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The medicine course at Oxford is a traditional six-year programme divided into 3 pre-clinical years (after which students receive a BA degree in medical science) and then 3 clinical years (after which students receive an BM, BCh degree).
The preclinical year incorporate lectures, tutorials and practicals. In the first five terms students are taught the fundamentals of medical science, how the body functions and the mechanisms of disease. In the remaining four terms, students undertake a research project to develop research skills and critical scientific thinking skills, alongside studying two of the follow modules: neurobiology, developmental biology, cardiovascular biology and pharmacology, metabolism and respiration, infection or immunity.
During the last three clinical years students begin their clinical education. The fourth year focuses on developing the basic, core clinical skills and knowledge and includes placements in GPs, hospitals and undertaking a special study module. In the fifth year, students expand their clinical knowledge through placements across a variety of specialist placements in paediatrics, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynaecology, orthopaedics, etc. The final year focuses on consolidation of clinical skills and aids students in preparing for their future role a Foundation doctor. This year also includes senior rotations in medicine and surgery in Oxford and other District General hospitals, special study modules and a chance to undertake an elective to explore Medicine in the wider world.
Hi! I’m Aaron, a second year Medical Student at the University of Oxford. I suppose my journey into Medicine formally began with work experience at the end of secondary school at a local GP surgery. I remember some of my earliest patient interactions in this setting fondly and I believe they’ll stay with me throughout my career. Subsequently, placements in a radiology department and volunteering in a care home, confirmed my ambition to study medicine. While the application to medical school can feel protracted and, on occasion, never-ending, I firmly believe the experiences I gained during it will profoundly shape my practice as a doctor when I finally qualify. Therefore, I’d encourage you to view gaining work experience as a fantastic opportunity to gain real insight into the medical profession, rather than a hoop to be jumped through on the journey to medical school.
I applied to Oxford University following encouragement, and inspiration, from my A-level tutors and, much to my surprise, a mere 12 months, a BMAT and UCAT exam and 4 A-levels later, I arrived in Oxford. Oxford University has a global reputation for its academic rigour and high-quality teaching, yet, despite the lofty expectations I had for it, it surpassed everyone. While the course has limited patient exposure in the first 3 years, the opportunity to really grapple with the science underpinning medicine establishes a strong foundation for the clinical years. Despite the obvious restrictions imposed by Covid19, I’ve enjoyed all the things Oxford has to offer including the balls, excellent range of talks and debates, sports opportunities and indulging in the history Oxford has to offer.
There are plenty of opportunities to further you academic interests and I was fortunate to participate in a primary care initiative in my first year to provide support to vulnerable patients during the pandemic. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first two years in Oxford and am happy to help should you have further questions.
-by Aaron, a second year Medical Student at the University of Oxford
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