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Medicine and Surgery MBChB

Start date
5 years
UCAS code
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25:
£9,250 (UK) 
£30,330 (International - pre-clinical years 1 and 2)
£48,660 (International - clinical years 3, 4 and 5) 
More details on fees and funding

Birmingham's MBChB Medicine and Surgery degree is where heritage meets ground-breaking innovation: we create the knowledge and we deliver it. We teach you the practical, theoretical and communication skills needed to become a safe, compassionate and ethical doctor of the future.

Explore Medicine at the University of Birmingham

Whilst studying for a medicine degree at Birmingham Medical School you will learn from passionate researchers, academics and clinicians in world-class settings with a focus on hand-on, apprentice-style experience. You’ll learn alongside other health professions for the most comprehensive, real life, learning experience and have the unique opportunity to see a vast range of illness, learning from a diverse population of over five million people. Birmingham is also home to some of the UK's leading hospitals, including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, situated right next door. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital offers outstanding placement opportunities to many of our students to help further cement their knowledge in a real life setting. 

With a strong community feel and an award winning student medical society at its heart, at Birmingham Medical School we support you throughout your studies. Benefitting from some of the best clinical education settings in Europe, you will graduate as a smart, practical, compassionate, safe and ethical doctor, renowned for your professionalism and communication skills and excelling at making a difference to other people's lives.

We know that constant change and innovation are crucial to stay relevant and meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving NHS and that’s why Birmingham Medical School is proud to produce the doctors of the future. 

Years 1 and 2

During your first two years on the course you will learn about the structure and function of the human body. You’ll learn how each body system is controlled and is able to respond to the demands of everyday life, including the effects of disease and medical treatments. Anatomy will be learned in small group teaching sessions, including experience of prosection. Please note that students do not dissect cadavers on the Medicine and Surgery course at Birmingham.

You’ll learn about the psychology and sociology of health and illness and how the health of whole populations, as well as individual patients, is assessed. We will also introduce you to some of the key issues in biomedical ethics, for example genetic engineering.

All medical students can expect plenty of patient contact, but in Birmingham you’ll start this from as early as week 2 to quickly build up your skills and confidence when communicating with patients. 

In each year of the course, you will spend eight days working in the community with GPs and patients, linking biological and behavioural theoretical learning to clinical situations with real patients. You will visit GP surgeries throughout your studies at a mix of inner city, suburban and some rural settings to gain maximum exposure to a range of patients and conditions. You'll also have the opportunity to pursue topics that interest you through student-selected components.

Year 3

From your third year onwards, most of your teaching will take place in our partner Teaching Hospital Trusts. Teaching in hospitals and general practices takes place within a highly organised academy structure with senior clinicians and dedicated Clinical Teaching Fellows (junior doctors). This ensures that you receive excellent training in each speciality.

Through placements, you will have access to a diverse regional population of over five million, including one million children. This means you will see a vast range of illness in people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, genders, sexualities, socio-economic statuses, and ages, helping you to relate, empathize and identify with these people on a professional and personal level.

During your Medicine and Surgery course, you will also further develop your basic clinical skills in taking a good clinical history and examining patients, as well as studying the communication skills needed to deliver effective consultations. You’ll also learn about common medical and surgical diseases and how to diagnose and manage them as well as continuing your theoretical work.

Years 4 and 5

During your final two years on the course you will undertake clinical attachments in a wide range of specialities such as cardiology, neurology, psychiatry, rheumatology, orthopaedic surgery, oncology, ear, nose and throat surgery and anaesthetics. Further attachments in obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics and general practice as well as a composite attachment in emergency medicine, intensive care, general hospital medicine and surgery will prepare you for the range of problems that you will encounter as a Foundation Doctor.

In years 3-5 you will also work with a Senior Academy Tutor in each placement, who will be a senior doctor, to ensure that you are fully supported in your learning.

During your fourth year, you will spend one month full-time on an elective placement where you can choose what you study and where. This could involve undertaking your own clinical research either at Birmingham Medical School, another centre in the UK or abroad, in a clinical setting (primary or secondary care), other healthcare setting or in a laboratory. Many of our students choose to undertake their elective abroad to experience a healthcare system in a different cultural context.

Learn more about electives at Birmingham Medical School including student experiences 

Managing the patient sick and well is the theme in your final year and you will bring all of your learning and skills together to fine-tune your capabilities and confidence in becoming a Foundation Doctor.

Hear from some of our current students about their experiences of the course so far

Intercalated Programmes

If you attain a good standard in examinations you may wish to take advantage of the excellent breadth of internationally competitive research within Birmingham Medical School through an in-depth study of chosen topics for one year, leading to the award of a Batchelor’s degree. We offer a wide variety of intercalating programmes, which provide you with the opportunity to engage in novel 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 will then return to complete the MBChB Medicine and Surgery course.

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.

Learn more about intercalation at Birmingham Medical School

I love the range of teaching you get from lectures, to bedside teaching, to simulation sessions! It is always exciting and learning in many different ways really helps you solidify your learning.

Annabel Pound, MBChB Medicine and Surgery


Modules in the first year 

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.

  • Basic Life Support - Non-credit bearing
  • Community Based Medicine 1 (GP placement) - 10 credits
  • Foundations of Medical Science and Practice 1: Cell Science, Endocrinology, Neurones and Society - 40 credits
  • Foundations of Medical Science and Practice 2: Health Behaviours, Musculoskeletal, Respiratory and Digestive Systems - 40 credits
  • Professional and Academic Skills 1 - 20 credits
  • Regional Anatomy 1 - 10 credits
  • Group Poster Project - Non-credit bearing
  • Research Taster - Non-credit bearing

Modules in the second year  

  • Community Based Medicine 2 - 10 credits
  • Foundations of Medical Science and Practice 3: Immunology, Health Care Provision, Cardiovascular and Renal Science - 40 credits
  • Foundations of Medical Science and Practice 4: Brain, Decision Making, Reproduction and Cancer - 40 credits
  • Professional and Academic Skills 2 - 20 credits
  • Regional Anatomy 2 - 10 credits
  • Hospital Preparation Course - Non-credit bearing 

Modules in the third year

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. 

  • Clinical Core 2: Hospital Based Medicine and Surgery and Community Based Medicine - 110 credits
  • Evidence Based Medicine and Research Methods - 10 credits
  • Health Improvement Evidence Review Project: a group project that reviews the evidence for a treatment chosen by the group - 10 credits
  • Clinical Procedural Skills: in each year students have a set of skills they need to become competent in performing - Non-credit bearing
  • Year 3 Professional Development Activities - Non-credit bearing
  • Direct Observation of Examination Skills - Non-credit bearing
  • Student Selected Experience (SSE) - Non-credit bearing

Modules in the fourth year 

Fourth and fifth years: you will now move onto clinical attachments in a range of specialities such as Cardiology, Neurology, Psychiatry, Bone and Joint Disease, Oncology, Ear, Nose and Throat and Peri-Operative Care.

  • Clinical Core 3:  anaesthetics, cardiology, community based medicine, dermatology, diabetes, ENT, endocrinology, gastroenterology, genito-urinary medicine, geriatrics, hepatology, nephrology, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, palliative medicine, psychiatry, radiology, respiratory, rheumatology, urology - 120 credits
  • Conference Poster Presentation: you present the findings of a quality improvement project you have undertaken - 10 credits
  • Learning and Teaching project: you learn how to teach your peers - 10 credits
  • Clinical Procedural Skills - Non-credit bearing
  • Direct Observation of Examination Skills Year 4 - Non-credit bearing

Modules in the fifth year

During the Final year, you will be able to bring all of your learning and skills together through the Acutely Ill Patient attachment which prepares you to deal with patients’ problems as they present to Foundation doctors. 

  • Clinical Core 4: medicine and surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, general practice - 110 credits
  • Clinical Procedural Skills - Non-credit bearing
  • Ethics and Law in Clinical Practice: based on a case you have seen which raised ethical or legal difficulties - 10 credits
  • Immediate Life Support - Non-credit bearing
  • Selected Career Experience: three weeks to explore a specialty that you are interested in - Non-credit bearing
  • Student Assistantship: after the final examinations an opportunity to polish up skills prior to starting work as a Foundation Year 1 doctor - Non-credit bearing
  • Written Professional Communication: a group project looking at the various ways in which doctors communicate in writing - 10 credits
  • Prescribing Safety Assessment: a national exam to ensure graduates are safe to prescribe - Non-credit bearing
  • Elective and Report - Non-credit bearing
  • Direct Observation of Examination Skills Year 5 - Non-credit bearing

Please visit our Programmes and Modules Handbook for further details. 

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2024. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


Tuition fees

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2024/25 are as follows:

  • UK: £9,250
  • £30,330 (International - pre-clinical years 1 and 2)
  • £48,660 (International - clinical years 3, 4 and 5) 

Visit our tuition fees page for more information.


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University or other sources. The MBChB programme does not offer any additional scholarships.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.

Additional Course Costs

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.

Average additional course costs (approximate costs by car): 

  • Travel for Years 1 & 2: £100 per year
  • Travel for Year 2: £352
  • Travel for Year 3: £621
  • Travel for Year 4: £900
  • Travel for Year 5: £750 (partially reimbursed by NHS bursary for eligible UK students)
  • Text books and equipment: £200
  • Average total cost of an overseas elective (not inc cost of living): £1,590 (UK placement costs will be lower).

If you need to travel by public transport the most economical method is to purchase a student travel pass. The West Midlands Network monthly pass costs approximately £100/month and includes all travel on train, bus and tram in the region.

Health Screening

All accepted candidates will be required to complete health declaration and immunisation forms, and some will be contacted by an Occupational Health Physician where appropriate. If you accept our offer, you must submit the completed forms by the deadline stated in the offer.  

Students will be required to complete a successful Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before admission to the programme. International Students are required to submit a Police Check Letter before admission and must apply for an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on joining the programme. The cost of the check is £40.

How To Apply

  • Please visit our applying to medicine webpage for further support on how to apply for this programme. 
  • The University of Birmingham's UCAS code number is B32. You must enter this clearly on your application to ensure that it reaches us for consideration.
  • Applications will close on Monday 16th October 2023. Further key dates regarding applying to undergraduate courses can be found on the UCAS website.
  • If you need any further help with your Birmingham application or personal statement please visit our applying to Birmingham webpage. 

Each year we receive a large number of applications for every place available, therefore it can take 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.

Apply now via UCAS 

Standard offer

International Requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
General Studies:
Not accepted. Critical Thinking is also not accepted. Other non-standard subjects may not be accepted. Please contact us for advice.

Visit our Applying to Medicine website for a full breakdown of our medicine admissions process, including entry requirements for all applicant categories, how we select for interview as well as a description of our interview process.

Applying to Medicine website

International Baccalaureate

  • Higher level: 7,6,6 from Chemistry and Biology and one other approved subject. 
  • Standard 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

All applicants must:

  • Apply through UCAS
  • Offer acceptable academic qualifications (see below) 
  • Sit the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) in year of application
  • Attend for interview if invited

Minimum Age Requirement

As this programme has a mandatory clinical placement, every applicant for admission to the University must have reached the age of 18 years on 1 October of the year of entry.

Alternative offers through our Pathways to Birmingham programmes and our Contextual Offer scheme

Students who are eligible and successfully complete a Pathways to Birmingham programme will receive special consideration from admissions tutors and an alternative offer (typically two grades below the standard offer). In addition, our Contextual Offer Scheme recognises the potential of students whose personal circumstances may have restricted achievement in school or college. If you are eligible to benefit from the contextual offer scheme, you will receive an offer which is one grade lower than the standard offer.

International Students

We accept a range of international qualifications. 

Visit our Applying to Medicine website for a full breakdown of our medicine admissions process, including entry requirements for all applicant categories, how we select for interview as well as a description of our interview process itself.

Applying to Medicine website

As a student at Birmingham Medical School, you will learn from passionate researchers, academics and clinicians in world-class settings to support you throughout your studies.

Learning Settings

Your learning will take place in a variety of forms: lectures, seminars, tutorials, practicals, bedside demonstrations, clinical experience and a small component of problem-based learning (PBL). We adapt our methods to the subject matter, for example, offering role-play and video feedback on patient–doctor communication.

Much of the student selected component uses enquiry-based learning, a form of active, student-led, learning which asks you to find answers to problems through your own research rather than being given information and memorising facts. This learning style is supported by group work which develops your skills in team-work and will provide you with the vital skills required to practice as a doctor in a lifelong learning environment.

A significant part of your learning experience will take place on 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 have regular time with your Senior Academy Tutors (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.

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. We 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.

Find out more about learning at Birmingham Medical School and see example timetables


You’ll have access to excellent physical facilities and technologies and will also benefit from the considerable learning resources of the Medical School, including our extensive library (electronic and physical) and information technology-based material.

Learn more about our facilities

Teaching Staff

At Birmingham Medical School you'll learn a hands-on approach delivered by our passionate researchers, academics and clinicians. During your placements, you will be taught by senior clinicians and dedicated Clinical Teaching Fellows (junior doctors) to ensure you receive excellent training in each speciality. You’ll also work with Senior Academy Tutors who will be a senior doctor, to ensure that you are fully supported in your learning.

Visit the Birmingham Medical School key staff page

Student Support

Most students need support at some point in their course, and whether you need help with a disability, illness or other personal or family problems, our outstanding student support system means there is always someone there for you. Through our strong community you will feel strong sense of belonging, resulting in personal and professional relationships that can last a lifetime.

We work hard to support you through good times and bad through our Student Service Centre. You’ll have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors, mentoring programmes, welfare tutors and wellbeing officers who can help with both academic and welfare issues. If there are particular areas where you need support, rest assured that we will be here for you.

Discover more about the support available at Birmingham Medical School

Contact Hours

Throughout the first year of your MBChB degree you can expect approximately 10.5 hours of scheduled teaching, 23 hours of independent study and 4 hours of placement per week. 

Throughout the second year of your MBChB degree you can expect approximately 13 hours of scheduled teaching, 21 hours of independent study and 4 hours of placement per week. 

Throughout the third year of your MBChB degree you can expect approximately 4 hours of scheduled teaching, 12 hours of independent study and 20 hours of placement per week. 

Throughout the fourth year of your MBChB degree you can expect approximately 2 hours of scheduled teaching, 12 hours of independent study and 24 hours of placement per week. 

Throughout the fifth year of your MBChB degree you can expect approximately 3 hours of scheduled teaching, 9 hours of independent study and 25 hours of placement per week.

Assessment Methods

Studying at university 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’ll support you to make this transition to a new style of learning. The way that you are assessed during your studies will help you to develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham Medical School.

Throughout the programme there will be opportunities to meet with your personal tutor to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support.

As a Medicine student you will be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. These assessment methods may include:

  • Single Best Answer Multiple Choice Questions (SBA MCQ)
  • Short Answer Questions (SAQ)
  • Written Examinations
  • Oral Examinations
  • Clinical Competency Examinations
  • Appraisal of Professional Behaviour and Attitudes
  • Essays
  • Presentations
  • Conference Poster presentations
  • Teaching session and report
  • Reports

At the beginning of each module, you’ll be given information on how and when you’ll be assessed for that particular area of study. You will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done. You’ll also 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.

"The Journey of an Exam Paper"

Our Programme Director is regularly asked by students to describe what goes into the process of exams and exam papers, so we decided to produce a film that was transparent about the process. 

As a Birmingham Medical School graduate, you will thrive in the workplace as you to apply your knowledge and skills to ensure that patients are cared for safely, effectively and with compassion.

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, Birmingham Medical School and our outstanding Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

After graduating from Birmingham Medical School and completing two foundation years, you’ll be in a position to apply for posts in your chosen speciality. For most of our graduates, these are hospital and primary care posts in the NHS, however there are also opportunities in laboratory-based disciplines, research and commercial fields such as the pharmaceutical industry, politics and medical journalism and the media.

At the end of your 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 to its acceptance that there are no Fitness to Practise concerns that need consideration. Find out more about the General Medical Council registration and licensing.

The GMC has introduced a Medical Licensing Assessment – the MLA – for all students graduating from 2024 onwards to demonstrate that those who obtain registration with a licence to practise medicine in the UK meet a common threshold for safe practice. Applicants should be aware that to obtain registration with a licence to practise, medical students will need to pass both parts of the MLA and demonstrate their fitness to practise.

For summary information about the design of the MLA, please see the joint statement by the Medical Schools Council and the GMC.

For further information on the Medical Licensing Assessment please visit the GMC website.

Please also see guidance from the Medical Schools Council: After medical school.

An advantage you will have as a Birmingham student is access to our unique careers guidance service where we help you to develop your career from the moment you arrive. Working closely with academics, alumni, Royal Colleges and the NHS, Careers Network focus on providing you with advice and guidance on the recruitment process for both the Foundation and Academic Foundation Programmes, including support with applications and interview preparation. Find out more about Careers Network.

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.

To see what some of our students have gone on to do after completing their degree, visit our alumni profile page

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.