Medical Science (single award)
Voc Lvl 3

The main purpose of this two year course is to provide learners with the knowledge, understanding and skills to support progress to higher education or straight into employment in areas of medical science, such as job roles in physiological sciences or clinical laboratory services.

The course comprises of 6 units and is equivalent to a full A level (A* to E).  At the end of two years, you will achieve a diploma in level 3 medical science.  Each unit has a clear purpose which focuses the learning of scientific knowledge, understanding and skills in a meaningful context.

The course is based around applying scientific knowledge, ideas and techniques to real-life medical contexts in the fields of healthcare and sport.  Learning activities will include practical work, independent research, class discussions, presentations, self-guided online interactive tutorials and worksheets.

As well as knowledge and understanding of the science used in a variety of areas, you will develop the following skills:

  • Using apparatus skilfully and safely
  • Producing and recording valid and reliable measurements and observations
  • Presenting and analysing data
  • Research skills
  • Identifying and evaluating resources
  • Clarity of oral and written expression
  • Discussion and presentation skills
  • Making notes

Assessment is through a balance of externally (170 hours) and internally (190 hours) assessed units over the two years.  External assessment is of two types: written examinations for unit 1 and unit 6 and an externally set and marked task based assessment for unit 5.  The written examinations will include pre-release material and synoptic context based questions based upon all units studied.  Internal assessments are based on two pieces of coursework in year 1 and one piece in year 2.

The Diploma combines well with other science subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, psychology and health and social care, and also with courses such as A level sociology, PE or the level 3 General Applied qualifications in sport, criminology or business.  However, it could be combined with a wide range of other subjects.

There has never been a greater demand for jobs in the healthcare and sports sectors.  Together with two other level three qualifications, this course will enable you access to a huge range of opportunities in both the healthcare and sports science sectors.  The healthcare sector has a shortage of around 43,600 full time jobs for nurses and around 35% of the 125,000 jobs available for medical staff advertised per year and there is no shortage of career options in the field of sports science.  The Diploma has been developed together by universities and clinical pathology laboratories to provide the skills that will allow you to observe, understand, assess and suggest solutions to real world medical problems and challenges these jobs require.

The main purpose of the qualification is to provide learners with the knowledge, understanding and skills in key scientific principles to support progress to higher education or employment in areas of medical science, such as job roles in physiological sciences, sports science or clinical laboratory services.  The qualification covers the key topic areas of health, physiology and disease, as well as providing the opportunity to study the areas of pharmacology, physiological measurement, clinical testing and medical research.

A significant proportion of career opportunities in this sector are at degree level.  When supported by other appropriate qualifications, the level 3 diploma in medical science will enable progression to higher education to a range of degree and higher applied programmes in the nursing, sports science, biomedical science, life sciences, and physiology sectors.  A range of degrees in these areas can lead to jobs roles including nurse, sports scientist, exercise psychologist, audiologist, physiologist or clinical perfusionist.  

Alternatively moving straight into paid work and/or an apprenticeship after this course is possible in many areas including sports coaching, paramedic, laboratory technician (including hospital, research, school and college), forensic science or quality control facilities.

Please see below for careers and labour market information for medical science - use the refresh buttons to find out about different courses and careers, and use the left and right arrows to view more detailed information.

You can find the prep work for this course at

Q: What type of course is this and how is it graded?
A: The course is a level 3 Applied General qualification, equivalent to half an A level for the 1 year Certificate and one full A level for the complete 2 year Diploma course.  The course is graded A to E for the year 1 Certificate and A* to E for the year 2 Diploma.

Q: Are there exams?
A: Yes.  50% of the Certificate (Year 1) is assessed by exam paper (30% of this is paper is based upon pre-release*) the other 50% is spread over two pieces of coursework.  In the Diploma (Year 2), 25% is assessed by exam paper (all based on pre-release*), 25% is based on a practical exam and the other 50% is based on one piece of coursework. 

* Pre-release is information about the material covered within the exam questions and is generally released four weeks before the exam).

Q: How big are your classes and how do your students compare to national data?
A: Classes are generally no larger than 20 students.  Compared to national data, the students in year 2 of this course have achieved 31.2% more A*-B grades and year 1 58.0% more A-B grades.  High grade achievement in the two year diploma (A*-B) was 92.2%, with an overall 98.6% pass rate (10% higher than national).  High grade achievement in the one year certificate (A-B) was 92.2%, with an overall 100% pass rate.

Q: What sort of degrees, apprenticeships or careers can this course lead to?
A: Many university degree courses, including those run by Russell Group universities, and apprenticeships covering the over 350 different NHS careers, including nursing, midwifery, audiometry, ophthalmology, paramedic science, pharmacology and healthcare science, will lead on from this course.  Some of these require other supporting subjects for applications.  Many sports based university courses and apprenticeships including sports science, physiotherapy and science & nutrition can also be taken.  Medical Science counts as a science based subject for those and many other fields of study. However, universities currently do not accept this course for pure medicine.

Q: Can I take biology A level alongside this course?
A: Yes, this is a good combination and if you have a specifically biologically based course you are aiming towards in the medical field (excluding vet or doctor), this could be a good combination.

Exam Board

WJEC Learn More

Entry Requirements

  • You should have at least a grade 5-5 in GCSE double award science or a grade 5 in two of the separate sciences; GCSE biology, chemistry or physics.
  • You should have at least a grade 5 in GCSE maths and GCSE English language.
  • If you have a level 2 BTEC application of science qualification, a Distinction will be required for entry onto this course.

Year 1

  • Human health and disease (externally examined) - This unit develops knowledge and understanding of human anatomy and physiology. The unit will develop an understanding of the function of organ systems and some problems that can occur in these systems.
  • Physiological measurement techniques - This unit develops knowledge and understanding about the physiological measurements that can be made to assess the function of major body systems. It relates anatomy and physiology to physiological measurement test results, through an understanding of the principles of the measurement techniques.
  • Medical Science research methods - This unit develops knowledge and understanding of planning, conducting and reporting of research in medical sciences using a range of methodologies and techniques. It is intended to enable the acquisition of the necessary knowledge and skills to carry out research in order to obtain meaningful information. It also seeks to promote an understanding of the processes involved in drawing meaningful inferences from research data.

Year 2

  • Medicines and treatment of disease - This unit develops knowledge and understanding about the science of medicines, and how they work through their interactions with body systems.  It also introduces cancer, its relationship to genetics, and the range of therapeutic treatments available.
  • Clinical laboratory techniques (externally examined) - This unit develops knowledge and understanding about the clinical laboratory techniques that can be used to assess body functions.  It relates knowledge and understanding of human physiology and biochemistry to clinical measurement test results through an understanding of the principles of the measurement techniques.
  • Medical case study (externally examined) - This unit is the overall synoptic unit for the Diploma qualification. It provides the opportunity for candidates to demonstrate their understanding of the connections between the other five units of this medical science qualification. The content of this unit requires candidates to apply skills, techniques, knowledge, understanding and concepts from across the qualification content in order to complete the required assessment.

Employability Skills

  • Job roles in physiological sciences (for example cardiac sciences, clinical perfusion, critical care science, gastrointestinal physiology, ophthalmic science and vascular science) or clinical laboratory services
  • The Level 3 Diploma in medical science will enable progression to higher education to a range of applied science, sports science, biomedical science, life sciences and physiology type programmes.