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The beginning of your journey as a doctor in training starts now and we are looking forward to meeting and working with you in September.

The Flying Start web page is a place where you will find a lot of useful information about things to do before you get here, and what you will need to do when you arrive.

Welcome from Undergraduate Course Director

readingWelcome to the University of St Andrews School of Medicine.

You have studied hard, shown your ability to succeed and now you are finally here – CONGRATULATIONS

You may not realise it, but we are quite probably looking forward to you arriving as much as you are, it is always a pleasure to meet new students and to help and encourage you all along the path to being a Doctor. That path is often difficult, and you may have to learn about yourself as much as about medicine, however we are absolutely confident that each and every one of you are capable of achieving excellence.

As you have (hopefully) seen on our website, the curriculum for this course is all mapped out for you and there are only a few significant choices for you to make. What is not mapped out, and what is just as important, is how to get the most from the rest of your University life. St Andrews (AKA ‘The Bubble’) is a truly special place to go to University, its small enough to enable you to meet each other easily (and spot staff in Morrison’s furtively shopping), and large enough to provide the facilities and recreational opportunities of a well-established University. I want to encourage you to take full advantage of the time you are here, not only to succeed in your studies, but also to enjoy the environment of St Andrews and all the good times ‘The Bubble’ has to offer.

Jon Issberner

Bsc (Hons) Medicine Course Director

Welcome from School President

Congratulations on accepting your offers.

My name is Carissa Jacobs and I am the Medical School President for 2017-2018. That means that I am here to represent you within the Medical School as well as the University.

The Medical School has many different societies that put on social events, lectures and workshops. St. Andrews, located in our beautiful little kingdom of Fife, has beaches, hiking trails, a cinema, food-stealing seagulls and pubs-galore. There are plenty of things to distract yourself from all the work you need to be doing.

I hope you all get acquainted with your new best friends before you come: coffee and more coffee.

On a serious note, there is always support for you if you need it. We have mentoring schemes between students and the staff are available to you via email and in person.

The Medical Students are very privileged to have an online intranet called Galen. Galen will have your personal timetables, notices from staff and all of your lectures and lecture pdfs. You even have access to your recorded lectures.

St. Andrews is a wonderful university situated in a very student-orientated town – so be prepared to be part of one of the top universities in the country and to work hard for what you want to achieve. These are going to be the best and worst 3 years of your life. “This is your starting line. How well you play is up to you.”

Top 3 tips for surviving your first year: 1. Get a proper lab coat with elastic sleeves. 2. Don’t buy the textbooks just yet – wait until you get here and then decide which ones you really need. 3. And whatever you do, do the guided studies.

If you have any questions for me or any feedback about your time at Medical School, please feel free to contact me at:

I look forward to meeting all of you.

Welcome to the University of St. Andrews.

Welcome from the Bute Medical Society President

“Started from the bottom now we’re here”

Congratulations! You’ve done it. All of your hard work, blood, sweat and tears has culminated in this moment; the moment you realize that you’re now going to be studying at one of the UK’s top universities. As a matter of fact, we were just voted the 3rd best University in the UK and the top University in Scotland…. Not like I’m bragging or anything. The University is incredible, but you’ll find that the town of St. Andrews is even more spectacular and breath-taking. How many people can say they overlook one of the most prestigious golf courses in the world or go for beach walks as cheeky revision breaks?? If you’re not already hyped, you should be, because these next 3 years will be the most unforgettable and incredible years of your life. Trust me on that.

Apologies for the aforementioned Drake reference if that’s not your thing, but I felt it was very fitting for this moment and before I get carried away with my obsession for Drake (Toronto represent, whoop whoop), let me introduce myself. My name is Nishchay Kaushal and I’m the President of the Bute Medical Society AKA the BMS. We’re one of the biggest societies in the University and last year took home the award for the “Best Society” in the entire Uni! Not to be outdone this year, where we took home “Best Event” for Bute Ball, one of three medic ball’s of the year. This year we’ve got an awesome committee made up of passionate, friendly and approachable people who are determined to make this year the best year in Bute Medical Society history!

So you’re probably asking yourself why should I join the BMS? Well if I haven’t convinced you already, then let me explain what exactly the BMS does around the medical school. The Bute Medical Society’s aims include showcasing the wider and broader aspects of medical science, fundraising for worthwhile causes and organizing several activities to best promote fellowship within our society. Some of our big annual events to mark on your calendars are: Hecklings, the 1st year medic initiations, FAF Ball, our 1st medic ball of the year, Bute Revue, our hilarious year-end comedy show, and many more.

We’re all about making sure that you get as much as possible out of the fantastic opportunities here, as well as emphasizing the close knit community spirit of St. Andrews. The first thing you have to look forward to is Fresher’s Week 2017. Our annual “Welcome Barbecue” will be on Monday September 11th in the afternoon in the Medical School and it’s a terrific way to start to meet everybody in your year and the years above. Be aware of keen second years on the prowl looking to adopt you as part of the academic family tradition here at the University. The best advice I can give you is to just remember that everyone’s in the same boat, so don’t be shy, introduce yourself and make some friends. I’m always looking to meet new people who share my unmatched passion for rap music. Just kidding… I love all types of music, except country. Sorry.

If you’ve got any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ve got a St Andrews Medics 2017 Freshers page all set up for you, or if you would prefer you can drop me an email ( or hit me up on Facebook. Feel free to ask me absolutely anything from what textbooks you might need (or might not need ;)), what engraving you should get on your stethoscope (a very important decision), to what I do besides worship Drake *cough* worship Kanye *cough*. We also have a beautiful website,, which will be updated closer to Fresher’s Week with more info about that and the new committee so you can spot us amongst the crowds. (I stand a tall 5 ‘7 so you’ll have to look hard for me lol). In the meantime, forget everything I’ve just told you, relax and enjoy your summers. I look forward to meeting you all in September!

“I’m here for a good time, not a long time”

Best wishes,


How do you do?

Some key staff at the School of Medicine are shown below

You can view a list of all staff and contact details on the School of Medicine website.


Things to do before I arrive…

Download the Flying Start checklist




The Flying Start Checklist is a pdf checklist which you can print out and use to help you to keep track of the things you need to do as you prepare to start your medical training at St Andrews.

Click for pdf


Read essential documents: School of Medicine Agreement




The School of Medicine Agreement should be downloaded and read before arrival – however do not sign the agreement yet – you will be asked to do this when you are here.

Click for pdf

Read essential documents: Med Handbook



Students should be familiar with the School of Medicine Med Handbook.

Click for web based handbook

Download and prepare: Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme




You must prepare the information that you require to complete a ‘Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme’ application. This application form will be given to you during Orientation Week.

Please read the information and related documents with Advice for Medical and Health Psychology Students (formerly: letter from the Schools Disclosure Officer).

Complete and return: Occupational Health Questionnaire


The Occupational Health Questionnaire which was emailed to you in May should be completed and returned to the address below.  Forms should be returned asap but no later than 3 weeks before your arrival at St Andrews to:-
Pre-entry Occupational Health Questionnaire
Teaching Office
School of Medicine
North Haugh
St Andrews
Fife KY16 9TF

The ‘Pre Entry Questionaire’ can be found on this page


Review and complete essential tasks at the University New Entrants page




The New Entrants page contains important general information for students who are matriculating (registering) at the University for the first time.

Be aware that there are a number of admin tasks to do before you come to St Andrews. You will find a helpful list on the New Entrants page.

University New Entrants page

Things to bring …

Personal documents

You will need these documents when you are in St Andrews:

  • passport
  • driving license
    or an alternative formal piece of identification with your address
    (a bank statement is a good example)
  • birth certificate (not a copy)
Immunisation history
Students must research their own immunisation history to establish an immunisation record for their life to date, this probably involves a visit to their GP. Students are strongly encouraged and keep this record to prove their immunisation history through their studies and working life.

You should bring your immunisation history with you when you come to St Andrews.

There is more to read about this and related matters in the Occupational Health Questionaire and accompanying notes (see ‘Things to do before I arrive…’  on this page).

Text books



We are aware that you will have many questions about the course and what you should be doing to prepare.

We are often asked ‘What shall I do about textbooks?’ For this reason we thought it would be useful to give you this list of recommended texts and to offer some advice about buying them. Please do not feel that you must rush to buy the texts before you get here (excess baggage can be heavy and expensive!). The books will be available for purchase from Blackwell’s Bookshop located in the Students Association Building in St Andrews. You can contact the bookshop, place a credit card order and your books will be waiting for collection when you arrive in St Andrews.

Blackwells tel: 01334 476367 or email:

When choosing textbooks we try to ensure that they will be useful for your 3 years in St Andrews and your 3 years at clinical partner schools. Although our list may seem lengthy and expensive, it is unlikely that you will have to buy any other essential texts while you are at St Andrews.

In making a decision to select textbooks, not only do we try to find those best suited to our course but also, if possible, the books also include access to the publisher’s on-line learning resources.


The Medical School and the University library have licensed several ebooks from different publishers (see reading list). This provides on-line access to the texts without restriction using your University user name/password combination. In addition to the core reading list which you may consider buying, there are additional texts available on-line. Though these are considered to be very useful throughout our curriculum, we do not think it is essential for you to buy these actual texts.

An important thing to note about most ebooks is that they are often not accompanied by the extra on-line resources which are available if you buy the texts and activate the access codes to the publisher’s web site.

Reading list (pdf)

Is there anything I could be reading before I come?

Students often ask us if they should read anything in preparation for Medical School. Rather than burden yourself with facts before you actually come, we suggest that students might rather read something that stimulates the mind!

Ben Goldacre’s book serves to remind us that not everything we read can be trusted. Tracy Kinder’s book reminds us about the humanity of medicine. Another book of interest is How to Succeed at Medical School: An Essential Guide to Learning.

  • Ben Goldacre:  ‘Bad Science’ (ISBN 000728487x Harper Perennial 2009)
  • Tracy Kinder: ‘Mountains beyond Mountains: One doctor’s quest to heal the world’ (ISBN-10: 1846684315 Profile Books)
  • Dason Evans / Jo Brown: ‘How to Succeed at Medical School: An Essential Guide to Learning’ (ISBN 978-1118703410)
Stethoscopes, Pocket Masks and Laboratory Coat
You will need to have your own stethoscope, pocket mask and laboratory coats for our clinical skills training.

Stethoscopes: It is strongly recommend that you buy the Littmann Classic II S.E. It is very important for your basic training that your stethoscope has both a bell and a diaphragm. The Littmann Classic II S.E is all you need; you will NOT require a specialist cardiology- or electronic stethoscope.

Where do I get a Stethoscope and Pocket Mask?

Use Google to research this. Last year the BMA ( British Medical Association) had a good offer on stethoscopes if you join.

There are a variety of suppliers and some special deals may be available after you arrive in St Andrews.

Pocket Masks: You will need a pocket mask, the clinical skills team recommends the Laerdal LD040 or LD021 masks. These can be purchased from:

Laboratory Coats: You will need a white ‘Howie’ lab coat for the Dissection Room. Although there are some available for purchase locally (from the shop in the Students Association), supplies are limited and it may be better to buy one before you come to St Andrews.

Safety Glasses: You will need your own safety glasses for dissection. There are many suitable types, some examples are:


 Things to think about…

IT skills


During your time as a medical student you will need to be competent with the Microsoft products Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Although many of you will have been taught these skills at school there may be a number of you that would benefit from more formal training.

The University offers some IT training resources.

Blood borne viruses

At the time of entry to Medical School students will be screened for tuberculosis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV infection and any necessary immunisations and antibody tests will be performed. All entrants are required to complete a course of immunisation against hepatitis B virus.



If you have been infected with hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV this does not mean that you cannot train to be a doctor but it is important to consider at this stage whether or not this is the career option that you wish to pursue. Any entrant student who is found to be a carrier of hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV will require special counselling, as such a situation will place restrictions on the student’s clinical training and limit his or her medical practice following qualification. If you have had an infection of this nature and wish to discuss this further before making a decision, we would be happy to put you in touch with our Occupational Health Services who will be able to advise you of current policy.

If you are infected with any of these diseases you should consider your position carefully. If you wish to discuss this with an Occupational Health advisor, please contact the admissions team and we can arrange this for you.

Further advice can be found in the Medical Schools Council publication Medical and dental students: Health clearance for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and Tuberculosis

Any questions..?

First, please have a look at the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below …
I've got a question about IT, or computers...

It’s good that you are thinking about IT.




We’ve made a special section of Flying Start just for questions about IT.  You can find this here…

Where do I go on Monday of Orientation Week?


Where do I go on Monday of Orientation Week?

The School of Medicine orientation begins at 9.30am on Monday of Orientation week in the main Lecture Theatre on the ground floor of the Medical School building on the North Haugh.

At this introductory event, you will be welcomed by the Dean of Medicine, the Director of Teaching and 1st year Module Controllers. We will also explain all the events that are planned for Monday and the rest of Orientation Week.

The full programme can be found on this page in the medhandbook, linked under ‘Orientation Week Programme’

What about improving my study skills?



What about improving my study skills?

The University Orientation Week Programme includes courses in study skills which may help you in the transition to University. One of the great differences between school and university is that although we are committed to supporting you during your medical studies, we are unable to provide individual help on a daily basis. The School provides many resources to help you self-assess your own progress, and the University provides study skills sessions via CAPOD for those requiring additional help, but you ultimately have to take charge of your own studies. The responsibility for your success now falls on your own shoulders (this is a health warning!).

Are there any classes in Orientation Week?


Are there any classes in Orientation Week?


During Orientation Week there will be a full programme of introductory classes specifically organised by the School of Medicine for new medical students. Your attendance at these classes is essential since they will help you to find your feet in the early stages of your medical course.

The full programme can be found on this page in the medhandbook, linked under ‘Orientation Week Programme’

I still have another question…

If you have questions that are not covered in the FAQs, we’re here to help.

You can contact us by emailing Linda Kirkcaldy on or you can use the form below to send us your question. Either way, please do get in touch.

Please use this form to send us your questions

Enter your question



Orientation week

The University, Students’ Association, Societies and the Athletic Union organise a whole series of social and academic activities during Orientation Week. Find out more about Orientation Week at the University.

As well the University Orientation events, the School of Medicine is organising a programme specifically for new medical students to help you prepare for the beginning of your course. The full programme can be found on this page in the medhandbook, linked under ‘Orientation Week Programme’


facebookSt. Andrews Medic Freshers on Facebook

Tours of the School

Staff and students will be available to show parents and new students round the building on Sunday afternoon, meet at the front door.


Finding your way about

These should help you to find your way here, and around the Medical building: