Outcome of the course
Information for applicants
At the end of the undergraduate course you will receive your MB ChB (or equivalent) 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. Provisional registration is time limited to a maximum of three years and 30 days (1125 days in total). After this time period your provisional registration will normally expire.
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.
There is some discussion about whether to remove provisional registration for newly qualified doctors. If this happens then UK graduates will receive full registration as soon as they have successfully completed an MB ChB (or equivalent) degree. It should be noted that it is very likely that UK graduates will still need to apply for a training programme similar to the current Foundation Programme and that places on this programme may not be guaranteed for every UK graduate.
In addition the GMC is currently considering whether to introduce a formal assessment that all doctors would need to pass in order to be granted full registration. Although no firm decision has been taken as to whether or when such an exam will be introduced applicants should be aware that the GMC envisages that future cohorts of medical students will need to pass parts of a new UK Medical Licensing Assessment before the GMC will grant them Registration with a Licence to Practise.
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.
Students on the Maxillofacial Surgery training programme will commence their studies at this stage.
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.
Preparing to Apply for Medicine
When we are deciding whom to invite for interview, academic excellence is not our only criterion. Therefore it is important for you to demonstrate your motivation towards a career in medicine and are able to show evidence that you will be able to acquire the values of the NHS (including: working together for patients; respect and dignity; compassion; commitment to quality of care; resilience), through people-focused work experience or volunteering.
It is essential that you provide evidence of an understanding of working in a UK healthcare environment and an on-going commitment to medicine. The types of experience that we value include voluntary work in a nursing home, care home, hospice or hospital volunteer. We do not rank applications on the amount of experience that has been obtained, though we do expect that the time spent is stated. We are more likely to be reassured of your commitment if you offer a combination of a minimum of two full weeks of experiences within the previous year. Shadowing of doctors is not required and, though it has its benefits, we prefer active involvement in a healthcare setting. Experiences gained whilst still at secondary school are of minimal importance.
We recognise that extracurricular activity in areas outside of healthcare can supplement the development of the broader qualities required of a potential doctor. Therefore, you must offer significant and substantial involvement. We especially appreciate non-academic experiences that you have sought independently (such as a job in a customer-focused role). A voluntary role giving you responsibility for a group of individuals is also valued. In general, it should be very clear from your application that engagement in significant activity and taking on responsibility is natural for you and, therefore, should be on-going and of some years duration.
We will consider all of these non-academic aspects as described in the personal statement and take account of your total involvement. Thus, for example, we will be concerned if there is little evidence of the use of relevant skills (leadership, effective team-working, problem-solving, coping with significant responsibility) even if there is a great deal of evidence of attending healthcare placements.
The Medical Schools Council has produced guidance on work experience and the development of attitudes and behaviours:http://www.medschools.ac.uk/Publications/Pages/Work-experience-guidelines-for-applicants-to-medicine.aspx
If invited for interview, candidates may be asked to provide details of their work experience placements.
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.
Core Values and Attributes
The Medical Schools Council has produced a statement on the core values and attributes needed to study medicine:http://www.medschools.ac.uk/Publications/Pages/Statement-on-the-core-values-and-attributes-needed-to-study-medicine.aspx
Some of these are assessed in the mechanisms used to identify applicants for interview (described below). Our interview process will address many more of these, including: self-insight, reflection, problem-solving, dealing with uncertainty, communication, teamwork, resilience, empathy and honesty. In common with all organisations selecting people to work in the NHS, our recruitment is values-based.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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)
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.
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
- Human Biology/Physiology/Pharmacology
- 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
- 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.
We do not use any additional admissions test such as UKCAT or GAMSAT.
Applicants should enter details of all their qualifications on the relevant section of the UCAS form. Incomplete applications may not be considered.
Candidates who are undertaking higher degrees are expected to have completed all components of the assessment process (including receiving formal approval of corrections for a PhD thesis) before starting the course.
A higher degree or a second degree does not supersede the above requirements. Where more than one undergraduate degree programme has been studied, the result for the first will be of prime consideration (even if it is in a non-relevant subject).
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.
All candidates who receive offers will have been interviewed.
Mature Applicants: The School welcomes applications from candidates who graduated a number of years previously, but will take account of the length of undergraduate and postgraduate training which has to be undertaken. In addition, we expect that no more than four years has elapsed since a significant and relevant qualification.
Extenuating circumstances: We may be flexible over the route to achieve our academic requirements but we will not reduce the thresholds. We will consider only very serious life events occurring at an important stage in education; such as, absence from education for a significant period of time through illness or unexpected death of a close family member. Following discussion and receipt of independent evidence, we may, for example, consider applicants who study A Levels over 3 years. Please note that extenuating circumstances during exam periods should be presented to the relevant examination board(s) for consideration. We will not consider further mitigation regarding exam results beyond that which the examination board has deemed as suitable.
Post-degree activity: We give preference to applicants who have completed their degree. Your application must leave us in no doubt that you will be/have been engaged fully in significant activity since graduation. We do not expect all of your experiences to be directly related to medicine but your healthcare involvement must be on-going.
Repeat medicine application: We will not consider anyone whose application to Birmingham medical school has been rejected previously following interview. Otherwise, we will consider those applying for medicine for a second time.
Re-sit grades: These are not considered (except, see extenuating circumstances)
Transfer from another degree programme: We do not consider applicants who are currently studying or have previously studied medicine.
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.
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.