Overview/Summary Description of the Medical School

  • The Cardiff University School of Medicine is located in Cardiff, Wales, UK. Founded in 1893 as part of the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire with the departments of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology. A department of Pathology and Bacteriology was added in 1910. In 1921 it became a clinical and pre-clinical medical school with the name of the Welsh National School of Medicine, and in 1931 it became an independent institution of the University of Wales. The name was further changed in 1984, to University of Wales College of Medicine.
  • Across the school, five institutes lead research that covers from basic laboratory science to bedside practice. These are the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, the Institute of Infection & Immunity, the Institute of Primary Care & Public Health, the Institute of Cancer & Genetics, and the Institute of Molecular & Experimental Medicine. Alongside these research Institutes, core functions of the school are provided by the Institute of Medical Education and the Institute of Translation, Innovation, Methodology & Engagement (TIME).
  • Among its notable alumni are: Annapoorna Kini, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, has the distinction of performing more coronary interventions annually than any other woman in the U.S. Archie Cochrane, pioneer of scientific method in medicine, Stephen Dunnett, neuroscientist, Alice Roberts,clinical anatomist, Thomas Lewis, pioneer of Electrocardiography, Sir Clement Price Thomas, surgeon for George VI, Raman Viswanathan, pioneer of Chest Medicine in India and Padma Bhushan awardee. Also Cardiff has two Nobel Laureates on its staff, Sir Martin Evans and Robert Huber.

Campus and Facilities

  • University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park campus
  • Cathays Campus
  •  Facilities:
    • Cochrane Medical Education Centre:
      • Clinical Skills Centre
      • Simulation Centre: four simulation rooms and four teaching rooms.
      • Library
    • Keir Hardie Health Park
    • Anatomy Centre
  • National and International Rankings
  • Complete University Guide ranking for medicine: rank 3 (2016)
  • Guardian University ranking for medicine: rank 9 (2016)
  • QS World ranking for medicine: rank 101-150 (2016)
  • Times Higher Education for medicine: NA

MBBS Programme Information

General overview

  • There are three entry routes to Medicine:
    • Medicine (MBBCh) – 5 years – A100
    • Medicine with a preliminary year (MBBCh) – 6 years – A104
    • Medicine (MBBCh) four year graduate entry- 4 years – A101
  • The curriculum blends basic medical sciences, pathological sciences and clinical experiences, and is a spiral curriculum.
  • It is delivered using different teaching methods, including:
    • Small-group tutorials
    • Lectures
    • Practical laboratory-based sessions.
    • Clinical skills are learned initially in clinical skills sessions, using models and simulators, before being put into practice on clinical placements.
  • The A104 programme has been designed for students who have demonstrated high academic potential but have been unable to meet the subject specific requirements, i.e. those students who have taken all non-science subjects or no more than one of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
  • The Graduate entry course is for applicants who are currently enrolled on to an officiated Feeder Stream accelerated entry program within one of the following programmes:
    • BMed Sci Degree from the University of Bangor (B100)
    • BSc (Hons) Medical Sciences Degree, from the University of South Wales (B901)
    • BSc (Hons) Medical Pharmacology degree, School of Medicine, Cardiff University (B210)
    • BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences degree, School of Biosciences, Cardiff University (BC97)

Number of students on this course:

The School typically has approximately 268 places for Home/EU students and 25 for overseas students. Up to 16 places for applicants of the A104 programme and up to 10 graduate for the A101 course.

Course Structure and Length:

  • The A100 programme duration is 5 years, the programme with a preliminary year (A104) is six-year, and the graduate entry is 4 (A101).
  • The five-year programme is structured as follows:
    • Phase 1: Core Science and Clinical Practice – Years 1 & 2
    • Phase 2: : Learning to Care – Years 3 & 4
    • Harmonisation: Consolidated Preparation for Practice – Year 5
  • The A104 course has a preliminary year that normally includes modules on biological and chemical sciences, mathematics and a range of optional modules. On completion you will pass to the five-year programme.

Course Content:

  • Year 1: Introduction to Science and Health
    • 12-week introduction, covering the basics:
      • Anatomy
      • Biochemistry
      • Physiology
      • Cell and molecular biology
      • Immunology
      • Microbiology
      • Pathology Anatomy
      • Fundamental communication, clinical skills and professionalism
      • Short clinical experience days, in hospitals and GP practices
      • Clinical Scenarios: linking the basic sciences to common clinical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
  • Year 2: Clinical Scenarios
    • Address medical problems from first principles and develop your scientific reasoning skills
    • Small group sessions will be supported by lectures and seminars
    • One day a week seeing patients with similar conditions in local hospitals, general practices and other community based services around South East Wales
    • Whilst on placement you will be working alongside other healthcare professionals
    • Study of the biomedical and clinical sciences will continue, such as: anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology and microbiology.
    • Social and ethical aspects of clinical practice.
    • Three student selected components or projects on a range of topics from the clinical to the non-medical.
    • The Second Professional Examination, completed by the end of the second year
  • Year 3: Clinical Placements
    • Three 8-10 week placements, in hospitals and general practices across Wales
    • Follow patient ‘pathways’ through your placements
    • Work as part of a clinical team: undertake your share of the on-call duties, learn the essentials of excellent clinical care, understand the investigation, management and treatment of common disease
    • Fundamentals of good medical practice and the science needed as a competent doctor, and having expert teaching on pathology, therapeutics, social sciences and ethics
    • Project of your choice.
  • Year 4: Clinical Placements
    • Three 8-10 week placements, in hospitals and general practices across Wales
    • Focus on Chronic Disease but also explore the specific medical needs of:
      • Children
      • Women and the Family
      • Clinical Neuroscience and Psychological Medicine patients
    • Project of your choice.
  • Year 5: Harmonisation Programme
    • Integration with clinical teams and responsibility for patient care will increase
    • This final year of study, focuses on preparing you for your role as a doctor
    • Assessment and management of acute and chronic clinical presentations, with increasing responsibility throughout the year
    • Two 8-week clinical placements, one hospital based and the other community based, where 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
    • These placements will be followed by an 8-10 week student elective of your choice,
    • Four 2-week core learning blocks that 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”.
    • The Harmonisation Programme will culminate, allowing you to work as part of the clinical team by directly managing patients under the supervision of the hospital teams.

Teaching locations:

  • Phase 1: time will be split between the Clinical Heath Park campus and the Science laboratories in Cathays
  • Phase 2: most time will be in hospitals, GP practices and community clinics. The teaching block weeks are in University.
  • Harmonisation: study blocks will be at the Heath Park campus and placements/assistantships are in Wales.

Integrated BSc opportunities (courses on offer):

  • Spend an additional ‘intercalating’ year between years 3 and 4 or years 4 and 5.
  • They accept applications from medical students currently studying at other medical schools.
  • Programmes available:
    • Biochemistry
    • Anatomy
    • Physiology
    • Medical Education
    • Pharmacology
    • Medical Genetics
    • Cellular and Molecular Pathology
    • Clinical Epidemiology
    • Psychology and Medicine

Open day dates:

For Medicine there are 2 open day dates available:

  • Friday 24 June 2016
  • Saturday 25 June 2016

Term dates:

  • Autumn Semester: 26 Sep 2016 – 09 Dec 2016
  • Examining Period: 09 Jan 2017 – 20 Jan 2017
  • Spring Semester: 23 Jan 2017 – 09 Jun 2017
  • Easter Recess: 08 April 2017 – 30 April 2017
  • Examining Period: 08 May 2017 – 09 Jun 2017


Extra Postgraduate MBBS Programme Information

  • The school offers Taught Programmes delivered on a part-time and full-time basis as well as distance/e-learning courses and standalone modules.
  • Courses Available:
    • Advanced Surgical Practice
    • Ageing Health and Disease
    • Bioinformatics / Genetic Epidemiology and Bioinformatics
    • Clinical Dermatology
    • Critical Care
    • Diabetes
    • Genetic Counselling
    • Medical Research & Innovation
    • Medical Toxicology
    • Medical Ultrasound
    • Neonatal Medicine
    • Obstetric and / or Gynaecological Ultrasound
    • Occupational Health (Policy and Practice)
    • Pain Management
    • Pain Management (Primary and Community Care)
    • Palliative Medicine/Palliative Care
    • Practical Dermatology
    • Psychiatry (e-Learning)
    • Public Health
    • Therapeutics
    • Wound Healing and Tissue Repair

MBBS Admissions

Application process:

  • Meet entry requirements
  • Ensure that you have sat the UCAT for undergraduates and GAMSAT for graduates
  • Submit the UCAS application:
  • Attend the interview (if applicable)

Entry requirements:

A100 programme:

  • GCSEs: B in Mathematics, B in English Language, AA in Science and Additional Science, or AAB in three separate sciences.
  • A Levels: AAA grades at A-level. These must include Chemistry and Biology but cannot include Critical Thinking and General Studies.
  • Welsh Baccalaureate: A Grade A in the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate will be accepted as a third A-level with 2 Science A-levels, as specified above.
  • Graduate Entry: 1st or 2:1 honours degree, plus a minimum of BBB at A-level and B in English Language and B in Mathematics at GCSE. Require to take the GAMSAT test.

A101 programme:

  • GCSEs: B in Mathematics, B in English Language.
  • A Levels: BBB grades at A-level in any subjects acceptable to the feeder course you plan to do first.
  • Graduate Entry:
  • Offers are dependent on academic performance and subsequent nonacademic assessment for entry into the 4 year graduate entry programme from each of:
    • Cardiff University BSc Medical Pharmacology (UCAS Code B210),
    • BSc Biomedical Science (UCAS code BC97),
    • Bangor University’s Medical Sciences BMedSci (UCAS code B100)
    • University of South Wales BSc Medical Sciences (UCAS Code B901).
  • You are required to sit the GAMSAT test

A104 programme:

  • GCSEs: B in Mathematics, B in English Language, AA in Science and Additional Science, or AAB in three separate sciences.
  • A Levels: AAA in three subjects at A-level.
  • Welsh Baccalaureate: A Grade A in the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate will be accepted as a third A-level.

Candidate Selection:

  • The UCAT may be used as part of the assessment process for applicants.
  • GAMSAT requirements are: 57 overall with 55 in the sciences.
  • Applications will be ranked according to their overall prior certificated academic qualifications.
  • Applicants successful at the first scoring stage will be assessed by looking at their personal statement and reference.
  • They should demonstrate:
    • Medical motivation and awareness of the career
    • Caring ethos and a sense of social awareness
    • Sense of responsibility
    • Evidence of a balanced approach to life
    • Evidence of self-directed learning and extracurricular activities
    • Referee’s report
  • Interviews are offered to applicants who achieve the highest positions according to their academic and non-academic rankings.

Interview procedure:

  • Interviews take place during November through to the end of March
  • Each interview panel normally consists of 2 or 3 interviewers, at least one of whom is medically qualified.
  • Panels may include a medical student from the senior years.
  • Applicants should demonstrate their interpersonal skills to, be able to communicate effectively and whether they have a balanced approach to life.
  • Individual interviewers assess each applicant’s performance and the interview panel outcome is dependent on the aggregate score.
  • Interviews normally last 20 minutes.
  • By prior arrangement, applicants can choose to have a bilingual interview conducted in Welsh and English.

Extra important information for candidates:

  • The School uses contextual data: the academic and non-academic attainment of a candidate will be reviewed against educational performance data and socio-economic background to provide admissions tutors with a more complete overview of an applicant’s attainment and potential.
  • It is not the usual practice of Cardiff University’s Medical School to accept transfers from other medical courses in the United Kingdom, in exceptional cases, for example extraordinary health or personal circumstances.
  • Applicants will be advised of decisions by UCAS, and also in writing by the School Admissions Office.
  • Unsuccessful applicants: the Admissions Group may, at their discretion and if requested by the applicant personally and in writing, provide limited guidance about relevant aspects of the application.

Admissions contacts:

Extra important information on Specialty Programmes for medical students:


  • Intercalation available between years 3 and 4 or years 4 and 5.
  • External students are considered.


  • For postgraduate research opportunities, the core of the University focuses on chronic disease and applied health research.
  • Research opportunities:
    • Cancer and Genetics PhD/MPhil/MD
    • Cancer Studies PhD
    • Infection and Immunity PhD/MPhil/MD
    • Molecular and Experimental Medicine PhD/MPhil/MD
    • Matrix Biology and Fibrosis PhD/MPhil/MD
    • Thyroid in Health and Disease PhD/MPhil/MD
    • Cardiovascular Biology & Metabolism PhD/MPhil/MD
    • Diabetes PhD/MPhil/MD
    • Ionic Cell Signalling PhD/MPhil/MD
    • Primary Care and Public Health PhD/MPhil
    • Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences PhD/MPhil/MD
    • Integrative Neuroscience PhD
    • Translation, Innovation, Methodology and Engagement (TIME) PhD/MPhil/MD

Other MBBS extras relevant to UK medical students – NA

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2021-07-27T10:10:06+00:00Medical Schools|Comments Off on Cardiff

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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!