To study medicine with us you need to be academically able, with a natural aptitude for science allied to a strong interest in human affairs, a concern for the welfare of others, a flair for communication and the drive to complete a demanding degree course.
They, for our part, have a lot to offer you by providing an excellent opportunity to acquire the core learning needed for your development as a competent medical practitioner. We treat you as an individual with your own experiences and growing professional interests.
The Birmingham course is modular, and systems-based. The students learn from lectures, tutorials, practicals, clinical practice, directed self-learning, and a small component of problem-based learning. Their modular system of learning and teaching enables you to focus on your personal preferences and work towards your own career goals. You also have the opportunity to get out into the community, meeting patients right from the start with an attachment to a general practice, which you attend for one day each fortnight, so that you are making links between your coursework and the people to whom you will ultimately be applying it.
First and second years
In your first semester you spend time preparing for the student-centred, participatory style of the course by learning how to access for yourself the considerable learning resources of the Medical School, including the extensive library and information technology-based material.
Much of your first two years, though, is taken up with modules on the normal structure and function of the human body, system by system. You learn how these systems respond to the ups and downs of everyday life, as well as to diseases and medical treatments.
You learn, too, about the psychology and sociology of health and illness and how the health of whole populations, as well as of individual patients, is assessed. You are introduced to some of the key issues in biomedical ethics – genetic engineering, for example. You spend ten days each year in the community with GPs and patients, linking biological and behavioural theoretical learning to patients.
In each year of the course there are student-selected components in which you can pursue topics which interest you. The longest of these is a two-month elective period at the end of Year 4 (see below).
In your third year you further develop your basic clinical skills in examining patients and taking a good clinical history. The communication skills needed for effective patient–doctor relations are also studied. You learn about common diseases and how to diagnose and manage them, and you continue with theoretical work on pathology and pharmacology.
Fourth and fifth years
The fourth and fifth years give you clinical attachments in modules in internal medicine and surgery, followed by attachments in medical sub-specialty modules such as cardiology, neurology, bone and joint disease and oncology. In these years you also do further modules in obstetrics and gynaecology, psychiatry, paediatrics and general practice.
Teaching and assessment
Throughout your five years you receive teaching in a variety of forms: lectures, seminars, tutorials, laboratory work, and bedside demonstrations. We take care to adapt our teaching methods to the subject matter – offering, for example, role-play and video feedback on patient–doctor communication. Likewise, with assessment, we fit the method to the subject matter. As well as written examinations, you have coursework, projects, clinical examinations and oral assessments.
Two months in the spring of the fourth year are allotted to whole-time studies of your own choice. This period may be used in extending work already done in a department of the Medical School, or in travelling to another centre either in Britain or abroad for clinical or special subjects, or consolidating knowledge in one or other of the subjects already studied.
If you attain an adequate standard in the examinations at the end of the second or third years you may be admitted to a one-year programme leading to an Honours degree in Medical Sciences. You then return to complete the MBChB programme.
The West Midlands, with five and a half million people, is the largest health region in the country, with many good hospitals and a varied patient population. As a student here you are placed in several hospitals to give you a variety of clinical experiences.
The Birmingham Medical School also enjoys a high international reputation for the quality of its research. In the last 12 years or so, no fewer than five of our professors have been elected President of the Royal Colleges in their own field of medicine.
You can find out more about our various facilities and amenities by coming along to one of our open days, when staff are on hand to answer your questions – of whatever kind. Contact the Admissions Tutor, Professor Chris Lote, if you want to know more about our courses and the admissions procedure.
Pre-registration posts and postgraduate training
Their responsibilities for training medical students do not end with the award of MBChB degrees. All graduates must undertake a further two foundation years of structured training – at the end of the first of these, medical graduates become fully registered with the General Medical Council. (This applies to all medical schools in the UK.)
On completion of the foundation years, you can then apply for posts in the field of specialisation of your choice. For most of our graduates these are hospital and primary care posts in the NHS, but there are also opportunities in laboratory-based disciplines such as pathology, or in research. Some doctors move into more commercial fields such as the pharmaceutical industry, politics, or medical journalism and the media. Whichever direction you choose to go in, your training here gives you a first-class springboard.
Graduates have automatic provisional registration with the GMC (as with all UK medical graduates)
See also general entry requirements
For general information about open days
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