Why should you choose to study medicine at Oxford?
Medicine at the University of Oxford has a prestigious reputation and is known for the immense intellectual rigor of its course. The decision to apply for Oxford medicine should be influenced most importantly by whether the course structure and teaching style suit you.
What makes Oxford medicine unique?
Oxford medicine places a great deal of emphasis on the scientific basis of medical concepts. This means that during the first few years, you will be encouraged to think about and stretch yourself on the theory behind biomedical topics to a greater degree than most other medical schools. In both lectures and tutorials, you will be pushed to explore areas of medicine beyond the ‘syllabus’.
The tutorial system is also a further unique experience provided at Oxford, as well as Cambridge. Oxford medicine will involve 2-3 tutorials per week, which are organised by your college. Each tutorial is a discussion between you and your tutor on a topic that you have written an essay for. Your tutors will be world leaders in their biomedical field.
Tutorials are designed to push you, and the dialogue will aim to get you to think about concepts in more detail as well as the evidence behind medical knowledge. Although this can seem intimidating at first, this form of learning is something that you soon relax into and is an excellent way to consolidate your knowledge and develop your critical thinking, a skill that will be invaluable as a doctor when analysing research that could influence treatment.
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How is the preclinical course structured?
The Oxford medicine course is highly traditional. This means that out of the six-year Oxford medicine course, the first three years are purely academic, with minimal patient contact except for a few GP sessions over the first couple of years.
Teaching is done through lectures and practical sessions at the medical department as well as tutorials in your college. The subjects covered are shown in the table below. The third year of the Oxford medicine course is the intercalated year, meaning you will get an extra degree (a BA) after the third year. This year involves a research project, an extended essay, and more independent study on a biomedical subject of your choice out of five options.
|1st year||2nd year||3rd year|
|Subjects||Organisation of the Body (including Anatomy, Histology and Embryology)|
Physiology and Pharmacology
Biochemistry and Medical Genetics
Applied Physiology and Pharmacology
Intercalated year – 5 biomedical options
See in further detail the structure of the preclinical course.
What is Oxford Clinical School Like?
From the stage clinical school, your time is spent largely on placement within the hospital and GP environment. You are eased into working in a clinical setting with an introductory placement where you get taught basic clinical history taking and examination by final year students.
The remainder of the fourth year includes a pathology course. There are also placements in general medicine and general surgery, where you will acquire medical skills from patient contact on ward rounds and in clinics.
Fifth year is the specialty year, involving rotations ranging from paediatrics to psychiatry. Finals are sat in the January of the sixth year of Oxford medicine, before a medical ‘elective’ rotation. The ‘elective’ is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience a medical placement anywhere in the world. You can find out more detail about the clinical course at Oxford University’s medical sciences Division.
University Life at Oxford
Oxford is a collegiate university. Although you will still have lectures and practical lessons in the department, you will live, eat and have tutorials in a college. Colleges have an active community with a vibrant social life amongst members of the undergraduate body (Junior Common Room) and many unique traditions as part of this beautiful and historic city. After third year, the clinical school also has its own common room called Osler House, which also hosts many social events for the medics to get to know all the other clinical medics.
Studying medicine at Oxford is an incredible experience. If the traditional course structure is one that suits you, applying for Oxford medicine is an invaluable opportunity to learn such a varied and fascinating subject from world experts.
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