Published on September 4, 2023
Reading Time: 5 min
University of Cambridge Medical School
Overview of the University of Cambridge Medical School
The University of Cambridge Medical School offers one of the few medical programmes which is completely split into pre-clinical and clinical medicine. Teaching of the preclinical part of the course is in the historic city centre of Cambridge. The clinical part of the course is all over East Anglia, although the main hub is in Cambridge itself.
As expected, the Cambridge medical course is more scientific and thus great for those interested in research. Essays are another unique part of the Cambridge experience. The ethos behind this is to promote comprehensive understanding of the content rather than just learning of facts.
Academic Requirements for University of Cambridge Medical School
|A-Level||A*A*A||A level might need to be in Chemistry and one of Biology, Physics or Mathematics (requirements may vary from college to college)|
|IB||40-42 Points, with 776 at Higher Level|
In 2017, 2018 and 2019 the majority of entrants from an A level background achieved at least A*A*A (77% of entrants). All of these successful applicants took Chemistry, 98% took Mathematics and 97% took Biology. The majority of IB entrants achieved at least 44 points overall and/or grades 777 at Higher Level.
Access Course/Foundation Course Offered:
Graduate Entry Offered:
Graduate Entry at Cambridge Medical School
The Graduate Entry course is only open to those who are ‘home’ students rather than international. Applicants must have:
● A good honours degree (2.1 or above)
● Passes at A Level (successful applicants typically have at least AAA). Chemistry is a requirement, alongside one of Biology, Maths or Physics
● BMAT Exam
Not all colleges accept the Graduate-entry Medicine so double check online.
How many places are there for home and international students at Cambridge Medical School?
There are only 22 places available each year for overseas students. The total number of places is 271.
UCAT or BMAT for Cambridge Medical School
The BMAT Exam is a prerequisite. This is used in a holistic way along with other aspects of the application process e.g. the interview and predicted grades. The UCAT is not needed for Cambridge for 2024 entry, but this is subject to change.
5 is an average score, 6 is a good score and 7 as an excellent score. 6’s in Section 1 and Section 2 would be competitive when making an application. However, you can also receive an interview invite with a lower score.
N.B. The BMAT is changing as of 2024/5, so keep an eye out for news with updates on this.
Life as a Medical Student at the University of Cambridge
The first two years of preclinical studies are quite intense. During the week, you will have lectures and practicals from 9am-5pm. In the evening, you will often have small group teaching sessions where you will go over essays, practical questions or other general queries that you have. The rest of the evening is free for doing what you decide. That could be chilling with friends, attending a society event or consolidating on work.
In third year where students intercalate the number of contact hours you have wil reduce. This means you have more time for independent study and more free time generally. This is a good time to get involved with other parts of University outside of your course.
Years four to six are much more like a 9-5 job where you will be in hospitals/GP for teaching and shadowing. However it is then on you to decide how you utlilise the time outside of this.
Cambridge Medical School Ranking
It’s important to keep in mind that university rankings are subjective and can be based on different criteria. Rankings can be a factor when deciding which medical schools you apply for, but make sure to have a holistic approach when making your decisions and consider which universities you would thrive in the most.
Additionally no matter what medical school you go to, you’ll have the same degree at the end and you’ll all be doctors. So it goes without saying that rankings aren’t that important for medicine.
Cambridge Medicine Course Structure and Teaching Style
The University of Cambridge uses a traditional teaching style and the course is 6 years long. This involves splitting the teaching into pre-clinical and clinical. In the first two years students learn the biomedical sciences which underpin Medicine. In third year students complete an intercalated degree. Then from Years four to six students enter the clinical school to gain hands-on medical skills in various medical settings.
There are pros and cons to this system so it’s important to think about what you want from a medical course and what you think optimally suits your style of learning.
Cambridge offers full body dissection in the first year as part of the Anatomy teaching. The Clinical School from Years four to six is all around East Anglia and is not only kept in Cambridge.
Small group teaching is a large part of the teaching in college. This involves 3-4 students and one academic. These sessions will often involve going over essays, some practical questions or discussing topics that are being taught at the time.
Another key part of the first two years is essay writing. The ethos behind this is promoting a broader understanding of topics and drawing links between topics. This can be difficult at the start but with the number of practice essays you will be writing you pick up the skills pretty quickly. It’s definitely not something to worry about as it will be brand new for all of the students on the course.
University of Cambridge Medical School Fees
The current fee status for home students is £9,250 per annum. For international students, this figure is £63,990 per annum. There are numerous bursaries and scholarships offered by the University and also by individual colleges. See the relevant websites for more detail.
Cambridge Medicine Interview Style
The interview style consists of multiple panel interviews at the same college. The exact number of interviews and the number of people on the panel will vary from college to college. Most colleges now perform these on Zoom. Around 70% of students that apply are invited to interview, mostly based on their BMAT scores.
The interviews tend to be scientific in nature and test one’s ability to cope with the teaching style employed in the first two years of pre-clinical studies. The interviewers will often start with a concept covered at A-Level and gradually add layers of complexity to the given topic. They may use something you have mentioned in your personal statement or Supplementary Additional Questionnaire (SAQ) to begin the discussion. Some colleges may also include some more clinically oriented questions which you would be more likely to find in an MMI interview.
There were 7 applications per place for 2022 entry.
Intercalated Degree at Cambridge Medical School
A required intercalated degree is something that few medical schools have, one of them being Cambridge. Most students choose to pick a natural science (e.g. physiology, pharmacology or psychology etc.) to explore in more detail. However there is also an option to switch out of the sciences for a year and do a humanities topic that the University offers for one year (e.g. Human Social and Political Sciences, Theology or Philosophy). Switching to some courses will require a test or potentially be longer than one year but the range of subjects on offer is definitely a unique selling point.
The myth that Oxbridge students don’t have time to socialise is definitely false. There are clubs and societies in your college and also at the level of the University. This means there is lots to get involved with, no matter what level of experience you are at!