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B.Sc. in Human Health & Disease

1. Programme Overview

The B.Sc. in Human Health & Disease degree is a 4-year programme of multidisciplinary study and training in basic and applied biomedical science provided by the School of Medicine in partnership with the School of Biochemistry and Immunology and collaborators from across Trinity College Dublin and beyond
The degree is led and managed from The Department of Physiology.

Degree Objectives - To provide students with a programme focussed on developing an expert appreciation of the following;

  • the structure and function of the human body in health
  • signs and symptoms of disease
  • the molecular basis of disease
  • current treatment of disease and cutting edge therapeutics
Learning Format - Teaching is provided through a combination of lectures, practicals and tutorials. In the fourth year a research project is undertaken within the laboratory of a biomedical researcher on campus, at one of the affiliated teaching hospitals or at an ERASMUS partner university. Throughout, a major emphasis is placed on the development of proficiency in the following;
  • laboratory technique
  • data analysis
  • public presentation
  • report writing
  • research methodology, ethics and critical thinking


2. Programme Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:

  • Integrate key biological principles into a detailed description of the structure-function relationships operational in the human body.
  •  Relate the signs and symptoms of disease to fundamental alterations in body function at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ and organ system levels.
  • Evaluate the respective roles of pharmacological, lifestyle-related and dietary factors in the treatment and prevention of disease.
  • Identify the link between translational research and innovation and the emergence of advances in diagnostics and therapeutics.
  • Appraise scientific data in a critical, ethical, informed and independent manner.
  • Design, conduct, analyse and evaluate research in the field of applied biomedical science.


3. Curriculum Content

The curriculum is modular in structure and built around three main thematic areas namely;

  • Basic Human Biology
  • Core Competency, Transferrable Skills and TCD Graduate Attributes
  • Applied Biomedical Science
Modules for Year 1 (Junior Freshman)
  • Introductory Human Cell Biology and Genetics (10 ECTS)
  • Human Health and Disease Tutorials I (10 ECTS)
  • Chemical Principles and Properties (10 ECTS)
  • Mathematical Methods (10 ECTS)
  • Human Tissue Types (5 ECTS)
  • Human Developmental Biology (5 ECTS)
  • Philosophy of Science (5 ECTS).
  • A further 5 elective ECTS are taken in a Broad Curriculum or language module.
Modules for Year 2 (Senior Freshman)
  • Cell Structure and Function (5 ECTS)
  • Metabolism (5 ECTS)
  • The Human Body-Structures and Systems (30 ECTS),
  • Research Methods and Statistics (5 ECTS),
  • Microbiology and Immunology (5 ECTS)
  • Human Health and Disease Tutorials II (5 ECTS)
  • A further 5 ECTS are taken in a Broad Curriculum or language module.
Modules for Year 3 (Junior Sophister)
  • Molecular and Systems Pharmacology (10 ECTS)
  • Introduction to Clinical Medicine (10 ECTS)
  • Cell Function in Health and Disease (5 ECTS)
  • Biomedical Research in Action (10 ECTS)
  • Nutrition and Metabolism (5 ECTS)
  • Exercise in Disease Prevention and Patient Rehabilitation (5 ECTS)
  • The Biology of Neurodegenerative and Psychiatric Disease (5 ECTS)
  • Fundamental and Applied Immunology (5 ECTS)
  • Signal Transduction and Gene Regulation (5 ECTS)
Modules for Year 4 (Senior Sophister)
  • Research Project (20 ECTS)
  • Molecular Haematology and Oncology (5 ECTS)
  • Molecular Diagnostics and Therapeutics (5 ECTS)
  • Physiological Measurement (5 ECTS)
  • Integrated Pathophysiology (10 ECTS)
  • Measuring and Reporting on Human Health (5 ECTS)
  • Advanced Tutorials in Human Health and Disease (10 ECTS)


4. Human Health and Disease Scholarship Examinations

The objective of the Scholarship examination in Science is to identify and reward undergraduate students having outstanding interest and ability in their chosen field. Such students should be able to demonstrate some degree of originality and flair, and not simply a high level of performance in basic coursework. Because the Scholarship examination in Science is taken by Senior Freshman students, it is based on the breadth of the Freshman Science course being following by the student. Scholars are therefore outstanding in the field of general biomedical science (or that division of it represented by the range of modules taken by the student in their Freshman years), and not in any specific discipline.
An application form and Foundation Scholarship regulations can be accessed on the Examinations and Timetables Office webpage:

The examination will take the following format:

  1. Three papers of total 8-9 hours of written examination corresponding to each of the areas of study.
  2. There is no continuous assessment as part of the examination
  3. The academic scope of each course covered is specified as detailed below:

    Paper 1 - Integrated Cell Biology
    3 essay style questions based on course work from modules BY2201 and BY2203 (knowledge from PG1004, PG1005, PG1006, PG1007, BY1101 may also be included)

    Paper 2 - Integrated Anatomy and Physiology
    3 essay style questions based on material from MD2015            

    Section 3 - Special Topic
    The Special Topic examination will be related to a course of reading on recent advances in the understanding of the aetiology and treatment of a specific human disease. The syllabus for the special topic will be based on research papers and reviews as prescribed by staff in the discipline.

N.B. For students to be successful in the Scholarship Examination they need to achieve an overall first class aggregate mark and a first class pass in at least two of the three examination papers.

Further Information

Dr. Eric Downer,
Department of Physiology
Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute,
Trinity College Dublin,
152-160 Pearse Street,
Dublin 2

Download current manuals, timetables and lecture notes via - only available to registered students.


Last updated 23 November 2016 Physiology (Email).