Study Medicine (MBBS) in UK

The medical profession is one of society's most valuable assets, so it’s no surprise that medical degrees are long and all-consuming
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study medicine in uk

The medical and health line has been a popular choice. So much so that some of the world’s first universities were medical schools turned into universities as there’s always a high need for doctors. 

Medicine course in the UK is one of the best options. The admission to medical schools in the UK is very competitive and most international students must first follow Medical Foundation Course of one year.

Studying medicine in the UK is organized by many schools as a 6-year program for medicine and 5-year program for dentistry and pharmacy. Graduate entry medicine programs are available for graduate students dreaming to become Doctors.

What is Medicine all about?

Medicine is the field of health and healing. It is one of the major roots for health & medicine sector. Health is tightly related to doctors, nurses, and various other specialists. 

Medicine covers diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease and unfit medical conditions, medical research, and many other areas of health. 

Conventional modern medicine is also referred to as allopathic medicine. This involves the use of drugs and surgery supported by lifestyle measures and counselling.

The complementary and alternative types of medicine include herbal medicine, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, art therapy, etc. 

The study of pre-clinical medicine and clinical medicine will teach you the many facets of a human body, how to diagnose and treat diseases.

You will spend five years in university - four if you only count the graduate course - then you’ll be able to work with patients. But, it will take many further years of training to become a specialist in a particular branch of medicine. 

What are the specialisations in Medicine?

careers for mbbs

Training to become a doctor in the UK is one of the long education training and may take 10 or more years to become a specialist or General Practitioner

Specialising requires a strong commitment from the doctor, as they will need it to continue living and breathing their respective fields for the rest of their career.

Here are the popular specialisations in the UK:

1. Ophthalmology (Eye)
With one of the highest rates of myopia in the world and a greying population in the UK, surgical procedures such as LASIK and the removal of cataracts are fast gaining prominence. 

2. ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat)
Similar to their eye doctor counterparts, otolaryngologists also enjoy mostly regular working hours. As the ears, nose and throat are all connected to the respiratory, ENT doctors tend to dabble in a little bit of all the other specialisations, making it a challenging and rewarding field.

3. Dermatology
With the constant humidity and the occasional haze, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy-looking complexion. Besides the regular office hours, dermatologists also get to try the latest state of the art skin treatments on themselves.

4. Obstetrics and Gynaecology (OBG)
The OBG doctor seeks to improve women’s health and aids in conceiving and maternity care. Beyond that, the real joy and satisfaction of the job come from delivering precious lives into the world and witnessing parents’ joy as they cradle their new-born babies.

5. Paediatrics
Perfect for those who once had dreams of becoming a teacher or childcare teacher, paediatrics combines medicine with the joy of working with children and young people. 

6. General Surgery
General surgery is the combination of all other specialisations and it hardly gets more hands-on than this. Although the hours can be horrible and constant surgeries can get very stressful, the cases they handle are vast in variety and interesting – ensuring they never fall into a routine and get bored.

What kind of subjects are taught in Medical course?

The subjects that you come across will vary, depending on the specialisation that you take in the major. 

A glimpse of subjects that are offered in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) in Sheffield University

Phase 1 (Year 1)

  • Introduction to Medical Studies and Medical Sciences
  • Introductory clinical competencies
  • Systems based learning and teaching (Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Gastrointestinal and Liver, Musculo-skeletal, Skin, Nervous, Genitourinary, Endocrine, Reproductive, Haematology, Immunology)
  • Integrated Clinical Demonstrations
  • Multi Professional Experience
  • Early Years General Practice Placement
  • Community Attachment Scheme
  • Public Health and Population Health Science
  • Medical Ethics
  • Personal and Professional Development
  • Student Selected Components (SSCs)

Phase 2 (Year 2)

  • Research Project
  • Early Years General Practice Placement
  • Clinical Attachments 
  • SSCs
  • Clinical Medical Sciences
  • Clinical Skills

Phase 3 (Year 3 & 4)

  • Clinical Team Attachments
  • Child Health
  • Women's Health
  • Mental Health
  • SSCs (including Community-based and an Elective)
  • Medical Sciences
  • Acute Clinical Care
  • Continuing Clinical Care
  • Community and Public Health
  • Specialty Clinical Attachments
  • Further SSCs including Medical Audit

Phase 4 (Year 5)

  • Final Preparation for becoming a Junior Doctor
  • LICP2 and LICP3
  • Student assistantship

Year 5

  • Medicine Student Internship Programme
  • Surgery Student Internship Programme
  • Paediatrics Student Internship Programme
  • Geriatric Medicine Student Internship Programme
  • Orthopaedic Surgery Student Internship Programme
  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Clinical Skills and Life Support Training
  • Electives

What are the skills and characteristics needed for Health & Medicine course?

Medicine degree suits those who are ready to make a long-term commitment to become a doctor. Check the following qualities before you decide on taking this course to ensure that you’re prepared:

1. Ability to work under pressure
Working as a doctor, you cannot afford to make mistakes as it can cost you your career, and maybe even your freedom. Therefore, doctors in general, are under a great deal of pressure on a daily basis and get paid a huge salary as a result.

2. Analysis of varied types of information
Diagnosing a patient involves understanding the symptoms exhibited and putting them together to understand what is wrong with the patient. The doctor may then treat the patient. 

3. Communication and interpersonal skills
In order to interact with patients and the general public, doctors must have excellent people skills. This includes being able to explain difficult subject matter while displaying empathy and compassion when dealing with patients. 

4. Integrity
Today, the role of a doctor is at risk of being reduced to doing what his/ her patient demands. The autonomy of the patient trumps all. A doctor must be able to maintain their integrity and conscience and refuse to participate in care that they reasonably believe to be harmful to the patient.

5. Attention to detail
If you have ever watched the television show "E.R.", you’ll notice the incredible amount of detail that doctors pay attention to while simultaneously enduring a great deal of pressure. Did we mention the ability to work under pressure is one key trait of becoming a doctor?

What are the best medical schools in the  UK? 

The table below showcases the top universities in the UK for their Health & Medicine course, according to the Guardian:

Ranking

University

1

University of Cambridge

2

Oxford University

3

St. Andrews University

4

Loughborough University

5

Durham University

6

University of Bath

7

Imperial College London

8

University of Warwick

9

Lancaster University

10

University of Leeds

Also read: 

What is the career outlook for MBBS graduates from the UK like?

As mentioned previously, the career opportunity for this major is great and can always be found across industries and sectors. 

Here are some of the career options that you can consider as a graduate:

  • Doctor
  • Nurse
  • Midwifery
  • Medical research and development
  • Paramedics
  • Emergency medical
  • Paediatrician
  • Physician
  • Medical teacher
  • Clinical forensic medical examiner 
  • Therapist
  • Surgeon
  • Anaesthetist
  • Chiropractor
  • Obstetrician 
  • Psychiatrist

The wage that you will make while working in this field in the UK is comparatively high, but it is not the same across, depending on the occupation.

The below table showcases the different types of jobs that a graduate from Health & Medicine in the UK and the expected salary according to PayScale:

Occupation

Estimated Salary

Doctor

 

£75,000 - 12,000 per year

Nurse

£23,000 - 60,000 per year

Midwifery

£23,000 - 40,000 per year

Medical researcher

£50,000 - 70,000 per year

Paediatrician

£80,000 - 105,000 per year

Surgeon

£90,000 - 400,000 per year

How long is the duration of studies for Medicine degree in the UK?

The duration of studies will depend on the level of studies that is taken. 

Bachelor’s Degree

5-6 years

Master’s Degree

1-4 years

What are the medical school's entry requirements in the UK?

Each university has different entry requirements and the list below does not generalise the entry requirement of universities in the UK as a whole. 

Undergraduate

STPM

AAA, A1 in all three subjects and all remaining subjects at A2

English

IELTS (minimum 7.5 overall), TOEFL (minimum 650 or 112) 

A Level

AAA in either Biology or Chemistry

IGCSE

Grade B in both English and Mathematics

International Baccalaureate Diploma

35 points

Additional pre-requisite

Pass UCAT Test

Postgraduate

Bachelor’s Degree

Good results

Working experience

Min. 6 months (vary on the universities)

English

IELTS (minimum 7.5 overall), TOEFL (minimum 650 or 112)

Additional prerequisites

Pass interview (for some universities)

Supporting documents

Recommendation letter, updated CV 

How much is the cost of studying Medicine in UK for international students?

There is a different variant to tuition fees in the UK, depending on the course and university that is chosen. 

The estimated tuition fee per year for Health & Medicine course in the top universities in the UK can be seen here:

Programme

Estimated Fees (per year)

Bachelor’s Degree (except Nursing)

£ 20,000 - 40,000

Bachelor’s Degree (Nursing)

£ 9,000 - 15,000

Master’s Degree

£ 7,000 - 13,000

The fee above only covers the tuition fee and not other additional fees nor living expenses. 

Living expenses of students in the UK depend on the location of the university and the city that you live in.


FAQ

1. What’s the difference between MBBS vs MD?

MBBS stands for Bachelor of Medicine-Bachelor of Surgery, while MD stands for Doctor of Medicine. 

MBBS is an undergraduate study, the first degree that a professional in medicine must take. It’s meant to train students in all fields of medicine.

MD is a Master’s/ Postgraduate degree that you can take only after you complete MBBS degree successfully. MD is an advanced academic degree in the field of medical, similar to a PhD. 

2. How long does housemanship last?

Following successful completion of the medical degree, you are entitled to provisional registration by the Malaysian Medical Council. Upon the end of the service, you’re eligible for full registration in Malaysia.

As a Malaysian citizen, you’re required to undergo two years of compulsory service by the Ministry of Health. As for international students, you’re not allowed to do housemanship in Malaysia.  

3. Is the internship already included in the course?

Yes, an internship program is already embedded in the medicine study curriculum. 

4. Can I study Medicine (MBBS or MBChB) in the UK as a Malaysian student?

Yes, Malaysian students can study MBBS in the UK. However, getting admission in the UK Medical School is highly competitive and not many Malaysian students are able to get admission easily.

5. Can I practise Medicine in the UK as a Malaysian?

Yes, you can! Doctors qualifying from outside the UK may be eligible to apply directly for full registration if they hold an acceptable primary medical qualification and have completed a period of postgraduate clinical experience (internship)

For more information, read Information for Overseas Doctors.

6. Do I need a first-class degree to become a doctor?

No, although real academic evidence is important, hospitals are also looking for the right personalities and traits. Someone with a great personality and a second-class grade can have a higher chance than a first-class graduate with an inability to interact with people. 

7. When can I enrol to a university in the UK? 

If you’re interested to continue to study in the UK, the general admission will be different for each university.

For instance, King’s College London opens its intake in early August every year.

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