Medicine and Surgery MBChB Graduate Entry Course

Undergraduate degree course/programme Medicine and Surgery MBChB Graduate Entry Course A101

In addition to our five-year Medicine and Surgery MBChB programme, we have the four-year MBChB for graduates with a first degree in a life science.

We will consider only those applicants for this programme who are classified as home/EU.

We also offer a three-year training programme for qualified dentists wishing to pursue a career in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Further information is given within the course details tab (then, select ‘entry requirements’).

This four-year degree programme is designed specifically for graduates and is an excellent opportunity to develop the skills you need to become a medical practitioner. Right from the start, you’ll experience the practice of healthcare in the community with an attachment to a general practice, allowing you to see how your studies translate into clinical practice.

Academically able with a natural aptitude for science, you’ll have a strong interest in human affairs, a concern for the welfare of others, a flair for communication and the desire to make a real difference. You’ll also need a lot of drive to complete this demanding degree course. Throughout your time with us, you’ll be treated as an individual and we’ll encourage you to develop and explore your own professional interests.

The University of Birmingham is ranked 7th in for Medicine in the UK according to the Complete University Guide.

Course fact file

UCAS code: A101

Duration: 4 years

Places Available: 40

Applications in 2012: 500

Start date: September


Admissions Tutor: Dr Austen Spruce

If you have any queries please write or email to:
Admissions Tutor
Medical School
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
The University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT

We prefer a letter or email rather than a telephone call.

The Admissions Tutor will be available for individual consultation during Open Days.  


Outcome of the course

At the end of the undergraduate course you will receive your MB ChB degree, which is a primary medical qualification (PMQ). Holding a PMQ entitles you to provisional registration with the General Medical Council, subject only to its acceptance that there are no Fitness to Practise concerns that need consideration. Provisionally registered doctors can only practise in approved Foundation Year 1 posts: the law does not allow provisionally registered doctors to undertake any other type of work.

To obtain a Foundation Year 1 post you will need to apply during the final year of your undergraduate course through the UK Foundation Programme Office selection scheme, which allocates these posts to graduates on a competitive basis. So far, all suitably qualified UK graduates have found a place on the Foundation Year 1 programme, but this cannot be guaranteed, for instance if there were to be an increased number of competitive applications from non-UK graduates.

Successful completion of the Foundation Year 1 programme is normally achieved within 12 months and is marked by the award of a Certificate of Experience. You will then be eligible to apply for full registration with the General Medical Council. You need full registration with a licence to practise for unsupervised medical practice in the NHS or private practice in the UK.
Although this information is currently correct, students need to be aware that regulations in this area may change from time to time.

First year - Phase 1 Clinical Orientation 

This phase begins with a programme covering biological sciences, anatomy and medicine in society, since you will have covered little of these in comparison with your knowledge of other life science subjects. You’ll work on problem-based case studies as part of a tutor-supervised group of about eight students, with each of you covering all aspects of the case studies. The problems are grouped into four six-week themed blocks covering basic science, anatomy (including prosection), ethics, medicine in society and behavioural science, with all these aspects integrated into each of the case studies.

Second year - Phase 2 Clinical Experience

Your will be based in the same Teaching Hospital Trusts that currently teach the third-year course for students on the five-year MBChB, spending the first semester in one teaching Trust and rotating to another in the second. You’ll also join our five-year MBChB students in their clinical science lectures, pharmacology teaching and special study modules in public health and epidemiology. In addition, as a GEC student you’ll continue with a small component of case-based learning to further your basic and behavioural science training.

Third and fourth years

You will now move onto clinical attachments with attachments in medical, surgical and other speciality subjects, such as Cardiology, Neurology, Psychiatry, Bone and Joint Disease, Oncology, Ear, Nose and Throat and Peri-Operative Care. You will also do attachments in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Paediatrics and General Practice. During the final year, you will be able to bring all of your learning and skills together through the Acutely Ill Patient attachment, as you prepare to become a medical practitioner. 

Admissions Process

Each year we receive many applications for every place available and it takes a long time to study these applications carefully. You should not be concerned if you do not hear anything from us until some months after you have submitted your UCAS form.

In deciding who to interview, 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 especially through volunteering and/or work experience. In addition, we want to ensure that you possess other qualities required of a potential doctor. Therefore, extracurricular involvement is important in addition to the work experience. Evidence of on-going activities involving significant interactions with a broad range of people in a responsible capacity is a relevant aspect.

The Interview

From those who apply, approximately 100 candidates are invited to come for interview. This selection is based on the information provided on the UCAS application. Interviews take place between November and March. 
Interviews are organised in a multiple mini-interview format. You will participate in six separate, short interviews, lasting 6mins each. This will allow you to start afresh at each mini-interview. A range of your personal attributes relevant to studying medicine will be assessed by means of different tasks. Interview stations are designed to assess aspects such as: motivation for medicine; communication; self-insight; ethical reasoning; data interpretation; ability to evaluate information and identify relevant aspects.

To find out more about each stage of the interview process, download our MBChB interview information document.

Outcome of interview:

The decision whether an offer is made is based primarily on the interview performance data. We will not re-review academic information in making the decision unless absolutely necessary (e.g. if there are a number of applicants on the same interview score). The scores for each station are used to calculate an average score (simple arithmetic mean), which is used to rank all applicants. We expect to make up to 60 offers and these applicants will be identified according to the rank order (the precise overall score is not relevant). We expect to set a minimum performance standard for each station (which will be well below the threshold for the average score). If this is not met than an offer may not be made even if the overall score is above threshold.

Preparation for interview and indeed for study on a medicine programme is aided by engaging in frequent discussions with friends and family about medical issues appearing in the news and media. You should also use your time on work experience effectively by gaining insight into the demands placed on staff, the problems they encounter and the strategies that they employ to handle difficult situations as well as the benefits they obtain from caring for people and working in teams. Again, opportunities to engage in discussion of these issues must be taken.

Review of Admissions Decisions

If you wish to question the decision that has been made, please refer to Section 6 of the Code of Practice for Admission of Students to the University of Birmingham.

Why study this course

With five-and-a-half million people in the West Midlands area, you’ll be studying in the country’s largest health region. By choosing Birmingham, you will also benefit from an interdisciplinary programme taught by renowned academics whose expertise spans the full breadth of medicine. You will find excellent learning resources and a student-centred, participatory style of learning, together with the opportunity to focus your study on your chosen interests and career goals.

The Medicine and Surgery programme benefits greatly from the very active research environment at Birmingham. The College of Medical and Dental Sciences, of which the Medical School is part, has a research income in excess of £50 million per annum, with several major centres focusing on areas that are at the forefront of medical science, including cancer, diabetes, stem cell biology, immunity and inflammatory disease, infection, cardiovascular science and ageing.

In the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) much of this research was rated as internationally excellent and world leading, with most of the remainder being internationally recognised. Notably, Birmingham has the first Cancer Research UK Centre, and was named as the leading cancer studies centre outside London, second only to the Institute of Cancer Research (RAE 2008).


Year 1

The following must be taken:

Basic Life Support (credits 0)
Cells and Cancer (Integrated Case Based Learning 1) (credits 20)
Clinical Competencies (credits 20)
Complex Issues (credits 0)
Fuel (Integrated Case Based Learning 3) (credits 20)
Loss and Renewal (Integrated Case Based Learning 5) (credits 20)
Supply and Demand (Integrated Case Based Learning 4) (credits 20)
Thinking and Doing (Integrated Case Based Learning 6) (credits 20)
Threats and Defence (Integrated Case Based Learning 2) (credits 20)
Year 2 Hospital Preparation Course (credits 0)

Year 2

The following must be taken:

Epidemiological Methods (credits 10)
Public Health and Epidemiology Project SSM2 (credits 10)
Clinical Sciences 1 (credits 20)
Community Based Medicine III (credits 10)
Integrated Case-Based Learning 7 (credits 20)
Integrated Medicine and Surgery (credits 80)  

Year 3

The following must be taken:

Clinical Core 3 (130 credits)
Conference Poster Presentation (10 credits)
LH Elective Preparation (0 credits)
Learning and Teaching (10 credits)
Year 4 Career Exploration (0 credits)

Year 4

The following must be taken:

Clinical Skills Passport (0 credits)
Ethical/Legal Issues in Practice (10 credits)
Immediate Life Support (0 credits)
LH Clinical Core 4 (120 credits)
LH Elective & Report (0 credits)
Learning Priorities (0 credits)
Management of Life Threatening Illness (0 credits)
Patient Information Leaflet (SSM) (10 credits) 
Prescriber's Licence (0 credits)
Year 5 SSA Project (0 credits)  


This is the module list for 2012, but the programme continues to evolve and you should check the website regularly for any changes for next year.

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply
Learn more about fees and funding

When you apply for the course, it is important that you also take into account living costs and that you will have sufficient funds to finance the full duration of your studies. Please also note that during the last three years of the programme you will be required to be in attendance for most of each year and the costs of subsistence and travel will accordingly be much greater.

Learn more about our university scholarships and awards. The Graduate Entry MBChB programmes does not offer any additional scholarships.

Entry requirements

We will consider, normally, those applicants who have completed a life science degree at the time of application. We will rank applicants according to the quality of their degree result, giving preference to those with a 1st class mark, but we expect also to consider those who have achieved a result at the upper end of the 2:1 range.

Secondary school qualifications are used to discriminate between applicants.  In particular, we expect very good results in Science, English and Mathematics. As a guide our A level threshold requirements are BBB, though these grades may be raised through competition. A sound knowledge base in Chemistryis essential, either from A levels or other pre-university examinations, or from the content of the degree programme. Where the highest qualification in English or Maths is at GCSE, grade A is normally required.

See also general entry requirements.

We want our students to start the course with a good knowledge of biological processes, cell functions and cell interactions. The degrees we regard as generally suitable are: 

  • Biochemistry/Medical Biochemistry 
  • Biomedical Science 
  • Dentistry 
  • Human Biology/Physiology/Pharmacology 
  • Pharmacy 
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology (British Psychological Society accredited programme)

Many other degrees may be suitable, but variations between different degree programmes will require each programme to be looked at individually (i.e. syllabus assessed). These include: 

  • Most Biological Sciences degrees 
  • Nursing 
  • Sports Science/Sports Studies

MBChB Programme for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Applicants

We offer approximately five or six places on a three year training course for qualified Dentists who wish to pursue a career in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and who have achieved or are expected to achieve MJDF or MFDS. Unlike for the full graduate-entry course, international applicants can be considered but preference will be given to applicants who offer substantial evidence of clinical practice in the UK post graduation. It is important to demonstrate commitment to a career in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Applicants must apply for Year 2 entry on the Graduate-entry course (A101), which must be indicated on the UCAS application. The number of places on this programme will depend on the availability of clinical placements.

Additional information:

We do not use any additional admissions test such as UKCAT or GAMSAT.

Candidates who are undertaking higher degrees are expected to have submitted their dissertations or theses before starting the course. A higher degree does not supersede the above requirements. Applicants should enter details of all their qualifications on the relevant section of the UCAS form. Incomplete applications may not be considered.

Preference will be given to applicants who offer a degree from a UK-based institution because of the uncertainty in assessing the equivalence of degrees from overseas institutions.

In consideration for an offer, academic excellence is not the only requirement. Candidates must also provide evidence of being well-motivated to a career in medicine, and have significant non-academic interests and appropriate personal qualities.

All candidates who receive offers will have been interviewed.

Non-academic offer requirements

All accepted candidates will be required to complete a health declaration form, and some may be contacted by an Occupational Health Physician where appropriate.

The UK Government Health Authorities require that all medical students must be screened to ensure that they are not carriers of the hepatitis B virus. All applicants who accept an offer must:

  • Undertake a screening blood test for Hepatitis B.
  • If negative, they must start a course of immunisation.
  • Thereafter provide certified evidence of these.

Prospective students are strongly advised to take the blood test in good time.

The UK Government Health Authorities recommend that all medical students should be offered screening for a number of blood-borne viruses (Hepatitis C and Human Immunodeficiency Virus as well as Hepatitis B). You should be advised that any health care worker who is infected with any of these viruses (or who cannot prove that they are not infected) is not able to undertake exposure prone procedures when qualified (which are defined as ‘those invasive procedures where there is a risk that injury to the worker may result in the exposure of the patient’s open tissues to the blood of the worker.’). The MBChB Course at Birmingham is a non-Exposure-Prone Procedure course, so students with Hep C and/or HIV will not reflect any risk to patients during the course. Therefore, students who are positive or decline the offer of a blood test will still be permitted to continue on the programme. Although, medical students may engage in exposure-prone procedures on a voluntary basis (for example, during their elective). If this is the case, students are required to be screened.

For further information about these requirements, please see: Medical and Dental Students: Health clearance for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and Tuberculosis.

The College of Medical and Dental Sciences will reimburse students with financial hardship for up to £200 of the cost of their vaccinations. If you are eligible for an award under the National Scholarship Programme (i.e. qualify for at least one of the state benefits associated with Free School Meals entitlement, classed as a Care Leaver or with a household income of £16,190 or less), you are advised to obtain receipts for any health checks that you have had to pay for. Once you commence study at the University of Birmingham, you may then apply for reimbursement from the College, up to the cost of £200.

Students will be required to complete a successful Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before admission to the programme.

All students are required to sign the Fitness to Practise Code of Conduct prior to entry, details of which will be forwarded with an offer letter.

Medical students are expected to attend the entire course, which includes some evening and weekend work.

Opportunities for candidates with disabilities

We take a positive view of what candidates with disabilities can achieve as future medical professionals and take seriously our obligation to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that all students with disabilities can successfully complete their studies. All applicants will be assessed up to and including the interview on the basis of the criteria outlined above regardless of any disability. All students, including those with disabilities, have to be able to meet the competency thresholds set by the GMC. If you declare a disability we will invite you to work with us to explore how best we can support your studies.

International students:

This full 4-year course is open to home/EU students only.

Applicants must have excellent written and spoken English. In line with the requirements for applicants from the UK, normally we expect grade A in English at GCSE (or equivalent). Please note that the university’s Standard English language requirements are minimum standards, which are likely to be raised through competition.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at  
Learn more about applying

Please note that we do NOT use any additional admissions test such as UKCAT or GAMSAT. 


Admissions Tutor: Dr Austen Spruce

If you have any queries please write or email to:
Admissions Tutor
Medical School
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
The University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT

We prefer a letter or email rather than a telephone call.

The Admissions Tutor will be available for individual consultation during Open Days.  

Learning and teaching

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. At Birmingham we advocate an enquiry based learning approach, from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

This programme uses problem based learning (PBL), a form of active, student led, learning which asks students to find answers to problems through their own research rather than simply being given information and memorising facts. This style of learning is appropriate for mature learners who already have a first degree and are therefore experienced at working in a higher education environment. This learning style is beneficial because it develops team work and also provides vital skills required to practise as a doctor in a lifelong learning environment.

Throughout your four years, your learning opportunities will take a variety of forms, but we always take care to adapt our methods to the subject matter to ensure you receive the maximum benefit from your degree course.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).

To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we’ll enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.

A significant part of your learning experience will take place during clinical placements; these are structured to allow you the maximum number of contact hours with patients as this experience is vital to your learning. You will also have regular time with your clinical tutors as part of your placement experience where feedback on the development of your clinical skills and knowledge base is given in small groups. This form of learning is in addition to your formal structured teaching sessions (i.e. lectures, bed-side teaching etc).

You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.

Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre’s aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions with support with mathematics and statistics based problems provided by experienced mathematicians, to workshops on a range of topics including note talking, reading, writing and presentation skills.

Year 1

A typical week might involve:

  • A period of self-directed learning
  • Presentations to the group of the results from the previous week’s problem and discussing the problem for the next week
  • Group work in anatomy, clinical skills and basic science
  • Time for meeting experts and meeting your group tutor
  • Lectures covering the context and concepts that underpin the themes of the blocks
  • Time in primary care with direct patient contact to obtain the necessary communication and clinical skills  

Year 2

A typical week might involve:

  • Lectures
  • Small-group clinical teaching sessions
  • Clinic sessions
  • One day in primary care
  • Attendance with the on-call medical or surgical team
  • A period of self-directed learning  

After your first clinical year, you have the same knowledge and skills – having achieved the same learning objectives – as students who have completed the third year of the five-year MBChB programme. From this stage both routes share an identical programme.  

Meet our lecturers

Meet our lecturer - Dr Jamie Coleman, Senior Lecturer on the MBChB programme

Learning settings

Problem-based learning sessions encourage you to discuss and analyse clinical scenarios and learn to define and understand the physical, psychological and social components of medical problems.

Self study is an essential part of the programme and demonstrates your commitment to, and enthusiasm for, your subject and for the learning that will continue throughout your professional career.

Lectures take place in our theatres which, as well as the traditional whiteboard and pen, are equipped with the latest technology, including facilities to show movies, animations and graphics, to record lectures and to interact with ‘ask the audience’ style electronic voting systems.

E-learning mechanisms include WebCT, Wiki podcasts and our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE); an excellent tool for supporting our academic courses, allowing you to share thoughts on assignments with other students via the discussion group facilities, giving access to learning materials 24 hours a day and allowing you to submit your work electronically.

Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) is a group activity which requires you to work in a team, with a variety of assessment methods; in either a group or individually, by written reports and sometimes as a presentation. Based on techniques used in research-led organisations like the University of Birmingham, EBL gives you a research-orientated approach to a problem and helps you to gain essential skills that are highly valued by employers.  

Our facilities

The College of Medical and Dental Sciences houses state-of-the art facilities to support a range of teaching, learning and research activity. 

Our facilities ensure that students receive the best possible learning experience by working in a modern environment. Among our most recent developments include a refurbishment of the Medical School foyer, Barnes library and Wolfson Centre for Medical Education.

Explore our facilities and take a tour by moving around our 360-degree panoramas:


Assessment methods

Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.

You’ll be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You will be assessed through coursework which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations, laboratory-based work (depending on your chosen degree) and formal exams.

During your first year you will undergo a formal ‘transition’ review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your school or department and can help with any academic issues you encounter.

At the beginning of each module, you’ll be given information on how and when you’ll be assessed for that particular programme of study. You’ll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done. You’ll be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.


Admissions Tutor: Dr Austen Spruce

If you have any queries please write or email to:
Admissions Tutor
Medical School
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
The University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT

We prefer a letter or email rather than a telephone call.

The Admissions Tutor will be available for individual consultation during Open Days.  


Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

When you have graduated with your MBChB and completed your two foundation years, you’ll be in a position to apply for posts in your own chosen specialisation. 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.

View a video of Helen Parry, MBChB Graduate and Core Medical Trainee Level 2, talking about her time studying at the University of Birmingham and how the skills she gained helped her build a career in medicine.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV’s and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you gain practical experiences in occupational settings while contributing back to society. This can bring new skills that will be useful throughout your future and can make a positive impact on your learning whilst at university. Volunteering enables you to develop skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-confidence and self-discipline all of which can be transferred into your studies.

Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Find out more about Careers Network.

Professional accreditation

Our graduates are entitled to provisional registration with the General Medical Council, with a licence to practise, subject to demonstrating to the GMC that their fitness to practise is not impaired.


Admissions Tutor: Dr Austen Spruce

If you have any queries please write or email to:
Admissions Tutor
Medical School
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
The University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT

We prefer a letter or email rather than a telephone call.

The Admissions Tutor will be available for individual consultation during Open Days.