Problem-Based (PBL) Medical School: Which schools offer PBL?

What is a problem-based learning (PBL) medical school?

The British Medical Association describes problem-based learning as ‘patient-orientated’ and ’self-directed’. Group work is encouraged, and the analytical and mental effort involved to analyse clinical scenarios encourages you to engage with and apply the material you learn.


Below, we’ve provided examples of a problem-based learning (PBL) medical school, and a brief summary of what each of their specific approaches to clinical teaching is.

Examples of a problem-based learning (PBL) medical school includes:

1. Barts (Queen Mary)

Barts claim that formal lectures play less of a role in their teaching, relative to other medical schools. Instead, their approach focuses on practical lab sessions and group project work.  A benefit of this method is that ‘undertaking independent research and presenting your findings to the group will help you retain the information’.


2. East Anglia

As a problem-based learning (PBL) medical school, East Anglia use both an integrated curriculum and problem-based learning, which includes discussions of clinical situations, as well as lectures and dissections.


3. Glasgow

As part of Glasgow’s culture, clinicians, F1 doctors, experienced medical researchers and other experts take part in teaching its PBL curriculum. This acts to give students insights into the many aspects of clinical practice.


4. Hull and York

Hull and York’s philosophy is to get to you ‘think differently’ and ‘delve deeper’. They aim to achieve this through immersion in hospital experience, observing professional clinical behaviour and developing effective communication skills through their PBL approach.  This communication aspect lies at the heart of teaching offered at a problem-based learning (PBL) medical school.


5. Keele

For Keele university, PBL encourages ‘stimulation of curiosity’, ‘learning through experience’, student responsibility for learning, and ‘community-orientation’.


6. Manchester

If you are researching for problem-based learning (PBL) medical school and trying to find examples of cases used as part of its approach, Manchester’s website presents some interesting case studies to check out.


7. Peninsula

Peninsula’s teaching PBL methods aim to nurture critical thinking and leadership. This is with the aim to serve you in not only becoming an effective doctor but also supporting you to realise your medical career ambitions upon graduation.


8. Sheffield

And lastly, Sheffield combines the benefits of problem-based learning (PBL) medical schools with lectures and dissections.


Do your research for a problem based learning (PBL) medical School:

When doing your research for problem-based learning (PBL) medical schools, it is important to note that in recent years, the teaching approaches of many have become blurred. Lots of schools combine traditional lectures with PBL, dissections, and early clinical placements. In addition, the teaching style may change each year. It’s important to do your research to find out what you want from the medical school. You might even want to find out which schools offer foundation courses!


Investigate the individual websites of each medical school you are considering, and check the specific course descriptions when making your final UCAS choices!


More guidance on how to choose a medical school that’s right for you can be found right here!

Get your hands on the medical school application guide

Do you need help deciding which medical school to apply to? Do you want to discover more options for a problem-based learning (PBL) medical school application? We’ve got expert guidance and tips in our medical application book for all aspects of your medical admissions process.

For more information on our guides and medicine courses, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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