The Student Room Group

Is a Cambridge Medicine Degree Better?

As I've been reading I have had the realisation that medicine at Cambridge is in fact 6 years in place of the normal 5 I have commonly seen in Scotland. Would I be wasting my time and money to attend there in place of a Scottish uni which I would be free to go to? Or are there any added qualifications or such that I would gain from going to Cambridge?

Thanks x
At Cambridge you are required to intercalate, so you get a BA and MBBS. This doesn't really make much of any difference now since as all specialties have removed extra points from the portfolio for intercalating. So really just a choice of whether you want to spend a year studying purely non-clinical basic sciences (or potentially other subjects, although it's much less common - it's not unheard of for people to spend the year studying archaeology or philosophy or something though I gather), or if you'd rather get into the clinical phase and hence working sooner. So it's not "better" in any way really. Just different.

Bear in mind also which medical school you go to does not affect your future employment prospects because the only provider of medical training posts in the UK is the NHS, and they consider all medical schools equal per GMC accreditation. To this end they actually specifically blind recruiters from your medical school to ensure they cannot possibly be biased by what medical school you go to - the recruiters just don't know. For foundation post placement it's assigned by algorithm and your medical school is not considered.
Original post by Hm?
As I've been reading I have had the realisation that medicine at Cambridge is in fact 6 years in place of the normal 5 I have commonly seen in Scotland. Would I be wasting my time and money to attend there in place of a Scottish uni which I would be free to go to? Or are there any added qualifications or such that I would gain from going to Cambridge?

Thanks x

From a practical point of view, if you want to be a 'medic', then why would you spend £37,000 on tuition fees at Cambridge when you could pay £0 at a Scottish university? Unless you're really mad keen on the old-fashioned 'pre-clinical/clinical' structure of the Cambridge course (this isn't to dismiss it, by the way) then I don't see a particular reason to make Cambridge a massive target for medicine - particularly given the financial implications.

£37,000 is a lot of money for a badge which will mean very little in your clinical career.
Save your money!!!! Unless you are rich
If you want to do a 6 year degree, go to Edinburgh. Or just intercalate in one of the other Scottish unis. Considering that where you graduate from makes zero difference in medicine, getting yourself into stupid amounts of debt seems ridiculous to me if you can get your degree for free.
look into nhs bursaries and grants from the uni
cambridge offer much more financial assistance than most unis cos they're so loaded
Reply 6
Original post by artful_lounger
At Cambridge you are required to intercalate, so you get a BA and MBBS. This doesn't really make much of any difference now since as all specialties have removed extra points from the portfolio for intercalating. So really just a choice of whether you want to spend a year studying purely non-clinical basic sciences (or potentially other subjects, although it's much less common - it's not unheard of for people to spend the year studying archaeology or philosophy or something though I gather), or if you'd rather get into the clinical phase and hence working sooner. So it's not "better" in any way really. Just different.

Bear in mind also which medical school you go to does not affect your future employment prospects because the only provider of medical training posts in the UK is the NHS, and they consider all medical schools equal per GMC accreditation. To this end they actually specifically blind recruiters from your medical school to ensure they cannot possibly be biased by what medical school you go to - the recruiters just don't know. For foundation post placement it's assigned by algorithm and your medical school is not considered.


So this intercalate year wouldn’t actually bring me much other than some new knowledge. Would it not boost me in terms of degrees or specialisation at all in future? Sorry I’m a bit confused by this method of education as I’ve never really heard of this style of studying. Would there even be a possibility to skip it?
Original post by Hm?
So this intercalate year wouldn’t actually bring me much other than some new knowledge. Would it not boost me in terms of degrees or specialisation at all in future? Sorry I’m a bit confused by this method of education as I’ve never really heard of this style of studying. Would there even be a possibility to skip it?


It just gives you a year of studying e.g. biochemistry, genetics, PDN, etc from the natural sciences tripos normally (occasionally a different third year course from another tripos).

As stated, all medical specialties in the UK have now removed the extra points that were previously available for an intercalated degree (on the basis that not all students had equal access to these, financially and practically since not all unis offered intercalation) so there is no professional benefit directly from it.

Part II (the intercalated year) is mandatory for all medics at Cambridge on the standard entry course unless they already have a degree.

Intercalation is not that uncommon in medical degrees, although not all offer it. However now it's really purely a matter of whether you want to spend an extra year studying something in more depth, usually a non-clinical basic science subject at most medical schools, since you can no longer gain portfolio points from it.
Reply 8
I think intercalating gives you more knowledge as a doctor but it does not make you more qualified- usually the intercalation is in research, although optional intercalation unis let you pick. You can only skip it if it is optional.

Honestly, if I were you, I would go to a Scottish uni as it's free and it would be closer. You save soooo much money and you could use this on whatever you want when you're older :smile: There's also more than four med schools in Scotland- Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Glasgow & St Andrews so you can take your pick of which one you want to apply to, provided you meet entry requirements :smile:

Hope that helps x
Original post by Hm?
So this intercalate year wouldn’t actually bring me much other than some new knowledge. Would it not boost me in terms of degrees or specialisation at all in future? Sorry I’m a bit confused by this method of education as I’ve never really heard of this style of studying. Would there even be a possibility to skip it?


you can intercalate at scottish med skls too
Original post by Hm?
So this intercalate year wouldn’t actually bring me much other than some new knowledge. Would it not boost me in terms of degrees or specialisation at all in future? Sorry I’m a bit confused by this method of education as I’ve never really heard of this style of studying. Would there even be a possibility to skip it?

Depends how you quantify it. Intercalated degrees can potentially give you an advantage in later exams post qualification. You never know when something will come in useful.

The Cambridge degree structure means that it’s impossible to skip this extra year as you can’t progress to clinical years without it. It’s optional in other universities and people have a choice of when they do it and if they do it.
Reply 11
I think u would mad to spends £thousands on tuition fees in an English degree when u can get the same for free.

At the end of the day you will still end up as a junior doctor

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