Having recently celebrated the universities 600th birthday, St Andrews is a vibrant and diverse close-knit community that really excels, itself, in teaching and research. Our student satisfaction ratings are consistently ranked as one of the highest out of all UK universities. Overall, set in an idyllic coastal town with a lot of history, the St Andrews ‘experience’ is definitely unique among other institutions.
The degree programme integrated a sound knowledge of the scientific basis of medicine within a professional, clinical context. This approach produces graduates who not only understand medicine but also recognise the important contribution that science and scientific research makes to the practice of modern medicine.
The curriculum addresses the following core principles:
- Competence – Understanding of the scientific basis of medicine
- Professionalism – Development of clinical skills, personal values and ethical awareness
- Reflection – Monitoring self-awareness and decision-making through the completion of a Portfolio
- Independence – Encouragement of self-directed learning
There is a formally taught knowledge stream supported by self-directed learning elements designed to encourage the application of medical sciences to clinical problems. A major component of the clinical context will be provided by a customised series of patient-based tutorials running throughout the entire course.
Clinical experience will be offered in the form of patient contact through primary care initiatives, local family interviews and GP attachments. There will be a programme of clinical skills training throughout the course.
Modules are taught through a combination of:
- Laboratory-based practicals
- Small group tutorials
- Clinical attachments
- Audio-visual capture system for training and feedback on clinical skills
- Computer-based resources
- Research projects
The St Andrews medical degree programme is six years long. Students graduate from St Andrews after 3 years with a BSc (Hons) Medicine then progress to to a partner clinical school to gain the MB ChB, the primary medical qualification. Partner schools currently include all other Scottish Universities, the University of Manchester, and Barts & The London. In summary, the course focuses on providing students with the scientific knowledge required to excel in the later years of clinical medicine. Anatomy, for instance, is something which the department really excels at. We are one of the few remaining universities that still offer full body dissection.
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- Jonathan Gibb
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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!