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A flexible curriculum

If you want to be stretched further and tailor your studies to your own interests, we have many opportunities for you to take.

Student selected components (SSC)

In all years of the MBBCh programme there are opportunities for you to explore in-depth areas of medicine which are of interest to you.

Medical student carrying out lab work

You choose your speciality, location and tutor and you will work with the tutor to design the project, meaning that you will be undertaking study tailored to you. Your projects can be undertaken anywhere in Wales and, in your year five elective module, can take place almost anywhere in the world.*

Student selected components can include any activity as long as there is a medical element to it. So, whilst many students choose hospital based projects, others have worked with homeless societies to see how common illnesses are managed, at military bases to immerse themselves in services healthcare and some even create e-learning modules to be used by students around the world.


An elective is a clinical placement designed to ensure the development of your knowledge, skills and attitudes through a work topic not covered by core teaching.

Ghana elective
Elective in Ghana

The elective module is part of the student selected components programme, and is a module which allows you to visit any medical institution in the world for a period of up to eight weeks.

You choose the country, you choose the institution, you choose the speciality and you choose your tutor. You could spend some time in a modern hospital in California or experience the difficult medical conditions in Ethiopia.*

Find out more about your final year elective.

International links

Cardiff University has numerous partner institutions around the world, including in the Far East. This is a chance for you to develop your own project in collaboration with our partner institution and to immerse yourself in the culture of your host country.

As part of your year 5 elective, you will be given the opportunity to apply for places at partner institutions in year 4 so that you have time to organise travel and projects.*

Support and guidance from us will be there for you along every step of your way.


Enhance your skills with an intercalated degree.

Each year approximately 100 medical students get the chance to spend an additional intercalating year between years three and four or years four and five, studying in a programme of international academic standard.

An intercalated degree will take you much deeper into a particular area of medicine, and will earn you a BSc.

Find out more about an intercalated degree.

* Please note: placements outside of Cardiff may incur additional costs. Programme fee details are available on our website but additional costs vary from student to student. As an example, if you are a medical student, your year five elective could be spent in Cardiff or you could choose to do it in India. We can’t predict how much extra you will need to budget because some of what you study is your own personal choice.