Advanced degree accreditation provides you with a way to identify graduates with a known profile of skills, knowledge, and expertise.


Advanced degree accreditation has been developed to address the skills gaps between undergraduate study and employment in bioscience research. Provision of a substantial period of research experience is, therefore, central to the advanced degree accreditation.

There are significant challenges of recruiting STEM graduates in an increasingly competitive environment. Advanced degree accreditation can support employers to find graduates with the skills and experience they are looking for.

With more and more graduates looking to get on the career ladder, competition for the best jobs is high; this creates problems for graduates and recruiters alike. Finding the right graduates can be a long and challenging process. How do graduate recruiters ensure they reach to the best graduates?

Advanced Accredited degrees
The graduate skills profile
Get involved
Advanced Accreditation Assessors

Advanced Accredited degrees

We have now awarded over 170 degrees with advanced accreditation, taught at 22 universities across the UK. Most often, advanced accredited degrees are those that include a year in industry or a Masters year, providing students with the opportunity to gain substantial experience in a professional environment.

Advanced degree accreditation is an external recognition of standards, which universities must apply to. Not every course taught at a particular university will have been put forward for advanced accreditation, but those that have been awarded advanced accreditation will have demonstrated that their graduates are able to meet specified criteria for knowledge, skills and experience.

Advanced degree accreditation enables you to recognise and recruit graduates with the experience, skills, and potential to excel in research and development.

The graduate skills profile

The content of bioscience degrees can vary significantly, even when they have the same title. It can be difficult to know what experience students have gained while studying.

Advanced accreditation recognises degree programmes that offer students the opportunity to gain experience and develop certain skills; this means that graduates from advanced accredited degrees should be able to demonstrate the following skills and abilities.

  • Have proven practical experience. Typically, advanced accredited degrees will include either a year in industry, or an integrated masters year. This means that graduates will have substantial practical experience, an appreciation of experimental design, and independent research skills.
  • An understanding of physics, maths, and chemistry in a biological context, as well as analytical and problem-solving skills; including data handling and interpretation, and effective use of statistics
  • The capacity for independent study
  • Effective communication to both specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • A critical awareness of developments in their field of study
  • The ability to independently apply appropriate experimental approaches in modern research, and an appreciation of effective experimental design
  • A knowledge and appreciation of accepted protocols and methods, including an understanding of appropriate research conduct and ethics

Learning outcomes (subject-specific experimental and analytical techniques and knowledge) have been based primarily on the skills required by graduate-level job roles, and have been developed in partnership with employers and relevant learned societies.

Get involved

We worked closely with the UK bioscience industry when developing the Advanced Degree Accreditation Programme, and maintaining that involvement is central to ensuring that accreditation remains an effective way to address the skills gaps identified. There are many ways you can get involved and show your support for accreditation.

  • Applying to become an Advanced Accreditation Assessor
  • Working with universities to offer placements to students on advanced accredited courses, providing them with that much-needed experience
  • Subscribing to the Higher Education Newsletter, which contains regular updates about the Degree Accreditation Programme, bioscience education, events and opportunities. You can manage your subscriptions to all our newsletters via the mySociety portal
  • Supporting the work of the Society by becoming a member organisation

Advanced Accreditation Assessors

Assessment of degrees for advanced accreditation is a peer-review process which requires a panel of experts to consider the evidence submitted by the institution. 

The advanced accreditation process seeks to identify degree programmes that deliver the skills and experiences that employers are seeking in bioscience graduates. Advanced accreditation is not about the wide recognition of threshold standards, nor does it make judgements on the wide range of excellent degrees delivered by UK higher education institutions (HEIs).

A quote about accreditation from Stephen Whitehead, CEO of the ABPI

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