Medicine and Surgery: University of Birmingham

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Medicine and Surgery: University of Birmingham, School of Medicine, University of Birmingham, Vincent Drive, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Health Sciences and Human Body
5 years


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).

Third year

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.

Elective studies

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.

Intercalated programmes

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.

Why Birmingham?

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.)

Career opportunities

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.

Professional accreditation

Graduates have automatic provisional registration with the GMC (as with all UK medical graduates)

Entry requirements

  • Number of A levels required: 3
  • Typical offer: AAB
  • Required subjects and grades: predicted A level grades should be AAA, including Chemistry and another science (Biology, Physics or Mathematics); Biology required at AS level grade B if not offered at A level.
  • GCSE requirements: candidates are expected to offer a good range of GCSE subjects at high grades (normally at least five at A*); English Language and Mathematics are normally required at grade A; Integrated Science (double certificate) at grade A is acceptable as an alternative to Physics and Biology
  • General Studies: not accepted
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma: minimum 36 points including HL Chemistry and HL Biology

See also general entry requirements

Additional information

  1. Human Biology may be offered, but not in addition to Biology.
  2. Zoology is an acceptable substitute for Biology, but not with Biology or Human Biology.
  3. No more than four choices from those available on the UCAS form should be used for medical courses. The remaining choice, if you wish, can be used for alternative courses, without prejudice to your commitment to medicine.
  4. Entry to Medicine is highly competitive, and most candidates exceed the minimum entry requirements. Attaining the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee an interview.
  5. A satisfactory health declaration, including evidence of appropriate immunisations, and a satisfactory Criminal Records Bureau check (enhanced level) are required from accepted candidates before registration for the programme. All students will be required to sign the subject-specific Fitness to Practise Code of Conduct prior to entry, details of which will be forwarded with an offer letter.
  6. Candidates are expected to show a range of skills development.
  7. All candidates made offers will have been interviewed. In the selection process, academic excellence is not the only criterion. It is equally important to be able to demonstrate that you are well-motivated towards a career in medicine, and are considered to possess the other qualities required of a potential doctor.
  8. Interviewing of candidates takes place between October and April. Some 900 candidates are selected for interview each year and are chosen on the basis of information on the UCAS form. Particular attention is paid to non-academic interests and other extra-curricular activities, as well as to previous academic attainment, academic potential and other factors given in the confidential report. You may, if you wish, defer entry by one year.
  9. Interviews last approximately 15 minutes and are held before a small panel drawn from members of the academic staff of the Medical School, consultant staff of the teaching hospitals and general practitioners. Through discussion on general and academic topics, an impression is sought of the candidate’s suitability, both intellectual and personal, to embark on a career in medicine.
  10. It is not possible under current GMC rules to omit any part of the medical course curriculum, and thus candidates must have adequate vision, hearing and manual dexterity. Medical students are expected to attend the entire course, which includes some evening and weekend work.

Contact details

  • Admissions Tutor: Professor Chris Lote
  • Telephone enquiries: +44 (0)121 414 6888
  • Email:

For general information about open days

  • Tel: +44 (0)121 414 3374
  • Website:

Main University Switchboard

  • Postal address: The University of Birmingham
    B15 2TT
    United Kingdom
  • Tel: +44 (0)121 414 3344
  • Fax: +44(0)121 414 3971


  • Email:
  • Tel: +44 (0)121 415 8900
  • Website:

Student Recruitment

  • Email:
  • Tel: +44 (0)121 414 3374
  • Website:

International Relations

  • Email:
  • Tel: +44 (0)121 414 2894
  • Website:

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