Welcome to the Medicine subject page at King’s! Here you will find an overview of Medicine at King’s, the Cambridge Medicine course, the people who teach and research in biomedical sciences at King’s, plus information about making an application.
- Medicine at King's
- The Medicine Tripos
- Fellows in Medical Sciences
- Applying to study Medicine
- Reading and resources
- A King's student perspective
- Further information
Medicine at King’s
Medicine at King’s has long been a strongly represented subject with a history of innovative teaching and research. The substantial number of teaching Fellows combined with a thriving graduate community make King’s a vibrant place for undergraduates committed to the study of Medicine.
We have strong teaching by King’s Fellows and other suitable supervisors who take weekly College supervisions in each subject. These are separate from the University lectures and practical classes and take place in groups of two to four students in the College. This gives undergraduates the opportunity of access to regular and personal academic support in all subjects.
King's College Library is available for use 24/7 and provides many pleasant spaces for students to work. It has all the medical books our students need, as well as bones, skulls and an articulated skeleton which Medicine students can use for reference while they are studying. See the virtual tour.
The College is at the heart of Cambridge and only a five minute walk from all the University lecture theatres and practical classrooms. King's can provide travel awards and help for students going on clinical electives. There are also funds for students wishing to pursue research projects in the vacation.
At King’s we admit about eight Medicine students a year so it is easy to mix with all the medical students, other students and Fellows. The medical students meet socially at the beginning of each term, for a yearly ‘Medics’ dinner and for a summer garden party. King’s organises lively seminars in Biology (two to three each term) in which all Fellows, graduate students and undergraduates are encouraged to participate.
The Medicine Tripos (Tripos = course)
The Cambridge Medicine Tripos starts with an intensive two-year pre-clinical course (Parts IA and IB) covering all aspects of basic science related to medicine. This provides students with a much stronger scientific training than is found in most other medical courses. It also means that if you are a student who is looking for immediate patient contact in a hospital setting, then the Cambridge course is not for you. But if you are excited by the science that underpins all medical disciplines you will relish the opportunities that Cambridge and King's offer.
Here is an outline of the first two years:
Part IA (first year)
- Physiology (Homeostasis) – Prof James Fawcett
- Biochemistry (Molecules in Medical Science) – Dr Jules Griffin / Dr Elizabeth Murchison
- Functional Anatomy of the Body – Dr Poppy Aldam
- Introduction to the Scientific Basis of Medicine - Dr Christopher Craggs
Part IB (Second year)
- Pathology (Biology of Disease) – Prof Ashley Moffett / Dr Francesco Colucci
- Pharmacology (Mechanisms of Drug Action) - Dr Saroj Velamakanni
- Human Reproduction - Dr Andrew Sharkey
- Neurobiology of Human Behaviour – Dr Sarah Crisp
The course then continues with a third year (Part II) in which each undergraduate chooses one subject to focus on in detail. Recent examples of courses taken by King’s students are Genetics, Neuroscience, History and Philosophy of Science, Japanese, History of Art and Pathology. This is a great strength of the Cambridge course as it allows students to work on projects in research labs, write detailed dissertations, or pursue a new interest that will complement their medical career.
Throughout the first three years there is also a ‘Preparing for Patients’ (PfP) course that allows students to interact with patients and develop clinical skills. See the Faculty of Biology website.
After the three year course: Clinical training
After three years, medical students graduate with a B.A. degree and then begin their clinical training at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge or at another clinical school. A further application is required to the clinical school during the third year and the clinical schools interview all candidates. There are enough clinical places at Cambridge for approximately half the pre-clinical students. Many welcome the chance to experience a different environment (London or Oxford) but others like the familiarity of Cambridge and the chance to stay at King’s for another three years. The clinical medical course leads to a degree of Bachelor of Medicine (M.B.) and Bachelor of Surgery (B.Chir.). There is also the possibility of combining the clinical course with a Ph.D. at Cambridge or elsewhere for students who wish to pursue a career in academic medicine (M.B./Ph.D. programme). For further details, see the School of Clinical Medicine website.
Fellows in Medical Sciences at King’s
The Directors of Studies are medically-trained doctors who have gone back into full-time medical research, so they are especially well placed to teach medical students.
Francesco Colucci (Director of Studies for Pre-Clinical Studies) is a University Reader at the Clinical School, where he runs a research lab studying how immune cells impact on reproduction, tumour growth and cell transplantation. He supervises Part IB Biology of Disease and lectures Part II Pathology, Immunology option.
Sarah Crisp (Director of Studies for Clinical Studies), combines work as a doctor at Addenbrooke's hospital with neuroscience research. She is particularly interested in how changes at synapses are orchestrated and relate to behaviour.
James Fawcett is Chairman of the Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair. If you are interested, there is information on the Centre for Brain Repair website about what brain repair involves and what the group does.
Other King’s Fellows also teach and research Biological and Medical subjects (and see further the subject page for Natural Sciences).
Jules Griffin, a University Lecturer in the department of Biochemistry, develops analytical chemistry approaches to monitor metabolism. He has a particular interest in diabetes, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, but is also involved in projects related to cancer and neurodegeneration. See his group’s website.
Barry Keverne uses molecular genetic techniques to examine brain development and function.
Elizabeth Murchison is a Research Fellow studying the genetics and evolution of clonally transmissible cancers. She works particularly on Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) and canine transmissible venereal tumour (CTVT), which are the only known naturally occurring tumours that are spread between individuals by the transfer of viable cancer cells.
Applying to study Medicine at King’s
To apply to study Medicine at King’s, you will need the curiosity, organisation and motivation to develop your abilities in the context of this demanding but exciting course.
Medicine has very strict entrance requirements laid down by the University which you should read carefully:
Beyond these, we have no preference for any particular school subjects but a good grounding in Biology can be helpful. Students who have done an Arts subject are not discouraged, neither are those who have not done Biology A level (or equivalent). We want you to choose subjects that interest you and are best suited to your talents.
Applicants for Medicine must register by 1 October 2013 to take the written Bio-Medical Admissions Test (BMAT). This test will be held in schools on 6 November 2013. The BMAT is not an entrance examination and we have no set requirements for the scores achieved. We look at each applicant's BMAT result in the context of their whole application including their educational record, school reference, written work and performance at interview.
The application process is explained on our how to apply page, which we advise candidates to read thoroughly.
Most applicants are asked to come to Cambridge for two interviews with four Fellows in total. We have no set expectations about your precise level of ability at interview and realise that applicants come from a wide range of schools and countries around the world. The special nature of the Cambridge medical course does mean that we want to explore whether students can tackle scientific problems logically and imaginatively.
In addition to interviews, candidates are set a short essay to write in the College Library while they are in King's. They will be asked to collect an essay title and to submit a handwritten essay an hour later. No specific preparation is required for this exercise and the work is to be completed without books.
We have no preference for or against applicants who wish to defer entry. But you should remember that because each College has a quota for medical students, we cannot hold too many places over for the following year. If you are keen to take a gap year, it may therefore be advisable to apply post A level (or equivalent), when you will also know your grades.
Reading and resources
- We provide general advice about developing your interests.
- Cambridge Medicine is heavily science-based. Students are expected to deal with and understand a lot of new concepts. To make a strong application, it is essential to work hard on your science / maths subjects at school and ensure that you have a thorough grounding in basic science.
- There is no required reading material for applicants, but you may find the reading suggestions useful.
- NRICH provides extension resources - see in particular bioNRICH and chemNRICH. If you are studying Maths at school, see curriculum links.
- The BMAT website includes preparation information and past papers if you would like to familiarise yourself with the test.
- Events which may be of interest in the year before you apply (year 12 in the UK) include Oxford and Cambridge Student Conferences, CU Masterclasses, CU Science Festival, and King's Open Days. Students from backgrounds where there is little tradition of entry to Higher Education might like to think about applying for Sutton Trust Summer Schools or the CUSU Shadowing Scheme.
A student perspective
At the end of her second year studying Medicine at King's, Anne wrote about her reasons for applying, her experiences of the first two years of the course, and the application process. This is well worth reading to get a sense of what being a King's medic is really like.
- Course outline and film
- Faculty information for prospective students
- After pre-clinical and clinical medicine:
- Applying with limited support or advice
- Extenuating Circumstances
- International Students
- If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to email King's Admissions Office.