Biology and Chemistry Pathway


This Access to Higher Education (Health Science Professions) course is intended for students who wish to pursue careers in: 

  • Biochemistry
  • Dietetics (Dietitian)
  • Podiatry
  • Environmental Health



What You Study

Ungraded Units

This gives you an opportunity to shine when you are invited for an interview at the university. You will research the university and look at the syllabus and the combination of academic and practical experience and delivery. You will address your own transferable skills and put them to use when writing your UCAS application. You can produce a practice UCAS form prior to submitting your application to UCAS. All the research relating to this unit needs to be contained in a portfolio. You can take this with you to demonstrate that you have carried out detailed research of the course that you have applied for.

There are many diseases and consequently many causes of diseases. Identifying the prevalence of diseases comes with the notion of patterns in society where disease is prevalent. You will be looking at the nature of diseases and the changing patterns across society over time. By identifying diseases and causes, steps can be taken to reduce a disease. Public Health Agencies play a clear role in this; you will be given the opportunity to discover how effective these agencies are in promoting health.

There are many different methods involved in research and you will be introduced to some of these, for example; Correlations, Experiments, Observations, Case Studies Questionnaires and Surveys. You will be given the opportunity to develop your own piece of research in a standard report format.

This can be awarded against a level 3 essay. In essay preparation, you will be expected to research a topical area and present an argument, analysis or evaluation, demonstrating that you can use the evidence you have researched to present ideas and empirical evidence to support the claims that you are making.. The set of writing conventions relating to an essay can vary depending on the subject area. You will be asked to read the question carefully so that you know what the question is asking. In identifying the key words you will be able to see what the main idea is behind the title. You will be able to demonstrate your ability to select relevant material.

Biology Units

This topical area covers the body’s non -specific defences against diseases and includes physical and chemical barriers. The body’s immune system covers specific immune responses such as the modes of action of phagocytes and lymphocytes; summarising the actions of B and T lymphocytes in fighting infection. Memory cells take part in establishing long term immunity and this unit goes some way in explaining this and further more the molecular structure of antibodies to their function. Active passive natural and artificially acquired immunity are discussed in detail and an understanding of how vaccination may control disease is discussed and ultimately how Vaccines are produced. From this information the effectiveness of different vaccines can be discussed: i.e vaccine for small pox and programmes aimed at controlling diseases such as measles, polio,TB, influenza, malaria or cholera. Further discussion is made current developments in clinical and medical application in relation to areas such as transplant surgery, allergies, auto – immune disease and other relevant fields.

The topical area for this unit considers the nature of a range of non – infectious diseases including auto immune, inherited and congenital disorders. The relationship between disease and life style (epidemiological factors) is an important combination where it is considered that diseases can have a multi – factorial cause. Epidemiological research has played a role in health promotional campaigns which have been introduced as part of health and well being initiatives to attempt to reduce the incidences of diseases.

The main theme in this unit is to develop an understanding of the hormone system and the endocrine glands. You will be looking at the principles behind homeostasis and feedback mechanisms involved in as blood sugar control. You will also look at the actions of hormones and the understandings of molecular processes in steroid and peptide action. You will be illustrating and giving accounts of the endocrine system and identifying the specific organs associated with the system. There will be an opportunity to discuss the medical use of synthetic hormones such as HRT.

Here you will be given the opportunity to explore the components and function of a balanced diet. You will be directed towards looking at what happens when there are deficiencies of a particular nutrient and you will be given the opportunity to identify common forms of malnutrition. Whilst collecting your evidence you will be explore the Alimentary Canal, identifying and locating the structure and function of the Digestive System and the processes involved in the digestive process.

The skeletal system is the primary focus of attention in this unit where you will be given the opportunity to understand the function and structure of the skeletal system, the different joints and movement possibilities relating to joints. You will locate the regions of the spine and identify a number of bones in the human body. You will explore the muscle fibre action in detail and the mechanism involved in sliding filament theory.

This introduces the basic structure and function of the nervous system including the peripheral nervous system the autonomic nervous system and it’s subdivisions. You will also be given the opportunity expand upon your research and look at the nature of nerve impulses and the importance of action potential and the myelin sheath. You will also look at the principles of synaptic transmission, the direction of transmission and the effects of synaptic inhibition.

This looks into the organisation and structure of the body considering tissue types and DNA. You will study the various blood components, the roles and relate this to the circulatory system as a whole. You will cover the blood flow within them, the dynamics of the heart in relation to the needs of the body as well as the differences between plasma and tissue fluid.

This unit looks at homeostasis and the kidney as a homeostatic organ. You will be researching the kidney’s role in the balance of water, salt and pH and the effects of the environment on a cellular level. There will be an opportunity to give a detailed account of the kidney and illustrate its function in relation to the body. Kidney replacement is also a topical area. Malfunction diagnosis is a key consideration and point of investigation.

Chemistry Units

Doctors, whether in primary care or as specialists prescribe drugs and medicines every day. Other Health Professionals e.g. Nurse Practitioners, Paramedics, Radiographers can also undergo specialist training to be supplementary prescribers.

This unit will introduce you to the chemistry behind drugs and medicines and enable you to understand the effects of medicines and drugs on the functioning of the body. How drugs function is an important part, not only in the design of new drugs, but in the diagnostic testing of bodily fluids for the presence of drugs. To combat resistance to e.g. bacterial invasion or find new treatments for diseases, new drugs are constantly being developed, tested, trialled and released and sometimes things go wrong. Isomerism in drug action is covered here and linked to the Thalidomide tragedy. Computers are widely used in the design process of new drugs. The concept of computer aided drug design and a compound library are covered in this unit.

No matter which precise field of the Health Professions you intend to enter you will need to have an awareness of the role chemistry plays in health, and how that role is related to the field of the biologist. This unit starts ‘small’ with a basic knowledge of atomic structure, and builds steadily covering organic compounds and how inorganic reactions would occur in a laboratory. You will learn how the rate of chemical reactions can be modified and the principles behind risk assessment - a vital part of the study of chemistry. Finally you will learn how chemical and biological concepts are inextricably linked in theory by performing a written analysis of a chemical/biological resource.
This unit looks at how Chemistry has developed over time and how Societies have become reliant on substances in every day life. You will also gain an understanding into the occurrence and use of a particular element.