Glasgow’s Medicine programme has a curriculum that is taught through various teaching styles that range from small-group teaching, lectures and problem-based learning, vocational and clinical studies. The spiral curriculum means content is continuously reviewed with increasingly clinical focus and is split into four phases.

In phase one, which happens over the first half of year one, students have an overview of biomedical sciences fundamentals that underpin the rest of the programme. Clinical skills sessions begin, vocational and professional studies are undertaken as well as clinical visits to A&E and GPs.

Phase two happens in the latter half of year one and the whole of the second year. This is when pharmacology, anatomy, physiology and biochemistry of the main clinical systems are covered.

In phase three, which lasts for the first half of year three, clinical systems are studied with a pathophysiology focus. Clinical tutors will lead small-group teaching with a focus on clinical cases using case-based learning. Clinical procedural skills teaching is also taught.

Phase four takes place in the second half of year three, all of year four and the first half of year five. It’s based in hospitals and GP surgeries, but also has dedicated academic days structure around the five to ten-week clinical attachments. Students will rotate between attachments such as child health, gynaecology and obstetrics.

Preparation for Practice (PfP) is the final aspect of the course and involves shadowing foundation year doctors as well as a lecture programme.

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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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