Health Sci vs Biomed Round 1

Note: Some of the information regarding Tamaki Campus is now outdated as of 2019.

Hey Team,

At Course’s and Careers day a confused future student asked me ‘What’s the differences between health science and biomedical science and which one should I choose?  I could definitely relate to this as I was in a similar position last year. So I have teamed up with my beautiful friend Eliza, a enthusiastic health sci student and fellow unihall hound to bring you a two part blog. We have tried to answer all the important questions in the hopes of providing you with an inside word on these courses which you can’t get elsewhere. So if you haven’t already, be sure to also check out the structure, papers and entry requirements for each course on the uni website, here for health science, and here for biomedical science.

Why did you choose health science/biomed?

Eliza: Because biomed is more ‘sciency’ but health sci had more population health which I was more interested in than physics and biochemistry and I thought it would be nice to split up a science based year with some new content.

Anneke: I don’t really know why. I didn’t read about the papers until the first week of uni so I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I think because I have a doctor friend who did it and because I loved science at high school it seemed like a good option.

Whats the best thing about health science/biomed?

Eliza: I guess there’s not as many tests as biomed, (but in saying that the assignments are pretty hefty). You get a real good understanding of population health which I think is very applicable to future clinical careers.

Anneke: One thing I love about biomed is you get to learn more in-depth about things you only touched on in high school. For example in high school we learnt the basics of respiration in a few weeks, but in biomed we delved right into all the mechanisms and proteins involved which can be quite mind blowing when you actually think about it. Also because of the high entry score and workload it’s got a bit of reputation and is a cohort of very bright people which is a nice thing to feel apart of.

Whats the worst thing about health science/biomed?

Eliza: The lecturers for some papers. Also you’ll find that in classes like Health Psychology it’s wrote learning lists which isn’t very fun.  

Anneke: This worst thing is we have repeated the same content a few times in different papers especially Biosci. By the third time learning about protein structure it gets pretty boring. Also even though you’ve done it before you still have to focus because the things you are expected to know relating to the topic are different in each paper so that’s a bit frustrating. Also some of the content feels a bit irrelevant.

What does your timetable/an average day in health science/biomed look like?

Eliza: Well in this semester it’s a lots more chilled out than biomed that’s for sure. There’s a lot less class hours which means more time for your assignments. On Mondays and Fridays on a non lab week I only have 1 hour, Tuesdays I have 4 hours, Thursdays I have 2 hours and Wednesday is the biggest day with 5 hours at Tamaki Campus where we have a 2 hour lecture and tutorials.

Anneke: I agree, biomed has significantly longer hours because of all our 3 hour fortnightly labs. It can be a little disheartening when Eliza has 1 hour on a Monday and I have 6. Also we have 3 hours of lectures in a row 4 days a weeks. But I think I’d prefer that over having the same lecturer for 2 hours. Also most of us have Wednesdays off while the health sci go to Tamaki which is pretty sweet.

Whats its like going to Tamaki campus?

Eliza: The wonderful beautiful land of Tamaki well where do I start. It’s just really pretty and very green compared to city campus. It’s a really nice break in the week despite the 20 minute bus ride which is free provided free with the uni. Though I can’t guarantee a happy bus driver each week.


The magical land of Tamaki

How is health science/biomed assessed?

Eliza: In the papers like Poplhlth theres usually 2 or 3 assignments for each paper along with some tests. The assignments are often 2000 word research/argumentative/scholar essays not like essays you do in high school English. So a lot of referencing, paraphrasing and heaps of readings.  Often the time pressure can get hectic, because we get a week and a half to crank out a 2000 word. For example at the moment I have 2x 20% assignments on the go due in the next week (don’t ask me how I’m going with those.)

Anneke: Usually we have 1 or 2 midterm tests and a whop exam at the end of semester. Plus our fortnightly labs are worth a few percent each. Exam time can be a little more stressful than health sci but there’s less ‘internal’ work during the semester. If you like to study for tests biomed is the way to go. I’ve never had to write an essay but we do have to do the odd lab report for physics.

What kind of person should take health science/biomed?

Eliza: Interesting question. Um, if you’re cooler than biomed’s. Jokes, but take health science if you wanna break up your science year. I know that before this year my essay skills weren’t that great and I didn’t take english last year but I feel like doing these essays helped me write better exam answers.

Anneke: If you love science, you wanna do some practical stuff and you’re not afraid of hard work.

What kind of things do you learn about in health sci/biomed?

Eliza: I feel it’s a lot more clinically based not just random stuff you’re not gonna use again. First semester was a lot about how the health system is set up, you talk about DHB’s, integrated care so people working together e.g pharmacists working with doctors. This semester we’ve done a lot about socioeconomic status and explanations as to why prevalence of disease is higher in some areas compared to others. I find that very interesting, there are some trends that you see and you think ‘Wow that’s cool I didn’t know that was the reason why it was like that.’

Anneke: Read my other blog’s about my papers but in general lots of science e.g physics and biochemistry. Lots of metabolic pathways, enzymes and proteins.

So, hopefully this is gives you some idea of the two courses. Be sure to check out the other half of my ‘interview’ with Eliza in my next post. Also hit the comments if you have any questions or opinions about biomed or health sci and we will try and answer them for you.

Till then, stay contemplative

-A and E