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Medicine MBChB students at The University of Manchester

Medicine (MBChB) (six years)

This MBChB course includes a foundation year for students without a science background.

Medicine (6 years including foundation year) Course details

Year of entry: 2017

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Course details

Course description

The Manchester medicine programme educates, trains and prepares students for practice in the healthcare systems of today and the future. Upon graduation, you will be able to apply knowledge, intellectual and practical skills to understand and manage the complex healthcare needs of individuals and society, while developing the resilience to meet the demands of changing healthcare environments. We run the largest medical programme in the UK with over 2200 undergraduate medical students.

The one-year foundation course, taught at The University of Manchester and Xaverian College is specifically designed to prepare you for entry to the five-year MBChB Medicine degree. We aim to recruit from all sections of the community and encourage able students from all backgrounds to apply. Automatic entry into the standard five-year MBChB Medicine course is granted upon satisfactory completion of the foundation year.

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods but the key Manchester approach is the study of themed case discussions in small groups where students are proactive learners. This is supported throughout the course by lectures, practical classes (including anatomy dissection) and clinical experience. Our course integrates science and clinical learning so you are able to apply scientific knowledge and concepts to your clinical practice.

Graduates of the MBChB Medicine meet the core requirements for junior doctors and successful completion entitles you to apply for provisional registration with the General Medical Council and apply for Foundation Year 1 posts. See the Careers section for more details. You can enter this course with the appropriate qualifications, or if you have successfully completed the Foundation Year 0. We aim to recruit from all sections of the community and encourage able students from all backgrounds to apply.

Foundation year

Students on the foundation year are full-time students at the University of Manchester, the learning and teaching is delivered jointly at the University and Xaverian College . The College is a long-term partner of the University of Manchester and has an enviable reputation as a provider of innovative and effective Foundation Programmes to different faculties within the University.

Five-year MBChB Medicine:

Further information on what to expect on the five-year MBChB can be found in the course details .

Special features

  • Clinical hospital and community-based experience
  • International reputation for excellence in teaching and research including close links with the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre - the only accredited Centre in the North of England
  • Clinical case-based learning in small groups and whole body cadavers used in anatomy
  • Flexibility to create a bespoke education

Additional course information

Clinical Placement Travel Costs

Although there are currently small bursaries available to help students with the travel costs associated with clinical placements, this may not cover the full cost of your travel expenses to and from your clinical placements.

GCSE reform - for 2017 entry 

Due to the phased introduction of GCSE reform in England we will accept a mixture of GCSEs, those which have been taken under the new reformed GCSE qualifications (in England) and those which have not.

All applicants are expected to adhere to these GCSE requirements. If you are resitting any GCSE subjects, you must explain the extenuating circumstances that prompted this. New GCSE grading structure At least three subjects are required at Grade 8 or above plus at least three subjects at grade 7 and above. These subjects must include Chemistry, Biology and Physics, or Double Science or Core and Additional Science.

English Language and Maths are required at Grade 6 or above.

Teaching and learning

Foundation year

Self-directed learning, group-working, laboratory skills and a student selected component are used, in addition to lectures on the relevant sciences, to prepare you for entry to the five-year MBChB.

Five-year MBChB Medicine:

  • Clinical case-based learning

    Different learning methods are used but the key Manchester approach is the study of themed case discussions through facilitated group activities to emphasise enquiry, discussion, self-education, and the development of critical faculties and communication skills; all essential skills for doctors.

  • Anatomy

    Learning anatomy is fundamental to becoming a good doctor. We use whole body cadavers and dissection to teach anatomy. A completely different way of learning from solely studying text books and attending lectures, the practical experience offered by using cadavers and dissection will teach you how the human body works and how systems of the body work together. If you find this approach challenging, support is available, but most students find it an excellent way of learning and the experience gained is invaluable in clinical practice.

  • Clinical learning

    In Years 1 and 2, you will learn the basic skills essential for conducting a consultation with patients (including communication skills, history taking and physical examination) in the Consultation Skills Learning Centre. You will be able to apply these skills as you meet patients early in general practice and in hospitals.

From Year 3 onwards, you are assigned to a Health Education Zone centred around a major teaching hospital. This is where you will gain most of your clinical experience. You will be based at one of four partner teaching hospitals, and their associated district general hospitals and community placements, across the North West region.

The course is fully integrated across all four Zones; all successful students graduate with a University of Manchester degree. Successful applicants who firmly accept our offer of a place will be allocated to one of the four Zones. There is no guarantee of an allocation to a particular Zone but the School will take your preference into account where possible. See `Application and Selection' for further details.

Find out more about our University and NHS facilities .

Community placements

The course includes learning opportunities within diverse community settings, such as general practice surgeries, pharmacies, hospices, opticians and nursing homes, enabling you to work with a diverse range of health professionals. We have over 700 community placements geographically spread from Blackpool to Crewe including central Manchester, Lancashire and Wigan and you will be expected to travel to these locations. Although there are currently small bursaries available to help students with travel costs this may not cover the full cost of your travel expenses to and from your clinical placements.

Find out more about our placements .

Coursework and assessment

Foundation year

The foundation year is assessed by short answer and multiple choice questions, written reports on laboratory-based skills, and a student selected component. You will be given feedback on your performance in assessments as well as general feedback on your overall performance on the course.

Five-year MBChB Medicine

Methods of assessment include both summative exams (which demonstrate you have reached the required standards to progress to the next phase of the course) and formative tests (which tell you how you are performing on the course and how you can improve).

Your assessments will include: written examinations; objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs); workplace-based assessments; reflective portfolio work; written reports to assess personalised modules; and assessment of professional behaviour.

Summative assessment will normally happen at the end of each year with formative assessments occurring at regular intervals throughout the course. Assessments closely reflect the course content, with assessment of knowledge and skills in the initial phase, moving on to clinical assessments and application of knowledge including in complex situations by the end of the final phase.

You will receive feedback on your performance in assessments from your academic and clinical advisors in addition to generalised feedback about your cohort's performance. Feedback on performance is integral to all learning activities.

Course content for year 1

During Years 1 and 2, you will be mostly based on The University of Manchester's Oxford Road campus, with visits to centres of excellence for clinical medicine, community settings and teaching hospitals across the north-west.

At the start of the course, you are introduced to the learning processes necessary for successful study at university level, and you will learn the consultation skills needed to equip you for early clinical experiences.

Years 1 and 2 are divided into four modules, the content of which relate to the overall curriculum themes of doctor as scientist and scholar, doctor as practitioner and doctor as professional, as stipulated by the General Medical Council.

Each module is divided into a series of topics that can take the form of one or more themed cases. The cases contextualise learning to prepare you for the way in which doctors meet patient problems. The approach to learning around the themed case discussions will develop your skills in collaborative group working and independent learning.

There is an emphasis on practical work, including anatomy dissection, physiology and pharmacology practical classes, clinical experience, and personal development activities that are designed to introduce you to the skills and attitudes necessary to become a successful junior doctor.

You will learn about the body through detailed studies of molecules, cells, tissues and organs and the systems that control their activities. The modules are partially system-based.

In the Year 1 Life Cycle module, you will study the cellular and molecular processes that underlie reproduction, development and growth. In addition, you will explore the immune system and the pathophysiology of genetic disease and cancer. The second module of Year 1, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, focuses on the chest and the function of the heart, lungs and blood.

Course content for year 2

Year 2 continues with two more modules. The first is Mind and Movement, where you will explore the brain and the nervous system connections to the muscles that move the skeleton. The focus is on neuroscience, but the concepts in this module prepare you for concepts applied to clinical medicine, including mental health.

The final module, Nutrition, Metabolism and Excretion, introduces you to the gastrointestinal system, the kidneys and the key hormonal mechanisms involved in regulating these systems.

There are also opportunities for you to begin developing a Personal Excellence Path for your special interests in medicine. The activities in Years 1 and 2 support literature appraisal, academic writing, team-working and presentation skills.

Course content for year 3

From the beginning of Year 3 until the end of your final year, you will learn primarily though clinical placements organised around our Health Education Zones that comprise four base hospitals and their associated teaching hospitals and community placements.

You will have a base hospital where you will spend a greater proportion of your time; some time will be spent at other Health Education Zones according to their areas of specialty and expertise. Limited time is spent on the University campus.

In Year 3, you will spend the majority of your week learning from real patients, and the basic scientific knowledge and clinical skills you acquired in the earlier years will be applied in clinical settings.

The first semester will involve general medical placements giving you access to common conditions in appropriate settings. These two 6-week blocks will be followed by three 4-week blocks in the second semester that will expose you to a more complex clinical environment, which will include more acute medical settings and a placement within a surgical specialty.

Personal Excellence Pathway: Applied PEP project

Towards the end of the year, you will undertake the Applied Personal Excellence Pathway (APEP). This will give you the opportunity to carry out an original project involving, for example, basic or applied research, service evaluation, or educational development, supervised by a subject expert from the University or the NHS.

Student-Selected Clinical Placement

The final activity of the year will allow you to select a placement in an area of clinical interest to you from within our Health Education Zones. The placement will give you the time and opportunity to reflect on your future career choices within medicine.

Course content for year 4

Year 4 will broaden your clinical learning across the medical specialties, offering immersion in new clinical placements with supervision and teaching by specialty experts.

There will be clinical placements in:

  • general practice and clinical public health;
  • mental health, neurology and special senses;
  • musculoskeletal health;
  • ageing and complex health;
  • women's health;
  • child health;
  • oncology and breast health;
  • dermatology and infectious diseases.

PEP: Quality and Evidence

As you become more experienced in clinical environments, the PEP in Year 4 will focus on broader concepts of working in the NHS through quality enhancement projects. This will be completed in a single 4-week placement.


The year will end with a student elective placement, commonly an overseas experience of medical practice in an unfamiliar healthcare environment.

Course content for year 5

The final year of the course will prepare you for your final university exams, national assessments such as the Prescribing Safety Assessment and, for your role as a foundation year doctor in the NHS, the year is your preparation for practice.

Clinical placements will include further general medical and surgical placements, general practice and acute medicine. A community placement will allow you to understand how medical services are delivered outside of the hospitals and general practices, for example, through experience in community paediatrics or community psychiatry.

All students will undertake a Student Assistantship placement. You will be appropriately supervised and integrated into a clinical unit while you undertake most of the duties of a newly qualified doctor, including shift-working and being on-call.

The final year will include a further Quality and Evidence PEP project and another opportunity to explore career choices through a second Student-Selected Clinical Placement.

Scholarships and bursaries

5th Year of Study Onwards

Currently the NHS Business Services Authority pays the cost of undergraduate medicine tuition fees, and a means-tested amount of funding to help with day to day living expenses, to eligible students who are in their fifth year of study onwards and who are ordinarily resident in England. If you move to England from Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland primarily for the purpose of undertaking a full-time course of education, you will not normally be classed as being ordinarily resident in England for NHS Bursary purposes.

If you reside in Wales , Scotland or Northern Ireland , broadly comparable arrangements will apply, but you will need to consult the relevant national authority for details as NHS Student Bursaries will not be able to administer your funding.

Visit our Student Finance pages to find out about the financial support that may be available to you.


During the Foundation Year, you will work in small groups for enquiry-based Learning, have weekly skills sessions in well-equipped laboratories and attend lectures on specialist subjects. You will also attend lectures on Chemistry and Biology at Xaverian College, given by highly qualified and experienced lecturers.

Five-year MBChB Medicine course:

During years one and two you will be based mostly in the Stopford Building on the University of Manchester's Oxford Road campus. The Stopford Building contains facilities such as the anatomy dissection room, the Consultation Skills Learning Centre, and IT clusters and a dedicated library for medical students.

Consultation Skills Learning Centre

The Centre is a purpose-built facility designed to teach medical students core skills. The Centre houses 24 dedicated consultation rooms designed to replicate hospital outpatient departments and GP surgeries. The consultation rooms contain basic medical equipment for practical skills sessions which can be filmed by built-in cameras so you can watch yourself in action for personal reflection and to allow observation by tutors for feedback. The aim is to provide as realistic environment as possible to allow you to develop communication skills, learn how to take medical histories and undertake simple physical examinations of simulated patients.

Stopford Library

The main collection of books on medicine is housed within in the University's Main Library, which houses an extensive collection of printed and online material. However, books for years one and two medical students are also located in the Stopford Library.

Health Education Zones

During years three to five you will spend your time learning in clinical placements in the Health Education Zones

  • Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust

Innovative learning

We embrace the move towards mobile learning and were the first medical programme in Europe to provide its third year students with iPads as an aid to learning. We have also been awarded Distinguished Programme Status by Apple.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Support Office