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Medical School Requirements: Medicine Work Experience

If you’re applying to medical school, you may be wondering what kind of medicine work experience different schools look for – and this page is here to help!

Some medical schools, like St George’s, expect you to have medicine work experience in healthcare and non-healthcare settings. Others, like Dundee, specify the duration of the work experience and state that a placement should last a minimum of two weeks. This page will detail the various kinds of medicine work experience that each UK medical school suggests, so that you can tailor your application accordingly.

Please note that while we’ve tried to ensure that this information is as up to date as possible, entry requirements are subject to change so we’d recommend contacting the different universities if you’re unsure.

UniversityWhat kind of medical work experience do they prefer?
AberdeenRelevant hospital or general practice experience is very useful, but there are often difficulties obtaining this. What Aberdeen are looking for is an understanding of what a career in medicine entails, and that your perceptions aren't just based on ER or Casualty! In addition, you should list all your voluntary work activities and also paid employment, expanding on what you have learnt from it in your personal statement.
Anglia RuskinIt is desirable for applicants to have undertaken work experience in the healthcare sector, whether that be shadowing, volunteering, paid-work or observing. Clinical and non-clinical experience are important, which could be in a nursing home, nursery, charities, voluntary organisations, pharmacy as well as GP surgeries and hospitals. The purpose of the work experience is to give you an insight in to the working day of a healthcare professional, to challenge any preconceptions that you may have and give you a realistic view of the job roles you wish to pursue.

The Medical Schools Council (MSC) has guidance on work experience for applicants to medicine.

We will also consider other forms of work experience where you will have gained transferable skills such as communication, problem solving, care, working with others and professionalism.
Aston Work experience is not a formal entry requirement for the Aston Medical School MBChB, however it is important that you have had experiences, either in a work, home or extra-curricular environment you can utilise in both your personal statement and MMI.

We recognise that not everyone will be able to secure clinical based medical work experience so encourage students to consider other experiences that they can draw upon such as part-time work, school clubs or societies, volunteer work or even caring for a relative.

These experiences can help you to develop characteristics and skills such as communication, teamwork, following instructions, leadership and empathy. All of which should help you to demonstrate that you have the understanding of what it means to be a good doctor and to be able to cope with the study and practice of medicine.
BartsWe strongly recommend that applicants explore what a career in medicine entails, and this is reinforced by work experience. We recognise the challenge of obtaining medical work experience – a period of volunteering in a caring role can be equally valuable.

BirminghamIt is essential that you develop an understanding of working in a healthcare environment and have commitment and passion towards studying and practising medicine. The types of experience that we advise you to undertake include voluntary work in a nursing home, care home, hospice or hospital volunteer. We cannot advise on the amount of experience that is needed to develop your knowledge of healthcare practice. At interview, though, we will expect a sophisticated level of understanding of how personal qualities relate to the provision of effective care and support. This must be evidenced, in part, through your own experiences. Shadowing of doctors is not required and, though it has its benefits, we advise that you should participate actively in a healthcare setting.
Brighton and SussexBSMS does not place requirements on the amount and type of work experience a prospective medical student should have. However, in line with the Medical Schools Council Work Experience Guidelines, they do expect candidates to: have a realistic understanding of medicine and what it means to be a doctor; have had some experience of engaging with a wide range of people and understand the realities of a caring profession and display some of the skills and attributes essential to be a successful doctor, including teamwork, leadership, good communication skills, resilience and empathy.
BuckinghamNo work experience requirements specified.
BristolWhile not a requirement for the course, we encourage applicants to obtain a minimum of two weeks’ work experience. This enables the applicant to gain some insight into their potential vocation. Applicants may be asked to reflect on their work experience at interview. While it may be difficult to obtain clinical work experience, we encourage applicants to seek out opportunities to work with the public in a customer service role, or volunteer in a care or health environment (nursing home, local hospice, shelter for the homeless, or facility supporting people with disabilities or special needs), or a youth group. Should they be invited, applicants are required to complete a form prior to attending the interview which documents the type and duration of their work experience. This information may be used as a basis for discussion.
CambridgeTo develop understanding of what a career in Medicine involves and your suitability for your intended profession, you’re strongly advised (though not required) to undertake some relevant work experience (either paid or voluntary) in a health or related area. We aren’t prescriptive about how this is obtained, recognising the widely differing opportunities available.
CardiffCardiff recognises that opportunities for certain types of work experience and participation in some non-academic activities will vary according to individual circumstances, including an applicant's cultural or socio-economic background, or the activities available in their local area. Selectors are, therefore, not prescriptive about the ways in which the non-academic selection criteria may be demonstrated.
DundeeWork experience is not regarded as a qualification but rather as evidence of willingness to work with people and also a commitment to medicine as a career. It also allows the applicant to gain some experience of working in a health situation, with people who may be ill, disabled, elderly or by shadowing a doctor at work. The selectors recognise that not all applicants will have the same opportunities to gain such experience, but in general terms they look for work experience lasting two weeks (or equivalent).

EdinburghEdinburgh expect you to demonstrate a clear understanding of what a career in medicine entails. A deeper understanding can be achieved by appropriate work experience or work shadowing, as evidence of an informed decision to apply for a medical programme. The Admissions Committee recognises that not all applicants have equal opportunities to gain such experience. If it is not possible to get any work experience in a hospital then other alternatives include working in a nursing home, caring for the disabled or volunteer work.
Edge Hill UniversityTo be confirmed.
ExeterWork experience is not part of Exeter's standard entry requirements and therefore they state that whether you have work experience or not, you are very welcome to apply to the programme.
GlasgowWork experience in a medical setting is not necessary to study medicine but it is expected that candidates will have at least spoken to a doctor such as their own GP about a career in medicine or have found out about a medical career through reading careers books or newspapers.
Hull YorkThere is no prescribed pre-application experience, but you should try to obtain a realistic understanding of the demands of medical training and practice. You will find it useful to get some experience in a range of caring situations, observing or working alongside healthcare staff, in either a voluntary or paid capacity.

We also advise that you explore both the positive and negative aspects of a medical career through talking to doctors and other healthcare professionals. We will expect you to demonstrate that you understand, and are committed to, teamwork and the social context of healthcare.
ImperialWe do not specify or recommend any specific type or duration of work experience for applicants as it is more what the individual takes out of the experience rather than the placement itself. Any amount of community or volunteer work is looked upon favourably and should demonstrate evidence of working as a leader and as part of a team.
KeeleIf you are applying to Keele, you must fill out a Roles & Responsibilities form. Admissions tutors will assess the form for the following: commitment to work experience, voluntary work or exposure to a caring role; the value of the work you undertook; the level of responsibility taken in any of the above roles and an example of a situation where you did something that had an important outcome for the recipient. Roles and responsibilities can be paid or voluntary and do not have to be in the health sector. Credit can be given for caring for family members or friends if there is both a time commitment and depth of caring that goes above and beyond that which would be expected in normal family life. Although shadowing and observation may be useful in understanding the roles of a doctor, they will not give credit for it in assessing the Roles & Responsibilities form. In the space provided make sure you tell them some of the things you actually did and reflect on how you demonstrated the attributes required of a doctor, keeping in mind the values described in the NHS Constitution.
Kent and Canterbury ChristchurchTo be confirmed.
King'sWe would normally expect that you will have undertaken some work experience in a caring environment and/or observation in a Medical clinical setting. If this is not possible, we look for evidence that you have worked in a setting where you can interact with the general public, eg in a pharmacy, check-out or restaurant.
LancasterYour work experience does not have to be shadowing a doctor but can be any experience (unpaid work, paid work or volunteering) within a healthcare setting that gives you an insight into what it would be like to ‘be a doctor’ today. It is important that you reflect on these experiences to decide whether you have the skills, values and attitudes to work in healthcare.
LeedsMany applicants gain insight through work experience, voluntary work, part-time employment or organised community schemes. Activities connected to or independent of the school are given equal merit. A few examples include volunteering at charity shops care homes or hospitals, helping out at church, involvement in the Scout/Guide Association, volunteering as a youth leader, coaching children, helping run a science club etc.

Personal experience in a health and social care setting can make you more confident about choosing a career in medicine. We understand that it can be difficult to get work experience at a hospital or GP surgery, but work experience in a care setting such as at hospices or homes for the elderly, or anywhere clinical care is delivered e.g. community pharmacy, chiropodists etc., is also acceptable. If attempts to gain work experience have been unsuccessful there should be some reference to this contained within the referee's statement.
LeicesterMedical work experience is not essential but you should be able to demonstrate that you have undertaken some kind of work where you are able to communicate with the public.
LiverpoolNo formal work experience is specified but applicants will need to address our non-academic criteria and include the demonstration of healthcare career awareness/insight, a caring contribution to the community, a critical, coherent and informative approach to communication and the values that embody and underpin good healthcare practice.
ManchesterWe require applicants to undertake some relevant work experience prior to application in order that they can gain some insight into what the role of a doctor involves.

We are not looking for a particular number of hours doing a specific type of work experience. We are trying to ascertain that you have a clear idea of what it is like to study medicine and what the role entails.

Shadowing doctors in a hospital/GP setting is not essential or considered to be a substitute for hands-on caring work experience. Applicants should be aware that we may request confirmation of their work experience.
NewcastleWe realise that identifying suitable work experience in a primary and/or secondary care setting can be difficult.

At Newcastle our emphasis is on our applicants being able to show a commitment to caring. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, for example.

- volunteering in an elderly care home
- volunteering in a hospice
- volunteering in a nursery
- helping someone less fortunate

There are many ways you can demonstrate to us that you are a committed and caring individual and these can be explored further at interview.
NorwichIf possible you should gain medical work experience, but this is not a specific requirement. However, it is important that, prior to committing to 5 years intensive study, that you find out as much as you can about being a doctor. Any experience that gives you an insight into your suitability to the profession is valuable. Such experience may include work experience in a health care organisation (e.g. a hospital, hospice, or primary care setting), a regular commitment as a volunteer in a care-related setting, or paid employment as a health care assistant or similar. This list is not exhaustive, but at interview, you will be expected to draw on your personal experiences to demonstrate your suitability to be a doctor. If invited to interview, you are required to bring with you our work experience form.
Nottingham (Lincoln pathway too)We expect you to have undergone some form of medical work or voluntary experience to enable you to understand the profession you are entering.

Keeping a reflective diary will enable you to write down your experiences and what you have learnt from them. Keeping this up-to-date at the end of each work experience session will help you to remember your experiences and will provide you with preparation material for when you write your personal statement and before you attend an interview.

Work experience should include:

- At least speaking to your GP to understand the positives and negatives of a career in medicine, if you are unable to obtain work experience
- Experience in a more caring setting such as a hospice, care home, club, society or similar. This will allow you to observe more long-term interactions between people and the skills required in the roles. If you are working in a care home or hospice, consider the patient's position and their requirements and needs and how these may be met by carers.

We'd also like to hear about any paid or unpaid jobs you have had.
OxfordAll applicants are free to make reference to skills or experience acquired in any context to date when trying to address our selection criteria: sometimes applicants refer to voluntary work and other extra-curricular activity, but many forms of evidence can help demonstrate to tutors that an applicant has tried to make an informed decision regarding his/her own suitability to study Medicine.

While some work experience in hospitals is theoretically desirable, we do appreciate that it can be very difficult to arrange and we therefore have no requirement for it. Any form of voluntary work would be beneficial in the context of applying for Medicine (such as helping out in a hospital, at an old people's home, St John's Ambulance, or work with a charity or overseas agency).
PlymouthPlymouth do not ask for any work experience. Once at the interview stage, however, they state that applicants may find some form of experience useful to draw upon when answering questions. but they do not make any specific requirements.
Queen'sIt is accepted that it can be difficult for candidates to have equal access to clinical work experience and therefore it is not specified as a requirement for admission. Applicants are encouraged to obtain caring experience whether through volunteering or in paid employment as this is valuable in making informed decisions on career options.
SheffieldWe do not specify the exact sort of work experience you should do or how much work experience you should have because it depends on what is available where you live. It should however be something within a caring environment. Some applicants may have experience of shadowing hospital staff or GPs but if this is not available to you try doing some voluntary work in a local hospice or working with children with disabilities. We want to see what you have gained from your work experience - that you are able to communicate with people, have a caring nature and are able to work as part of a team.
SouthamptonAs part of their non-academic admissions criteria, Southampton state that students should have reflected on and learnt from life experiences (this may include work experience, paid employment and personal experiences both in and outside health and social care settings).
St AndrewsApplicants should have gained work or shadowing experience in a caring or health environment, including hospitals, GP surgeries, nursing homes or local hospices, or by working with people who have ill health or a disability.
St George'sYou will be required to demonstrate insight into Medicine through relevant work/voluntary experience at interview.You must also provide references for each piece of work/relevant experience you intend to present at interview. Undertaking relevant work experience and gaining insight from such activities helps you to decide whether Medicine is the right choice for you.We expect applicants to have a combination of experience in both healthcare and non-healthcare settings. You should be able to demonstrate why these experiences are relevant to an application for Medicine. Such experience could include, but is not limited to, participation in the following:

- Paid/unpaid voluntary placements
- School, college or university societies
- Full or part-time employment
- The Guides, Scouts, Red Cross or similar organisations.
- Shadowing a healthcare professional
- Gap year experience
- Caring for a sick relative or first-hand experience of illness
- It is good to have a broad range of experiences in a variety of settings, including hands-on healthcare experience where possible, in order to gain insight into different aspects of skills and qualities needed by a medical student.

As a result, you should be able to:

- demonstrate knowledge of your own abilities and limitations
- explain what you have learned and what you have contributed

We expect you to demonstrate insight into transferable skills such as: communication, patience, accuracy, team work, leadership and perseverance. You will also need to be able to relate those to your application for Medicine. Evidence that you have made a consistent effort to participate in such experience as a regular commitment is preferred.If invited to interview, you will be required to provide references for any formal work experience you have carried out within the last 2 years. This is not a character reference and should only state dates, hours worked and duties undertaken.
SunderlandAll applicants who meet the minimum academic requirements will be issued with a roles and responsibilities form. The form will seek evidence of commitment to work experience, voluntary work, exposure to a caring or supportive roles, the value of the work/role you undertook, the level of responsibility taken in any of the above roles, an example of a situation where you did something that had a significant beneficial outcome for another person and any exceptional achievements or circumstances.

We don’t give credit simply for titles, naming programmes that you have completed, listing shadowing opportunities given to you or anything you watched somebody else do.
UCLWe are often asked about the type of work experience that we expect students to undertake in preparation of making an application. We would recommend that prospective students read the Medical Schools Council work experience guide.

The ability to demonstrate and reflect on what you learn, about yourself and about medicine, through work experience is the main factor we are looking for when assessing your work experience. This ability to reflect on what you learnt from your work experience will be assessed via your personal statement, and may be assessed at interview.
UCLanFor school leavers, the duration of work experience is less strict but applicants are required to provide evidence of relevant work, volunteering or shadowing experience as part of the application.

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