Bristol Medical School is a well-established medical school, offering an excellent academic experience to shape tomorrow’s doctors.

In 2017, the Bristol Medical School introduced a new medical undergraduate curriculum – MB21 – which aims to equip Bristol medical graduates with the skills and qualities needed by doctors in the rapidly changing world of 21st century healthcare.

Students receive their education and training across the five years of the programme, spending time both at the University but also in clinical academies within the NHS Trusts across the South West.

During clinical training years, students on this programme will receive real-life training in hospitals in Bristol and the surrounding regions, as part of the Clinical Academy system. The academies are designed to equip you with the clinical, communication and leadership skills required for your future medical career.

You will benefit from tailored and responsive support during your time at Bristol. The Student Advice Service provides a committed service to support students and ensure well-being.

Many of Bristol’s teaching staff are also pioneers in their specialist research fields. You will also learn from practising clinicians whose ground-breaking research has led to high-profile achievements.

As a Bristol medical graduate, you will be able to:

Course Structure:

The new MB21 curriculum, introduced in 2017, features a helical approach to case-based learning (CBL). The aim of MB21 is to produce doctors who excel in patient-centred care across community and hospital-based specialities and prepare them for the rapidly changing world of 21st century healthcare.

Each year, each body system is revisited and supplemented with additional knowledge. This programme focuses more on independent study but also exposes students to plenty of early patient contact. The curriculum is delivered through a blend of lectures, practicals, case-based discussions and clinical placements.

The medical school estimates that in the first year, roughly 29% of your time is spent in lecture, 65% independently learning and 7% on placements.

From third year onwards, most learning occurs on hospital placements. Students may be sent to a number of hospitals throughout the South West. These may be hospitals in Bristol but students may also be sent to further places, such as Yeovil or Swindon.

MB ChB Medicine (A100)

The standard programme is a five-year course with the option of an additional intercalated year.

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Case Study

Keng Siang Lee
Year of Study:

What are the best things about your Medical School?

  1. Rotations in clinical academies allow students to experience clinical medicine in different settings, ranging from small district hospitals to main tertiary care centres.
  2. Early on from first year in the MB21 curriculum, students at Bristol also have the opportunity to learn how to design posters, give oral presentations and attend local conferences to prepare you for bigger conferences in future.
  3. A variety of research opportunities are available through an intercalated degree or student-selected projects.
  4. Bristol is a cosmopolitan city with an eclectic mix of people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. Bristol is home to numerous Banksy artwork pieces and also boasts a rich and vibrant history with most of its unique architecture surviving to this day.

What are the hardest things about your course?

  1. Although accommodation is provided during academy placements, living outside of Bristol for half a year can be slightly inconvenient.
  2. Because the new MB21 curriculum estimates that 65% of your first two years in medical school are spent on independent learning, it can be difficult to know when one should seek help.
  3. Due to the competitive nature of medical school, students have to learn to accept their own imperfections and limitations early on.
  4. No feedback from your finals is given, so you will never know your mistakes and how to improve for the next exam.

What’s the social side of your Medical School like?

Galenicals, the medical society at Bristol, also the largest student-elected society at the University, offers a wide array of social opportunities, including wine tasting night, the infamous medics bar crawl and the elegant Christmas Ball.

Additionally, there are a variety of sports clubs that compete in intramural games and even travel away for tournaments. And don’t forget about all the drama, dance and art societies that are specifically geared towards medical students!

Whether you enjoy a standard night out or are looking for more of an alternative vibe, there is always something for everyone!

What tips would you give to someone applying to your Medical School?

  1. Start preparing early and take a year out if necessary, as opposed to submitting a rushed application.
  2. Through your work experience, demonstrate that you have an understanding of the ethical dilemmas doctors face. Make sure you know the four principles of Beauchamp and Childress by heart – autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence and justice!
  3. Be yourself at your medical school interview. Interviewers don’t expect you to have a ready answer for every question, but they do expect you to be able to think on your feet and give a considered response. If a question catches you off guard, don’t be afraid to take a moment and formulate an answer before you open your mouth.
  4. Sir William Osler teaches us to treat the patient, not the disease. Understand that both art and science are needed to practice medicine!

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