Success in medicine requires application and hard work, both while studying and when in practice. However, it brings great rewards in terms of job satisfaction, involving, as it does, a combination of science with human interactions and numerous career opportunities. Our medicine courses are intellectually stimulating and professionally challenging. We provide rigorous training in the medical sciences, while equipping students with the communication, interpersonal, and clinical skills required by today’s doctors.
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.
In your first year, you will study a mixture of Physiology, Biochemistry and Functional Anatomy of the Body, followed by your second year where you will concentrate on Pathology, Pharmacology, Human Reproduction, Neurobiology and Head and Neck Anatomy. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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, and 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 also organises lively seminars in Biology (two to three each term) in which all Fellows, graduate students and undergraduates are encouraged to participate.
Fellows at King's in Medicine:
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. You will be expected to deal with and understand a lot of new concepts, and will also need a lot of the skills that your science / maths subjects develop: observational skills, lateral thinking, and an ability to hypothesize and to think through scientific problems. Above all, you need a genuine interest in the science behind Medicine.
The Cambridge Medicine course is heavily science-based, and you are expected to start at Cambridge with a sound basis of knowledge and skills derived from your studies in Chemistry and (depending on your choices) Biology, Maths and Physics. You should be ready to apply that knowledge to new scenarios and problems, whether at a micro level (e.g. molecular models) or on a larger scale (e.g. whole body problems and systems).
You must take at least three A levels. To meet the minimum requirements for Medicine, you must take A level Chemistry, and you must take one further subject from the following list: Biology (or Human Biology), Mathematics, Physics.
We recommend that you go beyond the minimum requirements and that your third A level should also be from the list of Biology (or Human Biology), Mathematics, Physics.
Grade requirements: The typical A level offer for Medicine is A*, A*, and A.
To meet the minimum requirements for Medicine, you must take Higher Level Chemistry, and one further Higher Level subject from Biology, Mathematics, Physics.
The IB curriculum has six subject groups:
IB Groups 1-3: Choose subjects according to your interests.
IB Group 4 (Sciences): Remember that Chemistry is a required subject.
IB Group 5 (Mathematics): We recommend that you take Higher Level Mathematics. If not, you must take Standard Level Mathematics as IB Mathematical Studies would not be sufficient.
IB Group 6 (the arts): We recommend that you choose a second science subject from Biology or Physics, rather than taking an essay subject.
Where students to not meet the minimum subject requirements in their IB curriculum, we are happy for them to take additional stand-alone IB certificates in specific subjects, or to take an A level examination as appropriate.
Although the minimum requirements refer to two Higher Level subjects, we recommend that your third Higher Level subject should also be from the list of Biology, Mathematics, Physics.
Grade requirements: The typical IB offer for Medicine requires grades 7, 7, 6 in the relevant Higher Level subjects plus an overall score of 40 - 42, including the Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay components.
To meet the minimum subject requirements for Medicine, Advanced Highers must be achieved in Chemistry and one further subject from the following list: Biology, Mathematics, Physics.
We recommend that your third Advanced Higher should also be from the list of Biology, Mathematics, Physics. Please read the information about choosing subjects to make a COMPETITIVE application.
Grade requirements: We typically make offers on three Advanced Higher qualifications, requiring A, A, A. If your school does not offer three Advanced Higher qualifications, we advise you to email us for further information.
You must take at least three A levels. To meet the minimum requirements for Medicine, you must take A level Chemistry and one further subject from the following list: Biology (or Human Biology), Mathematics, Physics. For students taking the Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma, the subject requirements are based on achievement in A Levels within the qualification rather than the overall Baccalaureate award.
We recommend that you go beyond the minimum requirements and that your third A level should also be from the list of Biology (or Human Biology), Mathematics, Physics. Please read the information about choosing subjects to make a COMPETITIVE application.
Grade requirements: We typically make offers on three A levels within the Advanced Diploma. The standard offer is A*, A*, and A for Medicine.
At King's our applicants come from countries and examination systems all around the world, and we have considerable expertise in assessing non-UK applications. Our grade requirements in a range of qualification systems are listed on our entrance requirements page.
For Medicine, extra care needs to be taken to ensure that the science and mathematics subjects you have taken cover a syllabus appropriate for the course: applicants taking non-UK examinations are required to demonstrate a level of understanding in science and mathematics roughly equivalent to those applying with A levels.
If you are concerned about the content of your syllabus, you may wish to compare the content of your syllabus to A level syllabuses available online.
All candidates for Medicine are required to take the BMAT assessment, which will take place in schools and other assessment centres. You must be registered in advance (separately to your UCAS application) to take the assessment, and please note that the deadline for registering is earlier than pre-registration required assessments in other subjects.
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.
Applicants are not expected to submit any written work as part of their application.
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.
George has written about his experiences of studying Medicine at King's, including his reasons for applying, what it was like starting the course, the balance of work and social activities, and the application process. This account is well worth reading to get a sense of what being a King's medic is really like.
There is no required reading material for applicants, but you may find the reading suggestions below useful. 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. The NRICH website provides useful extension resources - see in particular bioNRICH and chemNRICH. The BMAT website also includes preparation information and past papers if you would like to familiarise yourself with it.
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.