Swansea Medical School Review

Let's talk about Swansea Medical School, what their admissions process is like, their campus, history, and more important information to consider before making your final decision in the application year.

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Welcome to our UK Medical School Review series. In this series, we work with current students to produce an in-depth overview of each UK Medical School, covering what it is like to study there, how the course looks and what you need to get in.

Today, we are focussing on Swansea Medical School which only offers Graduate Entry courses. Karla, a Swansea medical student, will share her experiences and insights as a current student throughout.

Overview Of Swansea Medical School

About Swansea Medical School

Swansea University is a research-led university that has been making a difference since 1920. The university community thrives on exploration and discovery, and offers the right balance of excellent teaching and research, matched by an enviable quality of life.

Swansea University first attempted to establish a Medical school in the 1960s but initially missed out on other schools. The university did succeed in introducing Genetics and Biochemistry departments, laying the foundations for future expansion into medicine.

Following Welsh political devolution in the 1990s, fresh calls were made to establish a medical school to serve the people of southwest Wales. In 2001, the Welsh Government established a medical school at the university’s Singleton Park campus. By 2004, the clinical school had developed into the School of Medicine, welcoming its first students onto the 4-year Graduate Entry Medicine course in collaboration with Cardiff University.

Swansea Medical School

Why did you choose to study at Swansea?

“The location was one of the biggest draws for me. Being right next to the beach, not far from the hills and has some amazing sports facilities. As well, there as some excellent transport links to nearby cities to make use of their facilities and what they have to offer too. There are also so many extra-curricular activities to get involved in with various specialist interest socities, opportunities to link with research projects and the chance to take part in placements aboard.”

What is the best thing and worst thing about Swansea Medical School?

“The course is really small and friendly which means you get to know everyone really well and establish relationships with the staff. This also means there isn’t as many people on the same clinical attachment so there are plenty of patients to go around! For me one of the worst things is the short holidays! There is just so much to fit in and do in such a short amount of time.”

Medical School Rankings

The following link will take you to the Complete University Guide Medicine League Table. Here, you can see that the Swansea Medical School takes 14th position with an overall score of 97%:


Rankings will, of course, differ between other tables; the Guardian includes different aspects to the Complete University Guide. When making your own decision on which table to look at, think about what you place more importance on, such as spending per student or career prospects. Keep in mind that all Medical Schools are highly ranked with excellent ratings across the board.

Swansea Medical School Fees And Financial Support

For students from the UK fees are £9,00, and for international students they are £41,750 each year. Fees for full time Undergraduate UK students may be increased in subsequent years of study by an inflationary amount determined by Welsh Government. Fees for full time Undergraduate EU/International students will increase by 3% for each subsequent year of study.

What are the living costs like?

“If you’re under 21 then you can get a bus pass which gives you approximately a third off of the fare of your bus ticket. You can do this as single, return, weekly or monthly tickets which means there is an option that works best for you. I personally don’t drink them but I’ve been told that a pint costs around £3.20 which is really reasonable.”

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What Is Studying At Swansea Medical School Like?

This accelerated, four-year medical degree follows an innovative, integrated spiral curriculum designed to reflect the way in which clinicians approach patients and how patients present to doctors.

You will study the basic biomedical sciences in the context of clinical medicine, public health, pathology, therapeutics, ethics, and psycho-social issues in patient management.

Together with a strong focus on clinical and communication skills, you will develop the academic, practical, and personal qualities to practise medicine competently and with confidence.

You will have a high level of structured clinical contact as your studies progress, covering the following areas: clinical apprenticeships, including one week of nursing practice, junior assistantship, specialty attachments, including acute surgery, acute medicine, women’s health, child health, mental health, sub-specialities of medicine and surgery, and frailty, community-based learning, senior assistantship, shadowing F1 doctors and elective.

Swansea Medical School Degree Content

Swansea offers just one course, a four-year Graduate Entry degree. 

Teaching for students at Swansea Medical School is integrated. Through lectures, practicals and seminars, students will spend each learning week on a different clinical case. The cases fall into six different themes: nutrition, development, transport, movement, defence and behaviour. This course does not follow the traditional ‘body systems’ structure but instead focuses on how clinicians approach patients.

The programme is split into two phases, with phase one occurring during year one and two. During these two years, students will have learning weeks that are case based and incorporate Integrated Clinical Method. Additionally, one day of every fourth or fifth week is dedicated to community-based learning in a GP. Learning opportunities in both a clinical and research setting are also experienced too.

In phase two, over years three and four, there are clinical apprenticeships and assistantships in the Medicine, Surgery and Primary Care settings. Students also undergo speciality attachments over eight five-week placements in Medicine, Women’s Health, Mental Health, Child Health, Acute Surgery as well as sub-specialties of Medicine and Surgery and Frailty. These all include Integrated Clinical Method and simulation too. There is an opportunity for an elective in year four, which many choose to take overseas. At the end of year four and prior to FY1, students will take on a senior assistantship in which they will shadow FY1 doctors.

Below is a summary of the curriculum across the 4 years:

Summary of the curriculum:
Phase 1: Years 1 and 2 
  • Learning Weeks (Case based, includes Integrated Clinical Method)

  • Community-Based Learning (CBL) in General Practice for one day every fourth or fifth week

  • LOCS – Learning Opportunities in the Clinical Setting

  • LORS – Learning Opportunities in a Research Setting

  • Early Apprenticeships (1-3)

Phase 2: Years 3 and 4
  • Case of the Week (Case Based Learning Weeks)

  • Clinical Apprenticeships and Assistantships(Medicine, Surgery and Primary Care) (4-8) including 8 weeks in CBL

  • Specialty Attachments– Eight 5 Week placements in Medicine (at Singleton, Morriston and Prince Phillip Hospitals), Acute Surgery,  Women’s Health, Child Health, Mental Health, Sub-Specialities of Medicine and Surgery, and Frailty.  These include Integrated Clinical Method and simulation.

  • Elective in Year 4 (5 Week Clinical Placement mostly taken overseas)

  • Senior Assistantship / Shadowing period at end of Year 4 prior to F1 (5 Week Clinical Placement where students “shadow” F1 doctors in their allocated post in Wales or join the all-Wales ‘shadow’ programme)

What Makes Swansea Medical School Unique?

What makes Swansea Medical School unique?

“Being a Graduate Entry course it means that everyone is joining the course with such different backgrounds and experience. You don’t have to have studied any science subjects to be a part of the chose which is a huge benefit for people like me who decided they wanted to study Medicine later on in life. Seeing how we all use our different experiences and background, and how it benefits Medicine is a truly unique experience.”

Candidate Selection

Stage 1: confirming applicants meet the minimum entry requirements. 

Stage 2: applicants are ranked based upon assessment of the personal statement and the academic referee’s report within the UCAS application form. Those with the highest rankings are offered an interview. 

Stage 3: applicants attend interview.

Stage 4: applicants are ranked using an objective numerical scoring system, and those achieving the highest overall scores following interview are offered a place.

Swansea Medical School Entry Requirements

Graduate Entry Course

ExamGraduate Entry Medicine
Degree2:1 undergraduate degree in any subject, or
Merit in an integrated master’s degree in any subject, or
2:2 undergraduate degree AND a Pass in a postgraduate higher degree (Masters or PhD) in any subject.
GCSESMinimum grade C at GCSE in Mathematics
Minimum grade C at GCSE in English/Welsh.
A-LevelsNot considered.

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Swansea Medical School Personal Statement

When applying for Graduate Entry Medicine courses such as Swansea you will still have to submit a personal statement such as you did for your first undergraduate degree. 

What you should be making the effort of doing is discussing the degree you have completed and how it will benefit your studies of Medicine. Admissions tutors want to see you talking about your life experiences and the value you have gained from them and how they can be utilised. 

During the interview process, your personal statement will be considered and will be discussed during the interview itself. 

The main thing to cover in the personal statement is the motivation to study Medicine, especially if you are coming from a non-Medicine background. 

When it comes to personal statement writing, 6med’s Personal Statement Bundle is your best bet for creating the perfect statement! 

Swansea Medical School Admissions Tests

GAMSAT Requirements

GAMSAT is a professionally designed and marked selection test for Medical Schools offering graduate-entry programmes open to graduates of any discipline. You will need to sit GAMSAT if you intend to apply for entry to the GEM Programme at Swansea. There are no exemptions from the GAMSAT test. 

All applicants must sit the GAMSAT prior to submitting an application. Swansea are unable to consider any application that does not have either a valid GAMSAT score or proof that an applicant has sat the test and is awaiting their results. 

GAMSAT evaluates the nature and extent of abilities and skills gained through prior experience and learning, including the mastery and use of concepts in basic science, as well as the acquisition of more general skills in problem solving, critical thinking and writing.

Swansea accept results from GAMSAT UK, Ireland and Australia dated within the two years prior to the application. 

Neither the BMAT or the UCAT are required. 

Swansea Medical School Interview

Swansea applicants will have to attend an Assessment Centre as part of the application process. As part of this, you will first sit a 30-minute written situational judgement assessment – this will not assess your academic ability but try and identify those applicants who have decision making skills suitable to a career in Medicine. You will then attend two separate 20-minute interviews. 

MMI Interview Style

The interview process is designed to take account the personal and academic qualities needed as a doctor; as set out in ‘Good Medical Practice’, and the capacity to meet the outcomes of ‘Outcomes for Graduates’. In summary these are: 

  • Communication Skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Coping with pressure
  • Insight and Integrity
  • Passion for medicine/resilience to succeed

Once the interviews are completed, Swansea will assess the overall performance of each candidate. Due to the very competitive nature of the selection process, only candidates who scored highest will be offered a place at Swansea. 

If you’re feeling unsure about your interview skills, you can sign up for 6med’s Interview Bundle to learn everything you need to know to ace your interviews! 

Example Swansea Medical School Interview Questions:

Extra-Curriculars at Swansea Medical School

Outside of study time, what do most people get up to?

“There is something for everyone here. Whether you are one for a drunken night out, a quiet night at a bar, trips to Snowdonia, or formal balls with the faculty – there will be something for you. MedSoc is one of the best ways to meet a lot of like-minded people, and they make a huge deal out of welcoming new students so that you will feel right at home! Of course, there are other societies and sports teams that you can join based on your interests outside of Medicine which means you will meet even more new people.” 

What is the Swansea accommodation like?

“There is so many different choices of accommodation, depending on what you are looking for. Singleton Campus Accommodation is a great choice for Medicine students as you’ll be based on the Singleton Park Campus, which means you’ll get to have a lie in every morning! If you don’t mind being a little further from the campus the Hendrefoilan Student Village is about a 30-minute walk from the Singleton Park Campus and is one of the lower cost options. There’s a Students’ Union pub, shop and laundrette on site so you have plenty of amenities and there is also a bus service to both campuses and the city centre.” 

Swansea Medical School Contact

Email: [email protected]

Tel: +44 (0)1792 602618

Postal address:
School of Medicine
Swansea University
Singleton Park

You can also visit: https://www.swansea.ac.uk/medicine/

Advice For Prospective Swansea Medical School Students

What advice would you give to a first-year student starting at Swansea Medical School?

“This course is very intense; you cover what is usually done in 5-years at other universities in just four here. There is a lot to learn, on top of settling into life at university, so if you feel down or like you are not coping, you will not be alone in this. Talk to other members of your course, the lecturers, just anyone really. It will get overwhelming, but you’ve got this!”

Check out our other UK Medical School Reviews:

Swansea Medical School is an exceptional place to study, and we’ll help you get there.

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Not sure where to start with your Medical School application?

Our Complete Bundle provides support for your Personal Statement, UCAT, BMAT and Interview and guides you to a successful application.

With our Complete Bundle, we guarantee that you will get at least one offer to study Medicine, or your money back.

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