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    So I have decided I would like to intercalate after third year for lots of reasons but mostly to have a year out of medicine, to have an opportunity to research something else and to improve my personal study skills.

    The problem I have is what to intercalate in. I'm stuck between pharmacology and medical education.

    Pharmacology is known to be a lot harder, scientific and include an intense laboratory based dissertation at the end. There are also more exams. However I think I will find this more interesting.

    In comparison, medical education also interests me as I would like to teach in the future, however I am concerned it might be a little boring. It is far less intense as pharmacology and is mostly coursework based.

    Does anyone have any advice on what I should do? Go for the harder choice that might interest me more but may not be as applicable in the future or go with my less interesting, easier choice but it be much more applicable to my future?

    Thanks! X
    • PS Reviewer
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    I actually think Pharmacology will be more applicable to your future than medical education. Most people involved in medical education don't have a degree in it - you'll be able to participate in education regardless. Knowing that some research paper demonstrated the optimum number of powerpoint slides or whatever isn't going to be as useful to you as a sound knowledge of pharmacological principles and drug actions.

    There's potential for a publication in both I suppose, although most intercalators never get to publish what they work on, more's the pity!

    If you feel like you're interested in Pharmacology and are capable of doing it, I personally would do that. I didn't do Pharmacology but I did a science and I feel infinitely more comfortable with the concepts in that area than anything else, I'm glad I did something 'hard' because if you can master than then you're set. Mine was more obscure, but Pharm is useful in literally every speciality forever and ever.

    Maybe take my advice with a pinch of salt however :P I find medical education quite tedious/peripheral to meaningful things, I'd never commit to spending a whole year on it! 'Medical education' as an area is responsible for all sorts of nonsense that we have to do, in my opinion... it's not about actually educating people so much, but about the methods behind education.
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    It sounds to me like you're more interested in pharmacology than you are in the med ed degree. I differ from seaholmes in that I think med ed would be equally useful to you, and that the advantage that a pharmacology degree would give you in pharmacology doesn't matter that much in terms of your future understanding and performance, but it genuinely sounds like you like pharmacology more, so go for that! Like said above, you can get involved in teaching without the degree: the med ed degree is a very recent invention!
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    There will be many useful things you pick up from both BSc courses. Just bear in mind that the BSc year is an academic look at the subject - so unless it's specifically designed to be clinically relevant (or made specifically for a medical student cohort) it will be heavily theoretical. So for pharmacology, make sure you really enjoy studying pharmacological mechanisms and chemistry in depth - beyond what is taught to you normally; and for MedEd make sure you're interested in educational theory, not just the delivering teaching bit. Both will be really insightful and addictive if you like the topics, but so much of it may not be necessarily applicable.
    Both will also have very different practical aspects - pharm will involve labs and dealing more with quantitative data, education will most likely involve teaching to some degree and getting observed and require you to deal with qualitative data. In both you'll have to write a thesis and there'll be plenty of essays/presentations in addition to practical coursework. Publication opportunities exist with both BScs but is largely down to pot-luck so definitely don't focus on that.

    No matter what BSc you do, there will always be elements from the course which you will recall later on and make you grateful for choosing *that* specific BSc. So ultimately I'd choose the one you're most drawn to and see yourself enjoying. Or an alternative way to look at it is asking yourself, "what I am willing to spend a whole year studying and reading countless journal articles for?" - as there will be points where you hit a brick wall with the theory as it is so different to learning 'medicine'.
 
 
 
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