ACU Bachelor of Biomedical Science – Q&A

1. What’s the difference between a degree in medical science and one in biomedical science?
The name. That’s all there really is to it. Some institutions have both a degree in medical science and one in biomedical science. However the difference will be simply in how the institution administers the degree. For example, the biomedical degree may give students fewer electives. There is no difference between the fields of biomedical science and medical science.

2. What is biomedical science?
Over the past few decades, we have made enormous gains in our understanding of the human body in terms of its structure (anatomy), how it works (physiology), how diseases of the body knock things out of balance (pathophysiology), how microorganisms can result in our health or disease (microbiology) and how drugs can fight disease and improve health (pharmacology). We’ve been able to do this through the design and implementation of research studies (research methods) and by looking at data to look for patterns (statistics). These are the core areas of biomedical science.

3. What can I do with a degree in biomedical science?
Biomedical science has been and continues to be at the cutting edge of the most profound and most important advances of humanity over the past 100 or more years. The Guardian’s Ben Goldacre says “almost every drug you’ve ever heard of was invented…between 1935 and 1975”. Today biomedical scientists are working to monitor and prevent the spread of Ebola in Africa and throughout the world, working with engineers to develop devices which can alter abnormal brain activity in Parkinson’s disease, developing a bionic eye for the blind. In the commercial sphere, biomedical scientists are able to look at data and identify trends and make business forecasts. In government, people with a biomedical background can influence policy and treatment guidelines and can help to communicate a message of better health throughout the community in which they live. A degree in biomedical science can open the door to an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of thousands of people.

4. Do I need to be good at science to study biomedical science?
We’ve designed our degree to be accessible to anyone who’s studied maths at school. You don’t need to have studied any science. However, obviously you should be interested in science generally and biomedical or medical science more specifically.

5. Can I get into medicine or dentistry after doing this degree?
Absolutely. Most medical or dental schools in Australia now require you to have done a three year Bachelor degree with a credit average and to sit an exam called the GAMSAT. If you intend to sit the GAMSAT, you should check the requirements and most current information on this exam at gamsat.acer.edu.au. In previous years the GAMSAT has generally assessed students’ ability to write a logical argument, as well as their knowledge of chemistry and biology to a first year undergraduate level and physics to a year 12 level. These subjects can be covered over the first two years of our Bachelor in Biomedical Science.

6. What makes the ACU degree in biomedical science different to similar degrees in other universities?
Our degree has been designed to steadily build up your knowledge and abilities over the three year period in three core areas: 1) knowledge in the basic sciences like chemistry, 2) knowledge in the biomedical sciences and 3) analytical and critical thought and communication. We’ve worked to ensure that our units are linked and build on each other. Most of the units in our degree have been specifically designed for this degree and tailored to people who want to study biomedical science. Additionally, six elective slots give you the flexibility to choose appropriate units from our faculty, other faculties or even other universities to tailor your degree to your needs.

Finally, in the last year of your degree you’ll be able to get some “on-the-job” experience through our two industry immersion units. These units will enable you to apply your newly-acquired skills outside the university context. It’s all about giving you the knowledge and abilities that you want to take into the world.

7. What sort of industry placements can I do in my 3rd year industry immersion units?
It really depends on what you’re interested in. If you’re interested in research, you may wish to get a placement in a research laboratory. Others may wish to go into government and would therefore like a placement in a health department or with a regulator. Still others may be interested in the pharmaceutical industry. You can discuss your interests with our course coordinators and we’ll do our best to match you with a placement that can help you expand your potential.

8. Can I transfer to biomedical science from another degree?
ACU students are able to apply for an internal transfer through student connect. Students from other universities will need to apply for admission through the tertiary admissions centre in their state. You can apply for entry to the course in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

9. Can I get credit transfer?
Where you think you’ve studied substantially similar content in another degree, we’ll certainly have a look to see if you can get credit. Remember, you’ll need to do this as early as possible and certainly before any census dates to make sure you’re not hit with any unnecessary debts at the end of your degree.

If you have any further questions about the Bachelor in Biomedical Science, please email futurestudents@acu.edu.au and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.