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Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry


This programme is divided into three phases (cores):

  • Phase 1 - Body in Health (Year 1 and Year 2), Mechanisms of Disease (Year 1 and Year 2)
  • Phase 2 - Clinical Basis of Medicine (Year 3 and Year 4)
  • Phase 3 - Preparation for Practice (Year 5)

The programme has been designed to provide students with the medical knowledge, clinical skills and professional attitude that are required to become a competent and safe FY1 Doctor. The curriculum closely follows the recommendations set out in Tomorrow's Doctors (General Medical Council: September 2009). The curriculum is taught in a series of modules which are based on BODY SYSTEMS which, in turn, encompass various scientific and medical THEMES. Each system is visited a minimum of three times during the programme.

Phase 1 A100 (Years 1 and 2)

Phase 1 is taught via a series of systems-based modules which introduce the basic biological sciences and address key topics including normal biological structure and function of cells, organs and body systems; the effect of illness on people and their families and the impact of environmental and social factors on health. Students take five systems-based modules and three student selected components (SSCs) each year. Students form an effective and mutually supportive community which encourages collaborative learning through a programme of Problem Based Learning scenarios (PBLs), which involve groups of 8-10 students and a facilitator working together to tackle a problem presented as a clinical scenario. In addition, learning is facilitated by a programme of lectures, workshops and other group activities. Regular patient contact is a key feature of these early years.

Phase 2 A100 (Years 3 and 4)

Students regularly return to the medical school for teaching weeks and assessments as well as being introduced to clinical medicine through a series of placements in our associate teaching hospitals. Their knowledge and clinical skills are enhanced by working alongside clinical teams both in the hospital and also within community placements. This enables them to expand and apply the knowledge and skills acquired during Phase 1.
Students may visit some or all of these hospitals during their clinical years:

  • The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel
  • St Bartholomew's Hospital, West Smithfield, London
  • Whipps Cross University Hospital, Leytonstone, London
  • Newham University Hospital, Newham, London
  • Homerton University Hospital, Homerton, London
  • Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, Essex
  • Southend University Hospital, Southend, Essex
  • Colchester Hospital, Colchester, Essex
  • The Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, Essex
  • Queen's Hospital, Romford, London
  • King George Hospital, Romford, London

All students complete three SSCs a year, which are based around clinical scenarios, patient interviews and history taking and associated issues surrounding their chosen patient.

Phase 3 A100 (Year 5)

The final year of the programme provides students with clinical and community placements, practical skills and first-hand experience of the working life of a first year Foundation Year (FY1) doctor. Students are placed in the hospital and firm where they will be based for their FY1 training. During this time, they shadow the current FY1 doctor. Community placements include GP surgeries. Students complete their SSC programme, which may include spending time in a specialty not previously experienced or may allow them to gain a deeper understanding in an area that already interests them.

Throughout the year, students return to the medical school for a teaching programme; in addition, there are individual sessions in communication skills teaching and simulated patient scenarios.

Students also complete their Intermediate Life Support qualification.
On successful completion of final examinations, students complete a four-week elective and this is followed by a further four-week hospital placement shadowing the FY1 doctor they will be replacing following graduation.

Student Selected Components (SSCs)

There are 13 separate SSCs spread across the five years of the MB BS, comprising around 20 per cent of the total programme. Some are carried out in blocks, lasting from two to five weeks, while others run throughout the year. They are an integral part of the curriculum enabling students to demonstrate mandatory competences while allowing a degree of choice in studying an area of particular interest to them.

SSCs range from basic sciences (biochemistry, anatomy, physiology and pharmacology), to clinical specialities, community and public health, ethics and law as applied to medicine and understanding the importance of research in the development of medicine. You are encouraged to pursue any area related to medicine or medical sciences that has particularly interested you. Students are also encouraged to organise their own SSCs.


One of the most interesting areas of the programme is the elective period in your final year, in which you will spend time studying one or more topics in the UK or abroad. This is a vital and challenging aspect of the programme enabling you to gain experience invaluable to your future career and personal development.

Postgraduate Foundation Training and Beyond

At the end of the undergraduate programme you will receive your MBBS (or equivalent) degree, which is a primary medical qualification (PMQ). Holding a PMQ entitles you to provisional registration with the General Medical Council, subject only to its acceptance that there are no Fitness to Practise concerns that need consideration. Provisional registration is time limited to a maximum of three years and 30 days (1125 days in total). After this time period your provisional registration will normally expire.

Provisionally registered doctors can only practise in approved Foundation Year 1 posts: the law does not allow provisionally registered doctors to undertake any other type of work. To obtain a Foundation Year 1 post you will need to apply during the final year of your undergraduate programme through the UK Foundation Programme Office selection scheme, which allocates these posts to graduates on a competitive basis. All suitably qualified UK graduates have found a place on the Foundation Year 1 programme, but this cannot be guaranteed, for instance if there were to be an increased number of competitive applications.

Successful completion of the Foundation Year 1 programme is normally achieved within 12 months and is marked by the award of a Certificate of Experience. You will then be eligible to apply for full registration with the General Medical Council. You need full registration with a licence to practise for unsupervised medical practice in the NHS or private practice in the UK.

Although this information is currently correct, students need to be aware that regulations in this area may change from time to time.

There is some discussion about whether to remove provisional registration for newly qualified doctors. If this happens then UK graduates will receive full registration as soon as they have successfully completed an MBBS (or equivalent) degree. It should be noted that it is very likely that UK graduates will still need to apply for a training programme similar to the current Foundation Programme and that places on this programme may not be guaranteed for every UK graduate.

The GMC is currently considering the introduction of a formal assessment that UK medical graduates would need to pass in order to be granted registration with a licence to practise. Although no final decision has been taken as to whether or when such an exam will be introduced applicants should be aware that the GMC envisages that future cohorts of medical students may need to pass parts of a medical licensing assessment before the GMC will grant them registration with a licence to practise.

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