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 right next door, offering outstanding placement opportunities to many of our students.
With a strong community feel and 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 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 you will spend eight days 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.
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.
You will 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
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 then return to complete the MBChB programme.
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