The Birmingham Medicine and Surgery course is an integrated modular based programme designed to give you the essential knowledge and background to begin to work towards your own career goals.
Outcome of the course
At the end of the undergraduate course you will receive your MBChB 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 and second years
Your first two years are largely taken up with modules on the structure and function of the human body. You will learn how each system is controlled and is able to respond to the demands of everyday life and how they are affected by disease and medical treatments. Much of the anatomy is learned in small-group sessions, including substantial experience of prosection.
You will learn 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 will also be introduced to some of the key issues in biomedical ethics, for example genetic engineering.
In each year, you will spend ten days in the community with GPs and patients, linking biological and behavioural theoretical learning to clinical situations with real patients. Plus, you will have the opportunity to select areas of study for yourself so that you can pursue topics that interest you.
You will be based in our partner Teaching Hospital Trusts to further develop your basic clinical skills in taking a good clinical history and examining patients, as well as studying the communication skills needed for effective patient-doctor relations. You'll also learn about common diseases and how to diagnose and manage them, and continue your theoretical work on pathology, pharmacology, public health and epidemiology.
Fourth and fifth years
You will now move onto clinical attachments in medical, surgical and other specialities such as Cardiology, Neurology, Psychiatry, Bone and Joint Disease, Oncology, Ear, Nose and Throat and Peri-Operative Care. You will also do further 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.
Elective studies: Two months in the spring of the fourth year are allotted to full-time studies of your own choice, either in a department of the Medical School or at another centre in Britain or, as the majority of students choose to do, abroad. You may choose to consolidate your knowledge in a subject you’ve already studied, gain further experience of clinical practice or perhaps undertake your own clinical research project.
These are a selection of the various locations that our students have visited as part of their electives.
Training in Research
As a doctor you will be expected to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in medicine but we need clinicians to take a lead role in bringing these about. This course gives you the opportunity to learn research skills that you can use in your career to enhance and develop clinical practice. You can develop these skills in substantial depth during an intercalated programme.
If you attain a good standard in examinations you may wish to take advantage of the excellent breadth of internationally competitive research within the Medical School through an in-depth study of chosen topics for one year. Several different intercalating programmes provide the opportunity for engaging in novel research work in either basic or applied medical research. This can happen after your second, third or fourth year of study. Programmes available involve either laboratory- or community-based research. You will learn to analyse and interpret medical research data and, importantly, undertake your own novel and substantial research project. The skills that you will acquire will allow you to contribute to the development of evidence-based clinical practice. You then return to complete the MBChB programme.
View information about the intercalating programmes.
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 healthcare environment and an on-going commitment to medicine. For UK nationals and for international applicants living or studying in the UK for more than one year this evidence will relate to the National Health Service (NHS). 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 around two full weeks of experiences. We will consider the difficulties in obtaining healthcare experience if these are stated. Shadowing of doctors is not required and, though it has its benefits, we prefer active involvement in a healthcare setting
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 take place outside of school (such as a job in a customer-focused role). A voluntary role giving you responsibility for a group of individuals is also valued (such as a leader for one of the youth organisations like the scouts or guides or a sports coaching role). In general, relevant activities should have commenced at least one year before application, be on-going and involve significant interactions with a broad range of people in a responsible capacity.
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.
The Medical Schools Council Selecting for Excellence report (http://www.medschools.ac.uk/AboutUs/Projects/Widening-Participation/Selecting-for-Excellence/Pages/Selecting-for-Excellence.aspx) identified the need for Medical Schools to introduce and enhance schemes to improve social mobility into the medical profession. In fact, two activities run by the University of Birmingham and aimed at addressing this issue are featured in this report as examples of good practice. We recruit medicine students via the following programmes (the first two are for students from the Greater West Midlands area):
From those who apply, approximately 1000 candidates are invited to attend for interview. This selection is based on the information provided on the UCAS application as well as results from UKCAT. The mechanism we will use for selection is described below. 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 6 minutes 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
We make offers based, mostly, on your interview performance:
- The scores from each interview station are used to calculate an overall interview score (the arithmetic mean, which is converted to a percentage), which is used to rank all applicants.
- We expect to make about 650 offers and these applicants will be identified, initially, according to the rank order of the overall interview score.
- If your interview score is within 5% of the cut-off score, we will review your Band score for the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) component of the UKCAT. You will receive an offer if you achieve a Band score above 4 (minimum) as well as an interview score above the cut-off.
- It is likely that we will continue to set a minimum performance standard for each station (which is well below the threshold overall interview score for receiving an offer). An applicant who does not reach this standard for one station and who achieves a SJT Band score of 4 may not receive an offer irrespective of the overall interview score.
- If you achieve an overall interview score 5% or more above the cut-off and no station score below the minimum, we will not consider your UKCAT SJT Banding.
- We will not look again at your academic information in making the decision unless absolutely necessary (e.g. if there are a number of applicants on the same interview score).
Please note that there is no advantage to attending an interview early. We will analyse the interview scores soon after the first set of interviews in the autumn term. Applicants with a mean score in the top 50% (approximately) will receive an offer. Those with mean scores in the bottom 20% (approximately) will be advised that their applications are unsuccessful. The remainder of the interview candidates will be informed of our decision in mid to late March following analysis of all interview data when the precise threshold overall score can be defined.
Visiting the Medical School
Candidates who are interviewed are offered a conducted tour of the Medical School by current medical students. If you can, it is a good idea to visit the University prior to application on one of the University Open Days held each June, September and October. Details are given in the University prospectus. Please note that we can not make arrangements to meet with prospective applicants on an individual basis.
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 (0 credits)
Cellular Communication, Endocrinology and Pharmacology (10 credits)
Community Based Medicine I (10 credits)
Digestive System (10 credits)
Doctors, Patients and Society (10 credits)
Introduction to Respiratory Medicine (10 credits)
LC Year 1 Integrated Problems (10 credits)
Learning Medicine (10 credits)
Molecules to Man (10 credits)
Muscles Joints and Movement (10 credits)
Neurones and Synapses (10 credits)
People, Patients and Populations (10 credits)
Regional Anatomy I (10 credits)
Year 1 Student Selected Activity: Academic-led and self-directed activities (0 credits)
The following must be taken:
Brain and Behaviour (10 credits)
Cancer: Causes To Cures (10 credits)
Cardiovascular System (10 credits)
Community Based Medicine 2 (10 credits)
Decision Making (10 credits)
Health Services (10 credits)
Infection, Immunology and Haematology (10 credits)
LC Year 2 Integrated Problems (10 credits)
LI Reproduction, Endocrinology and Development (10 credits)
Regional Anatomy II (10 credits)
Renal System (10 credits)
Year 2 Hospital Preparation Course (10 credits)
Year 2 Student Selected Activity: self-directed learning activities (10 credits)
The following must be taken:
Epidemiological Methods (10 credits)
Public Health and Epidemiology Project SSM2 (10 credits)
Clinical Sciences 1 (20 credits)
Community Based Medicine III (10 credits)
Integrated Medicine and Surgery (80 credits)
Choose one of the following:
Student Project 2: Pattern B (20 credits)
Student Project 2: Pattern A (20 credits)
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)
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.
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: A*AA. Candidates should have predicted AAA including Biology and Chemistry (NB. Human Biology is acceptable as an alternative to Biology).
General Studies: not accepted. Critical Thinking is also not accepted. Other non standard subjects may not be accepted. Please contact us for advice.
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 a final decision until some months after you have submitted your UCAS form.
All applicants must:
- offer acceptable academic qualifications (see below) and
- sit the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) and
- attend for interview if invited.
Selection for interview
- An application will receive an overall score, which is the sum of weighted scores for each of the academic and UKCAT components. The weightings will be: academic – 70%; UKCAT – 30%. Applicants (exceptions identified below) will be ranked according to this score.
- The number of interview places will define the threshold overall score but it is not possible to determine the threshold score in advance. It may be necessary to rank applicants who receive the same threshold score. We will use GCSE results (using the criteria defined below).
- The two components (academic and UKCAT) are each comprised of various elements. The weightings assigned to these elements are indicated below.
- The personal statement is not scored but a decision will also be based on ensuring that an applicant provides sufficient evidence of commitment, motivation and relevant personal qualities (see “Preparing to apply for Medicine” – above).
All applicants must sit the UKCAT test in their year of application unless certified exempt because there is no testing centre in your country. Please visit the UKCAT website (www.ukcat.ac.uk) for information about the test, including important dates and information about bursaries available. You can also access practice tests.
Use of UKCAT data;
- There is no minimum cut-off score
- Total UKCAT scores of our applicants (excluding the band score for the SJT component) will be separated into deciles and scored (i.e. the top 10% of applicants’ scores will be in the top decile). The UKCAT website (Research>>Downloads) provides a table indicating the deciles corresponding to the overall scores for all test-takers from a previous application round.
- We are using UKCAT for the first time for applications received in 2015. We expect that each section will be weighted equally, but until we receive applicants’ scores we cannot define the weighting of the contribution of each section of UKCAT to the total score.
- Applicants with higher scores will be at an advantage.
- Because we are also factoring in the academic scores there will not be a UKCAT score (or decile) that correlates with receiving an offer. We provide some guidance in the GCSE section but this is limited by the fact that we are using UKCAT for the first time.
- The band score for the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) component of UKCAT will be used at the interview stage (see: Outcome of Interview)
Because of the competition, meeting the minimum academic requirements described below does not guarantee that you will receive the offer of an interview. The outcome depends also on your UKCAT results as well as the strength of the evidence of: i) your motivation for the profession; and, ii) additional and significant non-academic activities (see section entitled “Preparing to Apply for Medicine”).
Typical offer: A*AA. Candidates should have been predicted AAA (including Biology and Chemistry)
All A2 modules of three subjects must be undertaken in Year 13.
- Chemistry and Biology (or Human Biology) required
- General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted. Other such subjects may not be accepted. Please contact us for advice.
- If third subject is Physical Education, Theatre Studies, Dance, Art or Music, a fourth subject not in this list is required at AS.
- Mathematics: If you are studying a single Mathematics A Level, you must follow a curriculum that involves the study of three modules in Year 13, only one of which can be M1, S1 or D1. Each of these modules must contribute to the final A Level Mathematics result and must be studied and examined for the first time in this year. The following applies to students who also study Further Mathematics:
- We will consider a module combination that leads to an A Level in Mathematics and an AS Level in Further Mathematics after two years of study (Years 12 and 13).
- Three modules must be studied in Year 13. Only one of these can be from the following list: M1, S1, D1 and FP1. The module results may contribute to either the Mathematics A Level or the Further Mathematics AS Level.
- The Mathematics component of an offer will be based on achieving A/A* in A Level Mathematics and A in AS Level Further Mathematics.
- This does not circumvent the policy not to consider Mathematics and Further Mathematics as separate subjects offered at AS Level (end of Year 12) as described below.
- Certificated as well as non-certificated results must be provided (the latter could be included in the reference)
- You must have achieved a minimum of AAAA at AS Level to be considered for interview. No score will be allocated to AS grades. This is purely a threshold requirement.
- Mathematics and Further Mathematics will not be considered as separate subjects.
- Where this qualification is not available (for example, IB and Cambridge PreU), applicants will not be disadvantaged
- All Home/EU applicants must offer a qualification that is equivalent in standard and type to GCSEs. International (non-EU) applicants, please see below.
- An application will receive a score for academic achievement based on GCSE (or equivalent) results.
- The subjects that will be scored are: English (both English Language and English Literature), Mathematics (or one, but not both, of Methods in Mathematics and Applications of Mathematics), Science (either, both of Biology and Chemistry or Double Award Science), plus two additional GCSEs (any subject).
- For the subjects specified above, a minimum grade of B must be offered. It is expected that the scores allocated to the different grades will be in the ratio of 4:2:1 (for A*, A, B, respectively). For each of the two unspecified subjects, a score of 2 will be allocated when an A* grade has been obtained (lower grades will not receive a score).
- In addition to scoring GCSE performance, we are also using UKCAT scores (see above). Therefore, we can not define accurately a range of GCSE grades that will be acceptable. We predict, however, that if you offer grade A in only one specified subject (the rest at A*), and your UKCAT score is in the top 60% you will achieve an overall score that is within a range required for invitation for interview. Higher UKCAT scores will be required to compensate for lower GCSE performance. We regret that in this first year it is not possible to be more precise.
Use of School Contextual Data
A proportion of those invited for interview will be identified, in part, using the school contextual data provided by UCAS, as described below. Applicants must meet the contextual threshold for GCSE to be considered for interview via this mechanism. If a contextual applicant also meets the contextual threshold for A Levels and passes the interview, they will receive an offer of AAA.
- Contextual measure: Percentage of students who achieve 5 A*–C grades, including English and Mathematics
- Threshold (maximum): For guidance, this value was 74% for 2015 entry and 85% for 2014 entry
- Minimum grade requirements: The scoring process is as described for standard applicants. All applicants who meet the contextual threshold and are not selected via our standard mechanism will be ranked according to their overall score for their application (academic plus UKCAT). By definition, the threshold overall score will be lower for contextual applicants but we can not predict by how much.
- Contextual measure: QCA points per A level subject
- Threshold (maximum): 230 points (used for 2015 and 2014 entry)
- AS level requirements: AABB (minimum)
The thresholds for each aspect of contextual data may change according to the level of competition.
Alternative Academic Qualifications
Cambridge Pre-University Diploma
- D3, D2, D2 from three subjects, including Biology and Chemistry
- If Global Perspectives and Research is not offered, a fourth subject at AS level must be studied in Year 12.
Scottish Certificate of Education
- Highers: Five subjects at grade A including, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and English.
- Advanced Highers: Three subjects including Chemistry and Biology must be offered (grade requirements: AAB)
- Higher level: 766 from Chemistry and Biology and one other approved subject (in any order)
- Subsidiary level: The subjects must include English and Mathematics if not offered at the higher level (Maths Studies is acceptable).
- Minimum of 32 points must be attained
- You must provide results from the Middle Years' Programme if available, or a GCSE-equivalent qualification. MYP results will be scored according to the following equivalencies to GCSEs: 7 = A*; 6 = A; 5 = B. A minimum of 5 must have been achieved in Science, English and Mathematics
- Achieved or predicted first or upper second class degree from a UK-based institution (normally).
- School qualifications: GCSE – minimum of grade A in Science, English and Mathematics; A Levels – minimum of AAA (including, normally, Biology and Chemistry).
- Academic results will not be scored. Applicants who meet the threshold academic requirements described above will be ranked according to UKCAT score.
- Life Science graduates may be eligible for our graduate-entry course. Qualified dentists who have completed MJDF/MFDS and who wish to pursue a career in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery may be admitted to the second year of this course if spaces are available.
Access Courses or Foundation Programmes
We do not consider either of these qualifications.
International (including EU) students
Applicants must have excellent written and spoken English. Please note that the university’s standard English language requirements are minimum standards, which may be raised through competition. As a minimum, the English language IELTS, for example, must be 7.0 in each component.
European Union applicants
There are a number of factors that determine fee status but EU Nationals may be considered as ‘home’ students for fee-paying purposes (see below). Because UK-based applicants are selected on the basis of results in each of two national qualifications (for example, A levels and GCSEs), home/EU applicants from outside the UK must offer examination-based qualifications that are equivalent to these. Some examples are below:
Irish Leaving Certificate
Minimum of grade A in six subjects including Biology, Chemistry, English and Mathematics, to include grade A1 in Biology and Chemistry. The same standard applies in the Junior Certificate.
Overall score of 85%, with a minimum of 85% in the sciences, to include Chemistry and Biology as full options. Evidence of meeting this standard must be provided for interim results.
We require that qualifications are not broad-based and are obtained through assessment of performance in formal, national examinations. For guidance, the following qualifications are not acceptable on their own without, for example, A-levels. These include: Bulgarian Diploma; French Baccalaureate (including OIB); German Abitur; Greek (including Cypriot) Apolytirion; Italian Esame Di Stato; Lithuanian Brandos Atestats; Netherlands "Voorbereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs" (VWO) Diploma; Polish Matura; Portugese Diploma de Ensino Secundario; Romanian Baccalaureate; Swedish Slutbetyg från Gymnasieskolan (School Leaving Certificate).
We have up to 28 places available for students who are assessed as international for fee-paying purposes. For more information on fee status, please visit www.ukcisa.org.uk
The school-leaving qualification must be equivalent to A Levels. We will try to be flexible for those international applicants studying in an educational system with no qualification equivalent to GCSE. But, it must be recognised that it is difficult to make an effective judgment of academic potential based on predicted grades alone. School results must be provided as an absolute minimum.
Selection process for international applicants:
- Academic results will be studied to ensure minimum academic standards are met (see below for specified qualifications). These minimum standards may be raised through competition.
- All applicants who meet the threshold academic standards will go forward to the next stage of selection
- Applicants will be ranked according to UKCAT results (see above)
- The final stage of selection is an assessment of your non-academic qualities, which will be made based on the evidence provided in your personal statement (see “Preparing to Apply for Medicine” above)
Accepted qualifications include:
- United Kingdom: Many applicants offer UK qualifications, GCSE/IGCSE: a minimum of grade A must be offered in Science, English and Maths; AS Levels: minimum of AABB
- Australia. Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER), or equivalent: An overall score of 99.6. Relevant subjects must be offered at excellent grades.
- Canada. Grade 12 High School Diploma: A minimum of 90% in each of six Grade 12 subjects, including Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and English, to include a minimum of 93% in Biology and Chemistry. We will expect that the same performance has been achieved in Year11.
- Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination CAPE): Grade 1 in three subjects, including Chemistry and Biology. Top grades in Secondary School Certificate must have been achieved also.
- Hong Kong Diploma: The grade requirements are: 5*, 5 in Chemistry and Biology (any order); 5 in Mathematics and English; Minimum of 4 in all other subjects.
- India*: Standard XII: Overall score 85%, including Biology and Chemistry with 90% in one of these (minimum requirements). Standard X: 85% in Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics, with preference to applicants with 90% in Biology and Chemistry (minimum requirements). (*ISC, CBSE, Maharashtra Boards)
- Malaysia: SPM (GCSE-equivalent) – minimum of A/A+ in Science, English and Maths. STPM (A Level-equivalent) – grade A in each subject, including Biology and Chemistry.
- Mauritius: Both O and A Levels are equivalent to UK qualifications. We will expect a minimum of grade A/A* in Science, English and Maths.
- Singapore: NUS High School Diploma – 4.0/5.0, with minimum of 4.1 in Biology and Chemistry; Polytechnic Diploma – 3.9/4.0, to include Biology and Chemistry
- United States: Combined SAT1 score of 1950. Three AP subjects at grade 5, including Biology, Chemistry and another Group A subject.
- West Africa Examinations Council: Senior School Certificate – Min of A2 in Science, English and Maths. A Levels or the IB must also be offered.
Please note that the following qualifications are not accepted: Iran – Pre-University Certificate or Kuncur; Kuwait – Al Thanawaya; Pakistan - Higher Secondary Certificate; Saudi Arabia – Thanawiyan.
More information about international entry requirements are provided here. Please be aware that the academic qualifications described within these pages may not be acceptable for medicine entry. You must contact the Admissions Tutor by email to ask about qualifications not listed above.
Additional Information for all applicants
Applicants should enter details of all their qualifications on the relevant section of the UCAS form. Incomplete applications (including a missing reference) will not be considered. A decision will be based solely on the UCAS application and information provided separately or after the deadline will not be considered.
Mature Candidates: The School welcomes applications from mature candidates, 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 the most 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.
Taking a year off: Approximately 10% of our students have taken a gap year. You will not be at a disadvantage if you apply for deferred entry or after you have completed your school qualifications. If you intend to do this, however, we expect that the year is used to broaden your experience either by working, travelling, voluntary service or some other activity. We do not expect all of your experiences to be directly related to medicine but your healthcare involvement must be on-going. Your personal statement must leave us in no doubt that you will be engaged fully in significant activity.
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 (see: Taking a year off).
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 medicine or any other degree programme. As indicated above, we will consider applicants who wish to study medicine following graduation.
Non-academic offer requirements
All accepted candidates will be required to complete a health declaration form, and some will 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. Medical students may, however, 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 the MBChB programme 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, night 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. We address the issue of disability with all applicants who are invited for interview. You must contact us if you are in doubt about how we will take your disability into account. 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.