Various questions about UK medical schools from an international applicant

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    Hello, so I'm an American, educated here in the States basically all my life, and I have various questions about medical education in the UK given my lack of familiarity with British education in general. Specifically, my end goal is to become a practicing psychiatrist in England.

    1. Re: entry requirements and Foundation Programmes

    During my research, I've found that some schools list an "acceptable Foundation programme" as an option for fulfilling the entry requirements (eg. to supplement my high school diploma). However, I'm fairly confused about what said Foundation Programmes actually are, and how to find information about them in university websites.
    For instance, during some correspondence with Cardiff, the medical school staff seemed to have advised me that the only suitable Foundation Programme for this purpose would be their International Foundation Programme. However, when I directly contacted the staff for the IFP, they told me that since I'm effectively a native English speaker, I should just apply directly to one of the medical courses instead, and as I understand it, that the IFP isn't applicable for someone of my background anyway.
    Cardiff IFP's staff went on to point me towards A104 as a course I might be eligible to apply for:
    http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/under...ary-year-mbbch
    So my question then is this: is the preliminary year in programs like this what the schools are actually referring to when they mean the Foundation Programme? With Cardiff for instance though, It just also confuses me more that both A104 and A100, their normal 5 year medical program, both list "acceptable Foundation Programme" in their entry requirements. Unless I'm understanding that wrong..

    For that matter though, if a Foundation Programme does actually refer to programs like Cardiff's A104, are such programs "easier" to apply to? Maybe at least in terms of how stringent the entry requirements are, compared to the normal 5 year medical programs?

    2. Specialization opportunities as a doctor and psychiatrist.

    To give some background on this question of mine, I have to first say that I didn't necessarily consider becoming a psychiatrist as my first choice, in terms of becoming a mental health practitioner. Really, I think I'm more interested in practicing therapy. However, at the advice of people such as my cousin (3rd year or so medical student here in the US) and my father (a neurologist), I was told that it'd probably be "quicker" or at least more straightforward for me to become a psychiatrist instead of a psychologist, therapist, etc. Reason being that my educational background is more in the "hard sciences" like biology and my time working in a medical practice and with medical testing.
    I would have wanted to work towards becoming a psychologist or something similar ideally, but basically, my educational credentials so far have leaned more towards medicine than towards psychology (I've never formally taken a psychology class, for instance).

    However, I think I have heard that there is an option for UK psychiatrists to pursue education in psychotherapy, eg. after finishing their specialist training. Could anyone also verify this and maybe explain more as well?

    Those are all the questions I can think of, off the top of my head, although I might have more later. I'd appreciate help on this since I'm kinda flying blind here
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    I'm not too sure about the foundation programme businesses. I'm also not too sure about whether psychiatrists can train is psychotherapy. But what I find very odd in your post is the idea that the medical route would be in any way quicker or easier than just studying psychology, if that's what you really want to do.

    Medicine is a 5 year course, after that you have 2 years foundation training, and only then can you apply to specialise in psychiatry. So that's a minimum of 7 years before you're even doing what you want to do, and then even more years after that before you can start practicing therapy if indeed that is even an option. Compare that to psychology, which is a 3 or 4 year course and then you can get a job as a clinical psychologist out the door. Even if you need to spend an extra year taking some psychology classes to get in, it's still a WAY shorter route

    I'm really not sure what your family's thinking is here
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    Re psychiatry specialist training, foundation program almost certainly refers to the two 'internship-like' years all doctors have to do after their 5-6 years of med school. Pre-medschool foundation program? No idea. Either you misread or its something American specific.

    (Original post by Ghotay)
    I'm also not too sure about whether psychiatrists can train is psychotherapy.
    You can.

    Compare that to psychology, which is a 3 or 4 year course and then you can get a job as a clinical psychologist out the door.
    Technically true, but it is extremely competitive. Most do 1-2 years as a psychology assistant first with no guarantee of landing a job at the end of it.

    I definitely agree on the importance of making this decision now though. A psychiatrist specialising in psychotherapy is quite different to a psychologist. In particular the latter's subspecialisation will take ages to complete and they'll have numerous other responsibilities aside from just doing therapy.

    Have you any work experience OP?
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    (Original post by Ghotay)
    But what I find very odd in your post is the idea that the medical route would be in any way quicker or easier than just studying psychology, if that's what you really want to do.

    Medicine is a 5 year course, after that you have 2 years foundation training, and only then can you apply to specialise in psychiatry. So that's a minimum of 7 years before you're even doing what you want to do, and then even more years after that before you can start practicing therapy if indeed that is even an option. Compare that to psychology, which is a 3 or 4 year course and then you can get a job as a clinical psychologist out the door. Even if you need to spend an extra year taking some psychology classes to get in, it's still a WAY shorter route

    I'm really not sure what your family's thinking is here
    See:
    (Original post by sana__6)
    Really, I think I'm more interested in practicing therapy. However, at the advice of people such as my cousin (3rd year or so medical student here in the US) and my father (a neurologist), I was told that it'd probably be "quicker" or at least more straightforward for me to become a psychiatrist instead of a psychologist, therapist, etc. Reason being that my educational background is more in the "hard sciences" like biology and my time working in a medical practice and with medical testing.
    I would have wanted to work towards becoming a psychologist or something similar ideally, but basically, my educational credentials so far have leaned more towards medicine than towards psychology (I've never formally taken a psychology class, for instance).
    I forgot to mention that I actually did finish my Bachelor's of Science degree here in the States at Boston University as well. It's a Physics degree, but I did take various classes more relevant to medical school like Physiology, Molecular Biology, a survey level Neuroscience class, and the (typical, I believe) two semester sequence of Organic Chemistry.
    I've never once taken a formal psychology class (though I've looked through a textbook), and other than those "hard science" classes and supporting math and computer science classes for my degree, I otherwise took various classes such as for my uni's language requirement, a few in the Classics, and a Poltical Philosophy class.

    Furthermore, to also answer nexttime:

    (Original post by nexttime)
    Have you any work experience OP?
    I have several years of experience working in a doctor's office as basically a medical/administrative assistant (eg. doing patient intakes and measuring vitals, paperwork, phone calls, dealing with insurance). Currently, my job is to perform EEG testing in the same office (though the analysis is always left to the doctor himself). I've been doing this since about October or November of last year on an appointment basis, so I think I have a decent amount of experience with it. Otherwise, I have a year or two of experience with other jobs, but they aren't quite as relevant to medicine (eg. fast food).

    That's why I've been advised by my family to try the medical/psychiatry route, not the psychology one, since it seems more likely that I'd be accepted into a medical school with my current qualifications. For instance, arguably I've already finished classes that at least American medical schools typically ask undergrads to take, eg. for pre-med programs.

    Also, admittedly, my family is pressuring me somewhat to make some kind of progress on my career and professional development, and soon, since one of my younger brothers is applying for college himself.
    ...I suppose it's also a bit possible that my family's a bit biased since arguably, a large part of my family work as doctors and/or otherwise have medical degrees as their primary professional credential.

    Also, although this may be a more "superficial" motivation as far as practicality goes, I really would like to continue my education in England as soon as possible. As such, and considering my previous education, I'm guessing it's more likely that I could get into a medical school rather than a psychology program like a Master's level program.
 
 
 
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