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Birmingham offer a five-year medical course that combines both problem-based learning and traditional teaching methods (lectures, small group teaching, etc.). You receive teaching from clinicians, academics and researchers meaning students gain a well-rounded broad perspective of medicine. The clinical education at Birmingham hones important skills in communication, professionalism and compassion in its students in order to shape well-equipped, ethical future doctors.
The first two years are spent learning the biological knowledge that underlies each system of the body alongside pathology and therapeutics. You also learn psychology, sociology of health and illness, population health and ethics. Anatomy is delivered through prosections and small-group teaching. You also receive initial patient contact experience through some community placement days early on in the course.
In the third year, placements in the hospital environment begin. Now you begin to develop your clinical skills for example in physical examination and history-taking. You also expand your knowledge of presentation of disease and diagnostic reasoning.
In the final two years, you have clinical placements across a range of medical and surgical specialties including neurology, cardiology, orthopaedic surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, oncology, psychiatry, etc. During these years (year 3-5) you also work with a senior academic tutor who will act as a mentor through your clinical education.
Birmingham also offers an intercalation year to study into an area of your own interest and obtain a Bachelor’s degree. This can involve lab research or community-based research to get a chance to enhance research skills and experience. In the fourth year students undertake an elective either in the UK or abroad which can involve carrying out clinical research or exploring medicine in different countries/cultures.
Hello! My name is Haniya, and I am a second year medical student at the University of Birmingham. Although I am originally from Pakistan, I spent the majority of my formative schooling in Singapore.
Applying to medical school in the UK was a hard yet fulfilling process once I finally got in! Even though it was a lot of hard work, through multiple personal statement drafts, work experience and interviews, I can now say it was truly worth all of the effort. One strong piece of advice I would give to aspiring medical applicants is hard work and consistency. It might seem impossible now, but never give up on your goals.
The University of Birmingham medical school is a perfect fit for me, with the various research opportunities, vast variety of sports and societies available to me. Many people have the misconception that all medical students do is study. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I believe it’s equally important to maintain a good work-life balance and gain the most out of your university experience.
Although my experience studying medicine has been slightly different, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I can still easily say I have thoroughly enjoyed the last two years studying medicine and meeting new people.
-by Haniya, currently studying medicine in England, at the University of Birmingham, UK.
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