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Here to help: Degree assessments

Sue Jones, IBMS Executive Head of Education, outlines a new change for non-accredited degree assessments.

To support a diverse range of colleagues joining the profession, the IBMS supports several routes to registration as a biomedical scientist. Those who have graduated from both IBMS-accredited biomedical science programmes and graduates from non-accredited biomedical sciences, or single-discipline degree programmes such as microbiology or biochemistry, can be employed to trainee positions in pathology laboratories.

By offering degree assessments, the Institute supports the progression of graduates who have completed a non-IBMS-accredited degree programme. Degree assessments identify the areas of the HCPC Standards of Education and Training (SETs) that have not yet been met by the non-accredited degree course. They identify any subject knowledge that has not been previously covered and is required to meet the HCPC SETs for biomedical scientists. These subjects must then be completed as supplementary education via top-up modules at a university that runs an IBMS-accredited biomedical science degree (

Following a review of the process of non-accredited degree assessments, the IBMS Education and Professional Standards Committee has decided to decrease the maximum length of time after graduation that degrees can be assessed. Previously, application for non-accredited degree assessments were accepted for qualifications up to 20 years ago. However, to ensure that the academic content is not too out of date, this time period has now been reduced to a maximum of 10 years. Therefore, for non-accredited degree assessment, only degrees completed within 10 years of application will now be considered.

If a degree assessment has already been submitted (i.e. in 2021), where the degree was completed between 10–20 years ago, we will still process the application.

For all degree assessment applications, a complete set of module descriptors is required. Increasingly applicants for non-accredited degree assessment are not able to source module descriptors for their degree programme, as universities tend not to keep this information on record for a long time. In the absence of all module descriptors, the non-accredited degree assessors cannot map the taught content and accurately determine what supplementary education is required. Therefore, we are unable to assess the degree and applications will not be processed if all module descriptors cannot be supplied.

We are continuing our work to clarify the routes to registration with external parties including UCAS and the HCPC so that in the future the importance of choosing an IBMS-accredited degree programme is much clearer to university applicants.

Sue Jones is the IBMS' Executive Head of Education

Image credit | iStock

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