MSci Medical Sciences (Environment and Human Health)

UCAS code B300
Duration 4 Years
Typical offer AAB-ABB; IB: 34-32; BTEC DDD-DDM
  • Medicine
  • Taught in Exeter Streatham (Exeter) and St Luke's (Exeter)
  • Truro (Cornwall)


  • Take a transdisciplinary, holistic view investigating the intricate links between the environment and our health
  • Spend your third and fourth year of the programme in our Cornwall Campuses studying specialised modules in areas that include: global health, living with environment change, complexity of human societies, research methodology and climate change
  • Study the latest published research in environment influences on human health, disease and wellbeing, and how human contributes to environment changes for the worse or better
  • Contribute to the latest research in specific aspects of environment and human health by tackling questions such as antibiotic resistance and the quest for new sources of antibiotics in nature. 

At present many scientific discoveries never leave the laboratories in which they are made. At the same time the needs of frontline clinicians – and their patients – often go unheard by those doing research. This career-focused degree prepares you to be able to fill these gaps, and thereby enhance the lives of patients.

Our Medical Sciences degrees offer an innovative approach to learning that includes lectures from world-leading experts; supportive small-group learning; internationally renowned e-learning resources; hands-on sessions in research laboratories and clinical settings; inspirational clinician-scientist-patient sessions; and worldwide professional training placements. The curriculum combines contemporary medical science with the training required to undertake cutting-edge research.

This four-year programme that mirrors the BSc (Hons) Medical Sciences and includes an additional fourth year at Masters level. The final year provides the opportunity to work on collaborative research and includes a major independent Masters Dissertation project.

You can study how a myriad of interactions between humans and their environment may have a positive or negative impact on health. Develop your skills in advanced investigative research and critical evaluation of the impact of local and global environments on health and wellbeing, and the impact of humans on the environment.

You’ll develop an integrated, scientific knowledge that you can put into practice in a clinical setting and robust research skills, plus creative and inquisitive communication, leadership, critical appraisal and problem-solving skills. These key skills will prepare you for a career helping to progress scientific discovery into clinical and medical practice, ultimately to improve human health.

You will be located at St Luke’s and Streatham Campuses for the first two years of your studies and at the prestigious European Centre for Environment and Human Health, Truro, Cornwall for the final two years.

Topics include:
• Contemporary Environment & Human Health
• Ecological Public Health
• Environmental Science & Population Health


Join us at one of our Open Days .

Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Our Medical Sciences degree prioritises the science that underpins medicine and clinical practice, preparing you to translate scientific discoveries and technological advances into improved healthcare. To achieve this, the first part of the programme gives you a wide-ranging insight into how the human body normally works. We study this through small-group sessions, lectures and hands-on laboratory practicals.

We then build upon this foundation to see how things can go wrong in the body due to disease and trauma and how normal function might be restored. We are keen that you develop a holistic understanding of human health. For example, whilst pharmaceutical intervention may be appropriate in some conditions, other conditions might be helped more by using technology or engineering. You will be able to see this for yourself, thanks to the wide range of placements that run throughout the programme.

Year 1

In your first year you will explore the science that underpins the advancement of modern medical practice. The emphasis is on understanding the normal functioning of the human body, from enzymes through to whole biological systems. Without this core knowledge of how the body works, it would be impossible for us, as scientists, to devise the new diagnostic tests, drugs or treatments that will best benefit patients.

Alongside traditional lectures, tutorials and laboratory practicals, you will engage in small group work where you are given the freedom to explore a scientific topic under the expert guidance of one of our tutors (in the Integrated Human Physiology and Fundamental Skills for Medical Scientists modules). Further tutor-guided learning occurs within our Life Science Resource Centre, supported by state-of-the-art technology-enhanced learning resources (the Integrated Human Physiology module). Your core laboratory skills will be developed through laboratory-based practicals that run alongside and support your other sessions. Some sessions also involve a doctor, scientist and patient to explore key clinical cases from three different perspectives.

You will begin to compile your Personal Development and Professionalism Portfolio, in which you chart your progress from a new student to a professional individual ready for the world of employment. You will do this by analysing your academic performance and the frequent feedback offered by the school to identify opportunities for personal and professional development to help you achieve your career goals. Support for your academic progress and career planning is provided by your Personal Tutor and through various workshops and training sessions.

Compulsory modules


Integrated Human Physiology

CSC1004 Fundamental Skills for Medical Scientists 30
BIO1341 Biochemistry and Genetics 30
BIO1342 Microbiology and Cells 1 30
CSC1905 Academic and Professional Support 0

Year 2

The second year focuses on the scientific basis of important diseases, beginning with some fundamental insights into the ways in which human biology goes awry in disease. This knowledge is then used to explore how cutting-edge scientific technologies can be exploited to advance disease diagnosis and treatment.

Within a variety of learning environments, including lectures, tutorials, workshops, laboratory practicals and small group learning, you will have opportunities to investigate and debate how disease develops and how healthcare can be improved. Key aspects of applied research are explored, including clinical research methods and its design and setting within healthcare environments. Your understanding of these areas develops through a variety of hands-on learning opportunities which enhance your practical research skills and knowledge of contemporary medical research issues.

Compulsory modules

CSC2012 Disease, Diagnostics and Therapeutics 30
CSC2014 Principles of Medical Research  30
CSC2905 Academic and Professional Support  0

Students on the pathways also study one additional compulsory module (Human Genomics study CSC2004, Neuroscience pathway CSC2006, Pharmacology and Therapeutics pathway CSC2005):

CSC2004 Medical Genetics 15
CSC2006 Foundations in Neuroscience 15
CSC2005 Introduction to Pharmacology 15

Optional modules

Students on the Neuroscience, Human Genomics and Pharmacology, and Therapeutic pathways must take 45 credits of optional modules, at least 15 credits of which must be from the Biosciences options.

Students on the core Medical Sciences programme must take 60 credits of optional modules, at least 30 credits of which must be from the Biosciences options.

Medical Sciences optional modules
CSC2013 Medical Research Evaluation 15
CSC2009 Anatomical Sciences 15
CSC2008 Immunopathology 15
CSC2004 Medical Genetics (core module for Genomics pathway) 15
CSC2006 Foundations in Neuroscience (core module for Neuroscience pathway) 15
CSC2005 Introduction to Pharmacology (core module for Pharmacology and Therapeutics pathway) 15
CSC2017 Ethical Issues in Health Research (core module for Health Research Pathway)  15
CSC2007 Introduction to Health Research (core module for Health Research Pathway) 15
CSC2016 Measurement & Evaluation in Health Research 15


Biosciences optional modules
BIO2078 Medical and General Microbiology 15
BIO2094 Molecular Microbiology 15
BIO2092 Genomics and Introductory Bioinformatics 15
BIO2089 Molecular Biology of the Gene 15
BIO2088 Advanced Cell Biology 15
BIO2090 Analytical Techniques in Biochemistry 15

Year 3

In your third year you move to the prestigious European Centre for Environment and Human Health, Truro, Cornwall.

You will have opportunities to study and undertake research to help improve current medical knowledge and practice. In addition to the core modules, you can select from a range of optional specialist advanced modules.

You will look at authentic and complex clinical case scenarios and, working as a team, apply evidence-based scientific theory and explore emerging new health technologies to help improve patient health. During this year, you will undertake a clinical/medical research project, closely supervised by an expert research professional.

You will complete your Personal Development and Professionalism Portfolio. Support will be provided to help you consider your career options and help consolidate your CV and interview technique.

Compulsory modules

CSC3905 Academic and Professional Support  0
CSC4011 Living with Environmental Change 15
CSC4013 Frontiers in Global Health 15
CSC4019 Translational Medical Science 30
CSC4020 Research Project 45

Optional modules

GEO3437B Climate Change and Society 15
GEO3444 The Complexity of Human Societies 15
HPDM027 Contemporary Environment and Human Health 15
BIO3402 Nature via Nurture 15

Final year

Compulsory modules

HPDM028 Postgraduate Skills and Evidence 15
HPDM031 Project Design and Grantsmanship 15
HPDM000C Dissertation 60

Optional modules

HPDM034 Research Methods for Practice 15
HPDM029 Nature, Health and Wellbeing 15
HPDM030 Environmental Science and Population Health 15
HPDM032 Ecological Public Health 15

*For credits from your Research Project/Dissertation to count towards the specialism, your focus of study in this module must be in the field of environment and human health. You may be permitted to work in the same arear of research at Masters level in year 4, as you do in the 3rd year.

Entry requirements 2019

Typical offer


Required subjects

At least one grade A and one grade B in GCE AL science subjects, one of which must be Biology. At least one HL6 and one HL5 in IB science subject, one of which must be Biology.

GCE AL/AS science includes: Biology/Human Biology*; Chemistry; Computing; Design and Technology; Electronics; Environmental Studies; Geography; Geology; Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths*; Physical Education; Physics; Psychology; Science (applied); Statistics.

*If more than one of these is taken they would only count as one ‘science’ but could count as two A levels towards our general requirements.

Applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma will also require one grade A and one grade B in GCE AL science subjects, one of which must be Biology.

Students joining the three-year programme will have the option to transfer to the four-year programme, and vice versa.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programmes.

Further information

Please read the important information about our Typical offer.

For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.

Learning and teaching

Throughout the programme, you benefit from a careful blend of innovative and traditional teaching methods employed by both the Medical School and the Biosciences department. A variety of stimulating, cutting-edge resources are also available to support your learning.

Structured small group learning sessions

In tutor-led groups of 8-12 students you will investigate key scientific concepts and systems presented in the form of triggers. The style of trigger varies week by week but will include patient-based clinical case studies, current media-worthy medical science breakthroughs and extracts from research papers.

Within your group, you will discuss the trigger and report back your individual research findings, coming to a shared understanding of the medically relevant scientific knowledge important to fully understand the trigger. Throughout your degree you will have the opportunity to apply your increasing knowledge to new triggers and build on the depth of your understanding.

These small group sessions will also develop your critical thinking, problem design and solving, teamwork, presentation and lifelong learning skills which are essential for your career development.

Life Sciences Resource Centre activities

You’ll be supported in your exploration of the human biomedical science that is presented in your small group sessions by the rich variety of state-of-the-art resources available in the Life Sciences Resource Centre. These resources include anatomical models, multimedia and IT resources, and a well-stocked library. Tutor-led activities will drive your engagement with selected resources in order to increase your understanding of the small group triggers.

Lectures and seminars

Large group lectures and cutting-edge research seminars delivered by academics as well as external speakers will complement your studies. Lectures may contain students from a variety of different programmes for which the lecture content is relevant.

Practical laboratory sessions

You will develop your laboratory skills in the biosciences teaching laboratory on the Streatham Campus and the new teaching lab at the St Luke’s campus, which are equipped with instruments for observational, experimental and numerical aspects of biosciences including a range of biochemical, molecular, physiological and electronic apparatus.

Computer-based practical sessions are held in the IT suite on the St Luke’s Campus. Helpful and friendly technicians and demonstrators are always available during practical sessions to ensure that you get the most out of your training sessions.

Online learning

Your learning will be supported by the University’s virtual learning environment. You will have individual access to electronic journals, content-rich study guides, and interactive online learning materials covering various science disciplines, formative online assessments and group discussion forums.


Regular assessment is used to help provide you with frequent feedback, enabling you to identify your strengths, as well as areas for improvement. Feedback is provided in a number of different ways including online written feedback and self, peer, tutor or small group feedback.

Assessment in the early stages of the degree tends to be more knowledge-based to ensure a strong and broad grounding in the subject area, with some opportunities for essay writing and critical analysis.
Assessment in the later degree stages tends to assess your critical appraisal skills, depth of understanding and your ability to think independently. Some assessments take place in groups, focusing on the team product or how well you lead your team to complete a task.

A variety of assessment methods are employed across the programme, each aligned to the intended learning outcomes of the modules. Assessment formats include multiple-choice tests, essays, structured practical exams, reflective essays, oral and poster presentations, scientific report writing, short-answer question tests and independent project work.


This programme is designed to prepare you for employment in a wide variety of professional careers and helps to develop the key transferable skills valued by employers.

These skills range from identifying and solving problems, to efficient communication, leadership and management. Key vocational skills, such as advanced laboratory training within molecular biology, also enhance your employability.

Science graduates compete well in the wider graduate employment market, as they offer strong analytical and problem-solving skills valued highly across all sectors.

Graduates are well placed to move into a range of rapidly developing professions in environment and human health. Some examples include:

• Public Health
• Health Promotion
• Environmental Health and Protection
• Occupational Health and workplace wellbeing
• Social enterprises and SME businesses innovating in environment and human health

The programme also prepares you for further research and some graduates may want to go on to PhD study with the European Centre or elsewhere.

Contact us

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725500

Website: Visit the Medical Sciences website


Academic support

All students are assigned a personal tutor by the Medical School for the duration of your programme. Your personal tutor is there to help and support you in any areas related to your academic progress including providing advice on careers, employability and training events.

In addition to your personal tutor in the Medical School, you’ll be assigned a programme adviser from Biosciences who will provide you with extra academic support for your Biosciences modules.

Pastoral Support and Wellbeing

We offer a friendly and supportive environment from your first day with us. Our Pastoral Tutor team can provide assistance with non-academic issues and there is a designated Student Welfare Officer (SWO) for the Medical School. Prospective students can contact the SWO on for student support enquiries.

The University also provides extensive wellbeing support through a range of services including counselling services, advice units, chaplaincy, childcare facilities and student health centres. Find out further information about our Wellbeing services.