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The University of Edinburgh College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine


A career in Medicine

Medicine can offer you one of the most rewarding and satisfying of professional careers, combining the application of science with the opportunity to contribute to society by helping others. There are more than 50 different branches of medicine ranging from clinical practice to research, from psychiatrist to surgeon, and from generalist to specialist. The attributes you will require for medicine are an aptitude for science, an interest in the lives of others, an empathy for those confronted by disease, disability or depression, a willingness to accept considerable responsibility, and the capacity to perform to the high standard expected by society. Medical science has expanded enormously in the last few decades and there is therefore much to learn. A conscientious approach to study and an enthusiasm for learning is required for success. As an undergraduate student studying medicine you will learn about the challenges and rewards of the profession's many different branches. You will then be well-placed after graduating to explore the medical career that suits your own particular interests and abilities. The training for medicine is prolonged. The 5 years of undergraduate education must be followed by further postgraduate study and experience lasting, on average, a further 10 years. However, the practice of medicine can be endlessly interesting. The diagnosis of human disease, the management of patient care, and the research of causes and cures are all constant challenges, as is the interaction of illness on individuals and with society. Edinburgh's prime position is maintained today by leading-edge teaching methods and excellence in research and clinical practice. Based within one of the most research-active medical schools in the UK, a particular strength of the Edinburgh MBChB programme is the opportunity to join top-rated laboratory and clinical research groups, allowing you to develop interests and abilities that may form the basis for your subsequent career. Each year selected students have the opportunity to pursue this further by undertaking an intercalated BMedSci Honours degree year in one of many medical science subjects. Further integration is achieved by themes which run throughout the 5 year curriculum, ranging from communication skills teaching, to the study of medical ethics. Further important features of the Edinburgh curriculum include early contact with patients, and the opportunity to learn clinical skills from year one onwards. The intercalated year may be taken at the end of year two.

"Like many others, before I arrived at university I was unsure as to whether I had picked the right course to study, or the right city to study in. After a few weeks in Edinburgh I was sure I had made the right decision. The modern Edinburgh medical degree curriculum provides different teaching methods which will appeal to everyone. In Edinburgh, you start seeing patients in the first month, which emphasises the importance of what you're learning, and makes the whole process much more interesting and relevant. I now cannot imagine myself doing any other degree!"

Andrew Hunter, 2nd year student A significant proportion of the programme is based on student-selected components in which, whether as an individual or a member of a small group, you are offered a broad range of choices of study subject. The elective module in the final year of the course is the opportunity to study medicine in any part of the world. Students who successfully complete year five are awarded an MBChB degree, but must thereafter complete the first year of the twoyear Foundation Programme for doctors before they can fully register with the General Medical Council. On completion of the Foundation Programme they may embark on further specialist training.

Why study Medicine at Edinburgh?

What does the programme actually involve?

An Edinburgh MBChB degree is highly regarded throughout the world. Edinburgh Medical School has occupied a leading position in world medicine since the early 18th century and its graduates have founded medical schools throughout the world, modelling their new schools on the Edinburgh system.

The standard Edinburgh medical programme is of 5 years duration. Edinburgh Medical School offers a modern and innovative curriculum. The modules of learning and teaching, mainly based on the systems of the human body, are closely integrated not only within each curriculum year, but also between each year.

Degrees in Medicine

MBChB Honours in:

Medicine (5-year course)

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336


Learning and teaching styles A wide range of teaching techniques are employed ranging from traditional lectures and clinical attachments to problem-based learning, small group work, clinical skills training, communications skills training, and research projects. Teaching support Over 800 teachers, both scientists and clinicians, are involved in the Edinburgh curriculum. Teaching is supported not only by innovative teaching and learning methods, but also through additional resources such as EEMeC - the electronic medical curriculum which offers a wide range of learning support. (Please see: Assessment Assessment too employs a rich mixture of techniques, ranging from traditional essay and MCQ formats to group and individual projects, and a range of clinical (or `bedside') examinations. Teaching resources No medical school is based on one site but rather across a broad range of learning environments. Edinburgh is privileged in the excellent standard of resources in the University Medical School, and the range of teaching hospitals and teaching health centres in Edinburgh and in the South East of Scotland. Edinburgh can now boast that it has, in the new Royal Infirmary which was opened in 2002, one of the most modern hospitals in Europe. The teaching and research facilities built adjacent to this new hospital, together with major development at the Western General Hospital, represent a major investment in both teaching and research facilities to provide `a medical school for the 21st century'.

How do I apply?

All applications are through the standard UCAS route. Be aware that the closing date for applications, October 15th, is earlier than for most other courses. You must restrict your applications to 4 medical schools but can use the additional choice as insurance.


The Edinburgh Medical School normally only interviews short-listed graduate and mature applicants. It does not normally interview school-leaving applicants.


What are admissions selectors looking for?

* Medicine is a popular career choice and the competition for places is strong. At Edinburgh there are around 10 applicants per place. Edinburgh Medical School, both by policy (because good grades alone do not make for a good doctor) but also by necessity (because of the level of competition), bases its selection decisions on an equal weighting of both academic grades and non-academic qualities. All applicants must undertake the UK Clinical Aptitude Test prior to applying. Details of this test are online at: The academic subjects and grades required to enter the selection system are shown in the current University Prospectus. The non-academic qualities sought, mainly through the UCAS personal statement and reference, are good relationship and communication skills, an empathetic approach to the needs of others, and evidence of leadership potential. Selectors look for evidence that the application is informed by a prior exploration of the career of medicine through work experience (working with diseased, disabled or disadvantaged people) or work shadowing of a range of doctors. Consideration will be given to any achievement beyond academic study, for example in music, art, sport or voluntary work, as evidence both of an interest in the lives of others, and of the organisational skills required to participate in these, whilst attaining high academic standards.


As a result of its international reputation Edinburgh Medical School attracts many high quality applications from all parts of the UK, and throughout the European Union, for its 202 home/EU places. The 16 overseas places are sought, in competition, by applicants from more than 60 countries worldwide. As a result the medical student body has a diversely rich and cosmopolitan character.

How do I find out more?


There are now a considerable number of books available on the subjects of medical education, medical practice and obtaining a place at medical school. Many potential students gain considerable insight into the challenges and rewards of a career in medicine by speaking to medical students and established doctors. Undergraduate Admissions (SRA) College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine University of Edinburgh The Chancellor's Building 49 Little France Crescent Edinburgh, EH16 4SB Telephone: 0131 242 6407 Email: [email protected] You can also log onto the CMVM Medicine website at: For more detailed information on degree structure and content, please see: (May 2009)





Further admissions information can be found on the CMVM website: undergraduate

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this leaflet at the time of going to press. However, it will not form part of a contract between the University and a student or applicant and must be read in conjunction with the Terms and Conditions of Admission set out in the Undergraduate Prospectus.

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