Aberdeen is a buzzing city, rich with thick accents from all across the globe. It provides a taste of city life as well as offering beautiful beaches and hills to the west, a bike ride away. The University of Aberdeen was founded in 1495 by William Elphinstone, making it the UK’s fifth oldest University. It is a small but beautifully preserved university, with a student population of approximately 11,000.
The medical school is over 500 years old and is situated in the compact Foresterhill campus, one of the largest medical campuses in Europe, allowing students to cross from one corner to another in 10 minutes. A revised medical curriculum has recently commenced in the new Suttie Centre, a purpose-built teaching centre for healthcare professionals that provides an environment for achieving clinical excellence in a building hoped to inspire the minds of those who use it. This project, aptly named after the first Medical Officer of Health in Aberdeen, Matthew Hay, will continue to pursue his vision of merging education, patient care and research all on one site to deliver the best standard of patient care.
- Course Type & Length – Traditional & 5 years
- Degree Awarded – MBChB
- Entrance Exam – UKCAT
- Entry Requirements – Undergraduate: AAB; Graduate: 2:1; Scottish Highers: AAAAB
- Mandatory Subjects – Undergraduate: B in Chemistry and at least one other science subject; Scottish Highers: B in Chemistry and two other science subjects
- Interviews – October – March; 20 minutes; two interviewers. Campus tour and health questionnaire.
- Admission Figures – Applicants: 1,500; Interviews: 600; Places: 175
- Open Days – Late August/September
The beauty of Aberdeen is their intention of finding students who truly want to create a vocation in medicine. Showing Aberdeen you are keen to do this is key to getting through the application process. Evidence of enthusiasm, drive, determination, creativity and team working will help you in this. Reflect on your experiences and use them to illustrate what makes you tick and why you could be a good doctor. 25% of entry weighting is on your grades, the rest is UKCAT and you.
No student will be offered a place without an interview. There will be a minimum of two interviewers on the panel who may be medical school staff or doctors from primary or secondary care. Each interview will last approximately 20 minutes. The interviewers will ask questions related to themes in a student’s personal statement and common questions such as: why do you want to do medicine at Aberdeen? You may also be asked to discuss an ethical issue or a recent medical topic in the news. At interview the panel aim to find out how you think, how enthusiastic you are to come and study Medicine at Aberdeen, your ability to communicate and what you are like as an individual, e.g. “What would you do if you saw a person lying unconscious on the pavement?”
Gap year students are looked upon favorably if there is a clear structure to their year, which may include voluntary work or other activities to further their experience in healthcare or in any way supplement their application.
The Medical School
Polwarth Building holds two lecture theatres, the medical library, IT suites and the Ref, a comfortable place to eat tasty food and meet folk. The new clinical skills centre has 3 floors dedicated to teaching students, anatomy department, and clinical suites with simulation areas including SimMan and the first UK SimBaby. It is the perfect environment to get to grips with difficult clinical scenarios before you have to deal with them on the wards. Inverness boasts a new clinical skills centre as well as providing excellent facilities for teaching.
Aberdeen is fantastic because it has the means to teach and care for a relatively small class size. Attendance both good and bad does not go unnoticed and you will find wherever you go there will be somebody willing to help you. During the course of the degree you will meet Margaret Moir, Jill Davey, Morag Simpson, Fiona Petrie and Penny Linneman (Student Support Officer), who are all at hand if ever you get confused.
At the beginning of the degree you are assigned a regent who will support you throughout your entire degree, each with a medical background so they have an appreciation for what medicine expects from you. TIP: If you’re nice to them they may take you out for dinner!
The adoption party takes place in the first semester where first years are allocated two second year parents and a brother or sister. The success of the family depends on those in it! (They are often a great resource for past papers.)
The university offers much advice with a dedicated welfare team, a finance office who deal with funding and there is a chaplaincy that welcomes everyone, religious or not.
Medics’ Sport and Societies
MedSoc (Aberdeen Medical Society) is run by the fourth years and always creates amazing activities including beerinteerin. Everyone gets involved with MedSoc as it organises the famous not-to-be-missed MedSoc Ball, The Review and lots more.
Marrow Aberdeen – Student branch of the Anthony Nolan Trust, runs clinics for donors and fundraises for ANT.
Wilderness Medical Society – If you’re interested in environments outwith hospitals and GP practices. The chilly, the tropical, the deep and the steep.
The Ogston Society – For those interested in pursuing a surgical career, gives extra tuition.
Medsin – A collaboration of educational based initiatives eg. Teddy Bear Hospital, Sexpression, Heartstart and Homed.
Movies and Medicine – Watching films with your friends along with a slice or two of pizza and throw in someone knowledgeable to discuss the topics addressed in the film.
SNIMS – Scottish and Northen Ireland Medical Sports weekend in association with MedSoc
It’s pretty clear there’s something for everyone!
Once You Get In…
The first thing to sort out will be accommodation. The AUSA accommodation office will send you information on halls of residence etc. as soon as you have accepted your place and you will be asked to rank your top four choices in order.
Once September approaches the AUSA will send you a freshers’ pack containing lots of goodies but importantly your freshers’ guide. This contains information about the university itself, the AUSA, clubs and societies, where to go and the nightlife in Aberdeen, a freshers’ week programme and other useful advice. There will also be an application form to join MedSoc, a must to save hassle when you arrive, and a freshers’ week timetable from the medical school, comprising a few introductory sessions dealing with paperwork as well as opportunities to get to know other medical students before term starts.
- Excellent new facilities and regular contact with staff
- Cold and dark in winter