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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.
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.
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.
If you don’t already have a degree, you can apply for the Standard Course in Medicine (A100).
If you’re a graduate wanting to study Medicine, you have several options:
- you can apply as an affiliate student (taking the pre-clinical component of the Standard Course in Medicine (A100) in two years instead of the usual three) to one of Lucy Cavendish, St Edmund's or Wolfson Colleges
- you can apply to the accelerated Graduate Course in Medicine (A101) to Hughes Hall, Lucy Cavendish College or Wolfson College
- you can apply for both the Standard Course in Medicine (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)
Additional course costs
Years 1 and 2
- Two lab coats - Estimated cost £10 each
- Dissection kit, gloves, safety glasses, dissection manual, loan of locker and key - Estimated cost £50
- University approved calculator - Estimated cost £14
- Travel in Year 1 (maximum) - Estimated cost £25
- College rent fees in Year 2 (maximum) - Estimated cost £130
- Travel in Year 3 (maximum) - Estimated cost £25
- Other costs dependent on the subject taken during Year 3
- Stethoscope (Clinical School organises equipment sales and discounts are offered) - Estimated cost £100
- Tablet device for use during clinical placements (seven-inch screen recommended) - Estimated cost £100
- All clinical courses include a seven-week elective – students choosing a local elective may incur no additional costs, but students choosing to travel abroad (as most prefer to do) will typically incur costs of around £750 (College and national grants may be available)
Details about additional course costs during Years 1, 2 and 3 can be found on the Faculty of Biology’s website, and information about additional course costs during the clinical studies (Years 4, 5 and 6) are available on the Clinical School’s website.
The MB/PhD Programme
Designed for Standard Course (A100) medical students who are interested in a career in academic medicine, the MB/PhD Programme intercalates three years of research with the three years of clinical studies in Cambridge. See the MB/PhD website for more details.
Postgraduate Foundation Programmes
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 (please note this may be subject to change). To apply for full registration as a doctor, you must satisfactorily complete the first year of a Foundation Programme post and continue to meet fitness to practise requirements.
The Clinical School works closely with Health Education East of England to provide Foundation Programmes as the first part of postgraduate education. Please refer to the Foundation Programmes website for information about progression.
NHS Bursaries are currently 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.
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. Most UK graduates go on to work in the NHS, and about half become general practitioners.
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 (pre-clinical studies) 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 (Years 4, 5 and 6) 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 expects their doctors to be knowledgeable and well informed so assessment plays a significant role throughout. Your ongoing 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).
Years 1, 2 and 3 (pre-clinical studies)
Years 1 and 2
In Years 1 and 2, you study the medically-relevant core scientific knowledge and skills needed 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 health care.
The main areas of learning 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 (the microscopic structure of tissues)
- 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 Years 1 and 2 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)
Read more about Years 1 and 2 on the Faculty of Biology website.
You specialise in one of a wide range of other subjects offered by the University (sometimes known elsewhere as intercalation) to qualify for the BA degree. Options include:
- Part II Biological and Biomedical Sciences in Natural Sciences (offering a range of subjects such as Pathology, Physiology, Zoology, History and Ethics of Medicine)
- a single Part II Natural Sciences subject
- a subject less obviously related to medicine, such as Anthropology, Management Studies or Philosophy
Preparing for Patients continues in your third year, regardless of the subject you choose to study. During this year you visit community-based health-related agencies and follow a woman and her family through her pregnancy.
Years 4, 5 and 6 (clinical studies)
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, each of the three years has its own focus – core clinical practice (Year 4), specialist clinical practice (Year 5) and applied clinical practice (Year 6) – and is 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
- professionalism and patient safety
During the clinical studies, you have weekly small-group ‘clinical supervisions’ with junior doctors to develop and monitor your clinical skills.
- All applicants to the University of Cambridge must submit an application to UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) by the relevant deadline.
- The Attestat o (polnom) Srednem Obshchem Obrazovanii (Certificate of Secondary Education) is not considered to be suitable preparation for a competitive application to the University of Cambridge. We strongly recommend that you undertake further study if you wish to apply for an undergraduate degree. Examples of the qualifications that would be considered suitable for admission to Cambridge are A Levels, the International Baccalaureate (IB), five or more Advanced Placement (AP) courses, or possibly the first year of an undergraduate degree at a university outside the UK. We recommend that you contact the College that you wish to apply to directly for further advice and guidance.
- IELTS – normally a minimum overall grade of 7.5, usually with 7.0 or above in each element.
- Cambridge English: Advanced – grade A or B.
- Cambridge English: Proficiency – grade A, B or C.
- A Levels in Chemistry and one of Biology/Human Biology, Physics, Mathematics.
- Most applicants have at least three science/mathematics A Levels and some Colleges require this and/or particular subjects. See College websites for details.
Please note that 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, 30 per cent were successful in obtaining a place. Of the two per cent of applicants who offered only two science/mathematics A Levels, six per cent were successful in gaining a place.
A Level subject requirements also apply to the IB. Higher Level subjects 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 page for details of other qualifications and please consult any College Admissions Tutor for further advice.
Please note that only 21 places are available each year for overseas fee status students.
Graduates may apply for the Standard Course (A100) as an affiliate 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 A Level (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).
To develop understanding of what a career in Medicine involves and your suitability for your intended profession, you’re strongly advised (though not required) to undertake some relevant work experience (either paid or voluntary) in a health or related area. We aren’t prescriptive about how this is obtained, recognising the widely differing opportunities available.
All Standard Course (A100) applicants (including applicants to mature Colleges) are required to take the Biomedical Admission Test (BMAT) pre-interview at an authorised centre local to them (for a lot of applicants, this will be their school/college).
You must be registered in advance (separately to your UCAS application) to take the BMAT – the registration deadline is 5.00pm on 1 October 2017 BST. This means you must be entered for the BMAT before submitting your UCAS application by 15 October.
Your assessment centre must register you for the BMAT; you’re not able to register yourself. See the written assessments page for information about assessment centres and registration.
The BMAT will be taken on 2 November 2017. Please check the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing website for scheduled start times.
The BMAT is used to assess scientific aptitude and focuses on scientific abilities relevant to the study of Medicine at Cambridge (the BMAT is also used by some other universities). It is based on factual knowledge of mathematics and science to GCSE/IGCSE, and doesn’t require special teaching or preparation.
Information about the BMAT and how to register are available from the BMAT website.
There is an entry fee for the BMAT, details are available on the BMAT website. If you’re a UK/EU student, we are concerned that the entry fee shouldn’t deter you from applying. Applicants in receipt of certain financial support may apply for their BMAT fees to be reimbursed. Please contact the BMAT Support Team for more information.
Applicants are not typically asked to submit examples of written work. Some may be asked by their College to do some reading in advance of their interview, but if this is required the College will provide full details in the letter inviting the student to interview.
You must 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.
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 when applying and throughout the course. These requirements are in place to ensure the safety of patients.
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, students must have reached the age of 18 by the start of the second term of Year 1 to be eligible to apply for Medicine.
Disclosure and Barring Service check
All offers of a place on a Medicine course for UK and EU students are subject to a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Overseas students are asked to provide similar evidence.
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.
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.
More details can be found on the University's Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) webpage and on the Faculty of Biology website.
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 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 long-term 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 certain infectious diseases to meet health and safety standards required to work with patients. You will be sent details of the vaccination programme with your offer.
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 your practice may be restricted for certain surgical procedures 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.
Disabilities, Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) and health conditions
A disability, SpLD or long-term 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 are considered independently of academic qualifications and the interview process.
The University's Disability Resource Centre (DRC) can provide general advice and guidance to prospective and current students with a disability, SpLD or long-term health condition.
- Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust
Your living expenses may be higher than for a Home student (eg if you stay in Cambridge/the UK during vacations). The minimum resources needed in Cambridge for the year (excluding tuition and College fees) are estimated to be approximately £10,080 in 2017-18 and £10,310 in 2018-19, depending on lifestyle (you should allow for increases in future years).