Queen’s Belfast

In this article we will discuss important facts about Queen's University Belfast, information that is valuable to consider for your decision making in your application year! Read on to find out more about its history, campus, faculties, admissions process!

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Overview of the Medical School

  • Queen´s University Belfast is a public research university in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The university was chartered in 1845, and opened in 1849 as “Queen’s College, Belfast”, but has roots going back to 1810 and the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. Medicine has been taught at Queen’s since 1863.
  • The Ulster Hospital has taught medical students since 1882; the Mater Infirmorum Hospital was recognised as a Teaching Hospital in 1908; and the staff of the Belfast City Hospital have taught an increasing number of students for many years. Today all the hospitals in Belfast and the majority of hospitals in the Province play an important role in medical education. The Board of the Faculty of the Medical Department had 5 members in 1835; today the staff of the School numbers over 560. In 1845 the number of students studying medicine was 55 out of a total of 195 attending the university college, and today there are 2,000 students out of 21,000 attending the University.
  • Among its notable alumni are: Dr Frank Pantridge who transformed emergency medicine and paramedic services with the invention of the portable defibrillator, Dr Jack Kyle, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University, Dame Ingrid Allen she gained an international reputation for her research in infections of the nervous system and Multiple Sclerosis, and Sir Peter Froggatt who was professor of epidemiology and later dean of the faculty of medicine.


Campus and Facilities:

  • Campus:
    • Health Sciences Campus
    • Royal Victoria Hospital Campus
  • Facilities:
    • Medical Biology Centre (MBC) – Health Sciences Campus
    • Clinical Skills Education Centre – Health Sciences Campus
    • Anatomy and Histology Teaching Facilities – Health Sciences Campus
    • Whitla Medical Building – Health Sciences Campus
    • Mulhouse – Royal Victoria Hospital Campus
      • Medical library
      • Five large seminar rooms
      • NI Cancer Registry at Queen’s
      • Two large lecture theatres are located in the neighbouring Institute of Clinical Science.
    • Libraries – Health Sciences, Royal Victoria and Main Campuses
      • Medical – Mulhouse building
      • Biomedical
      • McClay – located in College Park
  • National and International Rankings
    • Complete University Guide ranking for medicine: rank 30 (2016)
    • Guardian University ranking for medicine: rank 27 (2016)
    • QS World ranking for medicine: rank 151-200 (2016)
    • Times Higher Education for medicine: NA


MBBS Programme Information

General overview:

  • On completion of the A100 programme, the degrees of MB BCh BAO are awarded, where MB is Bachelor of Medicine, BCh is Bachelor of Surgery and BAO is Bachelor in the Art of Obstetrics.
  • The degree is integrated, systems-based and student-centred. The scientific background to medicine is taught alongside clinical medicine.
  • The programme stands out for having early clinical contact with patients, clinical skills training, revision and assessment. In addition, students have access to simulation, and a strong emphasis on bedside teaching and clinical skills.

Number of students on this course:

262 places available to undergraduate medicine.

Course Structure and Length:

  • The A100 programme duration is 5 years.
  • The course is divided in three stages:
    • Years 1 and 2: scientific basis of medical practice
    • Year 3: Classroom-based and clinical teaching
    • Years 4 and 5: gain experience in a range of surgical and medical disciplines
  • The learning methods the school offers are the following:
    • Lectures
    • Practicals classes throughout years 1 and 2
    • E-learning technologies
    • Seminars / Tutorials
    • Self-directed study
    • Clinical placements
    • Placement Abroad
    • Personal Tutor

Course Content:

  • Years 1 and 2:
    • Scientific basis of medical practice
      • Study body system focusing on mechanisms of cellular structure and function.
      • Study pathology, microbiology, therapeutics and genetics.
      • Teaching of basic science subjects is integrated with clinical skills training which you acquire through clinical simulation and practice with patients.
      • Junior clinical and scientific reasoning
  • Year 3:
    • Greater clinical focus
    • Classroom-based and clinical teaching takes place in each of the medical and surgical disciplines
    • Integrated with therapeutic, pathological and microbiological principles relevant to clinical medical practice.
  • Years 4 and 5:
    • Further experience in a range of surgical and medical disciplines.
    • Training in emergency medicine and general practice
    • In fifth year you have the opportunity to undertake an apprenticeship, during which you complete the range of tasks undertaken by a Foundation Doctor.
    • Teaching and learning in ethics, communication, teamwork, and related behavioural science.

Teaching locations:

  • At the University
  • Hospitals and General Practices throughout Northern Ireland.

Integrated BSc opportunities (courses on offer):

  • At the end of second or third year, students may apply to take a year out of their medical degree to study for an intercalated degree.
  • This extra research-focused year will lead to either a BSc, MPH or MRes qualification.
  • The subjects available are Medical Science in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, and Biochemistry and Microbiology in the School of Biological Sciences.

Open day dates:

  • For school groups:
    • Thursday 08 September
    • Friday 09 September
  • Family Open day:
    • Saturday 10 September

Term dates:

  • Autumn Semester: 26 Sep 2016 – 16 Dec 2016
  • Assessment: 09 Jan 2017 – 24 Jan 2017
  • Spring Semester: 30 Jan 2017 – 07 April 2017
  • Vacation: 10 April 2017 – 28 April 2017
  • Continue Spring Semester: 01 May 2017 – 03 Jun 2017



Extra Postgraduate MBBS Programme Information

  • The School of Medicine offers Postgraduate Taught Programmes (on campus):
    • MSC Bioinfomatics & Computational Genomics
    • MRES Translational Medicine
    • PGDIP Mental Health
    • PG Programmes Clinical Academic Trainings
    • MSC/PGDIP/PGCERT Clinical Anatomy
    • MPH Masters Public Health
    • MSC/PGDIP/PGCERT Molecular Pathology of Cancer
  • Postgraduate Research: students carry out independent research projects within one of the four internationally recognised Research Centres within the School: Cancer Research & Cell Biology, Experimental Medicine, Infection and Immunity and Public Health.
    • Current Opportunities:
    • Centre for Cancer Research & Cell Biology
    • 3 Year PhD – Doctoral Training Programme in Precision Cancer Medicine
    • CCRCB / NCI Doctoral Training Programme in Precision Cancer Medicine
    • Defining the clinical importance of epithelial-stroma-immune signalling in colorectal cancer using a molecular pathology approach
    • Therapeutic exploitation of p53 status in colorectal cancer: from pre-clinical studies to early phase clinical trials
    • Centre for Experimental Medicine:
    • Attenuating Diabetic Retinopathy through retinal neuroprotection
    • Premature vascular senescence during Diabetic Retinopathy


MBBS Admissions

Application process:

  • Meet entry requirements
  • Take the UCAT test
  • Submit the UCAS application:
    • Institution code name: QBELF
    • Institution code: Q75
  • Attend the interview (if applicable)

Entry requirements:

  • GCSEs: Mathematics, English and Physics (or Double Award Science) are required if not offered at AS or A-level.
  • A Levels and AS level:
    • Three A-levels are required to include GCE Chemistry + at least one from Biology, Physics and Mathematics.
    • A maximum of one VCE/Applied subject at either A-level or AS-level (not both) will be counted.
    • If Biology is not offered at GCE A-level, it is required at GCE AS-level grade B or better.
    • Mathematics and Further Mathematics cannot be counted together at A-level but one may be counted at A-level and the other at AS-level.
  • Irish Certificate (Higher Level): A 1A1A1A1A1B2 including Higher Level grade A1 in Biology and Chemistry + if not offered at Higher Level then Ordinary Level grade B in Mathematics. Students not offering Physics as part of their Leaving Certificate must have an A grade in Junior Certificate Science.
  • Scottish Applicants: AAABB in Scottish Highers are considered. 34 points are awarded for AAABB; 35 points for AAAAB and 36 points for AAAAA – at the first attempt.
  • Graduates: ABB at first attempt or BBB for those with a First Class Honours degree or PhD.
    • Averaging out to these grades is not permitted.
    • Applicants must have an appropriate science background at GCSE and AS-level/A-level or equivalent and at least a 2.1 Honours classification in their primary (first) degree.

Candidate Selection:

  • The selection process involves two stages:
    • Stage 1: Cognitive ability:
    • Consideration of previous academic performance, including school, college and university grades as appropriate.
    • Aptitude testing using the UCAT
    • Stage 2: Non-cognitive ability: interviews
  • All applicants will be scored at Stage 1 of the selection process and ranked.
  • Candidates will earn points (maximum 6) according the UCAT score:
    • 1,200 – 1,899: 0 points
    • 1,900 – 2,099: 1 point
    • 2,100 – 2,299: 2 points
    • 2,300 – 2,499: 3 points
    • 2,500 – 2,699: 4 points
    • 2,700 – 2,899: 5 points
    • 2,900 – 3,600: 6 points
  • From this, candidates will be selected for interview (Stage 2) and a final decision about whether or not to make a conditional or unconditional offer will be based solely on interview performance.

Interview procedure:

  • Interviews will take place between January and March in Belfast for home and EU applicants.
  • In addition you will take a tour of the Medical School and the University.
  • The interviews are in MMI format (multiple mini interview)
  • They assesses key non-cognitive competences for Medicine:
    • Empathy
    • Problem-solving
    • Ethical Reasoning
    • Communication Skills


Extra important information for candidates:

  • Decisions will be released it until the end of March or early April, according to the rank order.
  • Should places be available in August, this rank order will also be the primary factor in considering candidates who have satisfied the academic criteria and are not holding an offer.
  • Transfers from other universities are not usually considered.


Admissions contacts:

  • Through “Ask a question” section in the web page (http://www.qub.ac.uk/Connect/Contact-us/Ask-a-question/)
  • Phone: +44 (0)28 9024 5133


Extra important information on Specialty Programmes for medical students


  • Intercalated degrees are usually taken after the end of 2nd and 3rd year of the medical curriculum.
  • There is not recommended to take it between the 4th and 5th years, as this would break up the flow of the main clinical teaching.
  • External students are welcome, but in addition to providing the normal application form must also complete a direct entry application form which will be provided by the School Office on request.



Other MBBS extras relevant to UK medical students: NA


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