Basic Medical Sciences

…..en route to the Bachelor of Medical Sciences (BMSc) Program

The basic medical sciences look at the molecular, cellular, and systems organization of the human body and the biological mechanisms it uses to adapt to environmental changes and disease. The Medical Sciences Program leads to the four-year BMSc degree, which is offered jointly by the Faculty of Science and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and is designed for students (testimonial) interested in advanced study of one or more of the basic medical sciences. This joint program focuses on the application of science to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of human disease.


Crucial to all such advances in biotechnology is an understanding of how life works at the molecular level. Consider studying Biochemistry at Western!

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Are you interested in understanding why some people get sick and others do not? Consider studying Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Western!

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Are you interested in studying a disease from multiple disciplines? Consider studying Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences at Western!

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Are you interested in both biology and physics, and in using these to improve human health? Consider studying Medical Biophysics at Western!

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Are you interested to learn how cells work together to form tissues, organs and the human body? Consider studying Medical Cell Biology at Western!

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Do you want to know how to use technology to improve diagnosis, to prevent and/or to treat disease? Consider studying Medical Bioinformatics at Western!

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How do humans survive when we are constantly exposed to microbes? Consider studying Microbiology and Immunology at Western!

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Learn the mysteries of the brain and how brain injury can lead to disorders. Consider studying Neuroscience at Western!

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Did you know that more than 60% of all known human diseases are passed from other species? Consider studying One Health at Western!

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To understand how and why a disease develops, consider studying Pathology at Western!

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Want to learn about how the human body works and how to treat diseases with drugs? Consider studying Physiology and Pharmacology at Western!

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Explore your options in Basic Medical Science!

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What You’ll Learn

The BMSc program provides the opportunity to learn and understand the interrelationship between the basic and clinical medical sciences and to explore one or more of the disciplines in depth.

Students interested in the BMSc Program should select ESM (Medical Sciences) on the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) application.

In Medical Sciences 1 and 2, students are registered in the Faculty of Science, and develop a foundation in several science disciplines (biology, chemistry, physics, math and statistics, genetics, cell biology) in preparation for their transition to the Basic Medical Sciences courses with the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry in year 3.

Distinguishing Features


Students who want to experience an interdisciplinary approach to learning science have several options to consider within the BMSc Program. Those wishing a broader education across the basic medical sciences may choose the Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences (IMS) modules. Other opportunities include One Health, which focuses on the intricate link between animal health, environmental health, and physical and social determinants of human health, and Medical Health Informatics, which brings together computer science, medical sciences and health care to achieve better health for Canadians.

Research Experience

The BMSc Program offers 20 different discipline-specific Honors Specialization modules, allowing students to perform novel research under the supervision of a faculty member in Year 4.  

Undergraduate Research

Opportunities to acquire state of the art research skills and discover the value of pursuing a biomedical research career following completion of an undergraduate degree are available each summer for outstanding undergraduate students at the end of Year 3, through the Biochemistry Undergraduate Summer Research Program. If you are interested in experiencing the culture of a developing nation while broadening your research skills, the Department of Microbiology and Immunology also offers unique research experiences on the African continent as well as fellowships for second- and third-year students to perform independent research over the summer.

Dual Degrees

If the study of both the basic medical sciences and business are of interest, you can combine the HBA degree (Business Administration) from the Ivey Business School with either the Honors Specialization in Biochemistry or the Honors Specialization in Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences (IMS) and graduate with two honors degrees in five years.  

Accelerated Master's Programs for Future Researchers or Academics

Fast-track your second degree by considering an Accelerated Master's program offered by the Departments of Physiology and Pharmacology, Biochemistry or Microbiology and Immunology. Students perform their undergraduate research project course (thesis) in the summer before Year 4, and are then able to complete their Master (MSc) degree in 12-16 months following graduation.

Honors Specialization in Neuroscience

A BSc degree conferred by the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Neuroscience at Western is another interdisciplinary program that brings together the strengths of many fields to investigate the fundamental biology and structure of the nervous system; the neural mechanisms of perception, memory and consciousness; and the causes and treatment of diseases and disorders of the brain and nervous system. Western faculty from Psychology, Science, and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry collaborate to offer a wealth of knowledge through courses and research opportunities in this rapidly evolving field. Admission to the program in Year 2 is competitive and limited to 30 students.


Students with a degree from the Basic Medical Sciences have a wide range of choices as they consider their career options. Many go on to pursue health professional programs in Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, Optometry or the allied health professions such as Audiology, Physiotherapy or Occupational Therapy. More than one-third move on to Graduate Studies here at Western in one of the basic medical sciences departments or at other universities across the province and country. Some of our graduates have gone onto careers in the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industries or in sales and marketing roles for scientific and medical suppliers. A BMSc or BSc-Neuroscience degree provides the foundation and skills for a number of different careers.

Career Network Graphic, Transcript below

Careers Transcript

  • Professional Programs (including Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, Optometry, Audiology, Physiotherapy, and Occupational Therapy)
  • Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industries
  • Graduate Studies
  • Healthcare, Health Services, or Public Health