
Directed Electives

Students must complete 24 UOC of courses from the following list (arranged by discipline). When making their course choices, intending Honours students must consult with the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences or the School of Medical Sciences about requirements for Honours prior to enrolment in Stage 3 of the program.Courses may be selected in order to complete a major as listed in the Academic Rules below. The requirements for the majors are found in the relevant stream entry in this Handbook hyperlinked to the listed major.

Microbiology and Immunology
Research Project Courses

Students may complete one of the following courses as part of their directed electives:
Free Electives

12 UOC of courses are free electives and may be Science courses, or courses taken from another Faculty at UNSW.

General Education Electives

Students must complete 12 UoC of General Education. The rules for General Education can be found by clicking here General Education Requirements. Please note that students must complete their General Education requirements with courses that are from faculties other than Medicine and Science. This means that courses offered by the Faculties of Medicine or Science (including GENM and GENS courses) cannot be counted as General Education.

Academic Rules

1. A student must complete 144 units of credit which includes:

      • 120 UOC disciplinary core and elective courses
      • 12 UOC free electives, and
      • 12 UOC general education electives.

2. Any course defined as a 'science' course in Table 1 of the Bachelor of Science program, or offered by the Faculty of Medicine, cannot be taken as general education. Additionally, BMedSci students may not take any GENS####, or GENM#### courses. Any exceptions to these rules must be approved by the Associate Dean (Undergraduate Programs) or nominee.

3. No student may normally commence Level II courses until 24 Level I units have been successfully completed unless approved by the Program Authority

4. Progression to Stages 2 and 3 is subject to academic performance. Students will be required to attain a weighted average mark (WAM) of at least 65 in each semester. Where students do not maintain this minimum level of academic performance, they will be transferred to the Bachelor of Science program (program 3970) and expected to complete the requirements for a major in that program.

5. Students may elect to complete a major in one of the following areas:
Completion of a major is not a compulsory part of the program. Where a student would like to graduate with a major this must be declared by the commencement of a student's final year of study. Information on how to declare a major can be found on the Science Student Centre . Students may complete a maximum of two majors and no double-counting of courses between majors is allowed at level 3.

These majors are only available to students in the Bachelor of Medical Science program. Where a student transfers out of the Bachelor of Medical Science program they will be expected to complete an approved major for the program they have transferred into. Students interested in a Neurobiology major should note that where they transfer out of the Bachelor of Medical Science program it may be difficult to complete an equivalent major in Neuroscience where they have transferred out of the program later than the start of their second year.


For information regarding fees for UNSW programs, please refer to the following website:  UNSW Fee Website.


Progression to Honours is described in Program 4500 (BSc Honours). Entry to the BSc (Honours) Program is subject to academic performance and the number of places available in a School’s Honours program. Typically students require a minimum overall WAM of a Credit for entry into Honours, although due to the competitive nature of Honours in some Schools, the level of academic performance required may be higher. Where students have an overall WAM that is less than, but close to the entry requirements, Schools may consider academic performance in the major area of study. All decisions regarding entry to the BSc (Honours) are subject to the approval of the relevant School.

Students seeking to enrol in Honours are required to have completed all the requirements for the BMedSci and satisfied all prerequisite requirements for Honours as specified in the Medical Science, Neuroscience, or School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Science streams for 4500 Science (Honours). Students should check prerequisite requirements for Honours with the School of Medical Science or School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Science as relevant and consider potential projects and supervision as early as possible.

Award with Distinction

The Faculty of Science will award a Pass degree with Distinction to students who obtain a minimum WAM of 75 across their program and complete at least 72 units of credit at UNSW.

Faculty of Science Rules

The Faculty of Science has some rules that relate to all students enrolled in programs offered by the Faculty in relation to recognition for prior learning, general education, course exclusions, study load, and cross-institutional study. All students should read the information contained on the Faculty General Rules and Requirements page in this Handbook.

Area(s) of Specialisation