Why Are Some Medicine Courses 6 Years And Others 5 Years?



The way in which Medicine is taught varies across different universities . Typically, Medicine is 5 years. However, some medical schools offer 6 year courses and there are two main reasons for this:


Compulsory Intercalation:

One reason for the course being 6 years is compulsory intercalation. Intercalation is when you take a year out of your medical degree( usually at the end of year 2, 3 or 4) and do another degree (usually related to medicine ). At some medical schools , intercalation is compulsory and their courses will be listed as 6 years with an intercalated BSc degree. Examples of medical schools that have compulsory intercalation include UCL, Imperial College London , Oxford and Cambridge. Other medical schools also offer intercalation but it is optional and there maybe certain criteria that you have to fulfil in order to intercalate (i.e. achieving a certain percentage overall in previous academic years ). For example, at Birmingham Medical school you have the option to intercalate between years 2 and 3, 3 and 4 or 4 and 5. If you choose to intercalate you will receive both your medical degree and a BSc degree at the end of 6 years of study but if you do not


The course includes a foundation year:

Some universities offer courses with a foundation year. This means you will have an extra year to develop a foundation of knowledge in biomedical sciences and this offers a more gradual introduction to the content of the medical degree. These courses often have a lower grade requirements than standard courses without a foundation year and you have to fulfil certain criteria to be able to apply for these. For example, King’s college London offer the an extended 6 year medical degree with a grade requirement of ABB for students from non-selective schools. If your predicted grades are AAA or above, we recommend that you apply for the standard course because courses with a foundation degree are very competitive due to the limited number of places.

Words: Anjitha Anilkumar

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