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Being a medical student at Cardiff University

We regard ourselves as one of the very best medical schools in the UK. Our students think so too.

Video showcasing what it is like to study at Cardiff University School of Medicine

So what makes us so special?

Student satisfaction

Student satisfaction is important to us and we encourage our students to talk to us. We work in close partnership with our MedSoc, and with individual students, evolving our course constantly to improve the student experience and meet the most current needs of the NHS.

Clinical placement learning around the whole of Wales

Wales is such a beautiful place and on the course you get to practice in a wide variety of different communities.

Dr Zoe Candlish, Cardiff University graduate

We have partnerships right across Wales meaning when you study with us you will have the whole of Wales as your classroom.

We offer everything from inner-city deprivation to farm-related illnesses and, while you will experience life in a vibrant capital city, you will also get the chance to find out what it is like to practice medicine in holiday resorts, quiet country communities and post-industrial towns.

An exciting project in collaboration with Aberystwyth University allows students to apply to spend their third year as a working member of a general practice team in West Wales.

If accepted to our Community and Rural Education (CARER) scheme, you will spend Year three as a valued part of a rural community primary care team.

Some of our CARER students enjoying the beautiful landscape of west Wales.
Some of our CARER students enjoying the beautiful landscape of west Wales.

You will achieve the same learning outcomes as students on the main C21 programme, but in a different way: you will learn from your patients and your clinical team, fully supported by Cardiff University and a local clinical educational supervisor.

This year-long clinical placement gives you time to really get to know your patients, and to learn about the quality of life, as a healthcare professional and an individual, on offer to clinicians who prefer a different pace of life.

Visit the CARER blog to find out more from the students involved.

Patient and public involvement (PPI)

We firmly believe that patients are at the heart of medical education.

Right from the start your studies will focus on patients and members of the public and their illnesses. You will learn about common medical conditions by real patients, as well as their doctors, in authentic and impressively equipped facilities.

You will learn the medical science that addresses these illnesses, but you will also learn the human side of medicine: to understand and help the people who live with and suffer illness.

Video showing the valuable contribution that patients and the public have made to the learning experience.

Inter-professional learning

We have also introduced multidisciplinary learning where you learn alongside students from specialties such as Pharmacy and Optometry. This will allow you to learn a wider range of clinical skills and how to get the best results for your patient.

In year 2 you will also learn from doctors and paramedics how to respond in an emergency via a realistic rural traffic accident situation.

Emphasis on clinical skills

As you progress through the programme you will find there is increasing emphasis on the acquisition of clinical skills, initially in a simulated environment (using our Clinical Skills Centre) progressing to extended clinical placements with increasing responsibility in hospital and community settings throughout Wales.

Video tour off our Clinical Skills Centre

Throughout the course, you are expected to display the professional attributes of a doctor in training. By the time you graduate, you will have demonstrated that care of patients is your first concern.

Case based learning (CBL)

Our CBL approach keeps the patient right at the centre of your studies.

Students undertaking clinical skills training.

Through small group learning, co-ordinated lectures, clinical placements, clinical skills training and self-directed study we combine a variety of disciplines in order to integrate science, social science and clinical practice.

Our focus is on you and your learning: we will support you as you take increasing responsibility for your own learning and encourage you to use your own initiative to seize opportunities and experiences that will be available to you as a student and, later, as a doctor.

Spiral Curriculum

Each year of your study you will revisit common clinical problems and build on what you have learned already. This means that the new information is easier to remember and to apply in a clinical context when you see patients.

Research-led teaching

Scientific research will be going on all around you at the School. Many of your teachers will themselves be researchers of international standing.

You'll have a chance to contribute, if you want to take it. Taking part in research will provide a fantastic insight into the science behind medicine, and a great boost to your academic skills.

There are plentiful opportunities to do research and the staff are approachable and supportive. It's a great environment to train in.

Dr Mike Atkinson, Cardiff graduate

You will have first hand contact with these researchers and access to the clinical and learning facilities they work in.

You will also learn vitally important communication skills that all good doctors need.


We have an innovative final year that smooths the transition from medical student to NHS doctor.


With your finals already behind you as you start year five, the year ahead is one where you can fully focus on being a practicing doctor. You will spend much of your time in hospitals and the community, with an exciting final year elective at home or abroad that will allow you to develop yourself in an area of particular interest.

Your last placement is spent shadowing the foundation doctor whose job you will take over once you've graduated if you choose to stay in Wales. This means your first day as an FY1 isn't the start of a daunting new job, instead it's return to a role you've already done in a familiar place supported by people you already know.

Discover more about studying Medicine

Close up of students' faces


Interested in becoming a doctor? We have lots of useful information about studying Medicine at Cardiff University to get you started.