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Glasgow operates a spiral curriculum, where subject matter is revisited at different stages with increasing depth and focus. The 5-year course is split into four phases: the first focuses on an overview of biomedical sciences, the second and third are systems-based, and the fourth and longest phase is made up of 5-10 week clinical rotations with dedicated academic days. Students get some clinical exposure from the beginning of the course, with experience being gained at a range of clinical environments in Scotland, including the newly-built South Glasgow University Hospital. Glasgow differs from other medical schools in that it offers two separate elective courses, each taken during vacations at the end of years 3 and 4. There are about 228 places available each year, and the school also offers degrees in Dentistry and Nursing.

Course structure:

5 years, Integrated including PBL. There is the opportunity to intercalate between the third and fourth year.


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Case Study

Jessica Gillson
Year of Study:
5th Year

What are the best things about your medical school?

  1. The staff. Over 5 years I have gotten to know many members of staff. They are helpful, reassuring, encouraging and always make us feel as though they are working for us.
  2. The ethos of the place – they like a lot of feedback, but this is used to make improvements. They always ask how they can do better.
  3. The curriculum – Glasgow medical school made big changes several years ago steering the course in a more Problem-Based Learning (PBL) direction. Over the past few years the course has been further developed and I found the variety of learning styles refreshing and engaging – from lectures and labs to PBL and Case-Based Learning.

What are the hardest things about your course?

  1. I came to medicine following a previous degree, so for me the most difficult thing was the fatigue of 9 years at uni!
  2. The volume and pace of information can be challenging.
  3. One of the major challenges when studying medicine is getting to the point where you feel ready to take on the responsibilities of being a doctor. I don’t think that you can ever feel totally prepared and in fact I think that a degree of anxiety helps you to become a thorough doctor. That said, I think that I’m as close as I could be to ready.

What’s the social side of your medical school like?

The opportunities are endless. From sports clubs to volunteering abroad, there are dozens of medic groups. Glasgow is a hub of nightlife and is an hour away from the highlands. Over the 5 years you spend a lot of time together and whatever you decide to do there’s always the beer bar after finals!

What tips would you give to someone applying to your medical school?

  1. It’s great to have a full CV, but one of the most important things is to show that you’ve learned from an experience. The ability to reflect and grow is really important.
  2. Don’t worry if you don’t get in at first. I’d never been knocked back from anything before I first applied to medicine. It was a real blow, but a blessing in disguise. I studied anatomy for 4 years after which I was in a much better position to take on the workload and responsibility level.


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