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
Ashley Moffett chatting with Oisin and Ellie on graduation day
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) – Dr Myfanwy Hill
- Biochemistry (Molecules in Medical Science) – Dr Ben Ravenhill
- Functional Anatomy of the Body – Dr Poppy Aldam
Part IB (Second year)
- Pathology (Biology of Disease) – Dr Francesco Colucci, Dr Peter Hume and Dr Gary Doherty
- Pharmacology (Mechanisms of Drug Action) - Dr Fraz Mir
- Human Reproduction - Dr Andrew Sharkey
- Neurobiology of Human Behaviour – Dr Sarah Crisp and Dr Mirjana Bozic
- Head and Neck Anatomy – Dr Nick Sarkies
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), Shedeh and George 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 (Fellow and Director of Studies in Pre-Clinical Medicine) is a University Reader at the Clinical School and a Wellcome Trust Investigator. He trained in medicine and then moved into full-time research. His interest is on how immune cells impact on reproduction and cancer. He supervises Part IB Biology of Disease and lectures in Part II Pathology, Immunology option and in Part II PDN, Module2. He co-organises the King’s biologists seminars with Dr Valentina Migliori.
Sarah Crisp (Fellow and Director of Studies for Clinical Medicine), is a neurology registrar with a particular interest in autoimmune diseases affecting the nervous system. She is currently doing research funded by the Wellcome Trust investigating an autoimmune disease which was first described in 2008. She supervises Neurobiology for the second year students and mentors the clinical students as Director of Studies.
Goylette Chami (Junior Research Fellow) is interested in the identification and treatment of morbidity attributable to human helminthiases. Her research focuses on developing complex network methodologies for improving mass drug administration.
James Fawcett (Fellow) is the chairman of the Brain Repair Centre. His research is developing treatments for patients who have been paralyzed by spinal chord injury, or who are affected by Alzheimer's disease. You might like to read the information on the Centre for Brain Repair website about what brain repair involves and what the group does. Prof. Fawcett has a particular interest in the MB PhD programme, which allows clinical students to gain a PhD degree as part of their medical training.
Ashley Moffett (Director of Research) is a University Professor in Reproductive Immunology. She trained in general medicine and then specialised in reproductive pathology. She now works full time in research into disorders of pregnancy such as pre-eclampsia. She supervises in Pathology and lectures in first and second year courses.
Fiona Godlee (Bye Fellow) is Editor in Chief of The BMJ. She is a visiting senior lecturer at the Cambridge Institute of Public Health and honorary professor of Primary Care and Population Health in the Netherlands. She trained in general medicine in Cambridge and London, and is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. Her interests are evidence based medicine, research integrity, open science, overdiagnosis and overtreatment, the health affects of climate change, and drug reform. She plans to run seminars on some or all of these topics over the next few years.
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
Applying with limited support?
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.
The application process for all subjects is explained on our how to apply page, which we advise applicants to read thoroughly in combination with the details below about the Medicine subject requirements, the BMAT pre-interview-assessment and Medicine interviews. If you are thinking of taking a gap year, please also read the section on gap years below.
Medicine has very strict subject requirements laid down by the University which you should read carefully:
A list of our most common offers in a range of qualification systems is available on the entrance requirements page
All candidates for Medicine are required to take the BMAT pre-interview assessment, which will take place in schools and other assessment centres on 30 October 2019. You must be registered in advance (separately to your UCAS application) to take the assessment. The regular registration deadline is on 1 October and there is a deadline of 30 September if you normally get exam adjustments for a disability/Specific Learning Difficulty/long-term illness. You will need to provide your BMAT candidate number in your application (on the SAQ form). Your assessment centre must register you for the pre-interview assessment (you can't register yourself).
The BMAT (pre-interview assessment for Medicine)
Brief information about written assessments
Important: If you're not registered by 15 October at the latest (30 Sept for special arrangements) you won't be able to take the assessment. Unfortunately, this would mean that your application is not valid.
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, and performance at interview (see What are we looking for?).
NB. There is a second option this year for some but not all candidates. If you would prefer to take your BMAT earlier, you may like to look into the alternative September BMAT, which we also accept.
Most applicants are asked to come to Cambridge in early December 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. Do look at the general information about interviews.
Information about the interview options for international candidates are in the International Students section.
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 and are applying for Medicine, it is 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.
Advice from the academics:
- We are looking for applicants who will rise to the challenge of studying Medicine at Cambridge - those who can question what they are learning and can apply ideas to new situations. These individuals will thrive in the unique academic environment at Cambridge and will be well-placed to pursue careers at the forefront of Medicine. (Sarah Crisp)
- We are looking for applicants who have a curiosity in the scientific mechanisms that underpin diseases. The Cambridge course is not so well-suited to those students who want to learn in a clinical situation from the outset. We provide a broad grounding in the biological mechanisms that form the basis of understanding disease processes. (Ashley Moffett)
- Be yourself when you fill in the application. We want to know about your genuine academic and scientific interests. We do not need you to write grand statements about why you want to become a doctor. (Francesco Colucci)
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 it.
- The subject resources page has a tag for posts on sciences, which you might like to browse.
- Events which may be of interest in the year before you apply (year 12 in the UK) include: Oxford and Cambridge Student Conferences, Science Festival, CU Masterclasses, 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.
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
- How anatomy is taught
- 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.