University of Chester

Programme Specification
Health Care Sciences FDS
2017 - 2018

Foundation Science Degree

Health Care Sciences

Health Care Sciences

University of Chester

University of Chester

University of Chester and Distance Learning

Undergraduate Modular Programme



4 years

5 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Biological Sciences

Biomedical Science, Healthcare Sciences

Programme Aligned to the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS)

Department of Biological Sciences

Wednesday 3rd December 2014

The overall aims of the Foundation Degree in Healthcare Sciences are to:  

  • provide a high quality academic and work-related practical programme of study in Healthcare Science (HCS), with learning opportunities for students from a variety of backgrounds both in their place of work and through the facilities and expertise at the University of Chester.
  • provide students with the knowledge, understanding and skills required by employers in the Health Sector, using teaching, learning and assessment strategies that develop professional experience concurrent with academic development.
  • offer flexible delivery modes and study patterns to meet the needs of students from a variety of backgrounds and employment patterns.
  • provide a high quality academic and work-related practical programme of study in Healthcare Sciences that remains relevant, valid and responsive to the needs of employers and students, by maintaining and expanding effective partnerships with students, employers, professional bodies and sector skills councils.
  • provide a programme of study in Healthcare Sciences that qualifies students for further study at honours degree level.
  • provide a degree programme that provides students with the academic skills and confidence to engage in further learning throughout their lives.

Following modular completion the students should demonstrate the following attributes:

  • Extensive knowledge and a critical understanding of relevant theoretical concepts;
  • Critical understanding of a broad range of practical issues as applied to the field of biomedical sciences to address familiar and unfamiliar problems;
  • Synthesize and integrate knowledge and understanding from different areas of biomedical sciences;
  • Apply a critical and theoretically informed perspective to relevant issues and current developments in biomedical sciences;

At level 4, students will be able to derive basic terminology and key ideas by acknowledging appropriate scientific information sources and determining accuracy resulting in the formulation of rational argument and the development of a questioning attitude (BI4926, BI4927, BI4928, BI4932, BI4933 and BI4934).

At Level 5, students should be able to extend their level 4 education by relating complex elements of knowledge to one another-to seek links; to demonstrate a critical approach to data and evidence (BI5930, BI5933, BI5934, BI5935, BI5936 and BI5937).

Following modular completion the students should demonstrate the following attributes:

  • Utilise higher level thinking skills to adopt a scientific approach to academic study by drawing information together and developing ideas and explanations. Students should develop the ability to consider roles and objectives when working in a scholarly team.
  • Solve problems by a variety of methods, including the use of appropriate software and appreciate the need for ethical standards and professional codes of conduct.

At level 4, students should be able to apply structure and cohesion when drafting academic writing and consideration of technical and theoretical perspective within the disciplines which form the basis of health care science (BI4926, BI4927, BI4928, BI4932, BI4933 and BI4934).

At level 5, students should be able to develop a mastery of complex skills and concepts and critical analysis by planning, conducting and reporting analysis and interpretation of data culminating in the formulation and testing of hypothesis in the chosen area of study in health care science (BI5930, BI5933, BI5934, BI5935, BI5936 and BI5937). 


Following modular completion the students should demonstrate the following attributes:

  • Observe, record accurately and account for features in the laboratory to develop scientific understanding and judgement.
  • Prepare descriptive and interpretive laboratory reports to enhance observation assessment and implementation of statistical models to best support findings.
  • Demonstrate the skills involved in the preparation of practical reports by use of materials and appropriate application of working processes and techniques showing underlying relationship between content, form and technique.
  • Use information technology and understanding of both descriptive and inferential statistics by implementation of mathematical models to support theories.

At level 4, students should be able to complete a range of founder biomedical science techniques competently, and in accordance with health and safety guidelines and as a result clarify the principles and limitations of a range of practical techniques (BI4926, BI4927, BI4928, BI4932, BI4933 and BI4934).


At level 5, students should be able to utilise problem-solving skills based upon the environment presented and be cognisant of the limitations and the potential impact. They should be able to demonstrate awareness of the ethical and legal dimensions as a professional working within the broad spectrum of health care science. (BI5930, BI5933, BI5934, BI5935, BI5936 and BI5937).


Following modular completion the students should demonstrate the following attributes:

  • Accurately and reliably communicate the results of their work, service ideas and concepts effectively using various forms of communication media.
  • Successfully utilise information technology by adapting to current database and internet sites for appropriate information retrieval, communication, writing and presentation, avoiding plagiarism.
  • Peer review and assess to the effectiveness of teams by discussing and reviewing individual and group work and evaluating performance.

At level 4, student should be able to use a range of communication techniques and methodologies relevant to the particular subject, including data analysis, information technology, the use of statistics and develop interpersonal skills for use with information retrieval, problem-solving, communication and team work (BI4926, BI4927, BI4928, BI4932, BI4933 and BI4934).

At level 5, students should be able to show diversity in communication in accordance with the audience present and in so doing adapt appropriate methods of delivery. Thus, students should be aware and competent in the use of current scientific, academic and social mediums to convey information and appreciate the advantages of establishing communication networks (BI5930, BI5933, BI5934, BI5935, BI5936 and BI5937).

The programme is delivered via blended learning, comprising distance learning supplemented by face-to-face tuition at Residential Schools. Each module takes the form of a learning package consisting of a tutor-prepared module transcript which is supported and developed by text and online resources which can be accessed via the module space on the University of Chester VLE. This environment signposts and supports a diverse student learning experience by providing links to tutor communication zones, self-assessment questions, websites, emails, discussion boards in addition to social media feeds. Students normally complete 3 modules per academic year.

The content of the programme has been informed by the requirements of:

Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) Standards of Proficiency

Health & Care Professions Council (HPC) Standards of Proficiency

QAA Subject Benchmarks for Healthcare Professional Training.

Due to the alignment of this programme to the requirements informed by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) students who successfully complete the Foundation Science Degree can enter Level 6 of the BSc (Hons) degree in Biomedical Science.

For students enrolling on the Health Care Sciences programme, all level 4 core modules cover essential skills and concepts in haematology; transfusion science; biology of disease; genetics; biochemistry; physiology; microbiology; immunology and data analysis. At level 5 the opportunity exists for students to experience specialised subject areas essential within biomedical science with relevance to health care science.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
BI4926 4 DL Essential Biological Chemistry 20 Comp
BI4927 4 Cell and Tissue Science 20 Comp
BI4928 4 DL Anatomy and Physiology 20 Comp
BI4932 4 DL Introduction to Genetics 20 Comp
BI4933 4 Haematology and Immunology (DL) 20 Comp
BI4934 4 Health Care Scientist and Patient Care (DL) 20 Comp
BI5935 4 Applied Molecular Biology 20 Comp
BI5930 5 Research Methods and Medical Ethics 20 Comp
BI5933 5 Tissues and Transplantation 20 Comp
BI5934 5 Transfusion Science 20 Comp
BI5936 5 Microbiology 20 Comp
BI5937 5 The Biology of Disease (FD) 20 Comp

Level 4: 6 modules 120 credits 24 months

Level 5: 6 modules 120 credits 24 months

The Modernising Scientific Careers BSc (Hons) degree programme (of which this FdSc constitutes Levels 4 and 5) accreditation process stipulates that 'all modules must be successfully completed and passed' (i.e. 'no whole module score can be below the University's definition of a 'pass'').

The Healthcare sciences programme is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS)

All modules are compulsory and the modular content and organisation of this programme are informed by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS). The IBMS stipulates that the degree “must include relevant basic scientific core subjects, together with a study of the Biomedical Science specialist subjects, integrated through a study of the biology of disease” (IBMS Criteria and Requirements for the Accreditation and Re-Accreditation of BSc (Hons) degrees in Biomedical Science, November 2004).


Generally, NHSBT students are accepted into the programme on the basis of the recommendation of (a) their line manager and (b) NHS/ NHSBT training officer. Informal interviews are held at the University prior to acceptance and to confirm the selection.

As this Foundation Degree is aimed mainly at experienced members of NHS and NHSBT staff, formal academic qualifications are not always a requirement for entry. Some applicants may, therefore, enter the programme on the recommendation of their line manager, who will provide a profile of work-based skills and knowledge that may include academic qualifications. Evidence of successful completion of NHS/NHSBT training courses and CPD activities will be an advantage. Applicants under the age of 21 years may be expected to have more formal academic qualifications, such as A-level sciences or GNVQ at the appropriate level.

Part-time applications are made direct to the University of Chester.

Applicants may be interviewed at the University prior to acceptance on to the programme. The interview will focus on personal qualities and related skills in addition to formal academic

The subject benchmark statements in Biomedical Science have been used as an important reference point in the construction of this programme’s learning outcomes, knowledge, skills and content together with the methods of learning, teaching and assessment. All the benchmarks detailed in the Biomedical Science Subject Benchmark Statement (Subject Benchmark Statement UK Quality Code for Higher Education Biomedical Sciences November 2015). All Foundation Degree students take the 12 modules indicated, and consequently each student has the opportunity to “acquire knowledge in these subject areas” (The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education 2007).




The programme will be delivered by blended learning in the form of learning packages, e-mail, discussion boards, telephone contact, residential schools and work place mentoring. The Module transcripts (supplemented by set texts) will provide the main learning materials and the University VLE (Portal) will be used to provide the learning framework, information on work patterns, additional support materials and the platform for communication throughout the programme. The attendance at a residential school will be at the start and end of each module.

Members of the Department of Biological Sciences have many years of experience in offering distinctive programmes of study at diploma, undergraduate, postgraduate and post-experience levels. Biological sciences has considerable experience of supporting the learning needs of mature students and of students generally with ‘non-standard entry’ qualifications. Considerable experience has been achieved with students with limited entry qualifications both in terms of academic performance and personal development. Consequently, students encounter a broad range of teaching expertise and learning experiences across all levels of study as befits the subject matter. Assessment guidance such as learning outcomes can be accessed from the module descriptor via their respective module space on the VLE.

Residential Schools 

At the start of each module, students will attend a residential school at which the module content (including support provision, learning materials and assessment details) will be described. Considerable guidance will be given on learning to learn, accessing and using resources and preparing assignments as well as an introduction to the modular content. The help given will be more extensive at level 4: at level 5 the support will be similar but appropriate to a learner who has developed a degree of autonomy. At this second level, more emphasis will be given to the modular content. Throughout both levels, students will be encouraged to become autonomous learners. Students will be encouraged to form self-help groups (communicating through e-mail, discussion boards or telephone) and these will be explained and organised at the residential school. On completion of the allocated time for the module, there will be a second residential school. This will be used for any formal assessment – as described in the module descriptor – and module evaluation and staff/student liaison meetings. 

Student Mentoring

All students will be expected have a work-based mentor (training officer) who will normally be a colleague. The mentor’s role in the work place is to support learners, in whatever capacity they are learning, to enable the learners to share their learning experiences. The mentor will help provide a framework for advising and sharing of work-related experience, to encourage and stimulate appropriate questioning and enabling the learners to identify appropriate work-based learning contexts. Mentors will not be responsible for formal assessments procedures although they will be available to help in preparing students for assessments.

Mentor training is organised and delivered by staff in the Centre for Work Related Studies at the University. There will be ongoing sessions for mentors to monitor and support and evaluate progress when the Foundation Degree programme is running. 

The strategy is designed to introduce students to a range of assessment methods and develop their performance in assessment. Generally, there is a balance between course work and examination – this has been departmental policy for some time. The staff believe that in preparing and submitting course work, which can include essays, laboratory and data handling exercises, students are given time and scope to present their work in a variety of modes particularly where an examination would be inappropriate. However, we are aware that examinations have an important role in summative assessment as well as giving academic credibility, both externally and internally, to the work of the Department.  

Formative assessment features particularly in the Level 4 modules and is designed to introduce students to assessment at higher education and make them aware of what is expected of them. There will be set assignments which will be marked using the normal marking criteria but the marks will not be formally recorded. Extensive written feedback will be given to students following the marking period. This feedback can be discussed with both the module tutor (via e-mail) and their work place mentor. A university of Chester localised VLE discussion board is available for student to student based discussions at level 4 and level 5 which is maintained by HCS teaching staff to contribute and guide questions about module content and assessment.

The (BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science programme is designed to equip graduates with the practical (transferable) skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to embark on a career as a Biomedical Scientist, either in industry or within the private or health sector. It is appreciated, however, that some graduates may ultimately decide not to embark on such a career pathway. The transferable skills embedded throughout the programme equip graduates to enter other areas of employment or to continue their studies for a postgraduate qualification.

The programmes of study in the Dept of Biological Sciences fully embrace the University’s commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity.  The  University seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; marital or parental status; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students.  The ultimate objective of the programmes delivered are to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society and in whose activities all students can participate to the best of their ability. This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and to ensure that the diverse needs of our students are provided for.  At a departmental level all programmes are developed and delivered with the following aspects in mind:

  • Admission requirements are clearly set out in promotional materials and due consideration is given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality. 
  • Each module and programme is developed in line with University policy to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning.
  • There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds and the Department works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support through Learning Support Plans.
  • The induction week activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any issues.  Students are made aware of avenues of support if they a have any issues regarding diversity and equality.
  • Supportive formative exercises are presented in modules in the first year to give all students an equal chance of succeeding.
  • Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to all students to display their knowledge and skills. The introduction of anonymous marking and the blue sticker scheme also enhance equal opportunity to all students.
  • In order to ensure that the needs of all students are met any barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and removed or reasonable adjustments will be made based on requirements.
  • All learning materials and teaching and learning sessions are designed to be free from racist, sexist and other discriminatory assumptions and practices.
  • All lecturers are aware of diversity issues and discharge their PAT roles with knowledge and sympathy and all students are made aware of the Department structures to discuss issues should a concern arise. 

Students who successfully complete the programme are eligible to progress to Level 6 (top-up) of the BSc Biomedical Science programme.

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