Clinical Pharmacology BSc Offer Holder Q&AWatch this thread
Q: What are lectures like?
A: Well, I'd say they are quite different from A-levels. In lectures, people usually bring their laptops, tablets, and notebooks to take notes. There are audio recordings taken of each lecture which are then posted online but personally, I think it is much more beneficial to be there in person. Some people choose to download the lecture slides and write additional notes in the notes section whereas others like myself before to use a word document to format the material in a way that I prefer.
Q: Is the material hard? How often do you have tests?
A: Obviously as we are now at a university level, it is more challenging but I wouldn't say it is incredibly difficult. Within the different modules (Fundamentals of Science, Pharmacodynamics, Pharmacokinetics, Drugs in Healthcare, Drug Development, and Data and Statistics) you will find that you are better at some than others as I'm sure you have found in the past. Personally I find Fundamentals challenging because there is quite a lot of content to remember. On the topic of tests, I would say we have weekly quizzes every Monday that start off formative (not graded) for 5 weeks in the beginning and from then on, they become summative (graded). But the quizzes only have a maximum of 10 questions and are single best answers (SBAs) so they aren't too bad. When it comes to big ''tests'' we had a Big Quiz in November and March if I remember correctly. But they were also SBAs, 90 minutes for 60 questions.
Q: What is your favourite class? What is your least favourite?
A: My favourite is Drug Based Learning (DBL) which happens every Friday. This is where you are given scenarios about a fictitious person and the content is based on the material from the week. So when we learned about anti-arrthymic drugs, collapse, etc. we had our scenarios based on an athlete and were given what he had done prior to the collapse and the symptoms he was showing and we had to determine the reason for his collapse. I enjoy this because you get to consolidate your learning while keeping it light and fun which is a nice change of pace. My least favourite would have to be Fundamentals lectures only because I know there is usually going to be a lot of content and that means I have to spend quite a while to be able to digest it.
Q: Do you have any free days?
A: Yes, we have a free day on Wednesday We didn't have any at the beginning but we democratically voted that we should get a free day because the initial schedule we had had so many gaps in between sessions it made the day very long. Unfortunately, I can't guarantee you will have a free day when you start your first year but I think it will be likely.
Q: What do you do if you have fallen behind on lectures?
A: I wanted to bring this question up because a lot of the course in my year are commuters so travelling to university is not the easiest thing. Though I would advocate attending every session, I understand you may get ill and have to inform the course team of your absence and this might mean you fall behind. When I started my year, I got really sick. I had a very high fever, I was dizzy and it was impossible to go to uni. And when I started to recover, it was very slow and took quite a while to feel my best so I fell behind a bit. My advice would be to not miss lectures after you are well. You might be a bit confused during the lectures especially if it is building upon the previous lectures that you missed but it is better to try to do well on the weekly quizzes and in your free time, try your best to catch up. But most of all, make sure you allow yourself to get better. When you are sick, try not to stress about studying and try to get better as quickly as possible.
Q: Why did you choose this course?
A: I chose this course because I wanted to pursue a career in research. And I know Biomedical Sciences was an option, and for those who want to go on that course, that is great and it is a great course. But for me, I knew I was interested in drug development. Specifically learning what molecules had to interact and what biological mechanisms could be taken advantage of for a therapeutic effect. Also, I've come to really like the aspect of clinical trials, especially during these times of the pandemic. Clinical trials are so important in developing new drugs and vaccines. Doctors and nurses are very important and I am very grateful for them for doing what they do but clinical trials technicians are also equally important to be able to have drugs and medication to treat patients with.
Here's some FAQs from our Clinical Pharmacology BSc course team.
This is a new course for St George's, so how has it developed over the last year?
The first cohort of pioneers have now finished their first year. Many of the ideas we had about the course such as developing communication skills, and getting familiar with laboratory and clinical techniques whilst embracing modern views on all aspects of Clinical Pharmacology have come to pass. But the course team have not rested on their laurels and have run two feedback surveys to work out what works and what doesn't work for students. The main alteration was to acknowledge that many students commute and that 9am starts were not helpful. So now we start all days at 10am at the earliest.
Pharmacology is offered at a few Universities so why should I consider this course?
The answer is that there is no course like the Clinical Pharmacology degree at St George’s. It seems boastful but the course was designed after consultation with several people from across the Clinical Pharmacology landscape: Large pharmaceuticals, contract research, small biotechnology and clinical trials units. We embraced what we were being told and then built a course that helps students to become rounded Clinical Pharmacologists with knowledge and skills sets applicable to many employment sectors. No other course blends together teaching from clinicians and non-clinicians. No other course runs six modules simultaneously to allow a 360-degree view of practical topics.
What is the standard of teaching on this course?
You will be taught by members of staff who are either clinically trained or scientists with a publication history. Most of them have qualifications related to teaching and education. Some are advanced members of the National Higher Education Academy. You will be surrounded by researchers at the frontiers of their science and clinicians at the peak of their medical abilities. As the UK’s only specialist health university you are immersed in an environment of learning, enrichment and advancement.
I've heard that at university there are so many students that no-one knows your name. What's your course like?
There are currently 57 students in the first year of the St George's BSc in Clinical Pharmacology. All the students know each other and (according to the students) no-one gets 'aired' on the group chat! The core course team know all the students by name and are always available for help and support. Our aim is to make sure that each student gets what they need. Our Course Team is relatively small and you will see the same teachers on weekly basis and, more often than not, several times a week - our aim is to journey with you from your A-level success through to graduation day three or four years from now.
What is the difference between this degree and other 'Pharmacy' degrees?
Other pharmacy degrees usually prepare you to become a pharmacist either within the community or hospital setting. This degree is unique in the UK and brand new. It gives you the opportunity, once you graduate, to work in clinical trials, drug development or medicines research for example. Our aim is to produce graduates who will have a knowledge and skill-set that will made them valuable in the employment market. Once you graduate you will be work ready and in demand. You will be conversant in, for example, communication skills, number handling and data analysis; and you will have a skills portfolio to prove it.
You will have seen Sir Patrick Vallance regularly on the news, you may be familiar with his face but may not know that he is a St George's alumnus and clinical pharmacologist in addition to being Chief Scientific Officer to the government. Where will your BSc in Clinical Pharmacology take you?
I’m not sure of exactly what I want to do after university, does this course have many options?
The BSc is split into six different modules ranging from drugs in healthcare to drug development, fundamentals of science to clinical skills. This allows our students to the develop a wide range of skills and specialised knowledge that can be applied to many different areas. During the course you also get the chance to try out lab work, visit wards and pharmacies, partake in research projects and industry placements. This means that you can get a feel for what you enjoy and what suits you. There is enough variety that our students so far have found that there is “something for everyone” along with early contact with people from different industries to give you great advice and insight about careers.
How intense is the course? Will I have any free time to enjoy London?
The course is organised to have one free day a week but also some time off for private study. The course team are very flexible and listen to feedback from students so this year we were able to change and mould the timetable to suit our cohort giving them plenty of time to go over material and also enjoy Tooting, which was recently named one of the coolest neighbourhoods on Earth by Lonely Planet.