Oxford or Cambridge medicine

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dev14
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#1
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#1
I'm applying to Oxbridge for medicine but I'm not sure where. I like both universities so i want to apply to the one where I have the best chance. Please advise me.

Stats
10 a*
Predicted 4 a*
AS maths: 100ums 100ums 86ums
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LuciferEQE
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#2
Report 4 years ago
#2
You have the GCSES for oxford, and the high UMS for Cambridge, tbh i am unsure, wait for more replies to come and see what others think.
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nexttime
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#3
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#3
Your stats are good for both.

There are some differences between the unis:

- Cities - I'd suggest visiting both. Oxford's a more active city.
- Accommodation - more available at Cambridge - though most students at both can get accommodation for the first 3 years at least.
- Size - Oxford med school is half the size. There is only 4-8 medics per year at each college (whereas at cambridge it can be up to 25 or so)
- Transfers - at Oxford some students can go to London after 3 years (essentially any university you choose) although equally, some who may have wanted to stay at Oxford may have to go to London. At Cambridge you're there for all 6.
- 3rd year options are more limited at Oxford, although doing something completely tangential at Cambridge (law, economics etc) to is no longer allowed under normal circumstances.
- Cambridge has more focus on anatomy, including dissection rather than prosection. Oxford focuses on other aspects of medicine instead.
- Oxford gets much higher student satisfaction
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gillytherese
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#4
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#4
(Original post by nexttime)
Your stats are good for both.

There are some differences between the unis:

- Cities - I'd suggest visiting both. Oxford's a more active city.
- Accommodation - more available at Cambridge - though most students at both can get accommodation for the first 3 years at least.
- Size - Oxford med school is half the size. There is only 4-8 medics per year at each college (whereas at cambridge it can be up to 25 or so)
- Transfers - at Oxford some students can go to London after 3 years (essentially any university you choose) although equally, some who may have wanted to stay at Oxford may have to go to London. At Cambridge you're there for all 6.
- 3rd year options are more limited at Oxford, although doing something completely tangential at Cambridge (law, economics etc) to is no longer allowed under normal circumstances.
- Cambridge has more focus on anatomy, including dissection rather than prosection. Oxford focuses on other aspects of medicine instead.
- Oxford gets much higher student satisfaction

Hello there - thank you for sharing these!
Could you please elaborate on the other aspects of Medicine that Oxford leans towards, as compared to Cambridge focusing on anatomy?Many thanks, cheers Image
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nexttime
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#5
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#5
(Original post by gillytherese)
Hello there - thank you for sharing these!
Could you please elaborate on the other aspects of Medicine that Oxford leans towards, as compared to Cambridge focusing on anatomy?Many thanks, cheers Image
Well its a little hard for me to tell as I only have some vague anecdotes about what Cambridge is like. Oxford definitely rides the bare minimum they're allowed in terms of anatomy teaching though - they believe that only a surgeon needs to know details, and that that can be learned later* - so that will free up time for other things. The areas they are particularly detailed on include cellular physiology, genetics, and biochemistry. They also do a lot of labs, which is unusual for a med school (but again I don't know how many Cambridge do).

*Oxford still has the highest pass rate for postgraduate surgical exams, though
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artful_lounger
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#6
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#6
You may want to consider the structures of the course - for example the Part II requirement at Cambridge, which offers a great deal of flexibility in doing academic research work in biomedically relevant science areas, or even academic study in other areas (such as Management, Biological Anthropology, or the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine). Functionally this is similar to an iBSc offered by many other universities. They also have a (semi)formal MBPhD programme for those who do particularly well in their research and academic work in the Part II and are interested in academic medicine and medical research.

Oxford is a bit more speicfic to the biomedically relevant areas for third year/part II level work, so if you're interested more in basic science/translational research (such as in biochemistry or something) then that may be slightly more limiting. The also don't have a formal MBPhD although I believe they do arrange them on an ad hoc basis from time to time. Also, Oxford students "reapply" after pre-clinical years - they have a scheme with the London unis where those who don't remain at Oxford move on to one of London clinical courses (and sometimes I think London students do their clinical course at Oxford). While I believe any who wish to stay at Oxford can, it does say "suitably qualified" so there may be cut-offs based on performance in the pre-clinical course. Cambridge you'll be guaranteed to remain at Cambridge for the duration of the course and in and around Cambridgeshire for your placements.

For the more clinical parts of the course, they'll broadly cover the same content (as set by the GMC) but are likely to vary in their focus and style, as indicated by the comment above about anatomy. I'm not too sure to what extent this varies so, you may want to carefully look into the course structures, and possibly contact the universities themselves.
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nexttime
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#7
Report 4 years ago
#7
(Original post by artful_lounger)
...
Nitpicking...

Oxford is a bit more speicfic to the biomedically relevant areas for third year/part II level work, so if you're interested more in basic science/translational research (such as in biochemistry or something) then that may be slightly more limiting.
You could organise a project in biochem fairly easily. It would need approval but that would most likely pass - you can even do library projects in things like history of medicine or anthropology so that should be fine.

Its the examination component of third year that is more restrictive in terms of needing to be in medicine. You still have 5 options though, within which you have to choose 3 topics of the 10 offered, so lots of choice.

The also don't have a formal MBPhD although I believe they do arrange them on an ad hoc basis from time to time
About 2-3 per year on average I think? I'm not sure how many MBPhDs Cambridge do but I'm guessing not very many?

(and sometimes I think London students do their clinical course at Oxford).
Very rarely - they'd have to be a truly exceptional candidate to get accepted.

For the more clinical parts of the course, they'll broadly cover the same content (as set by the GMC) but are likely to vary in their focus and style, as indicated by the comment above about anatomy. I'm not too sure to what extent this varies so, you may want to carefully look into the course structures, and possibly contact the universities themselves.
I don't know about Cambridge specifically but its always a surprise to see the wildly different amounts of time spent in specific placements. For example I think there are some med schools that only do 2 weeks of psychiatry, and they do it alongside other subjects. Whereas Oxford has 8 weeks of dedicated psychiatry. Equally, some schools spend absolutely ages in GP surgeries, whereas Oxford is about 6 weeks in the whole degree.
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