King's medics at a pizza party
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 and what we are looking for.
- Medicine at King's
- The Cambridge Medicine Course
- King's student perspectives
- Fellows in Medical Sciences
- Applying to study Medicine
- What are we looking for?
- Reading, resources and events
- After Cambridge: careers
- 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. You can explore the library using 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.
There are lots of social events in College
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 also organises lively seminars in Biology (two to three each term) in which all Fellows, graduate students and undergraduates are encouraged to participate.
The Cambridge Medicine course
The Cambridge Medicine course lasts six years in total, divided into three years of pre-clinical studies followed by three years of clinical training.
In the first two years (called Parts IA and IB), students cover 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. If you are 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
- 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
Pre-clinical studies then continue with a third year (called Part II), in which each undergraduate chooses one subject to focus on in detail. 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. Recent examples of courses taken by King’s students are Genetics, Neuroscience, History and Philosophy of Science, Japanese, History of Art and Pathology.
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.
After three years: Clinical training
Medical students graduate with a B.A. degree after the three year pre-clinical course, and then begin their clinical studies at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. After a brief introduction, clinical training has three stages: Clinical Method; The Life Course, and Preparation for Practice. For further information, see the detailed clinical course content information. The clinical course leads to a degree of Bachelor of Medicine (M.B.) and Bachelor of Surgery (B.Chir.).
For students who wish to pursue a career in academic medicine (M.B./Ph.D. programme), there is also the possibility of combining the clinical course described above with a Ph.D. For details, see the M.B./Ph.D information.
King's student perspectives
Anne (pictured left) and Shedeh have written about their experiences of studying Medicine at King's, including their reasons for applying, what it was like starting the course, the balance of work and social activities, and the application process. These pieces are well worth reading to get a sense of what being a King's medic is really like.
Fellows in Medical Sciences at King’s
The King's 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 (see current research). 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. You might like to read the 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).
Anne Cooke runs an Immunology research lab on the regulation of autoimmune disease, in particular Type 1 diabetes (factors that influence development, and how Type 1 diabetes might be treated and prevented). The lab also works on tissue repair processes and how stem cells might be used to replace damaged tissue.
Jules Griffin is a University Lecturer in the department of Biochemistry. He 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.
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 to take the written Bio-Medical Admissions Test (BMAT). This test is held in schools in early November. 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 academics 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 the interviews, candidates are also set a short essay to write for an hour while they are in Cambridge. No specific preparation is required for this exercise, and the work is to be completed without books. Cambridge medical students are expected to write regular short essays for the course, so as well as giving you another opportunity to show how you tackle a question, we want to look at how you present your ideas in writing.
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.
What are we looking for?
Celebration: soaked medics on the riverbank after the end of exams
The most important criteria for prospective medical students are enthusiasm, dedication and potential, and we consider each case on an individual basis. Cambridge Medicine requires a strong interest in science and considerable commitment in terms of time and energy. But, as our many successful previous students will tell you, it is well worth the effort!
We will be interested in:
- your existing examination results which we consider carefully, taking into account your personal and educational background;
- your academic interests and motivation as explained in your UCAS personal statement and explored further in interviews;
- your school reference and predicted grades for any exams you have yet to take;
- your BMAT results, considered in the context of your whole application (we are not looking for specific scores);
- how you approach scientific questions designed to make you think in interviews - our interviewers will work closely with you to assess your suitability for the challenges of Cambridge Medicine;
- how you express your arguments in writing (see the information about the Medicine essay in the section above).
At King's, we are looking for promise and potential. So although existing and predicted grades form a central criterion for admissions, we are careful to interpret grades in light of your personal and educational background. We assess each application individually. We are interested to learn about your existing knowledge and skills, but we endeavour also to find out how you would deal with the new materials and ideas you would encounter at Cambridge.
Reading, resources and events
- 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:
- 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.
- Cambridge University Science Festival (10-23 March) - see the programme. Here are just a few of more than 250 events available:
- Behind the scenes at Cambridge University Hospitals
- CU Hospital lectures on medical research at Cambridge
- DNA, diseases and dilemmas: debating the use of bacterial and genome data in healthcare
- Health up my street
- Brains and building blocks
- Why cats make you sneeze: new research from immunology
- Virus wars: antibodies strike back
- The wonderful world of blood vessels
- Heart surgery theatre simulation: new tools for education
- Fat, fitness and metabolism...how you can take part in clinical research
- Dementia: what's needed now?
- Behind the scenes of cancer research
- Endoscopy: discovering interesting facts about our digestive tract!
- Antibody angling: discovery of new medicines using phage display
- Genes, brains and psychiatry
- Making medicines from A-Z
- GetSET - Find out what it is like to study science and technology subjects at Cambridge
After Cambridge: careers
- What do I have to do to become a doctor?
- The Foundation Programme
- General Medical Council (UK regulatory body)
- Students who wish to practice in other countries after studying in the UK should get information about local requirements from their national regulatory body.
- Course outline and film
- Faculty information for prospective students
- 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.