The six-year Medicine degree programme at St. Andrews is slightly different from other Medicine courses. The first three years are undertaken at St. Andrews and is followed by a further three years of training with a partner medical school.
St. Andrews offers an integrated curriculum within a clinical context with the key components of the course being patient safety and professionalism. Modules are taught through methods such as laboratory-based practicals, lectures, small group tutorials, research projects and clinical attachments.
In the first year, there is a big emphasis on the relationships between preclinical sciences. The year is split into two parts: Foundations of Medicine 1 and Foundations of Medicine 2. In the first part, the programme provides an overview of the body systems from a microscopic to a macroscopic level. This includes strands of microbiology, health psychology and public health. In Foundations of Medicine 2, the core topics continue to be explored. This includes the concept of disease mechanisms and therapy and the development of communication skills.
The second year consists of two modules taught with an integrated approach and builds on the material from the first year. Both these modules will explore the body systems through cadaveric dissection with clinical imaging. Ethical, moral and behavioural aspects of the systems are also learnt about. Students will also have community attachments in primary health care settings.
In the third year, the initial focus will be on physiological systems like the nervous system and then transition into focus on a student-selected research project on a topic of their interest. After this, students will continue to develop their clinical skills and attend a partner Medical School to finish off another three years at the institute.
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What are the best things about your Medical School?
- The facilities are absolutely amazing. We have a state of the art dissection and anatomy department within the most modern building of the entire university campus.
- Due to the small nature of the medical school, you get to build very good relationships with members of teaching staff. I’ve particularly found this very useful as it means that everyone is really easy to approach. All the while, the small intake really promotes great social dynamics among the student body.
- The unique structure of the course allows us to spend the latter half of our degree at a partner medical school. This for me was a defining factor in my choice to study here as it gives you the opportunity to experience life at two universities.
What are the hardest things about your course?
- The workload! Due to the unique structure of the degree, we begin honours in second year. The level of knowledge required for examination definitely increases quite rapidly. However, if you’re able to say on top of things, you shouldn’t have any problems managing it.
- St Andrews itself is rather small. Growing up in Glasgow, and working in London, made it slightly difficulty to get used to how small the town really is. Though, the amount of student-societies and student-run events, out with of medicine, really makes up for it.
What’s the social side of your Medical School like?
The medical school has an excellent Bute Medical Society. They organise events which cover orientation to graduation and the committee is made up of various representatives throughout the years. Within the BMS, we have three annuals balls which are always fun, however, Iâ€™d emphasise the importance of getting involved in the social scene out-with of medicine to get the full experience of St Andrews.
What tips would you give to someone applying to your Medical School?
- Be enthusiastic! The St Andrews degree is unique among all other Scottish Universities and conveying your enthusiasm is definitely something invaluable to any interview.
- Don’t be discouraged from applying due to the small yearly intake of students. It’s definitely worth it!
- Finally, for the actual interview, the medical school has recently switched over to the multiple mini interview format. The best piece of advice I can offer is just to be relaxed and confident. Practically, the best way to achieve this would be to get involved in your community (i.e. voluntary work, or employment, not related to medicine) and being able to comfortably talk to strangers!