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Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry

Overview

Why study at Barts and The London?

Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry brings together two venerable teaching institutions: St Bartholomew’s Hospital, which dates back to 1123, and The London Hospital Medical College, which was the first purpose-built medical school in England and Wales, founded in 1785, the oldest medical school in England and Wales. The hospitals lie in two very different parts of London, the City and the East End, exposing you to a greater diversity of people and their health problems than at almost any other medical and dental school in the UK.

You will be taught by experts in their field who are passionately engaged with their subject. The programme places considerable emphasis on developing your expertise in a whole range of practical areas, including clinical, communication, observation, team work and management skills.

We have also completely eliminated the traditional divide between pre-clinical studies and clinical years, which means that you will start seeing patients from the very first term.

If you have not already achieved a degree prior to entry, you will have the opportunity (subject to your academic performance) to take an extra year of studies leading to a Bachelor of Science (BSc). Known as an intercalated degree, this may give you a greater choice of career opportunities.

We have modern state-of-the-art buildings alongside more traditional facilities, such as our fantastic library. A major redevelopment of the Royal London Hospital is complete and includes London’s leading trauma and emergency care centre, one of Europe’s largest renal services and one of the UK’s biggest paediatric services.

We pride ourselves on being a friendly School, with excellent staff-student relationships.
Our students are very sociable and committed to the local community through voluntary work and Rag Week – renowned for astounding fundraising feats! There are lots of clubs and societies, and a student association just for medical and dental students.

Medicine

Studying medicine is about much more than just getting your MBBS degree and becoming a doctor. Medicine is a vocation and a way of life. It’s about thinking of others and putting your patients first. It’s a challenging and demanding course – you’ll have lots of work to do and plenty to learn, but you’ll find it highly rewarding. There’s great variety in terms of your workplaces, the patients and illnesses you’ll encounter and the people you’ll work alongside. One of the most important skills you’ll need to develop is teamwork and the ability to communicate well with colleagues, patients and relatives.

Medicine is a tough profession: people who are unwell are not always easy to handle – they may, understandably, be scared or irritable. But you won’t find many doctors who regret their choice of career. With all its challenges, the thrill of being a doctor never leaves you: medicine is exciting and stimulating, and diagnosing and recommending treatments and helping others is intrinsically rewarding.

The five year programme leading to Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery is designed to give you appropriate knowledge and understanding of medical, scientific and clinical principles so that you are able to apply them to the prevention, cure and alleviation of disease.

Key features of the curriculum include:

  • Practical approach – you study integrated modules relating to the body systems, for example cardiovascular, respiratory etc.
  • Early clinical experience – you will meet your first patient in your first term.
  • Wide-ranging clinical experience in our hospitals in London and the South East – from Year 3, you will undertake a range of clinical and GP attachments.
  • Emphasis on communication skills throughout the programme.
  • Wide choice of Student Selected Components each year where you can follow your own interests, for example: Basic Sciences (Anatomy, Physiology, Pharmacology), to clinical specialisms, community and public health, ethics and law. Many students organise their own SSC’s in an area of Medicine or Medical Science that interests them.
  • An element of Problem-Based Learning (PBL).
  • Staff are available to ensure you are supported throughout the programme.

Learning and teaching

With support from tutors, you are encouraged to develop an independent attitude to learning. This approach prepares you well for life as a qualified doctor. The teaching methods ensure that you can understand the principles of medicine and apply your knowledge in the same way when treating a patient. Important features of our teaching include:

  • Lectures
  • Problem-Based Learning (PBL) – this is a central element of the medical curriculum. It is an active way of learning that teaches students problem solving skills and teamwork while at the same time allowing them to acquire basic knowledge.
  • Practical sessions – these take place in our laboratories, IT labs, clinical skills labs and/or wards.
  • Communication skills – we provide practical training in interviewing techniques with special sessions devoted to communication between doctors or dentists and their patients.
  • Project work will bring you in to contact with the local community.
  • E-learning – this allows you to have access to a large amount of teaching material via ‘the university online environment – an intranet-based facility. You can revisit lectures and review other teaching materials at your convenience.

A new campus for medical students is planned for 2019. The site will be a part of the King George Hospital in Ilford. Students may be required to visit the campus for teaching over the duration of the course.

Assessment

The pattern of assessment is a combination of continuous assessment and regular examinations throughout the programme, with final exams each year. A scheme of merits and distinctions rewards excellent or outstanding performance across each sector of the curriculum. There is also a comprehensive scheme of prizes to recognise special ability both in the main examinations and in specialist subjects.

  • Continuous assessment provides you with regular opportunities to consolidate your learning. You can monitor your own progress and teaching staff can identify students who may need additional help with their studies. Continuous assessment takes many forms: short in-course examinations, written accounts of problems or cases studied, poster or clinical or other presentations, log-books, work-books, direct observation or clinical firm grades. This approach results in less end of year cramming and examination stress for students.
  • End-of-year examinations measure progression through the core curriculum and use a range of innovative assessment methods. Written papers test knowledge and its application to problem solving with extended matching questions, short answer and modified essay questions, often used in conjunction with clinical scenarios. In addition, computer-based exams for anatomy, histology and data interpretation are used in the first two phases of the programme.
  • Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) are used from the first year of the programme to assess competence in clinical, communication and practical skills. Students move through a series of stations, where they have a specific time to perform a task with a real or simulated patient or a mannequin.
  • Formative assessment workshops (where scores do not count) and informal feedback in small group teaching sessions help you develop your knowledge, personal and group skills throughout the programme.
  • Assessment of Student Selected Components, (SSCs,) are assessed individually on a simple grading system, which build into a portfolio covering many aspects of medicine. They must be successfully completed at the end of each year in order to progress to the next year and can help inform the award of merit in other parts of the programme.

Student support

We have a highly developed network for pastoral and academic support.
This network is a vital resource for medical students, who take much of the responsibility for their own learning during their challenging courses. At every stage you will receive support from staff who are experienced in helping and advising students.

For detailed information about the support we offer visit our student support web page.

Medical Licensing Assessment

The General Medical Council (GMC) has decided to introduce a Medical Licensing Assessment (the MLA) from 2022 to demonstrate that those who obtain registration with a licence to practise medicine in the UK meet a common threshold for safe practice. Applicants should be aware that to obtain registration with a licence to practise, medical students will need to pass both parts of the MLA, pass university finals and demonstrate their fitness to practise. The MLA will be in two parts: there will be a knowledge test, which will be set and run by the GMC, and an assessment, delivered by medical schools, that will evaluate students’ clinical and professional skills.