Applied Life Sciences

The applied life sciences are studies which are designed to be beneficial for improving the quality and standard of life. At QMU, our focus for life sciences is to advance the appreciation of healthy living and includes nutrition and food science as well as physical activity, health and wellbeing. Courses are designed to promote an understanding of the current issues relevant to ensuring a quality lifestyle commensurate with health and wellbeing.

Why QMU?

Our BSc (Hons) Nutrition course is well established in QMU’s portfolio and recently we have developed two new life sciences courses: one in nutrition and food science; and one in physical activity, health and wellbeing.

Our BSc (Hons) Nutrition and our new BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Food Science degrees not only fall under the heading ‘applied life sciences’, but they are also ‘biological sciences’.

We offer two further courses in the biological sciences - BSc (Hons) Human Biology and BSc (Hons) Applied Pharmacology. The first two years of these four courses are almost identical allowing students to get the same grounding in the biological sciences. In these early years, all students will gain a solid understanding and appreciation of the key areas of human physiology, human biochemistry, cell biology, microbiology, pharmacology and immunology. In parallel with these core subjects, our students also get the opportunity to enhance their ability in the areas of laboratory practical skills and investigative skills (eg data analysis). We offer a unique structure which allows students on any of the four ‘biological sciences’ courses to change direction in Year Three, enabling them to transfer to any of the other three courses.

The BSc (Hons) Physical Activity, Health and Wellbeing is a relatively new course at QMU. The focus of the course is to develop the skills and knowledge needed for working with others using physical activity to improve their health and wellbeing.

Our approach to learning and teaching

We aim to provide students with a wide range of teaching and learning methods. Aside from traditional lectures and seminars, you may also benefit from participating in group and individual projects, practical classes, web-based learning, and communication/IT workshops. Self-study learning packs, problem-solving exercises and case studies are also ways in which you can learn.

Nutrition, and Nutrition and Food Science students will also participate in laboratory practicals and you will be taught by research active food scientists and registered nutritionists.

Visiting practitioners and service users help to bring the real world learning experience into the classroom for students on the BSc (Hons) Physical Activity, Health and Wellbeing. Practical hands-on experience is a core element of preparation for work-based learning, and we use the campus sports centre and practical classrooms to emulate the settings in which you are most likely to find employment.

As all students on our applied life sciences courses progress, less time will be spent in lectures and the emphasis will be on more student-centred and student-driven approaches. You will also move from using textbooks as course materials to a more significant use of primary research journal articles and government legislation and guideline documents.

As a graduate, you will need a professional development portfolio. We support you in building your portfolio by integrating this into course assessment. This innovative approach is complemented by more traditional assessments such as written assignments, individual and group presentations, laboratory and project reports, short tests (multiple choice questions, short answer formats etc.) and oral examinations. Overall, assessment is less exam-based in later years.

For Physical Activity, Health and Wellbeing students, interprofessional learning takes place each year and you will work with students on our health professions courses. This starts by introducing team working and enhancing communication skills, and then progresses to allow small groups to work with volunteer service users, and on to understanding health and social care systems and organisations. You will learn to understand the professional roles and boundaries of others with whom you will be working, and become aware of different or shared working practices. You will also discuss the changing practices in health and social care and the wider workings of the NHS, private practice and industry.

Research

Research in the School of Health Sciences at QMU collates research in centres and aligned groups, namely: the Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research, the Centre for Person-centred Practice Research, the Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre, and the Institute for Global Health and Development. All students have the opportunity to engage with the wide range of research being undertaken in several ways: as novice researchers during project work, being trial participants, or attending keynote lectures and seminars.

Clinical research can only be undertaken in collaboration with frontline health and social care providers, and we have numerous collaborations with NHS Boards in Scotland, private and social services, and internationally in Europe and further afield.

Most academic staff are research active and at any given time we have a number of PhD students. Our research is aimed at establishing sound evidence on which to base strategies for improving health, in the context of both treatment and prevention.

You will be taught by lecturers and PhD students who are actively engaged with research and who publish in high impact academic and professional journals. Our aim is to ensure that our research findings link with your learning to keep this as up to date as possible. Understanding research helps to develop and enhance critical thinking and clinical questioning, which are essential in the challenging health and social care practice of today.

Careers

Career options vary depending on which degree course you undertake. Graduates of the BSc (Hons) Nutrition can enter a variety of scientific and health-related careers in the public and private sectors, such as: public health nutrition; health promotion; health media; food industry; fitness and leisure industries; research; government advisory posts; pharmaceutical industries; and product development.

For those graduating with a BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Food Science, opportunities exist in a wide variety of areas within food companies including product development, food manufacture, food distribution, food category management, and food research.

With the skills and knowledge you will acquire on the BSc (Hons) Physical Activity, Health and Wellbeing, you will have access to careers within the NHS, local authorities, communities and voluntary organisations as a physical activity champion, community support or development worker, or personal trainer. Opportunities exist within the sports and leisure industries for you to develop as an activity and lifestyle consultant, or certified exercise practitioner.

Many QMU graduates also choose to study for a higher degree (MSc, MPhil or PhD) or professional training. For the graduates of a multidisciplinary degree, there are many more career outlets.

Find out more information on how to apply for a course at QMU.