Southampton’s five-year Medicine course has been taught for over 40 years, with an innovative learning approach to help prepare students into a lifelong journey in Medicine. The programme is split into four phases, with a variety of teaching methods such as lectures, tutorials, coursework, placements and independent learning.

The first phase takes place over the first two years. During this phase, students will learn the fundamentals of Medicine through several systems-based modules that incorporate pathology, pharmacology, anatomy and psychosocial sciences. Modules include the nervous system, the gastrointestinal system and the endocrinology and life cycle. Students will also have the opportunity to learn history-taking and examination skills in primary care and hospital settings.

In year three, phase two occurs, with a focus on the progression into clinical practice. The phase begins with a 16-week module that focuses on a research project. After this, students embark on 24 weeks of clinical placements that centre on primary care and long term conditions, Medicine and elderly care as well as surgery and orthopaedics.

Phase three continues into year four into the first half of year five. Studies and clinical practise will include some modules such as acute care, child health and clinical ethics and law. In year five there is also a 24-week placement leading up to finals, in which placements will be in medicine, surgery and primary care. Students will complete an assistantship to allow them to shadow a foundation doctor in medicine and surgery to help prepare for entering the foundation programme.

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Case Study

Year of Study:
2nd Year

What are the best things about your Medical School?

  1. Southampton has a lot of diversity! The medicine course here consists of 3 different programmes; 30 students from widening access backgrounds, 40 students from all over Europe, and 200+ students from the standard undergraduate programme. As well as this, we are also joined by international students – so far, I have met people from Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the Philippines, to include a few. As well as studying medicine, you discover different cultures and lifestyles, enriching your experience at medical school.
  2. Southampton is a great location. It is on the warmer side of England so we get a lot of sunshine here. It is the closest city to the New Forest (full of quaint villages, beautiful greenery and wildlife) and it also has the docks if you prefer the sea. It has a large shopping centre and retail parks (West Quay and the Watermark) if shopping and dining out are more to your fancy. It has close links with other cities so you can quickly and easily get to other attractions like Bournemouth beaches or the Christmas markets in Winchester. This also means our placements branch out to other cities throughout Hampshire and the South of England which allows you to explore different hospitals and GPs in the country to get plenty of experience.
  3. The curriculum here has early patient contact which I find an invaluable aspect of our learning. In Year 1, every student undertakes a birth experience placement in Princess Anne Hospital, which is an eye opener for sure! In Years 1 & 2 there are Medicine in Practice modules, in which students have weekly placements in a hospital or GP practice talking to patients and learning clinical skills. Then in Year 3 and onwards, you’ll be on the wards doing clinical attachments. I strongly believe that patient contact is a key part of the course, it reminds us what we’re working towards and gives us a taste of real medicine from day 1.

What are the hardest things about your course?

  1. The hardest thing is undoubtedly the sheer volume of information you need to memorise throughout your studies – though this is the same for every medical school. You will learn what studying methods work best for you and how to cope with the workload. Luckily, we do get support via revision session, peer teaching and the lecturers are always happy to answer questions in person or via email.
  2. Trying to maintain a work-life balance, which is something you will eventually learn to manage over time. As this is a demanding course, it can be difficult to commit to extra curricular activities like societies and sports. However, MedSoc have their own individual societies (like medics football, tennis etc.) that work around our timetable so we can join in on them too.
  3. Learning to adult. The majority of students have probably moved to uni straight from home so are used to having things done for them. It will be an adjustment getting used to waking up consistently early to get the bus for a 9am lecture at the hospital, getting home at 6pm because of traffic, then having to grocery shop, cook and manage your life all without your mum and dad!

What’s the social side of your course like?

There is a lot going on all the time! MedSoc host big events throughout the year like the Medics Christmas Ball, Spring Ball, Medics Got Talent, the Revue (a comedy play), the London Underground Charity Raid, and many others. There’s plenty of societies which range from sports, charities, academic, performing arts and more, so you will always find something to suit you. It doesn’t matter if you’re more of a party-lover or prefer to keep things quieter, there’s a mixture of activities to suit everybody and you can get involved as much or as little as you like. If you visit Soton MedSoc, you can find out more about all the things MedSoc get involved in.

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

  1. It’s not purely about academics. Everyone applying will have those top grades so what makes you different? Play on your strengths, whether that be having a black belt in Karate or years of experience playing the piano, if you show you’re different and have interests outside of medicine, you’ll be much more desirable to the interviewers!
  2. Show that you have researched the uni and really want to be here. For instance, Southampton is a hugely research based university (which is why everyone on the BM5 programme will undertake a project in Year 3). Add that in and the interviewers will know you’re serious about Southampton. The Southampton University Medicine website provides details about the what modules will be studied each year, which is worth taking a look at.
  3. Don’t worry if you don’t get in first time. There are people on my course who have re-applied several times, taken gap years, even had different careers like dancing or journalism before considering medicine. If you show that you have taken the time to do work experience, volunteer or earn money in your time out of education, your application will be much stronger than someone who hasn’t done those things.

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