Course Guide


Medicine at Cambridge is a 6 year course and is split into 3 years pre-clinical and 3 years clinical. In the pre-clinical years, you are based in your college and learn about biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, neurobiology and ethics. You also have a few days placement each year in GPs and hospitals. In 3rd year, you choose a subject (can be related e.g. - psychology or something completely different such as engineering or english). Then in clinical years you are based at Addenbrooke's hospital and learn about clinical conditions and clinical skills. You also go on regional placement to hospitals such as Peterborough and Ipswich. The year group is huge at around 260 undergraduates each year. Lectures and labs are held on New Museums site and Downing site.

Introducing your Academic Reps

Yusuf Adia

I'm a third year medicine student studying at St John's. Right now I'm doing my Part II (intercalated year) in Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, where I share lectures with other medics as well as third-year NatScis. I am the Academic Officer for the University Medical Society and the Academic Rep for the Faculty of Biology, which essentially runs the pre-clinical course. As Academic Rep, I liaise with the faculty to discuss what the student body needs and how the faculty can help - this generally involves sitting on a lot of zoom meetings with professors and course organisers.

Key Facts

Average offer: A*A*A

6 years

UG Medicine available at all colleges except Hughes Hall

Key subjects for admission: Chemistry and at least one of Biology, Physics, Mathematics

Admissions tests: BMAT, requires pre-registration

No info on inclusive prayer space in department :(


Why did you want to study Medicine?


I've always been interested in the human body and used to watch lots of documentaries when I was younger. During secondary school, science was always my favourite subject! I also love working with people and so the idea of sitting in a lab all day was not appealing for me. After doing some work experience in my local hospital, I was in awe of the doctors(and all the staff!) and wanted to get involved as soon as possible!


Medicine always stuck out to me because it was the perfect combination of a structured science course, with a potential to work with and learn about people on a far more human level.


Sometimes, the course seems very intense and there are often times when it feels like information s just being chucked at us to learn. In the moment, it can seem quite daunting, but when we take the time to go over our notes, it really isn't too bad! So, if there's something I would change, it would be to spread out the information we're taught over a longer period of time, so as to allow us to understand the course better as we progress throughout the term, as opposed to doing a fair chunk of it in the holidays.


After doing lots of research (reading many books, work experience etc), I made the decision that medicine was the best course for me. This is because it combines the science that I most enjoy (learning about the human body) with a profession that involves helping people.

How is the Medicine course structured?


The medicine course at Cambridge consists of 2 years of pre-clinical, 1 year of intercalation, and then 3 years of clinical. It requires a lot of personal time management and motivation, as while all the content is provided, understanding and retaining it will require additional study. Though there is very limited clinical contact in the first 2 years the course is academically challenging and most importantly thorough, if you use your time to really focus on this side of things you will feel pretty prepared once you end up in hospitals.


The first 2 years are pre-clinical medicine, during which we learn the theory. This means that the content is mainly lecture based - there is a lot of lectures and a lot of content. There are also practicals and seminars. This includes 2hours of cadaveric dissection per week. There is also 2 short visits to a GP surgery.
The third year allows you to intercalate in a degree of your choice.
Then years 4-6 are the clinical years. These are the years where students spend time in hospitals and GP surgeries. You also learn practical skills and communication skills. There are also lectures.

What is the faculty building like?


So Medicine doesn't have a faculty building but in preclinical years we use the faculty of biology buildings. These are on Downing site and are old and beautiful. The labs are really well kitted out and there are small lecture theatres in each department block. The clinical school however has a building next to Adenbrookes hospital where there is the medical faculty library, seminar rooms and clinical skills rooms.


Most of the teaching is done on the Old Addenbrooke's or Downing sites. Though sometimes building work heavy, both of these sites have some beautiful historic buildings and modernised well equipped labs, lecture theatres, and study spaces. It's also host to various museums for student and public access.

What is the workload like?


It is very busy! We have a lot of contact hours compared to other courses but that means that we have much less supervision work set. Most of my time outside of contact hours is spent pre reading for lectures, reviewing notes and revising. We have lectures, supervisions in college(small group teaching) labs, dissections and seminars(8-10 people in a group).


Medics in first year tend to have 8-12 lectures a week, with around 4-6hrs of practical. Students should also have 3-4 supervisions a week and short essays to accompany these. There will be the very occasional additional visit to a GP for shadowing.

What about your course would you change?


Sometimes the amount of content is very overwhelming! It would be nice for some of the content to be cut out so that we had more time to learn the rest of the content and consolidate it.


More interactive study when given prior reading or notes for go through- as you can sometimes just feel like you're being hit with walls of text that somehow need memorising. These seem to be the best way at getting engagement but are dodged by particular departments. Other than that the amount of face to face contact time you get surpasses a lot of the other subjects so don't think its not engaging! From dissection to physiology practical there is always a way to get more stuck in than putting your head in a book.


I am quite happy with the course at the moment. I would not change anything.

A typical timetable

Yasmin's timetable in second year

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9am Lecture (Neuroscience)        
10am       Lab (Pathology) Dissection (Neuroanatomy)
12pm Lecture (Pathology) Lecture (Pharmocology) Lecture (Pathology) Lecture (Pharmacology) Lecture (Pathology)
2pm Practical (Pharmocology) Lab (Pathology) Lecture (Human Reproduction)   Hospital Placement Prep
3pm Supervision (Pharmacology)
4pm Lecture (Human Reproduction)   Lecture (Neuroscience)  
5pm   Supervision (Pathology)     Supervision (Anatomy)
6pm     Supervision (Neuroscience)    


Have more questions? Talk to an academic rep

Academic Reps are the voice of students in faculties, departments and schools. Reps have the power to enact changes to education, individually based on their priorities and collectively, working with other representatives across the University. Their responsibilities include taking students’ ideas and concerns to faculty and department boards, relaying important information from those boards back to students, and organising with their peers to foster a subject community.