Blog Spotlight Fast-track to a Life Science degree at the University of Essex
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Fast-track to a Life Science degree at the University of Essex

Let us tell you all about our International Year One (IYO) in Life Sciences course at the University of Essex International College. The course will allow you to fast-track straight to the second year of a Life Sciences-related degree at the University of Essex, saving you time and money.

What is the International Year One in Life Sciences?

The IYO combines degree preparation, including enhancing your study skills and English language level, with the first year of an Essex undergraduate Life Sciences degree. When you successfully pass your course at the required level, with good attendance, you’ll progress straight to Year 2 of your chosen Life Sciences degree, so you can jump right into your studies.

You’ll study at the University of Essex International College, located on the main University of Essex campus. By the time you progress to Year 2 of your Life Sciences degree, you’ll already be familiar with the student facilities, campus layout and surrounding areas.

Where can the IYO in Life Sciences take you?

The University of Essex has a fascinating range of Life Sciences degrees to choose from, including Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Genetics and Human Biology. Some degrees offer the option of a placement year or a year abroad, so you can put your skills into practice in the science industry, or experience working and studying in a different country.


Biochemistry degrees at the University of Essex investigate the interactions that occur in the cellular pathways that control things like vision and cell death. In your final year you’ll have the opportunity to contribute to real-world research projects in state-of-the-art labs.

Biomedical Science

On a Biomedical Science degree, you’ll learn about the onset, progression, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. You’ll be taught by research-active academic experts and practising Biomedical Scientists from local hospitals. You’ll also have the opportunity to spend a year working in an NHS lab.


If you study a Genetics degree, you’ll explore exciting topics including gene manipulation, cloning and bioinformatics. At Essex, you’ll study both genetics, at the level of a single gene or group of genes, and genomics, at the level of an organism’s entire genes — the genome.

Human Biology

A Human Biology degree at Essex will see you explore the complexities of the human body using cutting-edge technology. You’ll learn how recent advances in our genetic make-up and cellular function are leading to exciting new developments in treating and preventing human disease. You’ll cover interesting topics including anatomy and physiology, cell biology, genetics, immunology and microbiology.

Careers in Life Sciences

If you successfully pass your International Year One Life Sciences course at the required level with good attendance, you’ll be able to go straight into Year 2 of any of these exciting degrees at the University of Essex, so you can progress to a career in Life Sciences sooner.

There are so many fascinating career paths you could take as a Life Sciences graduate. You could progress to medical school, or study a postgraduate or doctoral degree in a specialist subject. Other potential careers include:

  • Biochemist
  • Biomedical Scientist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Clinical Research Associate
  • Computational Biologist
  • Environmental Health Specialist
  • Medical or Science Writer/Journalist
  • Microbiologist
  • Quality Control Analyst
  • Working for a pharmaceutical company

Why study at the University of Essex?

Top 40 in the UK overall

Complete University Guide 2023

6th in the UK for teaching effectiveness

Guardian University Guide 2023

Less than 1 hour from London

by train

Top 10 in the UK for international outlook

Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023

The University of Essex is ranked in the world top 250 for Life Sciences (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023). Within the UK, it ranks 21st in the UK for graduate prospects for Biosciences (Guardian University Guide 2023).

Excellent facilities

You’ll be taught in large, modern and well-equipped laboratories, giving you experience of using a professional facility before you begin your future career. The University of Essex has many other specialist facilities, including:

  • a STEM Centre with new digital microscopes integrated with latest audio-visual equipment and displays, as well as Class II microbiological safety cabinets for cell culture, and the latest spectroscopy technology
  • high-end and routine microscopes in darkrooms, workstations for image processing and analysis, and a lab for sample preparation
  • two ‘dry laboratories’ and a high-performance computing cluster with a broad range of bioinformatics software installed, including all commonly used DNA sequence analysis software. The cluster is accessible both on and off campus (via VPN)
  • a crystallisation laboratory equipped with a state-of-the-art ‘Gryphon’ crystallisation robot, Leica M125 microscopes (with digital camera) for crystal viewing, variable-temperature vibration-free crystal incubators, full facilities for ‘manual’ crystallisation, and apparatus for manipulating, cryo-cooling and transporting protein crystals to synchrotron facilities
  • and dedicated molecular biology and cell/tissue culture rooms facilitating the use of recombinant DNA, the study of protein function, siRNA library screens, various cellular assays and the generation and use of recombinant viruses.

Convenient location

The University of Essex is located on a traditional campus within the grounds of the historic Wivenhoe Park, just outside of Colchester. As Britain’s first city and former capital of Roman Britain, Colchester has a rich and interesting history and is ripe for exploring. It’s also home to Colchester Zoo, Colchester Castle, and excellent restaurants, market stalls, cafes and shops.

While the hustle and bustle of London is less than an hour away from the University, you can expect a lower cost of living in Essex. You’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of being near a major city, while saving money on your other expenses.

Join a thriving international student community at the University of Essex and gain a top-quality Life Sciences degree that will set you up for your future career.

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