Overview of the Medical School

  • Aberdeen University Medical School is the medical school in the College of Life Sciences and Medicine at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Medicine has been taught at the university since the founding of King’s College in 1495, and has been described as the first medical school in Scotland.
  • They offer undergraduate courses in medicine (MB ChB), dentistry (BDS) and a BSc programme in Health Science. Postgraduate degrees are offered as taught courses, generally leading to the degree of Master of Science (MSc), and as research degrees either at a master’s (MSc, MRes, ChM) level or at doctoral (PhD, MD) level.
  • Among Aberdeen’s notable alumni are: Robert Brown discoverer of Brownian motion, John James Richard Macleod co-discoverer of insulin and Nobel Prize winner, Sir Patrick Manson “Father of Tropical Medicine” and Sir Alexander Ogston — discoverer of Staphylococcus aureus.

Campus and Facilities

  • Campus:
    • Foresterhill Campus:
      • Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
      • Children’s and Maternity Hospitals
      • Teaching hospitals are close by: Royal Cornhill and Woodend Hospitals
    • Inverness Campus
  • Facilities:
    • Suttie Centre:
      • Atrium
      • Lecture theatre
      • Training room
      • Ward Area
    • Highland Medical Education Centre:
      • Comprehensive IT and AV equipment
      • Videoconferencing facilities
      • High-level simulation models
      • Training wards for resuscitation practice and simulated ward teaching
      • The most updated 3-D head and neck simulated teaching model, under development with the Glasgow School of Art and Design
  • National and International Rankings
    • Complete University Guide ranking for medicine: rank 18 (2016)
    • Guardian University ranking for medicine: rank 4 (2016)
    • QS World ranking for medicine: rank 151-200 (2016)
    • Times Higher Education for medicine: NA

MBBS Programme Information

General overview:

  • For studying medicine you can apply for the five year A100-standard course or the A101 medicine programme for graduate entrants.
  • Opportunities to study in depth topics of particular interest:
    • To take intercalated BSc Medical Sciences Degree
    • To undertake a six-week Medical Humanities Module in 3rd year and optional intercalated degree in humanities
    • To study medicine in Remote and Rural areas up to two years
    • Project-based elective with the opportunity to study abroad

Number of students on this course:

The number is set every year in order to meet targets set by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Funding Council, in 2015 were 169 places.

Course Structure and Length:

  • The course duration is 5 years.
  • Opportunity to practice in the hospital setting from Year 1, in a safe and monitored environment.
  • The overview of the programme is as follows:
    • Years 1-3: Foundations of Medical Science and Disease, system based-course
    • Year 4: clinical blocks in which students develop their diagnostic and management skills for both individual patients and patient populations of all ages, with medical conditions affecting any of the body systems.
    • Year 5: apprentice year where students prepare for the competent, safe, effective and professional practice of medicine as a doctor

Course Content:

  • Year 1: Foundations of Medical Science and Disease
    • Term 1: knowledge and understanding of medical sciences and the disease processes.
    • Term 2: systems-based course – respiratory and the cardiovascular systems
      • Clinical cases: teach about the anatomy, physiology & biochemistry of each of the body systems, as well as the disease processes that disorganize normal structure and function within each system.
      • Foundations of Primary Care (FPC) course: aims to generate an appreciation of the physical, psychological and social roles of humans as individuals within the setting of society, with particular reference to health.
      • 4 week of Student Selected Component (SSC)
  • Year 2:
    • Systems-based course and the Foundations of Primary Care continue:
      • Alimentary
      • Head, neck, dermatology
      • Nervous
      • Diabetes
      • Urinary
      • Infection/Musculo-sketal
    • 4 week of Student Selected Component (SSC) focusing on molecular mechanisms of disease
    • Medical Ethics and Law
    • Weekly clinical attachments working alongside and shadowing various members of the multi-disciplinary hospital team. 
  • Year 3:
    • Foundations of Primary Care course are completed in Year 3.
    • SSC: Six-week module to study Medical Humanities: History of Art, Spirituality, Health Economics, Disability Studies etc.
    • Bi-weekly clinical attachments and by the end of the year, you will be able to perform a complete head-to-toe examination of your patients.
    • SSC exploring the wider public health aspects of medicine – Clinical Effectiveness.
    • First of nine five-week clinical rotations that will be undertaken throughout Year 4.
  • Year 4:
    • Nine five-week clinical blocks during which experience will be gained in different clinical areas:
      • General Practice
      • Orthopaedics / A & E / ITU / Anaesthetics / Rheumatology
      • Haematology / Oncology / Radiology / Palliative Care / Endocrinology / Plastics
      • Care of the Elderly / Psychiatry
      • Child Health / Infection
      • CNS / Stroke / Dermatology / Ophthalmology / ENT
      • GI / Renal / Nutrition
      • Reproductive / GUM / Breast
      • Cardiology / Respiratory / Clinical Pharmacology / Vascular
    • At least one of these clinical blocks will be undertaken in Inverness.
    • During these blocks, students attend various clinical settings including wards, out-patient clinics, general practices, operating theatres and other places of work.
    • Alternately, students may choose to undertake the Remote & Rural Option for all the blocks in Year 4
  • Year 5: the year comprises 5 courses:
    • Medical Specialty (student chooses from an adult medical specialty, paediatrics and medicine for the elderly).
    • A Surgical Specialty (student chooses from a surgical specialty, obstetrics and gynecology and anesthetics / intensive care).
    • General Practice or Psychiatry.
    • A project-based elective on a medical topic – often undertaken overseas.
    • An advanced Professional Practice Block (PPB) giving you more of the professional skills required of doctors for the practice of medicine in the years after qualification.

Teaching locations:

  • Foresterhill Campus:
    • Teaching Hospitals: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, Royal Cornhill Hospital and Woodend Hospital
  • Inverness Campus

Integrated BSc opportunities (courses on offer):

  • May undertake an iBSc between years 4 and 5
  • Intercalated BSc Medical Sciences (Hons):
    • Study in greater depth an area of biomedical or clinical science. At the end students will be able to undertake and critically evaluate research and understand basic principles of research methodology.
    • Approximately 40 places are available every year
    • Degree structure:
      • Foundations of Medical Research
      • Laboratory Based Research
      • Advanced Principles of Medical Research
  • Intercalated BSc Medical Sciences (Hons) Medical Humanities:
    • Is about exploring the experience of medicine, health and illness of doctors, patients and others.

Open day dates:

To attend an open day, you should book by completing the online form.

It takes place at the Forresterhill medical campus within the Suttie Centre

  • Saturday 4th June
  • Tuesday 30nd August

Term dates:

  • Winter Term: 05 Sep 2016 – 16 Dec 2016
  • Spring Term: 09 Jan 2017 – 31 Mar 2017
  • Summer Term: 01 May 2017 – 19 May 2017


Extra Postgraduate MBBS Programme Information

  • They offer postgraduate taught programmes at masters, diploma and certificate level across five research areas:
    • Applied Health Sciences
    • Environmental & Biological
    • Medical Biosciences
    • Medical Education
    • Medical Physics and Clinical Pharmacology
    • Physcology

MBBS Admissions

Application process:

  • Meet entry requirements
  • Ensure that you have sat the UCAT
  • Submit the UCAS application:
    • Course code: A100
    • University code: A20
    • We recommend that the Personal Statement cover:
      • Commitment to Medicine
      • Knowledge of core qualities required for a doctor
      • Teamwork

Entry requirements:

  • SQA Qualifications: Five Highers minimum AAAAB
    • National 5 qualifications;
      • English and Maths are required (Grade B minimum);
      • Biology and Physics are recommended but not compulsory (Grade B minimum).
      • A combination of Grade A & B passes at Standard Grade / National 5 is expected, especially in science subjects.
    • Higher qualifications
      • Chemistry (Grade B minimum);
      • Two subjects are required from Biology/Human Biology, Maths, Physics.
      • Two further Highers in most other subjects – applicants should check with the Medical Admissions office if clarification required.
  • GCE (A-levels): AAA
    • Chemistry is required
    • One subject from Biology/Human Biology, Maths and Physics is required
    • One further A-Level in most other subjects. Check with Medical Admissions Office if in doubt about suitability of a subject
    • Combinations of Chemistry, Biology plus a Non-Science subject are as acceptable as all-science combinations
  • IB: 36 points overall, with minimum of 6 points in the Higher Level science subjects and 3 appropriate subjects at SL with an average of 6.
  • Graduate applicants:
    • At least an upper second class honours degree.
    • Chemistry to at least B grade in Scottish Higher or B grade in GCE A-Level examinations is also required.
    • Dental graduates: Should hold at least Part A of the MFDS qualification and have at least two years post-qualification experience.

Candidate Selection

  • UCAT scores are considered in the selection for interview as well as actual and predicted academic achievement.
  • A minimum UCAT cut-off score is not used. It is allocated based on the applicant’s overall performance in UCAT compared with all other applicants to Aberdeen.
    • As a guideline UCAT scores for 2016 entry:
      • Interview: range from 2180-3350
      • Offer made: range from 2480-3350
    • Score applications: academic attainment/predictions (30%), UCAT (20%), and then subsequent interview performance (50%).
    • Applications are ranked against all the others received for that year’s entry and those who score sufficiently well achieve an interview.
    • Top 800 candidates are selected for interview

Interview procedure

  • Candidates will be invited for interview by email and asked to confirm their intention to attend at the appointed time and date.
  • Interviews take place between November and March
  • Are conducted using multiple mini interviews (MMI) format
    • Candidates rotate around a number of different question stations each in turn.
    • At each station, a selector will explore one question area/domain for 7 minutes and score the candidate’s performance against pre-determined criteria.
    • Communication and interpersonal skills are also scored at each station.
    • The MMI experience will last approximately 1 hour for each candidate.
  • After the interview it will be offered a tour of the Medical School by a medical student ambassador.
  • The student will be scored in several areas including:
  • Ability to express ideas freely and coherently
  • How well they use their existing knowledge to formulate answers to unknown areas
  • Their ability to follow a reasoned argument and to formulate an opinion
  • The degree to which they are prepared for questions
  • Their ability to discuss different aspects (advantages & disadvantages) of a problem / situation
  • The degree of motivation, commitment, reflection and sensitivity demonstrated

Extra important information for candidates

  • Final decisions are made through UCAS at the end of March
  • Should the application be successful, the candidate will be made one of the following offers:
    • An Unconditional Offer: candidate has met all the entrance requirements for Aberdeen.
    • A Conditional Offer: Specific conditions must be met prior to starting the course. These are usually stated as academic grades in exams to be taken during the current year of study.
  • We do not offer places for Medicine through Clearing
  • Direct entrance in year 3 for students of St Andrews University.
  • Feedback is available for unsuccessful applicants:
    • Mid April letters are sent explaining the reason
    • Mid April to the end of August applicants may request further feedback

Admissions contacts:

Extra important information on Specialty Programmes for medical students:


  • Opportunity to undertake an intercalated Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Sciences or an intercalated Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Humanities.
  • Both of these programmes lasts for one year and students usually commence the programme at the beginning of Year 4.
  • Students may also undertake the intercalated degree between Years 4 and 5.
  • Intercalated BSc Medical Sciences (Hons):
    • Study in greater depth an area of biomedical or clinical science. At the end students will be able to undertake and critically evaluate research and understand basic principles of research methodology.
    • Approximately 40 places are available every year
  • Intercalated BSc Medical Sciences (Hons) Medical Humanities:
    • Is about exploring the experience of medicine, health and illness of doctors, patients and others.


Other MBBS extras relevant to UK medical students

  • As research programmes, MD (Doctor of Medicine) & ChM (Master of Surgery) are offered – the minimum period of registered study is 24 months full-time or 36 months part-time.

Check out our Crash Courses:

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2021-07-27T10:08:59+00:00Medical Schools|Comments Off on Aberdeen

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I'm a medical student at Cambridge University, and one of the co-founders of 6med. I created the BMAT Crash Course and Interview Crash Course, and helped code BMAT Ninja and UKCAT Ninja. If you need a hand with anything, feel free to give me a shout!