University of Cambridge

Undergraduate

Study

Medicine

At Cambridge, we offer two medicine courses – the Standard Course and the Graduate Course. With both, our aim is to educate students to become compassionate, thoughtful, skilled members – and leaders – of the medical profession.

Course code Medicine (A100) Graduate Course in Medicine (A101)
UCAS code A100 MB/BChir A101 MB/Chir4
Duration Six years Four years
Colleges

Standard Course available at all Colleges except Homerton and Hughes Hall

If applying as an affiliated student, you must apply to Lucy Cavendish, St Edmund's or Wolfson Colleges

Only 22 places are available each year for overseas fee-status applicants

Available at Hughes Hall, Lucy Cavendish College and Wolfson College

It is not possible to apply for deferred entry to the Graduate Course in Medicine

Please note that you can apply for both the Graduate Course in Medicine (A101) and the standard Medicine course (A100). However, if you choose to do so you must apply to the same College for both courses (ie Lucy Cavendish or Wolfson)
2013 entry Applications per place: 6
Number accepted: 260
Applications per place: 16
Number accepted: 21

From 2014 entry, a maximum of 20 places are available for this course
Open days and events 2014 College open days (sciences)
Cambridge Open Days - 3 July, 4 July 2014

Contact one of the participating Colleges

Cambridge Open Days - 3 July, 4 July 2014
Related courses
Contact details www.medschl.cam.ac.uk/education/prospective/ www.medschl.cam.ac.uk/education/prospective/

Overview

Hard work, very rewarding

Success in medicine requires application and hard work, both while studying and when in practice. However, it brings great rewards in terms of job satisfaction, involving as it does a combination of science and human interactions, and numerous career opportunities. The environment in which different types of medicine are practised is rich and varied, and continually changing, requiring doctors to continue to learn throughout their working lives.

Our medicine courses provide the education and training required to be one of tomorrow's doctors, reflecting the latest advances in medical sciences and practice.

Graduates are entitled to hold provisional registration with the General Medical Council (GMC) with a licence to practise, subject to demonstrating to the GMC that they are fit to practise. To achieve full registration as a doctor, you must complete a two-year period of satisfactory service in a Foundation Programme post and continue to meet fitness to practise requirements.

Careers

Most UK graduates go on to work in the NHS, and about half become general practitioners, providing comprehensive healthcare for the local community. There is a broad spectrum of hospital-based careers across medical, surgical and other specialisms, but healthcare is moving towards a more community-centred model of delivery, and consequently doctors are increasingly expected to deliver healthcare in a range of settings.

Courses available

  • If you do not already have a degree, you can apply for the standard Medicine (A100) course.
  • As a graduate wishing to study Medicine you have several options:
  • You can apply for both the standard Medicine course (A100) and the Graduate Course in Medicine (A101). However, if you choose to do so you must apply to the same College for both courses (ie Lucy Cavendish or Wolfson)

The MB PhD programme

Designed for Standard Course (A100) medical students who are planning a career in academic medicine, the MB/PhD Programme intercalates three years of research with the three years of Clinical Studies in Cambridge. This enables them to gain the MB, BChir and a PhD in six years. Weekly supervisions continue throughout the research period to ensure the maintenance of clinical skills.

More information can be found on the MB PhD website.

Postgraduate Foundation Programmes

The Clinical School works closely with the Health Education East of England to provide Foundation Programmes as the first part of postgraduate education. During your Foundation Programme, usually at the end of Year 1, you receive full registration with the GMC providing that you can demonstrate that you are fit to practise medicine.

NHS Bursaries

NHS Bursaries are available for eligible Medicine students from Year 5 of the Standard Course (A100), or from Year 2 of the Graduate Course (A101). See the NHS Student Bursaries website for further information.

Medicine (A100)

At Cambridge, you study the medical sciences first, before learning to apply that knowledge to medical practice as a clinical student.

The first three years are taught through lectures, practical classes (including dissections) and supervisions, with typically 20-25 timetabled teaching hours each week. The emphasis during the Clinical Studies in Cambridge is on learning in clinical settings: at the bedside, in outpatient clinics and in GP surgeries, which is supported by seminars, tutorials and discussion groups.

The public expect their doctors to be knowledgeable and well informed so assessment plays a significant role throughout. Your on-going progress is reviewed weekly and termly by your College supervisors. Formal assessment, which determines your ability to proceed with the course, includes written and practical examinations, coursework submission and clinical assessments.

Successful completion of the first three years leads to a BA degree and on successful completion of the Clinical Studies in Cambridge you are awarded two degrees, the Bachelor of Medicine and the Bachelor of Surgery (MB, BChir).

Pre-Clinical Studies

Years 1 and 2

In Years 1 and 2, the Medical and Veterinary Sciences Tripos (MVST), you study the medically-relevant core scientific knowledge and skills that you will need as a medical professional.

Taught by some of the world's top academic scientists, we provide you with the scientific basis that will allow you to develop your medical career to the full, whether your aim is to deliver outstanding patient care or whether you wish to contribute to clinical academic medicine, combining research and teaching with clinical duties to push forward the boundaries of healthcare.

The main areas of learning in the MVST are covered by courses in:

  • Functional Architecture of the Body – involving examining and dissecting the human body, and includes living anatomy, and the use of modern imaging techniques
  • Homeostasis – covering the physiological systems which underpin the body's regulation of its internal environment and its responses to external threats. You also have related practical classes in experimental physiology and histology
  • Molecules in Medical Science – looking at the chemical and molecular basis of how cells and organisms work
  • Biology of Disease – dealing with the nature and mechanisms of disease processes
  • Mechanisms of Drug Action – providing an understanding of the basic mechanisms of drug action at the levels of both drug-receptor interactions and the effects on body systems
  • Neurobiology and Human Behaviour – covering the structure and function of the sense organs and central nervous system, the effects of drugs on brain function, and various psychological aspects
  • Human Reproduction – looking at the biology of the human reproductive system, its social context, and its influence on demographic trends

The clinical strand of the MVST involves:

  • Introduction to the Scientific Basis of Medicine – covering epidemiology and how it is applied in medicine
  • Social Context of Health and Illness – an introduction to the broader cultural aspects of healthcare and the medical profession in Britain, working with patients and colleagues, both in hospital and in the community
  • Preparing for Patients – which involves meeting patients in general practice (Year 1), in a hospital setting (Year 2), and through visiting community-based health-related agencies (Years 2 and 3)

You can find more details about the MVST online at: www.biology.cam.ac.uk/undergrads/mvst/prospective

Year 3

You specialise in one of a wide range of other subjects offered by the University (sometimes referred to as intercalation at other universities) to qualify for the BA degree. Options include:

Preparing for Patients continues in your third year, regardless of which subject you choose to study. During this year you follow a woman and her family through her pregnancy.


Clinical Studies

Years 4, 5 and 6

Clinical Studies are based at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. As well as being a tertiary hospital with an international reputation for medical excellence, Addenbrooke's is the site of several major biomedical research institutions. You also spend time in other regional NHS hospitals throughout East Anglia, and in general practices in Cambridge and the surrounding region.

Throughout the Clinical Studies, you build on your biomedical science education, developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to practise clinical medicine. Following an introductory course, the curriculum consists of three stages, each with its own focus and built around several major themes, including:

  • communication skills, patient investigation and practical procedures
  • therapeutics and patient management
  • core science, pathology and clinical problems
  • evaluation and research
  • personal and professional development
  • the multi-professional workplace

During your Clinical Studies, you have weekly small-group 'clinical supervisions' with junior doctors to develop and monitor your clinical skills.

Stage 1: Clinical Method

During Stage 1 you become proficient in basic clinical methods such as:

  • history-taking
  • physical examination
  • differential diagnosis
  • ordering and interpretation of basic investigations

Clinical attachments are linked to teaching in primary care to allow you a breadth of clinical experience.

Stage 2: The Life Course

You study the major causes of ill health, disease and its prevention throughout the human lifespan.

  • Periods spent in paediatrics, women's health, cardio-thoracic medicine, oncology, ageing and degenerative diseases, and psychiatry are linked by a record of longitudinal patient attachments collected in a portfolio.
  • Experience in primary and community care related to each part of the course enhances understanding of the range of disease presentation and management, and the patient perspective of healthcare delivery.

Stage 3: Preparation for Practice

Stage 3 focuses on equipping you with the knowledge, skills and attitudes you need to practise independently, and consists of attachments in:

  • general practice
  • medicine
  • surgery
  • emergency medicine
  • acute care

There are also opportunities to undertake Student-Selected Components and an elective period of study.

You can read more about the Clinical Studies on the course website.

Graduate Course in Medicine (A101)

In addition to the Standard Course (A100), we also offer the Cambridge Graduate Course in Medicine (CGCM, A101). Open to outstanding UK/EU graduates* of any discipline, successful completion of the accelerated Graduate Course leads to the MB, BChir degrees in four years.

This four-year course (45 study weeks a year)** integrates core medical science with clinical medicine, with an emphasis on the development of clinical skills through direct patient contact in hospital and community environments throughout East Anglia.

The University Departments collaborate with the three Cambridge Colleges offering the course, six general practices in West Suffolk, and the West Suffolk Hospital (in Bury St Edmunds) – the main clinical base for the course.

Please note that you must complete a separate (not currently available) in addition to your UCAS application to apply for this course. Application for 2015 entry can be submitted from 1 September 2014. The deadline for recieipt of both your UCAS and Graduate Course in Medicine applications is 15 October 2014.

If you are eligible to apply for the Graduate Course in Medicine (A101) you may also apply for the standard Medicine course (A100). This is the only instance when it is possible to apply to more than one course at the University. However, if you choose to do so you must apply to the same College for both courses (ie Lucy Cavendish or Wolfson).

* International graduates may apply for the Standard Course, A100, as an affiliated student. Places are limited.

** Please be aware that the CGCM is intensely programmed and does not have the flexibility to allow additional degrees, optional study or exchange programmes.

Level 1

Core medical science and clinical medicine

In Level 1 you follow the same core medical science teaching as those on the standard Pre-Clinical Studies course for four and a half terms.

In addition, there are five clinical placements in West Suffolk (during the University vacations) through which you learn clinical method. One and a half days a week are spent in a local General Practice and the other days in a hospital environment. This intercalation of clinical experience and the study of core science helps to demonstrate the relevance of the core science and its integration into clinical medicine.

At the end of this period you complete your Second MB exams and have a level of clinical competence comparable to the standard Clinical Studies students at the end of their first clinical stage.

Level 2

Life Course

Level 2 consists of placements in the medical specialties. These may be at Addenbrooke's Hospital or other hospitals in the East Anglia, learning alongside the standard Clinical Studies students.

Level 3

Preperation for Practice

Level 3 (the final year) is spent in clinical placements in West Suffolk, when Level 1and 2 skills and knowledge are reinforced and developed in preparation for practice. The emphasis is on integration of primary care, secondary care and the specialties, and following the 'patient journey'.

Throughout the course, learning is supported by small-group sessions with a Graduate Course Tutor (a senior clinician in West Suffolk); groups in General Practice and the Colleges; and hospital groups led by a Clinical Supervisor (a doctor in training).

Further information about the Graduate Course in Medicine can be found on the course website.

Cambridge Graduate Course in Medicine Bursary

You may be eligible for the Cambridge Graduate Course in Medicine Bursary in your first year. Please see the Cambridge Graduate Course in Medicine Bursary web page for further information.

Entry requirements

Medicine (A100) entry requirements Graduate Course in Medicine (A101) entry requirements

Typical offers require
A Level: A*A*A
IB: 40-41 points, with 776 at Higher Level

The Graduate Course in Medicine (A101) is open to UK/EU applicants who hold a good Honours degree (II.1 or above) in any discipline, and who also satisfy the GCSE and AS/A Level requirements (see below). Most successful applicants typically have at least AAA (or equivalent). 

It is not possible to apply for deferred entry to the Graduate Course in Medicine


You may enter up to four medical courses in your UCAS application. Your remaining choice can be used for an alternative course without prejudice to your commitment to medicine.

Applications from students who have failed at or been excluded from another medical school will not normally be considered for entry to Medicine at Cambridge.

Further requirements

Course requirements

Medicine (A100) and Graduate Medicine (A101) course requirements and selection

Please note that in the following 'science/mathematics subjects' refers to Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. It does not include Psychology.

GCSEs

Students wishing to study Medicine must have achieved:

  • grade C or above in GCSE (or equivalent) Double Award Science and Mathematics
  • two single awards in GCSE Biology and Physics may be substituted for Double Award Science

AS and A Levels

  • Applicants must have AS or A Level passes in Chemistry and two of Biology/Human Biology, Physics, Mathematics. At least one pass must be at A Level.
  • Most applicants for Medicine at Cambridge have at least three science/mathematics A Levels and some Colleges require this and/or ask for particular A Level subject(s). See individual College websites for details.

Although some Colleges consider applicants offering only two science/mathematics subjects at A Level, please note that the success rate of such applicants is much lower. In the past three admissions rounds, 98 per cent of applicants for Medicine (A100) offered three or more science/mathematics A Levels and, of these, 23 per cent were successful in obtaining a place. Of the two per cent of applicants who offered only two science/mathematics A Levels, just 10 per cent were successful in gaining a place.

International Baccalaureate

The GCSE and AS/A Level subject requirements also apply to the IB.

  • Individual Middle Years Programme subject results validated by the IB at grade 4 or above will satisfy the GCSE requirements
  • Standard Level subjects will satisfy AS Level subject requirements, and Higher Level subjects will satisfy A Level subject requirements

Other examination systems

We expect applicants taking other recognised examinations to demonstrate a level of understanding in science and mathematics roughly equivalent to those applying with A Levels. Refer to the Entrance Requirements for details of other qualifications and please consult any College Admissions Tutor for further advice.

Please note that only 22 places are available each year for overseas fee-status students.

Admissions test

All Colleges require Standard Course (A100) applicants to take the Bio-Medical Admissions Test (BMAT).  Applicants are responsible for registering for the BMAT by 1 October 2014, which means you must enter for the BMAT test before submitting your UCAS application by 15 October. The test will be taken on 5 November 2014.

Information about the BMAT and how to register is available from the BMAT website.

Work experience

To demonstrate some understanding of what a career in Medicine involves and your suitability for your intended career, you are strongly advised (though not required) to undertake some relevant work experience. This could be either paid or voluntary, in a health or related area. We are not prescriptive about how this is obtained, recognising the widely differing opportunities available.

Graduate entry

Graduates may apply for the Standard Course (A100) course as an affiliated student to one of Lucy Cavendish, St Edmund's or Wolfson Colleges with:

  • a good Honours degree (II.1 or above, science subjects provide the most useful preparation)
  • passes at GCSE and AS/A Levels (or equivalent) as above

Alternatively, UK and EU graduates from any discipline (who also satisfy the above, including A Level Chemistry, normally passed within seven years of entry) may apply to the accelerated Graduate Course in Medicine (A101).

Selection requirements

Medicine (A100) and Graduate Medicine (A101) selection requirements

Selection

You need to be a keen scientist, with a sound scientific understanding. As selection for medical school implies selection for the medical profession, admissions decisions are informed by national guidance on what makes a good doctor, for example, the Medical Schools Council's Consensus Statement on the Role of the Doctor and Guiding Principles for the Admission of Medical Students.

Applications from students who have failed at or been excluded from another medical school will not normally be considered for entry to Medicine at Cambridge.

Professional expectations

The GMC has certain expectations regarding the attitudes, behaviour and performance of medical students. Trainee doctors at Cambridge must satisfy the GMC's fitness to practise requirements, both during the application process and throughout the course. These requirements are in place to ensure the safety of patients.

Your age

Students under the age of 18 cannot undertake any clinical elements of the Medicine course, which start in the second term of first year at the latest. Therefore, applicants must have reached the age of 18 by the start of the second term of their first year.

Disclosure and Barring Service check (formerly Criminal Record Bureau check)

All offers of a place on these courses for UK students will be subject to a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (previously called an enhanced CRB check).* Minor misdemeanours will not necessarily prevent you from entering the medical profession but you should declare these in your UCAS application and you will be sent the relevant forms to complete if you are offered a place.

Where courses may involve regular access to children and/or vulnerable adults, students are legally required to undergo an enhanced DBS check. The University will send further instructions on registering with the DBS as part of the admissions process.

Overseas students will be asked to provide similar evidence.

More details can be found on the University's Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) webpage at: www.cam.ac.uk/current-students/rules-and-legal-compliance/disclosure-and-barring-service/medicsvets and on the Faculty of Biology's website.

* The Criminal Records Bureau and Independent Safeguarding Authority merged on 30 November 2012 to create the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. Further details can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Your health

Doctors, even as students and trainees, have a responsibility to be honest and open about their own health and all successful applicants are required to complete a confidential occupational health assessment. A questionnaire will be included with your offer letter and, once completed, should be returned to the University's Occupational Health Service.

Your answers to the health questionnaire will help to ensure that your medical training will not place your own or others' health at risk and determine, in terms of fitness to fulfil the requirements of the General Medical Council (GMC), your suitability to work as a doctor. The Undergraduate Standards and Guidance can be found on the GMC website. The assessment is also to inform the University of any health conditions or disabilities that you have which require specific support, so that this can be in place before you start the course.

Vaccinations for medical school

The University requires all prospective medical students be immunised against certaininfectious diseases to meet health and safety standards required to work with patients. You will be sent details of the vaccination programme with your offer.

Blood-borne infections

In accordance with Department of Health guidelines and NHS requirements, you will be offered blood tests to check that you are not infected with Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV before you can be cleared to participate in certain surgical procedures. If you are infected, you will be allowed to continue with the course but will not be allowed to partake in surgical practices on patients known as 'exposure prone' procedures. It will not prevent you from qualifying or practising as a doctor, except for a restriction on exposure prone procedures.

Disability, specific learning difficulties (SpLDs) and health conditions

A disability, SpLD or health condition needn't prevent you from becoming a doctor if you can satisfy the professional fitness to practice requirements. In these circumstances please contact a College Admissions Tutor as early as possible to discuss your needs and the course requirements. Such disclosures will be considered independently of your academic qualifications and the interview process.

The University's Disability Resource Centre (DRC) can provide general advice and guidance .

Admissions tests and written work - Medicine (A100)

The table below sets out the ways in which each College assesses applicants for this subject. For more information about these methods of assessment and why we use them, see the main Admissions tests and written work page.

College Assessment of applicant for this subject
Christ's BMAT
Churchill BMAT
Clare BMAT
Corpus Christi BMAT
Downing BMAT
Emmanuel BMAT
Fitzwilliam BMAT
Girton BMAT
Gonville & Caius BMAT
Homerton Not available at this College
Hughes Hall Not available at this College
Jesus BMAT
King's BMAT; Set essay
Lucy Cavendish BMAT
Magdalene BMAT
Murray Edwards BMAT; School essay for overseas applicants
Newnham BMAT
Pembroke BMAT
Peterhouse BMAT
Queens' BMAT
Robinson BMAT
St Catharine's BMAT
St Edmund's BMAT
St John's BMAT
Selwyn BMAT
Sidney Sussex BMAT
Trinity BMAT
Trinity Hall BMAT
Wolfson BMAT
How to apply

If you are interested in applying for this course, please see our Applying section for more details.

Further resources

Find out more about Medicine at Cambridge

Improve your knowledge of Medicine

  • Preparatory reading and basic science concepts - A run-down of the basic concepts you will be expected to be familiar with during your first year, and guidance on preparatory reading.
  • Introduction to cell biology - An introductory explanation of cell biology for applicants who are not studying A-level Biology.
  • Introduction to anatomy - A basic guide to the terminology used in describing anatomy, with a reading list of anatomy books for those wanting to explore further.
  • Medicine course handbook - A general introduction to the Cambridge course, aimed at successful applicants who are accepted to study Medicine at the University.

Tools to help you with your Medicine application

  • CRB check information - All offers to study Medicine or Veterinary Medicine are dependent on an enhanced disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau for UK applicants. Overseas applicants are required to provide similar evidence as available..
  • Additional course costs - Information on the additional costs associated with the study of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.
  • BMAT Test Preparation Information - BMAT cannot be 'crammed' for; however, basic familiarity with a test's question and answer style will help you prepare. Everything that you need to prepare for the BMAT is on, or mentioned on, this website, and you can practise the test with the specimen papers available for download.
  • Disclosure and Barring Service Checks - All offers to study Medicine or Veterinary Medicine are dependent on an enhanced disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly the Criminal Records Bureau) for UK applicants. Overseas applicants are required to provide similar evidence as available.

Unistats info


Contextual Information

From September 2012, every undergraduate course of more than one year's duration will have a Key Information Set (KIS). The KIS allows you to compare 17 pieces of information about individual courses at different higher education institutions.

However, please note that superficially similar courses often have very different structures and objectives, and that the teaching, support and learning environment that best suits you can only be determined by identifying your own interests, needs, expectations and goals, and comparing them with detailed institution- and course-specific information.

We recommend that you look thoroughly at the course and University information contained on these webpages and consider coming to visit us on an Open Day, rather than relying solely on statistical comparison.

You may find the following notes helpful when considering information presented by the KIS.

  1. The KIS relies on superficially similar courses being coded in the same way. Whilst this works on one level, it leads to some anomalies. For example, Music courses and Music Technology courses can have exactly the same code despite being very different programmes with quite distinct educational and career outcomes.

    Any course which combines several disciplines (as many courses at Cambridge do) tends to be compared nationally with courses in just one of those disciplines, and in such cases a KIS comparison may not be an accurate or fair reflection of the reality of either. For example, you may find that when considering a degree which embraces a range of disciplines such as biology, physics, chemistry and geology (for instance, Natural Sciences at Cambridge), the comparison provided is with courses at other institutions that primarily focus on just one (or a smaller combination) of those subjects.

  2. Whilst the KIS makes reference to some broad types of financial support offered by institutions, it cannot compare packages offered by different institutions. Different students have different circumstances and requirements, and you should weigh up what matters to you most: level of fee; fee waivers; means-tested support such as bursaries; non-means-tested support such as academic scholarships and study grants; and living costs such as accommodation, travel.

  3. The KIS provides a typical cost of private (ie non-university) accommodation. This is very difficult to estimate as prices and properties vary. University accommodation can be substantially cheaper, and if you are likely to live in College for much or all of the duration of your course (as is the case at Cambridge), then the cost of private accommodation will be of less or no relevance for you. The KIS also provides the typical annual cost of university accommodation and the number of beds available. Note that since most universities offer a range of residential accommodation, you should check with institutions about the likelihood of securing a room at a price that suits your budget. Knowing the number of beds available is not necessarily useful: it may be much more important to find out if all students are guaranteed accommodation.

  4. Time in lectures, seminars and similar can vary enormously by institution depending on the structure of the course, and the quality of such contact time should be the primary consideration.

  5. Whilst starting salaries can be a useful measure, they do not give any sense of career trajectory or take account of the voluntary/low paid work that many graduates undertake initially in order to gain valuable experience necessary/advantageous for later career progression.

The above list is not exhaustive and there may be other important factors that are relevant to the choices that you are making, but we hope that this will be a useful starting point to help you delve deeper than the face value of the KIS data.