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Medicine (MBBCh)

  • Subject area: Medicine
  • UCAS code: A100
  • Next intake: September 2022
  • Duration: 5 years
  • Mode: Full time

Entry year

Why study this course

This degree will prepare you for a rewarding working life as a foundation doctor in the NHS and career beyond.  Our course is structured over five years to allow you to acquire knowledge, clinical skills and professional attitudes within an integrated spiral curriculum, allowing you to continually build on what you learn.  Our aim is to produce great clinicians who understand people and the environment in which we live.

The programme initially focuses on preparing you for learning in higher education and building a platform for integrated clinical sciences. This is delivered in the classroom, practical classes, lectures and the virtual learning environment.  You learn to apply your knowledge in the clinical environment, both in hospital and community settings.  It emphasises the importance of learning science in the clinical context, and the central place of the patient in a doctor’s work. We firmly believe that patients are at the heart of medical education and as such you will be introduced to patients from the first year. You will learn about common medical conditions from real patients, as well as their doctors, in authentic and impressively equipped facilities.

As you progress through the programme you will find there is increasing emphasis on the acquisition of clinical skills, initially in a simulated environment progressing to extended clinical placements with increasing responsibility in hospital and community settings throughout Wales. 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. With full engagement in the course, you will be able to apply knowledge and skills in a competent and ethical manner and use your ability to provide leadership and to analyse complex and uncertain situations.  You will have achieved all the outcomes and clinical competencies required by the General Medical Council set out in ‘Outcomes for Graduates'.

The Medicine programme is recognised as a Primary Medical Qualification under the Medical Act, and graduates of the programme may apply for provisional registration with the General Medical Council.


Optional transfer to our C21 North Wales programme:

Following the successful completion of the first year in Cardiff, A100 students have the option to transfer to our C21 North Wales programme in year two and stay in North Wales for the remainder of the course. You will be required to meet the same entry criteria as other students on the standard C21 course and if you chose to undertake this option, specific support will be available to you to ensure adequate preparation for the move.


Distinctive features

  • An innovative spiral curriculum based on evidence gathered from across the world.
  • Teaching from internationally-renowned researchers and clinicians.
  • Having the whole of Wales as your classroom, meaning you get a breadth of clinical experience from small, rural GP practices and small cottage hospitals to fast-paced city A&E departments and complex surgical specialties.
  • A smooth transfer into the first year of your career as a doctor.
  • Excellent teaching facilities.
  • Intercalate for a year to complete a medically related BSc in a subject of interest.


Subject area: Medicine

  • academic-schoolSchool of Medicine
  • icon-chatGet in touch
  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2068 8113
  • MarkerUniversity Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN

Entry requirements

We accept a combination of A-levels and other qualifications, as well as equivalent international qualifications subject to entry requirements. Typical offers are as follows:

A level

AAA. Must include Biology and Chemistry. You will need to pass the science practical element of the A-level if this is part of your programme of study. We do not accept A-level resits.

If you are a graduate applicant, you must have or be working towards a 2:1 in your degree and have BBB/ABC at A-level  (or equivalent), including subject requirements and meet the minimum GCSE requirements (or equivalent qualifications).

If you have completed a PhD, the minimum A-Level requirement is BBC and all other criteria listed for graduates must be met.

This grade range reflects our typical standard and contextual offers. We carefully consider your contextual data (the circumstances in which you've been studying) upon application. Eligible students applying for this course will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range.

International Baccalaureate

36 overall (excluding Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay) including 19 at HL. Must include grade 6 in Biology and Chemistry. Grade 7 in SL Biology or Chemistry can be taken in place of HL Biology or Chemistry if you also have grade 6 in HL Maths, Physics, or Statistics. We do not accept IB repeats.

If you are a graduate applicant, you must have or be working towards a 2:1 in your degree and have 32 overall in the IB, including subject requirements at Standard and Higher level.

Baccalaureate Wales

From 2023, the Welsh Baccalaureate will be renamed the Baccalaureate Wales Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate. This qualification will continue to be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

Other qualifications from inside the UK


Distinction overall and distinction in all modules in the Higher National Diploma. 

T level

We do not accept T Levels for this programme.

Qualifications from outside the UK

International equivalencies are not accepted for this course. Please contact the International Office for information about entry requirements from your country.

Please view your country page for information on our entry requirements, funding opportunities and who our local advisors are.

Additional entry requirements


Grade B or grade 6 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 7.0 overall with a minimum of 7.0 in speaking and a minimum of 6.5 in all other subskills.


At least 100 with a minimum of 24 in speaking and 22 in all other subskills.

PTE Academic

At least 70 overall with a minimum of 76 in speaking and a minimum of 69 in all other communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

III: at least a Merit in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

Re-sit results

Re-sit results will only be considered if completed within 12 months of the first date of sitting.

On your application you must provide evidence of:

  • English language or Welsh language at GCSE grade B/6 or an equivalent. If you require a Student visa, you must ensure your language qualification complies with UKVI requirements.
  • eight GCSEs at grade B/6 including double science (or Biology and Chemistry separately), and Maths, or equivalent qualifications (level, subjects and grade).
  • an awareness of the healthcare system in the UK and the nature of the medical training in your personal statement.

Admissions Test
You must achieve UCAT (or GAMSAT if you are a graduate) prior to submitting your application (excluding those countries which are exempt). We don’t have a minimum threshold score; however, we may use UCAT/GAMSAT scores as part of our selection process.

We do not accept Critical Thinking, General Studies, Citizenship Studies, or other similar equivalent subjects.

Enrolment conditions
Before you start your course, you will also need to undergo a health check, including screening for blood-borne viruses and tuberculosis, by our Occupational Health Service. If you are non-immune to Hepatitis B, you will need to complete a full immunisation programme before taking part in clinical procedures.
Having a blood-borne virus or other infectious diseases won’t prevent you from completing this course and obtaining General Medical Council registration, but some specialities won’t be open to you during training or in your career.
If you have a health issue that you think might have an impact on your ability to study or practise, please contact us before submitting an application.

You will be required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check if your application is successful. If you are applying from certain countries overseas, a Certificate of Good Conduct may be required.

If you have a relevant criminal conviction, this will be stated in the check and may affect your ability to enrol on the course. Applicants who are on the barred list should be aware that applying to this course is likely to be considered a criminal offence.

Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.

Interview or selection process

Scoring your application

You will be given points for your achieved qualifications. Points are awarded for nine GCSE subjects which must include Biology, Chemistry, English Language, and Maths. Achieved A-level grades and honours degrees give you additional points.


9, 8, A* = 3 points

7, A = 2 points

6, B = 1 point


A* = 3 points

A = 2 points

Degree (minimum GCSE and A-level grades required)

27 points in total

The maximum points you can achieve are 27. The cut-off score for interview varies each year as it will depend on the competitiveness of all the applications.

Our interview process

We won’t make an offer without an interview.

We use the multiple mini interview (MMI) format, which is a series of short, carefully timed interview stations that you will rotate around in turn.

The MMIs help us to determine if you:
- can think on your feet
- have thought about some of the issues that are important to the profession
- can critically appraise information
- can communicate ideas effectively.

They also focus on exploring the personal qualities and attributes that are important to your future career development.

Tuition fees for 2022 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £9,000 None
Year two £9,000 None
Year three £9,000 None
Year four £9,000 None
Year five £9,000 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2022/23 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the undergraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £36,700 None
Year two £36,700 None
Year three £36,700 None
Year four £36,700 None
Year five £36,700 None

Learn more about our tuition fees

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs


We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Living costs

We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Course structure

Your course is divided into three distinct phases. During Phase 1 (Years 1 and 2) you will learn the core science and clinical practice. Phase 2 (Years 3 and 4) you learn to care by integrated contemporary clinical experience, whilst during Phase 3 you will be learning from and at work, consolidating your preparation for practice.

The Undergraduate Course at Cardiff University is a Non Modular Course and therefore it is impossible to compartmentalise your learning. The idea of C21 is to build and gain new knowledge and ideas by expanding and developing what you already know. A spiral curriculum means you revisit aspects of learning deepening your understanding.

The primary mode of delivery in Year 1 and 2 will be via Case Based Learning, where you are supported in small groups by a trained facilitator. You will learn basic and clinical science via the theme of the ‘Chronological Life Course’.  Each unit of study will consist of a series of patient cases, typically lasting about two weeks. 

In your Years 3 and 4 you will apply and build upon earlier learning through increased clinical time in hospitals and GP surgeries throughout Wales. Learning will be centred around the patient experience as you follow patients along the care pathway from community settings into hospital care and back into the community on placements.  Clinical placement learning will be complemented with time in Cardiff, where you will revisit core scientific principles and build upon these, but with an increased emphasis on the patho-physiology, diagnostic methods, management and treatment of common diseases.

By Year 5 you will be ready to take a more active role within clinical teams.  The emphasis is on consolidating knowledge and skills to prepare you for work as a doctor in the NHS, ensuring your smooth transition from student to Foundation Doctor.

Core learning is supplemented by a series of Student Selected Components (SSCs) in all years of the programme, allowing you to choose projects from a list of available options, or to develop your own project. SSCs provide the stimulus and the opportunity for you, under appropriate guidance and direction, to acquire knowledge through a process of exploration and your own intellectual efforts.

SSCs complement core MBBCh teaching, allowing you to study areas of particular interest, introducing research skills and encouraging analytical and critical thought from your first year. You are encouraged to develop skills and knowledge in a variety of medical and scientific specialties, including those outside the realm of traditional medicine.  In your final year you will have an opportunity to go on an ‘elective’ and visit medical settings anywhere in the UK or internationally. These ‘options’ enable you to pursue an aspect of medicine of particular interest to you.

Between Years 3 and 4, and 4 and 5, Cardiff University offers a number of intercalated degree opportunities in health related disciplines such as: Anatomy, Biochemistry; Cellular and Molecular Pathology, Clinical Epidemiology, Emergency, Pre-hospital and Intercalated Care (EPIC), Medical Education, Neuroscience, Pharmacology, Physiotherapy and Psychology & Medicine.  There are also agreements with other Higher Education Institutes within Wales for medical students to gain a bachelor degree in one year, in subjects such as sports science. This intercalated degree provides students with interest in a research or academic career the chance to pursue an area of medicine in depth and further develop their research skills.

The modules shown reflect the existing curriculum and may be reviewed prior to the start of your academic year.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2022/2023 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2022.

Year one

The programme initially focuses on preparing you for learning in higher education and building a platform for integrated clinical sciences. During the first semester of Year 1 you are introduced to the core knowledge, skills and behaviour expected of a doctor.

  • Your introduction runs for the first 12 weeks, covering the basics of anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, cell and molecular biology, immunology, microbiology and pathology
  • You will develop the fundamental communication, clinical skills and professionalism required of a doctor.

The remainder of Year 1 is based on a series of clinical scenarios linking the basic sciences to common clinical conditions, such as musculoskeletal injuries, heart disease, diabetes and gastrointestinal problems.

  • You will learn to address medical problems from first principles, and develop scientific reasoning skills
  • Small group sessions will be supported by lectures and seminars, access to life science and clinical skills resources
  • You will spend a day most weeks seeing patients in local hospitals, general practices and other community based services around South East Wales
  • Initially you will concentrate on normal structure and function but, as cases progress, you will move on to more complex clinical presentations focusing on abnormal structure and function.

Teaching will be based at our state-of-the-art facilities in the Cochrane building, a flagship £18m development on the site of University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, and at the School of Biosciences. You will also rotate through regional clinical teaching and learning centres in Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, and Newport.

Year two

During Year 2 your learning continues to be based on common clinical scenarios and during Year 2 you will study 11 cases. Each case lasting two weeks. Some of the core science learning highlights of Year 2 include:

1. Community Based Learning
The Community Clinical Learning programme builds on the Case Based Learning.  The importance of seeing the patient in his/her community is again emphasised and you will be based in a different hub from Year 1.  Each placement will involve task oriented learning, so that you collect a portfolio of clinical learning experience. This will help you link ‘real people’ to both the case you are studying and to more long term goals such as professional attitudes, understanding health service delivery and leadership. One of the highlights of the community clinical learning programme in Year 2 is our Rural Health Day. This allows you to learn about the challenges of healthcare delivery in a rural setting as compared to services available in urban areas. You will learn from doctors and paramedics how to respond in an emergency by taking part in a simulated rural traffic accident.

2. The Student Selected Components (SSC) Programme

The SSC programme in Year 2 consists of four distinct learning opportunities:

Two Experience projects

The two experience projects expose you to a wide range of settings and topics and you will have opportunities to develop research skills at a more advanced level. Importantly there are projects that will facilitate study beyond the boundaries of traditional medicine, and these include placements in social work, complementary medicine and the Professions Allied to Medicine.

Journalistic article

The journalistic article will enable you to demonstrate the critical academic skills of literature searching and appraisal of complex scientific evidence-based material.  It will also challenge you to convey your journalistic message in an entertaining yet thought provoking manner.

A unique Year 2/Year 5 C21 Conference

The conference includes plenary sessions with invited keynote speakers covering a range of themes around thriving & surviving in medical school and medical ethics.

Year 5 students facilitate and share their experiences of Intercalating, Erasmus and clinical placements in Phase 2.

In small groups, Year 2 students will prepare poster presentations based on their first SSC experience project. Year 5 students will “judge” the posters and give feedback to academics.

This SSC will enable you to gain experience of attending and presenting at a scientific/medical conference and provide a significant opportunity for interaction with older peers as they embark on the next stage of their academic and clinical careers.

Year three

In Year 3 you learn the principles of integrated clinical care, to learn about clinical method and diagnostic reasoning and relate this to the underpinning scientific principles of medicine.

The year is divided into five main sets of learning opportunities:

  • Three clinical placements across Welsh hospitals, with bookend weeks at the Heath Park Campus in Cardiff;
  • Applied Clinical Sciences taught all year in Cardiff;
  • All year Student Selected Component – an opportunity to go beyond core learning and study a subject which you have a particular interest.

During Year 3 you will spend most of your time on clinical placements, learning medicine by following patients through the healthcare system. We expect you to make the patients the focus of your learning by witnessing the patient journey through the health care system. This will provide you with an insight into the patient experience of both illnesses and the health care system and learn about the fundamentals of excellent clinical care.

You should embrace all clinical opportunities offered, so that you can:

  • Become proficient in performing clinical assessments;
  • Formulate differential diagnosis;
  • Describe and explain the principles of investigations;
  • Describe and explain the management and treatment of common diseases.

Year four

Year 4 follows a similar pattern to Year 3, but your time will be concentrated on increasingly specialist cases. You will continue to practise the core skills learnt in your Year 3 but will apply these in different clinical settings.

The year is divided into multiple, separate learning opportunities:

  • Specialist clinical placements across Wales, with bookend weeks at Heath Park Campus in Cardiff;
  • An eight week Student Selected Component – an opportunity to go beyond core learning and study a subject which you have a particular interest.

1. Women, Children and Family

The overall aim of this placement is to enable you to acquire skills relevant to women and children, to make a clinical assessment of a problem, and develop a plan of care in its widest sense. You will spend time with obstetricians and paediatricians throughout Wales and have the opportunity to witness firsthand the importance of multi-disciplinary working in both community and secondary care settings. The patient should remain the focus of the learning and there will be opportunities to interact with women, children and parents who are accessing the health care system.

2. Clinical Neuroscience, Psychiatry and Ophthalmology

This attachment utilises the expertise of one of the four Research Institutes in the School of Medicine. You will experience more specialist practice during the clinical neuroscience attachment but will see how an excellent grounding in generic skills facilitates clinical and diagnostic reasoning. These are essential skills for all good doctors to develop and perfect. You will also have excellent opportunities to see patients with psychiatric illnesses and come to appreciate the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in our population. You will learn about primary psychiatric disorders but will also see how mental health problems can influence how patients present with and manage other illnesses.

The ophthalmology teaching will be a dedicated week spent at Cardiff. During your one week placement in ophthalmology, you will be provided with opportunities to broaden your understanding of ophthalmological pathology, examination skills and management as well as highlighting the support requirements for visually impaired patients.

3. Chronic Disease 2 - Geriatrics, Musculoskeletal Disease and Dermatology

We have an increasingly ageing population and a significant burden of chronic diseases in our population. These are priority areas to address for the current NHS and you need to understand the challenges posed by these illnesses.  This placement builds on the principles of chronic disease management introduced in Year 3 but with particular emphasis on the elderly person and individuals with musculoskeletal and skin diseases.

Optional ERASMUS exchange

During Year 4, students with language skills will have the opportunity to apply for the ERASMUS exchange scheme.  Successful students can choose to study the women, children and family placement at one of our partner medical schools in France, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Year five

Our unique Harmonisation Programme brings together all elements of the course, blending existing knowledge and skills with those required by the Foundation Programme to prepare you for life after graduation.

  • Your integration within clinical teams and responsibility for patient care increases through the final year of study, with the intention of preparing you for your role as a doctor working within the NHS, and ready for your postgraduate studies;
  • You will focus on the assessment and management of acute and chronic clinical presentations, with increasing responsibility throughout the year;
  • There will be two eight week clinical placements, one hospital based and the other community (general practice) based. You will be expected to contribute to patient care under supervision;
  • Learning will be predominantly based in the workplace, with sessions in the simulation centre and small group sessions designed to refine clinical thinking and decision-making;
  • These placements will be followed by an eight week student elective at a destination of your choice, anywhere in the world, to study aspects of medicine that capture your imagination;
  • Four core learning blocks of two weeks will address important aspects of a medical career. These Cardiff-based activities, themed “Preparing for Practice”, “Changing Practice”, “Science in Practice” and “Practise for Practice”, offer an understanding of what to expect when you start work. They include team-working, leadership, service improvement, academic research skills, and life as a Foundation doctor.
  • The Harmonisation Programme will culminate in the seven week Senior Student Assistantship. This allows you to really work as part of the clinical team by directly managing patients under the supervision of hospital teams. It takes place in the hospital where you undertake your first foundation job, if it is in Wales. If it is elsewhere, you can choose to arrange a senior student assistantship at that hospital yourself, or have us organise your senior student assistantship for you in Wales.

The final year ensures you are ready for your career in medicine, consolidating the skills and knowledge required to perform at the highest level within the NHS.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

The MBBCh Medicine course offers a modern integrated curriculum with a unique diversity of learning experience. Teaching during Year 1 is delivered in partnership with the School of Biosciences at Cardiff University, whilst clinical placement teaching takes place in hospitals and General Practices across the whole of Wales.

You will also have the opportunity to learn alongside students from specialties such as Pharmacy and Speech and Language students. This allows you to learn first-hand of the importance of the multi-disciplinary team in modern patient care.

We use a blend of teaching methods with small group teaching and case based learning. Learning is supported and reinforced by a coordinated programme of lectures, seminars, practicals, lab and clinical skills sessions, and relevant clinical experience.

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

Case based learning is a structured and supported method of learning. This method of learning in the clinical context makes it easier to recall knowledge. You will learn practical clinical skills such as communication, examination and practical procedural skills in clinical skill centres. Communication skills are taught by using actors who are trained to behave as patients. This is a safe environment for you to learn how to gather information, explain diseases and treatment. Workshops continue through the course and the scenarios become more complex and challenging.

During Phase 2 you spend most of your time in clinical environments, such as outpatient clinics, wards and General Practices. You will be taught by hospital doctors, General Practitioners, and Clinical Skills Tutors. You will learn by talking to and examining patients, which you then discuss with clinicians. You will be taught in the clinical situation, in small group tutorials, using the Clinical Skills Centres, Simulation Centre and some lectures.

Central to the course is self-directed learning (SDL), providing the opportunity to take more responsibility for your own learning and fit with your own interests. You will be expected to take increasing responsibility for learning, preparing you for a lifetime of continued personal development.

How will I be supported?

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.

You will have a named academic mentor for help and support with academic needs. Regular meetings will be scheduled to discuss progress. You should take the opportunity to reflect on your abilities and performance through developing a personal development plan. 

On clinical placement, a team of individuals responsible for your well-being. These include hospital Undergraduate Managers, Honorary Senior Lecturers, together with your named educational supervisor.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres. Our virtual learning environment is accessible via desktop and mobile devices, allowing you to access electronic resources from anywhere. Dedicated computer labs, student study rooms, campus-wide WiFi networks, printing facilities and a dedicated healthcare library are available year-round. Staff are available onsite to assist students and provide support and advice.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

You will receive regular formative feedback on your performance throughout the course. Formative feedback will be both oral and written depending on the task assessed. You will receive both oral and written feedback on your performance in oral presentations and in the clinical environment on clinical skills and professionalism.  Written feedback will be provided on written reports and projects. The purpose of this feedback is that you reflect on performance and use it constructively in order that you continue to improve.

You will receive feedback on all summative assessments.

Detailed written feedback is provided on knowledge exams, providing you with your marks, together with cohort performance.

Feedback on performance in clinical examinations (ISCE) will be demonstrated by providing you with the marks for the station, domain feedback together with results for overall performance of the cohort and individual comments from the examiner.  

In the event of failing an exam, you will be able to meet with an academic member of staff for further feedback, advice and support. You should discuss academic progress with your academic mentor at least once a year.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment throughout the programme will be based on an ethos of frequent look and rapid remediation.  You will complete a balance of formative ( i.e. tests to help you know whether you are making progress) and summative assessments ( i.e. tests that have to be passed, in order to be able to move on to the next phase).

You must demonstrate the outcomes defined by the General Medical Council in ‘Outcomes for graduates'.  Reasonable adjustments will be made, where appropriate, to enable you to achieve these outcomes, but the outcomes themselves will not be adjusted.

Knowledge examinations are usually in the format of ‘single best answers’ (SBAs). During Years 1 and 2 you will sit summative examinations which test your acquisition of knowledge learnt during these years. During Year 2 you will also sit your first progress test.

In the later years scientific knowledge will be assessed through written ‘progress tests’.  These are a form of assessment where groups of learners at different stages of the same course undertake the same written test. The test is comprehensively blueprinted to the overall curriculum. Due to the need for wide sampling, items will be of the ‘single best answer’ (SBA) type. The test will be repeated three times per year using the same blueprint but different test items. This will give a wide sampling of knowledge over a period of time. This method of testing fosters knowledge retention and negates the benefit of last minute learning. 

As medicine is a vocational programme you will be assessed on your acquisition of clinical skills of communication, clinical examination and assessment and practical procedures. These will be done in the clinical environment where feedback can be given and then in a formalised examination, using actors and patients. These assessments (iSCE- integrated structured clinical examinations) will occur at the end of Year 2 and in the Spring of Year 4.

Throughout the programme your professionalism will be assessed using portfolios which encourage you to reflect on your experiences and all learning events in the clinical environment.

There are also a range of in-course assessments; short written reports and oral presentations which require completion to a satisfactory standard.

During the final year you will sit the ‘Prescribing Skills Assessment’. This is a nationally-set written paper taken by Final Year students in all medical schools. It tests your ability to prescribe safely, accurately and responsibly. You must pass this examination to be able to graduate.

What skills will I practise and develop?

You will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’. These include the following.

  • Scientific method and approaches to research;
  • Analysis and interpretation of quantitative and qualitative data;
  • Communication skills – written and oral;
  • Numeracy;
  • IT skills;
  • Verbal presentation skills;
  • Problem solving;
  • Clinical history and examination skills;
  • Diagnosis and management of clinical presentations;
  • Carrying out practical procedures safely and effectively;
  • Emergency medical care;
  • Prescribing;
  • Leadership and management skills;
  • Teaching skills.

As a result of engaging fully with this course, you be able to demonstrate all of the outcomes for medical graduates as defined by the GMC in ‘Outcomes for graduates 2015'.  These include:

  • taking responsibility for the care, diagnosis, management and treatment of patients;
  • placing patients’ needs and safety at the centre of the care process;
  • showing respect for their patients at all times;
  • taking responsibility for your own practice and actions;
  • displaying the capacity for inquiry and being prepared to continue learning, teaching, evaluating and researching throughout their careers;
  • developing existing knowledge, deepening understanding and improving performance through experiential learning;
  • adapting effectively in response to uncertainty and change;
  • combining directed, self-directed and simulated learning;
  • displaying a sound appreciation of ethical, legal and community issues;
  • relating the scientific basis of medicine, including most recent developments to the diagnosis and treatment of disease;
  • extrapolating the importance of physical, psychological and social determinates of health to medical practice;
  • acting as an effective member of multidisciplinary teams;
  • practising effectively as a Foundation Programme doctor in the NHS.

You must be proficient in all of the practical skills listed by the GMC to graduate.

As a medical student you are expected to demonstrate professional behaviour, appropriate to that of a doctor in training, at all times from the start of the course. The General Medical Council set out the standards for all doctors and medical students. (

At the end of the undergraduate course you will receive your MBBCh (or equivalent) degree, which is a primary medical qualification (PMQ). Holding a PMQ entitles you to provisional registration with the General Medical Council, subject only to its acceptance that there are no Fitness to Practise concerns that need consideration.  Provisional registration is time limited to a maximum of three years and 30 days (1125 days in total). After this time period your provisional registration will normally expire.

Provisionally registered doctors can only practise in approved Foundation Year 1 posts: the law does not allow provisionally registered doctors to undertake any other type of work. To obtain a Foundation Year 1 post you will need to apply during the final year of your undergraduate course through the UK Foundation Programme Office selection scheme, which allocates these posts to graduates on a competitive basis. All suitably qualified UK graduates have found a place on the Foundation Year 1 programme, but this cannot be guaranteed. For instance if there were to be an increased number of competitive applications from non-UK graduates.

Successful completion of the Foundation Year 1 programme is normally achieved within 12 months and is marked by the award of a Certificate of Experience.  You will then be eligible to apply for full registration with the General Medical Council. You need full registration with a licence to practise for unsupervised medical practice in the NHS or private practice in the UK.

Although this information is currently correct, students need to be aware that regulations in this area may change from time to time.

There is some discussion about whether to remove provisional registration for newly qualified doctors. If this happens then UK graduates will receive full registration as soon as they have successfully completed an MBBCh (or equivalent) degree. It should be noted that it is very likely that UK graduates will still need to apply for a training programme similar to the current Foundation Programme and that places on this programme may not be guaranteed for every UK graduate.

The GMC is currently considering whether to introduce a formal assessment that UK medical graduates would need to pass in order to be granted full registration. Although no firm decision has been taken as to whether or when such an exam will be introduced applicants should be aware that the GMC envisages that future cohorts of medical students will need to pass parts of a new UK Medical Licensing Assessment before the GMC will grant them registration with a licence to Practise.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

The Medicine programme is recognised as a Primary Medical Qualification under the Medical Act, and graduates of the programme may apply for provisional registration with the General Medical Council in order to undertake Foundation training.

This degree programme will prepare you for medical practice, with a choice of over 60 clinical specialties you can train in after Graduation. A medical degree also equips you for a broad range of non-clinical roles, including work in academic research, medical education, biomedical research, the pharmaceutical industry and other healthcare-related fields.

In 2017, 100% of the graduates from the MBBCh course had secured employment or engaged in further study within 6 months of graduation*.

*Unistats destinations of leavers HE records

Graduate careers

  • General Practitioner
  • Registrar
  • Genetic Counsellor
  • Environmental Health Officer
  • Dermatologist


Throughout the course you spend time with patients in clinical settings to provide context to what you are learning. As you progress, your exposure to patients increases along with the complexity of your clinical cases and your responsibilities for patients' care.

Clinical placement teaching takes place at hospitals, community medical centres and over 150 general practices across Wales. This means we can offer you a uniquely diverse clinical learning experience. Skills and professional behaviours are developed throughout the curriculum, in order that you are fully prepared for your Foundation Programme and postgraduate medical training when you graduate.

All clinical placements should give you the opportunity to:

  • talk to patients, examine them and record your findings and conclusions;
  • observe different areas of medical practice and learn about common problems within each;
  • record what you have seen, look up and ask about things you don’t understand;
  • practice and refine practical clinical skills already learned in a simulated setting in a real clinical environment;
  • learn about diagnostic processes in clinical scenarios;
  • contribute to weekly case based discussion;
  • present cases to more senior members of staff.

Students value the richness and diversity of the learning opportunities offered to them at the School of Medicine.  Clinical placements will be delivered by the Health Boards across Wales.

In Years 1 and 2 you will spend a day most weeks in a clinical environment of a hospital or community setting, where you will meet patients with clinical problems you have been learning about.

During Years 3 and 4 you will spend time on extended clinical placements, all around Wales. Each Clinical Placement Block is 10 weeks and will consist of bookend weeks lead by Cardiff University, teaching will be delivered from either Heath Campus (UHW) or University Hospital Llandough (UHL).

“All Wales placements? Really great – without doubt one of the best aspects to being a Cardiff medic. I had a placement at Bronglais hospital in Aberystwyth. It was brilliant – as a final year student in a small hospital it was easy to get to know all the junior doctors and I was soon a useful member of the team… there probably aren’t many more ideal places to be staying for a few weeks. It’s also a perfect opportunity for you to get to know a few more of your peers.”
- Dr. Mike Atkinson, Cardiff Graduate

Year 3 Placement:

  1. Oncology and Surgical Practice
  2. Hospital Front Door (includes GP week)
  3. Chronic Disease 1 (includes GP week)

During Hospital Front Door and Chronic Disease 1, students will attend a dedicated week with a General Practice.

Year 4 Placements:

  1. Clinical Neuroscience, Psychiatry and Ophthalmology
  2. Women, Children and Family
  3. Chronic Disease 2 (Geriatrics, Musculoskeletal and Dermatology)

The culmination of the programme is the final year to prepare students for their work within the NHS. The “Harmonisation” years (Final Year of the programme and the first year of the Foundation Programme) will allow students to take their developed knowledge and skill and apply it in the clinical environment under close supervision.

Year 5 Placements

  1. Junior Student Assistantship
  2. Primary Care
  3. Senior Student Assistantship

Whilst on placement there is a team of staff which are responsible for the quality of the teaching at each hospital. The Honorary Senior Lecturer (HSL) is the clinician who has overall responsibility while the Undergraduate Managers are responsible for the day to day organisation and administration. Close liaison with both the clinical placement undergraduate team and the administration team at Cardiff University will ensure that you have the best possible experience.

Studying in Welsh

Up to 73% of this course is available through the medium of Welsh. Please contact the Admissions tutor for more information.

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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2018/19, published by HESA in June 2021.