Medicine

For those of you who are thinking about studying Medicine at Cambridge, we know that this is a big choice, and it is important that the decision is made carefully. The course at Cambridge is renowned for the quality of its science, but there are many other aspects of life in Cambridge to consider – be they sporting, cultural, aesthetic or just related to the attractions of a collegiate University.

Getting a place needs hard work and planning. Good grades are an expected (and essential!) aspect of your application, but we are also looking for other evidence that you understand the expectations of a career in Medicine. This usually involves experience of working in the health sector – either in General Practice or within a hospital. Alternatively, time spent helping in a Care Home or with other groups of patients (such as cancer support) or with drug or alcohol programs is fine – the list is very long! Different people have different access to such experience, and it is not the detail of what you do that is important but the demonstration that you have tried to find out a bit more about Medicine as a career.

Your Personal Statement is important (but not critical). It should allow us to get a sense of what motivates you, and what excites you. It is more important that you are able to get a sense of that personal aspect in the statement than putting a long list of achievements just to impress. By all means include such things (and you are all such a talented bunch!) but keep it pertinent. Frequent reviews and iterations by anxious parents or overzealous teachers rarely add much value.

To find out more about studying Medicine at Peterhouse, have a look at the JCR's alternative prospectus and read their interview with a current student.

FAQs

Do you like people to take a year off?
This is very dependent on the student, and will vary. In principal we are very happy for students who are applying to take a Gap Year, especially if they are quite young (in fact, Medics at Cambridge must turn 18 before the beginning of the second term of their first year). We would want that year to be focused, and to be a chance to gain at least some healthcare related experience rather than an extended holiday, but even that is not essential. If you want to take a Gap Year be prepared to justify what you will do with it!

Do you take students with the International Baccalaureate?
We are very happy to take students with a variety of different exams, including various forms of the IB. We will always try to offer equivalent grades for these exams, so that such students are not disadvantaged.

What sort of offers do you make?
Peterhouse has 7 spaces for medical 'Home' students per year – we do not take vets. Most offers include A*A*A (or equivalent) – usually all in Science subjects. One of these must be Chemistry (at least to AS). IB students are expected to score 776 or 777 in Higher level science subjects, with 40-42 points overall. Advanced Highers candidates are asked to score AAA. Other equivalent offers can be found here. Offers are generally made for the following academic year, but there is the facility to apply for a deferred entry (see above for Gap Year).

The University lays down some minimum requirements for those wishing to study Medical Sciences.

What is the BMAT?
All candidates applying to Cambridge for Medical and Veterinary Sciences take the Bio-Medical Admissions Test (BMAT). It is taken in November, is marked independently of the Colleges and is designed to give an additional University-wide comparison of candidates. The BMAT is a fairly important part of our assessment process – a good score won’t guarantee you a place but a bad score will make it very hard to justify taking you. Please note that we do use BMAT scores in making decisions about who to invite for interview.

I want to see patients from the start of my training. Should I apply elsewhere?
The medical course in Cambridge is an academic, scientific based course. Peterhouse students will be taken up to the hospital to see patients on a number of occasions during their preclinical course, and there are ‘Preparing for Patients’ (PfP) courses, but the majority of the work is non-clinical. If this would deter you, you may be better considering another course, as it would be a shame to become disillusioned during the first 3 years.

General
If you have any further questions, write and ask the Admissions Tutors, come to an Open Day, or contact the Director of Studies in Medicine (Dr Ross Russell) directly. Department websites are available for the Faculty of Biology, and the School of Clinical Medicine. Details on financial support available from the NHS bursary scheme (from the fifth year of your training) can be found on their website.

Finally, remember that it is more important that you become a doctor than that you go to a particular college, medical school or university. Be guided by your teachers, read the Alternative Prospectus as well as this website, talk to the students at a particular place, and choose the right course and college for you.

Further information can be found on the University Undergraduate Admissions website, as well as the School of Clinical Medicine website.