Med school in the UK?

Discussion in 'General International Discussion' started by brontehardyeliot, Jun 21, 2002.

  1. brontehardyeliot

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    I was wondering how difficult it is for Americans to get into medical schools in England. From what I've seen of some of the English med school Web sites, very few foreign students are accepted to most classes. Are there some English schools that tend to accept more overseas students? Are there some that tend to accept more mature students? Are the requirements similar to those for students applying to the six-year programs in Ireland (i.e., no MCAT or prerequisites ) or do the English schools have specific prerequisites? Are the one-year house officer positions in England difficult to obtain after graduation? Any information would be sincerely appreciated, even if all you can do is point me in a particular direction. I've been trying to research this myself and have come up against something of a brick wall due to my lack of familiarity with the grading system in England and other policies pertaining to med school there. Thanks!
     
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  3. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    I looked into this myself and had a hard time finding information. There are only a handful of graduate entry programs into medicine in England. Of these, most seem to want only students from the UK. Oxford has 7 spots for foreign students, but I think these are mainly intended for students from less developed countries, although it is still possible to get in as a U.S. student. However, you must have a bioscience degree or chemistry degree. Cambridge and St. George's only take U.K./E.U. students. I don't think they require MCATs, but Oxford has an exam you must take that tests your abilities. It can be taken in the states if you arrange for it. Other schools may have a similar exam. That's about all I found out and have decided not to apply due to the hurdles of being a foreign medical grad. Good luck!
     
  4. leorl

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    I think you may have asked something like this before. It is very difficult for American foreign students to apply to UK except for certain schools, and they do not accept many international students. In England itself, only 4 schools offer a graduate entry program, and those spots are severely limited, as the previous poster said. However, a Canadian on these boards recently got into Cambridge, although I am not sure if this is for the normal 6 yr. program, or for a fast-track program. As to my knowledge...I do not think there is any school particularly amenable to international students in medicine. Graduate programs are another story, but medicine...very rarely.

    I would say their requirements are more rigorous than the Irish ones. (Keep in mind that the UK encompasses Northern Ireland, and Queens University in Belfast may be one of the schools that welcome foreign students/americans).

    As the above poster said, they don't require MCAT...but do require you to take their own separate entry test. I didn't apply because I was under the impression that we had to fly over to take this test, which was wrong....you can make provisions to take it at your school. However, you may have to fly over for your interview.

    Here's the thing...while we can attend medical school elsewhere, getting internship and house-officer positions may be very difficult for Americans to get, because like in the US, they have a duty to serve their native student population first. While it is not impossible, the chances are not very likely, and you must be a superb student. Now particularly in the UK since they are facing a doctor shortage, I do not know how lax this policy has become. IF you do choose to practice medicine in the UK, i'd say go for it...but always keep in the back of your mind that it may not happen. I will likely be looking into this option further on in my med ed, as I wouldn't mind living in the UK for awhile <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> .

    However, the hurdles are such an inconvenience right now that I decided not to apply to the UK schools, as I don't like England as a country very much anyway, and think the living expenses there are too expensive. So I might content myself to try to do an elective/rotation at Cambridge (I've got friends there so can use it as an excuse for a 4-8 week visit :) ).
     
  5. brontehardyeliot

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    Thanks for your posts and the information. Sounds like if I do pursue this, it's going to be one big pain in the butt. :( And, yes, I had asked a similar question about studying and practicing in the UK (preferrably England, although I'd be open to Wales and maybe Scotland) before, but I had pretty much given up on the idea. It just seemed like too much trouble. Then I was reinspired when I heard about the Canadian student you mentioned being accepted at Cambridge, so I did some research and was hoping I might be able to find out a little more here on the boards now that I understand a teeny bit more about the whole process (I stress "teeny"). <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> I know it's probably a longshot, but I think I'll keep digging and see what I can find; maybe contact an admissions tutor or two from some of the schools. I'd even be willing to forget the possibility of getting into one of the graduate-entry programs and go for one of the longer ones instead, mainly because I've known I wanted to live in England for an even longer time than I've known I wanted to be a doctor. :) Thanks again to you both. :)
     
  6. The Pill Counter

    The Pill Counter Senior Member
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    Firstly, you wouldn't be able to apply till the 2003 class. Secondly, it's pretty much a waste of your time. Speaking of Queen's University Belfast, they take their foreign contigent mainly from Southeast Asia (I've checked in the past). Unless you're a stellar student to make them stand up and notice, there's not much hope, and if you were, you wouldn't have a problem at home. Try Dundee(5yr) or Warwick (4yr grad), I once spoke to the Admissions Officers there, they were looking for a min. 3.4 or so. They're probably you're best shot.
     
  7. geezer

    geezer Member
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    Hi

    I am a UK medical student and this is my take on your predicament. UK medical schools do take foreign students however applications for these spots tend to ve very competitive due to the number of very good students applying from the indian subcontinent, south east asia and africa. The number of places available differs for the different schools but in general I would estimate that this would not be more that approximately 20-25 out of an intake of 200-300.

    Entry criteria again varies between schools however I believe that MCAT's are not taken into consideration. I believe that the majority of schools will require US applicants to have completed a degree with significant chemistry content. This will be the case even for the non-graduate entry courses. By the way the non graduate courses take 5 years to complete rather than the 6 years which some people have stated. The exception is oxford/cambridge (5.5 years). If you do train in the UK, you will be guaranteed a house officer post here. Anyway, I would suggest that you should write to the admissions tutors for 10/15 shchools which you may be interested in applying to. Present them with details about your education (courses, grades, etc) and see what their response is.

    Remember that in the UK students can apply to a maximum of 4 schools. If you fail to be accepted, you will have to wait one year before reapplying. Application deadline is in october so get your skates on if you want to apply for 2003 entry. Additionally, majorit of schools only consider students under age of 30, maybe 35.

    Hope this has been of some help
     
  8. FionaS

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    Finally, I get my password sorted out. Hi Geezer BTW <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    To answer the classical authors person:

    Most med schools in the UK don't care what you got in MCAT. What they will look at are the grades you got on leaving school (yes they will go back that far) - you must have some sort of national test in the US which is equivalent to our A levels (sorry, my knowledge of the US system is about on par with your knowledge of the UK system!). If you are a grad, which I assume you are, you will need a 2:1 or better, preferably in a science degree (a scinece major?). You can get in with a non science degree, but it is much more difficult.

    Med schools in the UK are undergoing a huge expansion at the moment. This means that many more places are coming on line, while med school applications are not rising at the same rate, so the competition is *slightly* less fierce. There are new med schools opening (2 this year, and another 1 at least that I know about next year). These are probably a good bet (and can't be considered 2nd class, since all med schools have to teach roughly the same syllabus, and med degrees in the UK are not classified ie you pass/fail).

    To apply to med school, you go via UCAS (the website is probably <a href="http://www.ucas.com," target="_blank">www.ucas.com,</a> but do a google search - Univeristy and Colleges Admission Service I think). They will send you a form, or let you fill it out electronically, and they then send you apllication to your chosen med schools. You are only alowed to aplly to 4 med schools per cycle. You are too late for the 2002 cycle (although you could try, again via UCAS, but it would be virtually impossible - I wouldn't bother). The deadline for applications (for entry into med school in Oct 2003) is 15th October 2002, so you have a little time.

    There are 5 year and 4 year courses, with what is effectively a compulsory PRHO year to get your full registration with the GMC. All medical degrees in the UK are undergrad courses. The 5 year courses primarily are designed for school leavers with no previous degree, although there are plenty of grads to be found. The 4 year courses are relatively new, and only grads can do these, usually only biosciences grads. Again, 4 year courses are expanding - I know Cambridge, Oxford, Birmingham, SGHMS (London), Leicester/Warick all do 4 year courses as from 2003. There are more (Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle etc who I think are doing them but I'm not sure - you would need to check their websites).

    There are Americans and Canadians to be found, and lots of Aussies, so it is do-able. Most foreign students are from in the EU and Asia, but by no means all.

    As for PRHO jobs, this is guaranteed after graduation, so that won't be a problem. With the current shortage of doctors, you basically have your pick if you are a good candidate, and you are assured a job even in you're just average (although it may not be where you wanted to be).

    As for the UK grading system - Year 13 is school leaver, ie 18 year olds, also known as Upper Sixth. They will have all taken A levels up to 2001, and after that A2 levels (the system has changed).

    In the old A level system, you did 3 (sometimes 4, General Studies doesn't count as a real A level) A levels. Requirements for medicine were AAB/ABB at A level, usually with the A in Chmeistry, though not always. 2 sciences at A level (usually Chem and Bio) were required, plus one other A level which had to be academically rigorous (ie not Art or Media Systems... - rule of thumb is 60% assessed by final exam). I did my A levels in 2000 and got AAAA (in Chem, Bio, Physics and Gen Studies) and I also did an AS level (= 1/2 A level) in Maths, which I also got an A in. Those are quite high grades, but by no means unusual.

    The new A2 level system is still settling down, so half the universities don't know what they are doing, but the theory is that the government decided we weren't broad enough in our education so everyone has to do more subjects in the Sixth form (yrs 12 and 13). They have to do AS levels after year 12, some of which are taken on to full A levels (aka A2s) thefollowing year. It sounds the same, but it isn't, and I am so glad I didn't have to do it!!

    Anyway, sorry if you knew all of that and I sound really patronising, but I hope this is helpful.

    And that ends my opus!!
     
  9. FionaS

    FionaS Kitty sitting
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    Yes me again - just thought I'd post a few things:

    Birminham's 4 year course (obviusly I'm biased as this is my med school!)
    <a href="http://www.undergraduate.bham.ac.uk/programmes/medgrad.htm" target="_blank">www.undergraduate.bham.ac.uk/programmes/medgrad.htm</a>

    UCAS website for admissions
    <a href="http://www.ucas.com" target="_blank">www.ucas.com</a>

    Newcastle's 4 year course
    <a href="http://www.newcastle.ac.uk/undergraduate/course.phtml?ucas_code=med" target="_blank">www.newcastle.ac.uk/undergraduate/course.phtml?ucas_code=med</a>

    Barts and the London (part of Queen Mary & Westfield in London)
    weww.mds.qmw.ac.uk/courses/gep.shtml

    Leicester Warwick Med School
    <a href="http://www.lwms.ac.uk" target="_blank">www.lwms.ac.uk</a>

    Personally I think you would have a much better chance at getting in on a 5 year course, because there are many more places for them. Any other Q's, feel free to ask.

    Oh yeah, and check out:
    <a href="http://microbios2.mds.qmw.ac.uk/vbul/" target="_blank">http://microbios2.mds.qmw.ac.uk/vbul/</a>

    That is esentially the UK equivalent of this place.
     
  10. brontehardyeliot

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    Thank you! <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" /> It still doesn't sound like it's going to be anything but difficult for me to do this, but in many ways I'm encouraged. I think that the rough equivalent of an English school leaver is an American high school graduate, and if they go back that far, I should be in a great position; as far as class rankings for grades went, I was first in a class of more than 600. As for my university degree, it's in English, so I'm not sure how that will fit into the picture, although my grades there were very good, too. I'm also glad that people who go to med school in the UK can actually be pretty sure of being allowed to stay there. One of the things that I wasn't too happy about in applying to Irish schools is that there seems to be a scarcity of those house officer positions (I think that's what they're called) after graduation and that your best bet is to come back to America, which I didn't really want to do if I decided to take the plunge and move overseas. I'm going to go ahead and start emailing some of the admissions offices of schools I'm interested in to see what I might still be lacking academically. It'll give me a better feel for the schools, too, and probably be a huge help in deciding which four I'm going to try to apply to. Thanks to all of you for your help, and I'll be sure to check out those Web sites, FionaS.
     
  11. brontehardyeliot

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    Oh, and from what I've read so far, I do agree with what a few of you have mentioned -- that I would probably be better off applying to a five-year program instead of going for one of the post-graduate programs due to the fewer positions in those programs and, probably, to my English rather than science degree. We'll see what the admissions tutors say. :)
     
  12. leorl

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    GOOD LUCK BRONTE :)
     
  13. First of all if you are serious about study in the UK you should contact the British Council. The British Council in the US is at <a href="http://www.britishcouncil-usa.org/" target="_blank">http://www.britishcouncil-usa.org/</a> They will provide you with all the application forms for UCAS etc and give you guidance.

    Certain Medical Schools in the UK only accept students from countries that don't have their own Medical Schools - they include: Aberdeen; Edinburgh; Glasgow; Liverpool; Imperial College, London; Royal Free, London; St Bartholomew's and the Royal London, London; St George's, London; United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St Thomas's, London; University College, London; Manchester; St Andrews, Southampton; University of Wales.

    The following take students from any country: Belfast; Birmingham; Bristol; Dundee; Leeds; Leicester; King's College, London; Newcastle; Nottingham; Oxford; Sheffield.

    (NB: I got this list from the British Council last year so it may not be up-to-date).

    I applied to the UK for Med schools this year and the process is fairly painless - but picking the right schools is crucial, since you can only apply to a max of 4 through UCAS. Btw, I was applying for the regular 5 year MB, ChB courses and not the accelerated 4 year courses so I've no experience of them. Beware a lot of the 4 year courses are using the GAMSAT as part of the admissions process now and you are only interviewed if you get over a certain score - so this may involve two trips to the UK. The Admissions Offices in most schools would probably be flexible about the interviews - I met one girl from Australia at my interview in Dundee and she was being interviewed by 3 schools in one week!!

    You should also take a look at the following board for more info on the UK admissions process: <a href="http://microbios2.mds.qmw.ac.uk/association/stud-assoc/forum_admissions.html" target="_blank">http://microbios2.mds.qmw.ac.uk/association/stud-assoc/forum_admissions.html</a>

    It is hosted at a London Med school so its slanted towards London/English Med schools but there is life outside London!!!

    Best of luck :)
     
  14. geezer

    geezer Member
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    Bronte,

    The info given by Trinners is not strictly correct (not meaning to be rude mate!!). It is true that some schools may at one time have had preference for students from countries where medical education is non-existent/limited however from my experience, this info is out of date. The British Council may still give out this info but if I were you, I would contact all universities I was interested in applying to directly and enquire about this from the admissions tutor.

    The reason I say this is because my university definately considers students from US, Canada etc even though it is on Trinner's list as not accepting students from these countries. I am heavily involved in interview days and I have come across many applicants from Canada, plus a few from US. I would suggest that you deal directly with the universities, and with UCAS (the application service) rather through a third party such as the British Council. As you stated earlier, you will also get more of a feel for the individual schools when you are in direct contact with them. I certainly found this to be very valuable when I applied.
     
  15. geezer: I completely agree...talking to the Admissions people directly is probably the best way to proceed.

    Bronte...make sure you get your UCAS form submitted as early as possible. The deadline is 15 October but they will accept them from the beginning of Sept.

    Best of luck :)
     
  16. The Pill Counter

    The Pill Counter Senior Member
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    I spoke to most admissions officers last year, and the majority said they did favour students from underdeveloped nations who could not access a medical education in their home country. I'm sure a few Canadians and Americans sneak in. By the way Dr. Skidmore told me the same thing geezer, so Southampton definitely will prefer the candidate from the third world over a North American one.
     
  17. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    Hmmm... seems strange a Canadian was accepted to Cambridge. I looked into their 4 year program, and it said on their website they will not take anyone outside of the U.K (except maybe people from the E.U. or from less developed countries... can't remember). Whatever it said, I immediately crossed Cambridge off my list. Maybe Canadians are treated differently from Americans b/c they are in the Commonwealth??
    BronteHardyEliot, I definitely think the 5 year option would be better for you since you were an English major. From what I gathered, the 4 year programs (there are very few) are for students who majored in a bioscience. If you don't mind going for 5 years, why not look into the Irish schools? They seem a little more friendly toward North American applicants.
     
  18. geezer

    geezer Member
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    I know that some school's state on their web sites that they prefer international students from countries where oportunities for medical education is limited but this should really not put you off.

    As I have stated earlier, interested applicants should make direct contact with the admissions tutors of schools they are considering regardless of what the website says. From my experience, schools are always prepared to consider students if they have an excellent academic record plus a history which demonstrates a strong desire to study medicine regardless of where they are from (note that in the UK, extracurricular activities in health care areas and the student's ability to demonstrate insight into a doctors working life is equally as important as grades for gaining a place at med school). The important thing is to get your name known to them and make them know how keen you are to attend their school.

    I'm not sure exactly what Dr Skidmore may have said to you Pill Counter, however the only point I am trying to make is that if you are interested, then don't be put off!!! go for it.
     
  19. The Pill Counter

    The Pill Counter Senior Member
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    I understand the point you're making geezer, except the fact that the academic record most English schools require is equal to or greater than what is competitive in North America. It is by no way an easy alternative. Some schools won't even consider students who don't have English qualifications. My North American degree was insufficient for Manchester and Liverpool, both demanded degrees from English Universities.
     
  20. geezer

    geezer Member
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    I accept your point however Bronte mentions that she is considering applying to schools in the UK not because it will be easier for her, but because she would like to live in this country for a while, and possibly even practice medicine here. I should also say that I do not think that north american medics are disadvantaged when applying to UK for jobs.
     
  21. brontehardyeliot

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    Well, last night I finally finished the email I was working on to send to the English medical schools--one that explained the basic details of my academic background and asked them whether they thought I had the proper qualifications to apply, etc. I've sent it to nearly every school in England, although immediately after I did so, I wished I had sent an actual letter instead. It would have been more professional. Oh well. Too late now. I'll keep you posted as to what they say.

    And you're exactly right as to why I'm applying to school in England, Geezer. I definitely want to live and practice there eventually. I realize that the English schools are probably what most people would call "reach" schools for me, but I'm fully prepared to apply other places if I'm rejected. Maybe I can still try to get a job in England after finishing training in the U.S. if I can't go to school there. I'm still going to try to get into an English med school if I can though. :)
     
  22. A letter will take ages to get to the UK and you won't get a reply for ages as well. An email is perfectly acceptable these days.

    Let us know what kind of response you get. I applied to Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen and Liverpool this year (as an EU student) and I'd be more than happy to give you more info about any of those schools...

    Best of luck :)
     
  23. brontehardyeliot

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    Well, I've gotten two responses so far. The University of East Anglia said that because they were such a new school, they were only allowed to take applications from students from the UK or from countries in the EU. The admissions officer was very nice though; she sent me links to a few Web sites and encouraged me to try more schools. Manchester was also very polite, but they said that they only accept applications from overseas students who come from countries that do not have medical schools. I'm disappointed of course, but those were only two of the many I asked, so I'm still very hopeful that at least a few will be willing to accept an application from me. :)

    The hardest thing was breaking the news to my husband. He's a big Manchester United fan, and I know he really wanted me to apply to Manchester. Still, both of us would really be happy to get the chance to live anywhere in England.

    Trinners, I haven't decided whether or not to try applying to Scottish schools yet, but I would definitely be interested in hearing more about Liverpool.
     
  24. Don't rule out the Scotish schools - particularly Dundee. I met a good few non-EU graduates when I was up there. Dundee has an excellent reputation - key-hole surgery was pioneered there by Professor Sir Alfred Cuschieri and Professor Sir David Lane in the Department of Biochemistry has an international reputation particularly in the area of cancer research (the p53 gene).

    Liverpool is another excellent medical school. The curriculum in Liverpool is very different to many of the other med schools in the UK or Ireland. I have two friends there who have just finished their first year. Practically all the teaching is by small group PBL (problem based learning) facilitated by a member of the academic staff. There is huge emphasis on clinical skills and examination by OSCEs (objective structured clinical examinations). Gross anatomy is no longer taught using dissection - prosections (properly dissected specimens) have replaced the need for dissection of cadavers. Students also enter the hospitals from day 1 in second year. As you can imagine Liverpool is a popular medical school and the student social life (which is an integral part of medical student life in the UK and Ireland) is excellent at Liverpool.

    Hope this helps.
     
  25. castaway

    castaway Senior Member
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    Hey Bronte--

    Sorry to digress, but what about our Texas schools? If you can get into an English school, I am sure you'd make it right here.

    Just couldn't resist saying this to a fellow Texan.
     
  26. brontehardyeliot

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    Thanks for the information on Liverpool, Trinners. At your suggestion, I did a little more research on the Scottish schools, and they do sound pretty interesting. I liked Glasgow and Dundee especially. I think I'm going to go ahead and email them, too.

    And I know what you mean about the Texas schools, Castaway. Actually, I went in to see my premed advisor at UT-Austin this past Monday, and when I mentioned my idea about going to medical school abroad, she said, "Well, you know you can always get a great education here and Texas, and it'll be a lot cheaper." My GPA is excellent, and as long as I keep that up and do okay on the MCAT, I'm sure I could get into at least one of the Texas schools. From a logical standpoint--just looking at finances, the ease of applying, not having to worry about quarantining my pets--Texas is the way to go. I really just want to apply to schools in the UK because I'd like to experience something different, and I've wanted to live in England since I was a little girl. What I'll probably be doing when application time comes around is applying to four schools in the UK, the four in Ireland, most of the Texas schools, and maybe a few in other areas in the U.S. depending on how competitive my application is. My real challenge will be making the decision of whether or not to pay all that extra money if I do actually get in both abroad and in Texas. :) If only Oxford would let me in unconditionally and with a full scholarship so my problem would be solved. :) Honestly though, if I got in anywhere in England and could afford to go, even if I would be scraping by, I'd do it. I just really want to go.
     
  27. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Bronte, welcome to the club :) Most of us pursuing med ed in Ireland or AUS are going for that exact reason. Most of us can get into a US school probably without much problem. But we want something different, something new, explore the world a bit, get integrated into a different culture and see varying viewpoints. This is the time to do it! Make the most of it, and good luck :) If you do go UK, I'll visit :) . I want to do a rotation or two at cambridge
     
  28. Hey Leorl - is that the Cambridge Elective Scheme? I've looked into that before and it seems you have to be in Final Med and it lasts for 8 weeks so you couldn't really do it *during* your final year at Trinity anyways.

    Can you do it in the Summer after 5th Med? Any idea how competitive it is to get a place - after all it IS Cambridge!

    Cheers :)
     
  29. Bronte - I was accepted to Glasgow and it was my backup if I didn't get a place in Ireland. Glasgow is a brilliant city. You might have some preconceptions that Glasgow is a dirty/industrial city and indeed it was in the past but vigorous urban rejuvination after the past 10 years has transformed the city and its a great place to live and study in now. The actual university is ancient (over 550 years old) and has a fantastic campus with gothic buildings and quads.

    There's admissions stats on the Glasgow website for overseas applicants which you might want to take a look at:
    <a href="http://www.gla.ac.uk/faculties/medicine/admissions/1998stats.html" target="_blank">http://www.gla.ac.uk/faculties/medicine/admissions/1998stats.html</a>
    They are from 1997/1998 though but it will give you an indication of the number of applicants.

    Like Liverpool they use PBL teaching and have an innovative curriculum.
     
  30. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Trinners, I actually haven't looked at that! I will do so! But might wait a while until they tell us what we can and can't do for rotations/electives. IF so, maybe summer of 5th year would be doable??? we'll see! But definitely an option to keep open!
     
  31. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I know I've asked before, but what is that Bart's something site that's like the UK version of SDN?

    Thanks!
     
  32. Hey Leorl - the discussion forum at Barts and the London is at:
    <a href="http://microbios2.mds.qmw.ac.uk/vbul/" target="_blank">http://microbios2.mds.qmw.ac.uk/vbul/</a>
     
  33. Clipper

    Clipper Junior Member
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    Bronte,

    I?m a Canadian student who just went through the medical school application process to the UK during the last cycle. I was accepted by Cambridge and will be starting there this October (Leorl mentioned me in a previous post). Like you, I was also disheartened when I read about the quotas for international applicants?.but don?t be discouraged coz you never know until you try. Since you have always wanted to live in England?.I say go for it!!! From my experience, I felt the British applications were the easiest out of the American and Canadian applications I filled out (they don?t require as many essays!!!). I applied to Cambridge, Oxford, Warwick and King?s. Although they don?t require the MCAT?s, Cambridge and Oxford had their own individual entrance exams (you don?t have to go to England to write these exams?you can arrange it to be written at your undergrad university). Since you did mention you are an English major, you may want to brush up on your Bio, Chem, and Physics since these tests do require your knowledge of these subjects at the 1st year university level (If you are studying for the MCAT, that should be preparation enough).

    There are quite a few schools that offer a 4 year graduate entry program, but as far as I know, they all require you to have a bioscience degree. Therefore, your English degree may not make you eligible to apply for the grad entry programs. However, since you are a university graduate, you still may be able to shave off a year of medical school. I know at Cambridge in the regular medical entry program, you are awarded a BA degree with your MB BChir degree. Of the five and a half years of medical school, one year is spent earning that BA. Therefore, if you already have a Bachelor?s degree, you can skip that extra year. That is what I will be doing. Since I am an international student with a B.Sc in Human Biology, I was unable to apply for Cambridge?s 4 year grad entry program (they only accept home or EU students). However, in the regular entry program, I will be able to skip that extra year and complete my medical degree in four and a half years.

    If you have any questions regarding the application process or the schools, I will be glad to help.

    Clipper
     
  34. brontehardyeliot

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    Well, there have been no new replies to the original emails I sent out to the UK medical schools, but I'm trying to be patient. I did receive prospectuses from Leicester and Birmingham though, so I was pleased to have gotten some kind of response. :)

    Clipper, congratulations on your acceptance to Cambridge! <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" /> Thanks for the encouragement, too. And now I'm going to hit you with a barrage of questions. (sorry) At what point in the application process did you sit for the Oxford and Cambridge exams? I mean, do you submit your UCAS application and then wait a few months before taking the exams, or do you take them around the same time you submit the application? Also, do you know if the other two schools you applied to had specific course requirements (i.e., you must have taken a year of bio, a year of general chemistry, etc.) since they don't have actual entrance exams? And finally, has finding financial aid been a problem? That's the thing I've honestly been worried about most. With the Irish schools at least, you have the Atlantic Bridge program to help you arrange a lot of the financial issues, but I haven't found any equivalent programs for overseas students applying to the UK.

    Sorry for all the questions, but as you can probably imagine, I'm eager to get whatever information I can. Thanks!
     
  35. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    So, have you decided on Cambridge then? It sounds ok to do it in 4.5 years, but are you concerned that you will be much more mature than the other students? That would be my main concern. I may send in an app for Oxford just for the hell of it! My boyfriend is Irish, so I think he'd be happy if I went to school in the U.K. or Ireland (probably won't go to Ireland since it's 5 years). Did you have any luck with the other schools?
     
  36. UK medical schools are very keen on mature/graduate applicants. According to the Guardian rankings, depending on the school, there's anywhere from 10-30% of each class who are "mature". From people I've talked to who are doing medicine as their second degree it's not an issue being in a class of school-leavers.

    Same goes for the time issue- 4 years, 4.5 years, 5 years...what's the hurry?
     
  37. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    the hurry is that i'll be almost 28 when i start med school, assuming i get in. i worry about having kids much past my mid-30's. i know, i know... 1 year is not much. however, i have already completed 4 years of undergraduate education as well as a 2 year master's program. if i went to a 5 year program, that would be 11 years of post-secondary school, and i wouldn't finish a primary care residency until i'm almost 36. yikes <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" />
     
  38. Yikes, I hear ya! And I thought I'd be old at 29 when I finish medical school! Having said all that, I'm glad of the "scenic" route I've taken into medicine...
     
  39. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    although the 4.5 years thing doesn't sound too bad. then i could take some time off to travel before starting a residency <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> too bad it's probably really hard to get in...
     
  40. brontehardyeliot

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    Actually, Lola, I'm in the same boat as you. I'll be 28 (possibly 29) before I even start med school. In my case, it's for the best though. I really didn't have the confidence to be a doctor when I was in my early twenties.

    I just thought of some other other questions that those of you attending UK and Irish med schools might be able to help me with. I know that American med schools look for certain things: good grades, good MCAT scores, being a well-rounded person, motivation, participation in a variety of extracurricular activities (preferrably with some leadership experience), clinical experience (whether volunteer or work), possibly research in some field. The list is not all inclusive of course, but it hits many of the major points. With the exception of MCAT scores, do UK and Irish schools look for basically the same things? Are there other activities or experiences that UK and Irish schools look for in an applicant?
     
  41. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by brontehardyeliot:
    In my case, it's for the best though. I really didn't have the confidence to be a doctor when I was in my early twenties. </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I feel exactly the same way! I certainly was not mature enough nor did I have the self confidence to train to be a physician in my early twenties. In fact, sometimes I still wonder if I'd make a better nurse than a doctor. Even though I know I'm capable, I don't always come across as the most self-assured person. But hey, I figure with time that will come. I know the older I get the more self-assured I become.

    That's cool you're looking into UK programs. I went to King's College London for my junior year, and it was a wonderful experience. I even had a chance to shadow doctors in their hospital for 3 weeks at the end of the term. I loved living in England and will hopefully get a chance to do so again sometime!
     
  42. brontehardyeliot

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    Well, Leeds and Liverpool have emailed me back and said that I couldn't apply. But GKT, Sheffield, and Oxford have emailed me back and said I could! :) GKT and Sheffield strongly suggested that I apply for their six-year programs, which I'd be willing to consider; they both did say that completing the necessary prerequisites in the US would be possible, but neither admissions tutor was able to give me much guidance as to what exactly I'd need to take. They suggested that it would be best for me to send in my transcripts and have them evaluated to see if I had the proper science courses. Oxford, on the other hand, told me that I'd basically need to complete the equivalent of the first year's worth of college courses in chemistry and at least one other science or math. The Oxford admissions tutor did not mention their entrance exam, which seemed odd to me, but there were several links in her email which she wanted me to look at, so it might be mentioned in one of those. At any rate, that's now three schools who have said yes, so I'm definitely applying. I plan on waiting till next year to do so. By the summer of next year, I'll have some more volunteer work under my belt, and I'll have completed the proper chemistry and biology courses for Oxford. I'll probably send my transcripts to the other schools then and see whether or not I can apply for their five-year or courses or should still stick with their six-year courses. Then when September rolls around, I'll apply.

    The most interesting thing is that because I don't have to worry about the MCAT, I'll actually be applying to the UK schools a year before I'd be able to apply to the American ones. So if I get admitted to a five-year program, I really won't be losing a year. I'll graduate in 2009, just like I would from an American school. That goes for Oxford, too; the admissions tutor told me that the program would only take me five years since I have a degree, even if it isn't in the sciences. :D

    Oh, I am very, very happy and encouraged. At least I'll get the chance to apply. I'm still waiting from answers from a few schools, particularly Newcastle and Leicester, but I'm glad to have a little more direction now.

    Oh, and Lola--it's funny that you should mention nursing. I've actually been a nursing major! I changed my mind though; it just wasn't right for me. And I think a lot of the self-assurance doctors have comes with good training and experience, so I wouldn't worry about that. :)
     
  43. Clipper

    Clipper Junior Member
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    Bronte,

    The entrance exams for both Cambridge and Oxford were written fairly early in the application process. If I remember correctly, the Cambridge, Oxford and UCAS applications were due by the 15th of October and the entrance exams were written in early November (All the forms you need to set up your entrance exams were included in the initial application). The interviews were done in mid December and offers of acceptance were mailed out in early January. The good thing about both Oxford and Cambridge is that you get to find out about the outcome of your application by January?which is fairly early compared to medical schools in North America.

    As for prerequisite requirements, I believe all medical schools have some sort of requirements in Bio, Chem, Physics, or Maths even if they do or do not have a specific entrance exam. They may vary from university to university. However, these requirements are generalized to those students under the British education system. Therefore, you should contact the individual schools and discuss your specific qualifications and find out if you are eligible. Don?t worry these requirements are usually very basic? usually at the high school level or at the most 1st year university since the British can enter medical school right out of high school. As for myself, I had no problems with the prerequisite requirements since my degree was in Human Biology. However at Warwick, since I applied to their 4 year graduate program, they did require me to submit a detailed list of topics I had studied in Genetics, Biochemistry, Cell Biology and Molecular Biology. Fortunately, I qualified these requirements.

    Financing my education has also been my biggest worry. As an international student, the fees are quite high?probably the same as attending a private or out of state school in the US. I haven?t found any programs such as Atlantic Bridge that may be of aid with financial issues. However, depending on the school, they will most likely have a few scholarship programs specifically for international students. From my experience, Cambridge has 2 such programs, the Gates Scholarship and the Cambridge Overseas Trust. There are also a few other bursary programs that automatically consider you depending on your financial need. Another option is to get a bank loan. I know from experience that it is quite easy to obtain a bank loan for a substantial amount as a medical student. I hate getting into more debt since I am still paying off my 1st degree. But hopefully earning that doctor?s salary that I have heard so much about will make it a little easier!!

    Hope this helps,

    Clipper
     
  44. raj2002

    raj2002 Senior Member
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    hey you lot heads up!:)
    things are changing in the UK application-wise and the upper age limits are getting shifted up.
    so if you've got doubts about applying to UK med schools in your twenties or thirties (or even forties) then write to them directly.
    For instance several quote age 40 as a 'cut-off' point nowadays for a feasible application, whiles others consider those above this age.
    Agreed as a mature you have to work with only a set quota of places at any school, which does not help your cause particularly - but avenues are definitely beiing opened age-wise.
     
  45. brontehardyeliot

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    Another "Yes, you can apply." :clap: This one was from Newcastle. That makes an even four. Just wanted to keep people posted in case there are other people out there considering applying to UK schools as overseas students. Also, like Sheffield and GKT, Newcastle strongly suggested I apply to their foundation year, although (like the others) they said that I could submit my transcripts for evaluation before applying to see if I had taken enough classes to go straight into their five-year program.
     
  46. raj2002

    raj2002 Senior Member
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    anyone wanting to check out an English med school might wanna check out Georges ...on tv!

    its on television in the uk at 11-30 tonite! ITV.

    Got that? You might decide to apply for medicine after it...
     
  47. brontehardyeliot

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    Hi again, everyone. Now that I've got some of the basics of this situation of applying in the UK ironed out, I've been looking at financing, which raises an important question. Can anyone tell me about how much doctors make in the UK? And I promise that I'm not being greedy. :) I know that if I practiced in the UK, I would probably make less than I would in the US, but that difference in salary is worth it to me to be able to live where I want to live. I don't want to be rich. I do want to be financially stable though. What I am concerned about is if I do go to school in England (or Scotland or Northern Ireland or even the Republic of Ireland for that matter), I'm going to build up a debt of roughly $100,000, and that's a modest estimate. If I stay in the UK to practice, do you think I'll have trouble paying that kind of debt off? I ask mainly because the books I've read about British medical school debt talk about approximately $23,000 (15,000 pounds) being an alarming amount of debt for a British student, so that makes $100,000 seem downright impossible to handle. If I really want to live and practice in England eventually, would I be better off going to one of my state schools here in Texas, which would make my debt load MUCH smaller, and then trying to move to England?

    Now I've babbled on forever. Sorry. I'm just struggling with this a lot. Any info you can give about doctors salaries in the UK (I know they differ widely depending on specialty, etc., but just some general ideas) and whether a $100,000 seems feasible debt load for a doctor would be sincerely appreciated.
     
  48. Salary scales for the UK:
    http://www.bmjcareers.com/cgi-bin/section.pl?sn=salary

    Salary scales for Ireland (Junior doctors ie. non-consultant):
    http://www.imo.ie/view_categories.php?cat_id=251

    These are the official salary scales and don't include income from private practice or whatever.

    brontehardyeliot: if you are interested in the UK (and Irish to a certain extent) postgraduate medical career structure I suggest you buy "So you want to be a brain surgeon?" by Ward & Eccles (2nd Ed) - it's well worth the money....
     
  49. brontehardyeliot

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    Thanks, Trinners! I'll definitely see about getting that book. I have bought a few books on UK med schools (I've had difficulty finding ones about the Irish schools), and one of the books, Learning Medicine, did talk some about the postgraduate training structure, but I was still rather confused after reading it. :) And thanks for the Web addresses.
     
  50. FionaS

    FionaS Kitty sitting
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    Don't forget that we have a completely different funding system here - until just a few years ago you paid no tuition fees at all and were given a grant of a couple of thousand pounds (not loads, but still free money!) to go to Uni - it was possble though not easy to graduate with no debt at all...

    Needless to say this is no longer the case, we now have to take out loans etc and pay them back (The Student Loan Company - very cheap but I'm not sure they do non UK students). Anyway, in a nutshell there's still all sorts of phsycholigical readjusting going on - I expect to graduate about 20000 pounds in debt, maybe less, but I don't find that too spectacular. We do look on breathless and wonder how anyone affords to go to uni when we see what they charge you in the US!!

    BHE - If you still have Qs about the postgrad structure, ask and I'll try to clarify.

    As for salaries, they do tend to look alarmingly low on the official scales, and being a doctor in the UK is not high paid compared to the training we do etc, but neither are we dirt poor! A pre reg house officer (first year after graduation) will be guaranteed about 18000 pounds minimum. Then you get extra hours thrown in etc, and you end up with about 30k pounds. Not a clue what that is in dollars, have to find a currency converter. Of course you have to remember that you will NEVER not have a job (unless you're positively a danger to patients ;) ) so loans will be paid off even if it takes a while. Meanwhile with banks you just have to mention the M word and they fall over themselves to give you money - I've had experience of this.

    So You Want To Be a Brain Surgeon? is an excellent book, I've got it and check up on it fairly regularly. The Insider's Guide to Medical Schools (BMJ Publishing) is also good (not to be confused with the US variety) - it lists each med school and does a spiel about them - each entry is writen by someone at the med school.
     
  51. Thewonderer

    Thewonderer Senior Member
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    Hi FionaS,
    So how much does a doctor make after seeing private pts?
    30k pounds is roughly the equivalent of 30k US dollars since the cost of living is higher in UK than in the US.
    And is it true that surgeons in UK don't like to be called Dr.? Instead, they like to be called Mr.? I heard that there were some bitterness between the surgeons and the physicians in the past; hence the difference in the terms they like to call themselves by.
     

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