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UCL offer a six-year integrated-style medical course. UCL has three clinical campuses across which core medical education is delivered: Bloomsbury campus, Royal Free campus and Whittington campus. But clinical placements also take place in other nearby hospitals, GPs and other community-based healthcare settings.
The first two years take a system-based approach to learning the biomedical knowledge underlying medicine alongside some early exposure to the clinical environment. Students are educated in areas such as pathology, neuroscience, endocrinology, reproduction, circulation, metabolism, genetics as well as social sciences, etc.
The third year offers an integrated BSc programme (intercalation) in which you study in an field of interest to you. During this year your research knowledge and skills are enhanced and you are offered the chance to explore what a career in clinical research might be like.
The remaining three years of the course focus on expanding skills, knowledge and experience of clinical practice in a range of attachments at hospitals, GPs and other healthcare settings. Learning in the fourth year focuses on maximising developing core clinical skills and knowledge and further applying clinical context to the biomedical knowledge from the first two years. Clinical education in the fifth year focuses on the ‘life cycle’ of man with learning in specialties including: Paediatrics and Family health, Women’s and Men’s health, Psychiatry, Sexual health, Oncology and Palliative Care, etc. The sixth year focuses on consolidation of clinical understanding and experience and enhancement of the skills needed by a clinician (including proficient communication, professionalism self-reflection and patient-centred approaches to clinical scenarios).
In the final year, students take on assistantships in preparation for the future job as a Foundation Doctor. Student Selected Components (SSCs) are also offered throughout the duration of the course.
When applying for medical school there were several key considerations I made: location, teaching style and course structure, the option of intercalation, and the sense of community and belonging. UCL checked all the criteria for me.
Being in the heart of bustling London, I knew that it would not only allow me to form friendships with a diverse range of individuals and give me a multitude of fun things to do, but also give me access to world-renowned teaching hospitals (including University College Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital) and research facilities, enabling me to network with leading doctors and scientists.
The teaching style and course structure at UCL were also particularly appealing to me. Whilst it is a predominantly traditional course (with years 1 and 2 being pre-clinical, and years 4-6 being clinical) there are some clinical elements in the first two years. As I like a methodical approach to learning, this suits me well as I can build a sturdy foundation of science and then use this knowledge when approaching clinical scenarios. In addition to this, there are a wide variety of teaching methods, including lectures, labs and small group work, which keeps the course intellectually stimulating and helps to develop both my teamwork and independent study skills.
But, the feature of UCL that made it stand out from other medical schools was the strong sense of community. When I first joined, everyone was so welcoming I instantly felt at ease (despite being very nervous beforehand!). Not only are the staff members there to support you, but also the other medical students across all the different years. If you are struggling in any way, whether that be academically or personally, there will always be someone there who will listen to you and provide you with any advice or help they can.'
-by Allegra,currently studying medicine in the UK, at UCL
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