Part of choosing a Medical School is understanding the type of course on offer, and whether that suits your style of learning. This guide to Traditional Medicine Courses outlines what they are, which Med Schools use them, and how to work out if it’s the right option for you.

What is a Traditional Medicine Course?

A Traditional Medicine Course is one that has two or three years of pre-clinical study, followed by three clinical years.

In the pre-clinical years, you’ll focus on learning the scientific theory of Medicine and cover many different disciplines. You’ll be taught modules in distinct scientific fields — things like Physiology, Biochemistry and Anatomy. This is unique to traditional schools.

The rest of the Traditional Medicine Course teaching takes place in clinical settings, such as ward rounds or GP placements. There may still be some lectures and tutorials at this stage, but they will be complementary to your clinical learning.

Which Universities Teach Traditional Medicine Courses?

Oxford and Cambridge Universities teach Traditional Medicine Courses.


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A Traditional Medicine Course gives you a strong grounding in the sciences that underpin medical practice before you move to clinical work. But is this the best approach for you?

Benefits of Traditional Medicine Courses:

  • if you like learning scientific facts, it’s an enjoyable way to study
  • you’ll have a strong medical foundation, which builds confidence in clinical work
  • tutorials are intensive, so you’ll learn a lot
  • you’ll develop strong academic skills, as you’ll need to write a lot of essays.

Downsides of Traditional Medicine Courses:

  • if you prefer to learn hands-on, you may struggle with this approach
  • if you would prefer to dive-in to studying Medicine, you’ll be frustrated with the pre-clinical learning
  • you may find the small tutorials a bit too intensive for you
  • you may not enjoy the academic side and prefer a course with less essay writing

Take our quiz to see if you would suit a Traditional Medicine Course.

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