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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Medical Science

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Medicine at Cambridge

The medical course at Cambridge is described in detail on the main University pages. It begins with a three-year Honours degree course, the Medical Sciences Tripos (MST) which includes work in the basic pre-clinical subjects, and a specialist subject of the student's own choice. This is followed by entry into Cambridge Clinical School. The major subjects covered in MST, prior to entry to the Clinical course are:

  • Anatomy (Functional Architecture of the Body)
  • Biochemistry and Genetics (Molecules in Medical Science)
  • Neurobiology and Psychology (Neurobiology with Human Behaviour)
  • Physiology (Homeostasis)
  • Pharmacology (Mechanisms of drug action)
  • Pathology (Biology of Disease)

The college teaching system is complementary to the lecture and practical class programme offered by the University.

Medicine in Murray Edwards College

We welcome around 10 undergraduate students in Medicine each year.  Within the College as a whole this means we will have around 60 medical students at any one time. 

College teaching provision is of considerable importance. The pace of the course is demanding and it is through teaching and supervisions that students can develop their understanding of the material covered. Supervisions with our subject specialists also enable students to build their understanding of the clinical implications of the scientific knowledge and principles that they are studying. This requires a range of subject specialists within the biological and clinical sciences and Murray Edwards is committed to ensuring that its teaching needs in Medicine are fulfilled from within its own highly qualified Fellowship.  We see this access to subject expertise and support as essential to the academic progress of our students.

Our medical students achieve very good results with many 2.1s and a few Firsts each year. 

Katy Crooks describes her experience of studying Medicine at Murray Edwards College in our STEMM blog and Mrinilini Dey describes her experience of entering the clinical years of study in our 60th Anniversary blog.

Fellows working with those studying Medicine

Anatomy (first year) *Dr Tim Vaughan-Lane*  Bye Fellow in Anatomy
Anatomy (second year) *Dr Roger Gray*  Bye Fellow in Anatomy
Biochemistry Dr Aleksandra Watson Fellow and Director of Studies in Biochemistry
Physiology *Dr Gareth Matthews* Fellow in Physiology, Academic Foundation Year Clinician.
Physiology *Professor Christopher Huang Director of Medical Studies; University Professor of Cell Physiology
Epidemiology Marie Goodall Research Officer, Medical Research Council, Epidemiology Unit
Genetics/Reproductive Physiology *Dr Charlie Bell Bye Fellow in Physiology
Pathology Dr Angelina Turner Bye Fellow in Pathology
Immunology Dr Julia Turner Bye Fellow in Pathology
Neurobiology *Dr. Thomas Cope Bye-Fellow in Neurophysiology; Clinical Research Fellow in Neurology
Neurophysiology *Dr Caroline Jolley Bye-Fellow in Medical Physiology; MRC Specialist Registrar in Respiratory Medicine
Psychology Dr Jennifer Murray Research Fellow, Department of Psychology
Pharmacology *Dr Simon Bulley Fellow in Pharmacology, Academic Clinical Fellow in Oncology.
Pharmacology *Dr Karthik Chandrasekharan Bye Fellow in Pharmacology
Clinical Medicine *Dr Juliet Usher-Smith Academic Clinical Fellow in General Practice
General Practice *Prof Martin Roland RAND Professor of Health Services Research, Department of Public Health and Primary Care
Clinical Medicine *Dr Ruchira Sinnatamby Director of Clinical Studies; Consultant in Radiology, Addenbrookes' Hospital; Sub-Dean of Cambridge University School of Clinical Medicine

This spread of academic Fellows reflects broad research interests in the:

They have also written textbooks on performing medical research, anaesthetics, clinical physiology, and neurophysiology, and retain connections and directorships with the pharmaceutical industry.

You may also be aware of one or two of our more distinguished medical alumnae who studied here: Prof. Sian Griffiths, Professor of Public Health, Chinese University of Hong Kong; Prof. Alison Holmes, Director of the Centre for Infection Prevention and Management, Imperial College London, Dr. Anna Basu, NIHR Career Development Fellow and Honorary Consultant Paediatric Neurologist, and Prof. Helen Rees, founder and Executive Director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. 

Applying to study Medical Sciences at Murray Edwards College

We are usually able to offer 10 medical places each year. Typically this includes nine students from the UK and EU, and one student from ‘overseas’. The number and distribution of places reflects the Government-defined quotas that exist.

The medical Fellows at Murray Edwards College are particularly concerned that accessibility to medical places should be as open as possible with the fairest set of admissions criteria applied consistently to candidates whether from the maintained or the private sectors of education in the UK or from abroad. We welcome applications from a wide range of qualification systems (equivalent to A-level). Our priority is to identify candidates who have sufficient prior knowledge to excel on the course and the ability to assimilate new information effectively. This means that our recent intake has included those studying mainly physical sciences and those who have included Arts subjects among their A and AS-level subjects as well as those with a more conventional range of subjects (such as Biology, Chemistry, Maths ). 

In addition to assessing examination performance and school reports, those with a realistic chance of a place will be invited to interview. The purpose of the interviews is to make as wide an assessment of the candidate as possible. Both scientifically and medically qualified individuals, the latter including practising doctors, will be involved.  At interview candidates will normally have two subject interviews and one general interview. The subject interviews reflect the scientific nature of the Cambridge undergraduate course. Emphasis is placed on a candidate's ability to think about and apply the science they have covered rather than simply on detailed knowledge. The interviewers will be assessing intellectual and emotional maturity and the ability to reflect intelligently on medical issues and the nature of a career in medicine. All Medical and Veterinary applicants to Cambridge will be required to take the Biomedical Admissions Test BMAT.

We usually set conditional offers consistent with typical/standard offers across the University ie usually A*A*A at A level in concurrently studied subjects (or their equivalent).  Full details of entry requirements and selection processes in Medical Sciences across all colleges can be found on the central University webpages.

Moving into your career 

Our students follow a wide range of medical careers, often developing their particular interests within the context of their academic work whilst medical students. This is facilitated in the college by teaching staff who are medically qualified in addition to being scientists. Engaging with those who have clinical experience is invaluable in helping students to make the transition to clinical practice both in terms of application of knowledge and in terms of understanding and accessing the clinical opportunities that exist. In any given year, students will have exposure to supervisors from both medical and surgical specialities, whilst they develop their subject interests. This guides their choice of third year Honours subject, which in turn can provide a background to their eventual career speciality in Medicine. Indeed, our graduates continue to find access to career advice after they have left the College. Finally, Murray Edwards College maintains the Tyars and Timson-Welbourn Funds to assist students in their periods of clinical elective study.

Find out more

Many students find it helpful to contact us by email or to visit us to find out more.  You are welcome to do so.

Fellows in this subject