Scottish Graduate Entry Medicine Programme (ScotGEM) MB ChB (4 year course) – 2018 entry



ScotGEM is designed to develop doctors interested in a career as a generalist practitioner within NHS Scotland, with a focus on rural medicine and healthcare improvement. It offers a unique and innovative 4-year graduate entry medical programme tailored to meet the contemporary and future needs of the NHS in Scotland.

The course will capitalise on the existing strengths of medical teaching in the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews and our local health boards in Fife and Tayside. In addition, our collaboration with NHS Highland, NHS Dumfries and Galloway and the University of Highlands and Islands will enable us to develop a truly distinctive programme offering training that is ideal for those interested in a career as a generalist practitioner. This includes offering extended opportunities to train in remote and rural areas.  The ScotGEM programme will be tailored to the specific needs of graduates, taking account of the experience acquired during their initial degree.

Applicants assessed as Home (Scotland/EU) funded for fee status purposes will have their tuition fees paid for by the Scottish Government.
A bursary of £4,000 per year will be made available to students. Students who accept the bursary will complete a return of service to NHS Scotland.
The UCAS application deadline for 2018 entry is Sunday 15th October 2017 – 18:00 (UK time).

If you have any admissions questions, please contact the ScotGEM office by emailing:

What you will study

ScotGEM will address all core MBChB requirements as stipulated by the General Medical Council (GMC) (see Outcomes for Graduates).  However, the ambition of the ScotGEM programme is to produce a cohort of high quality, adaptable, and compassionate clinical leaders.  Hence you will also contribute to local communities whilst you train, through facilitated social and health care based ‘voluntary’ work.

Mini facts

The first intake will be around
students in academic year 2018-19

  • Subject to the appropriate approvals from the GMC, the programme will open for applications through UCAS on 1 September 2017.
  • The GAMSAT and UKCAT situational judgement tests are both required for admission.
  • Applicants assessed as Home (Scotland/EU) funded for fee status purposes will have their tuition fees paid for by the Scottish Government.
  • A bursary of £4,000 per year will be made available to all students, totalling £16,000 over the four year course. Students who accept the bursary will complete a return of service to NHS Scotland of 1 year for each year of bursary accepted. Return of service, sometimes known as bonding, will commence at the start of Foundation training.
  • ScotGEM is focused on enthusing graduates to become generalist practitioners (not necessarily GPs), with experience in rural health care. However, the course will prepare students for any branch of medicine with appropriate further training.
  • Year 1 will be based at the University of St Andrews and within Fife, however, components of the course in years 2, 3 and, potentially, year 4 will include periods of living and studying in other regions of Scotland.

Important information

ScotGEM is subject to approval by the General Medical Council and the process for accreditation has started. You should be aware that this process may not be complete before the first cohort of students is matriculated but is expected prior to graduation of the first cohort of students in September 2022.

ScotGEM is intended to be awarded on a joint basis by the Universities of St Andrews and Dundee, however any joint degree is subject to agreement and statutory approval which is not guaranteed.

The Universities will notify you as soon as reasonably practicable if the degree cannot be established as intended.

About ScotGEM

ScotGEM takes advantage of the expertise of three universities and four health boards to offer an outstanding medical training. It is designed to develop doctors interested in a career as a generalist practitioner within NHS Scotland, including a focus on rural medicine and healthcare improvement.

1Year 1 will be based at the University of St Andrews and NHS Fife, where, from week one, your learning will be focused around real patient scenarios using an approach known as Case Based Learning. Semester 1 will use cases to focus on foundational medical sciences to underpin subsequent more challenging scenarios. Consultation skills will be introduced early alongside topics such as biochemistry, pharmacology and anatomy and weekly clinical experience in the community. For instance, a case of a ‘student with a sore throat’ might lead into examination of the throat and neck, related anatomy, microbiology, pharmacology and the public health issues connected to arriving at university. The course is designed as a spiral in which the complexity and challenge of the cases builds as you and your peers become more effective learners.

Semester 2 is anchored to body systems so that related regional anatomy and examination skills can be learnt in parallel. All the time you will be engaged in small group workplace-based learning for one day per week, supported in the community by dedicated Generalist Clinical Mentors (GCMs, who are trained GP tutors).

2Year 2 is largely structured around the lifecycle but will be delivered in different regions. You will be expected to spend some weeks away from Fife with opportunity to study in Tayside, the Highlands and Dumfries and Galloway. NHS Boards will provide accommodation when required. You will continue to work for a day each week with a GCM in their practice but also spend an additional half day in a specialist clinical environment. Year 2 closes by providing experience of unscheduled care (GP, Emergency department, ambulance etc.) and two periods of project work related to the five underpinning Vertical Themes (see Figure x).

Throughout the course these five Vertical Themes will also develop expertise as ‘Agents of Change’ within the health service. For example, students might work with a group of general practices to research and analyse prescribing patterns before implementing an agreed improvement.

3Year 3 is designed as a Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship with students being immersed into a community for the duration of the Year. You will be based in a general practice, seeing many patients each week and following a selection through their illness journey. This approach works especially well for graduates and has been shown to develop more patient-centred doctors with improved decision-making skills.
4Year 4 offers you, as a now competent generalist student, opportunity to be immersed in the hospital environment and prepare yourself for work as a junior doctor through two one-month Foundation Apprenticeships and other hospital based clinical attachments. You may choose areas of particular interest, perhaps a potential career choice, which you can experience in greater depth. You will also arrange an 8-week elective of your choice.
Curriculum overview
Year 1 and 2 – Case Based Learning
  • Community Based Practice
    Foundation Sciences (Semester 1)
  • Body System (Semester 2)
  • Life Cycle (Semesters 3-4)
  • Vertical Theme Projects
Year 3 and 4
  • Transition to Clinical Practice
  • Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships
  • Hospital Rotations + Elective
Vertical Themes
  • Informatics
  • Quality Improvement
  • Prescribing and Therapeutics
  • Public Health
  • Community Engagement
Overview diagram

ScotGEM will use a wide range of teaching methods from the beginning much of which will be delivered within an NHS setting. A Case-Based Learning approach in the first two years will prepare you for an exciting range of clinical learning opportunities in years 3 and 4.

  • The ScotGEM course will be based on clinical cases from the outset. These will be supported by a set of learning objectives, lectures, practical classes, tutorials, simulated and ‘real’ clinical and consultation skills plus extensive supported independent and peer-peer learning.
  • Your learning will be underpinned by a sophisticated online Curriculum Management System (GEMonline), which will give access to a wide range of resources and enable progress to be monitored for all including the geographically dispersed class from Year 2. For instance, regular online self-assessment tests and workplace based learning assessments will be required.
  • Increasingly, especially in Year 2, learning will become more self-directed and you will be reliant upon yourself and your peers to explore, investigate and learn from the cases (still guided by clear learning objectives and with synchronised centrally organised teaching). This approach will set you up well for learning based on real patients in the clinical environment.
  • The Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship in Year 3 will allow you to join a team and learn whilst becoming increasingly involved in patient care. You will select patients to follow through and study them, their conditions and their care in more detail. Where relevant you will attend specialist clinics, operations etc. as you follow these individuals’ journey through the healthcare system.
  • Finally, in Year 4, you will experience intensive hospital attachments that involve shadowing Foundation Doctors and other secondary care attachments.
Each year will require you to pass assessments of knowledge, clinical skills and a portfolio demonstrating professional development.

  • In Years 1 and 2 you will be assessed on your knowledge using a mix of online multiple choice questions and short answer written assessments. Year 3 will use online multiple choice questions aligned with the planned General Medical Council common exam (Medical Licencing Assessment).
  • In every year, there will be a portfolio assessment based on a mixture of engagement with learning, workplace-based performance and project work related to the Vertical Themes.
  • In every year, there will be an Objective Structured Clinical Examination.

The assessments will be selected specifically for the ScotGEM course but drawing heavily upon those available within both medical schools. Thus, your progress will be benchmarked against existing UK standards throughout.

Upon successful completion of the proposed ScotGEM programme, graduates will receive a primary medical qualification (PMQ), which allows them to apply for subsequent postgraduate training in any speciality through normal routes. It also entitles graduates to provisional registration with the General Medical Council, subject only to its acceptance that there are no Fitness to Practise concerns that need consideration. Provisional registration is time limited to a maximum of three years and 30 days (1125 days in total). After this time period provisional registration will normally expire.
Provisionally registered doctors can only practise in approved Foundation Year 1 posts: the law does not allow provisionally registered doctors to undertake any other type of work. To obtain a Foundation Year 1 post graduates will need to apply during the final year of their undergraduate course through the UK Foundation Programme Office selection scheme, which allocates these posts to graduates on a competitive basis.
Hitherto, all suitably qualified UK graduates have found a place on the Foundation Year 1 programme, although this cannot be guaranteed. Successful completion of the Foundation Year 1 programme is normally achieved within 12 months and is marked by the award of a Certificate of Experience. Graduates will then be eligible to apply for full registration with the General Medical Council. Graduates need full registration with a licence to practise for unsupervised medical
practice in the NHS or private practice in the UK.
Although this information is currently correct, students need to be aware that regulations in this area may change from time to time. There is some discussion about whether to remove provisional registration for newly qualified doctors. If this happens, then UK graduates will receive full registration as soon as they have successfully completed a BMBS (or equivalent) degree. It should be noted that it is very likely that UK graduates will still need to apply for a training programme similar to the current Foundation Programme and that places on this programme may not be guaranteed for every UK graduate.
The GMC is currently considering a formal assessment that UK medical graduates would need to pass in order to be granted registration with a licence to practise. Although no final decision has been taken as to whether or when such an exam will be introduced, applicants should be aware that the GMC envisages that future cohorts of medical students may need to pass parts of a medical licensing assessment before the GMC will grant them registration with a licence to practise.

Please note that some placements, in particular most of Year 3, will be in rural areas and you must be prepared to live and study in this context.

Entry requirements

  • Upper Second or First class Honours degree (or equivalent) (achieved or predicted) is required. Applicants will not be considered if their first degree does not meet this requirement, even if they subsequently gain further degrees (Bachelor, Masters or PhD).
  • Arts and Science Honours degrees will be accepted.
  • Applicants who are on, or have been on, a medical degree course will not be considered, including any intercalating degree.
  • Chemistry Higher or A level (Grade A or B) or equivalent.
  • Undergraduate level Chemistry might be considered in lieu of Higher or A level Chemistry; 30 credits of pure Chemistry at high grades at undergraduate level would be required (Biochemistry would not be considered, for example).
  • Mathematics Standard Grade (Credit 1 or 2) or Intermediate 2 (grade A or B) or National 5 (Grade A or B) or GCSE (Grade B) or equivalent.
  • Non-native speakers of English will also be required to sit the IELTS and obtain 7 in all 4 areas of the test to be taken at one sitting.
  • Up-to date study skills are required. Applicants must have undertaken academic study in the last 3 years prior to entry to ScotGEM. Up-to date study means that you were enrolled in study no earlier than the academic year 2015 – 2016. Academic study that would meet the requirement would include an undergraduate degree, a masters, PhD or any qualification to SCQF Level 6 (with a minimum of 24 credits). An Open University 30 credit module would also be acceptable.
Interviews will be held at the University of Dundee Medical School at Ninewells Hospital. Interviews will follow the format of multiple mini interviews (MMI). This consists of a series of ‘stations’ each lasting seven minutes. You will rotate around the station circuit, going from one station to the next. Each person starts at a different station; it does not matter where you begin as each station is independent of the others. Each station has a card with simple instructions that are designed to orientate you. Short (30-second) breaks between stations allow you to settle yourself and clear your head for the next station. You can expect to be asked about your motivation to study medicine, relevant work experience and personal attributes, and why you have applied to ScotGEM in particular.
For 2018 entry, the interview dates are:

  • Wednesday 13th December 2017
  • Thursday 14th December 2017
  • Friday 15th December 2017

Please be aware that if invited to interview there will be limited opportunity to change the date or time of your interview slot.

Applicants are expected to demonstrate a range of personal attributes and experiences that are relevant to medicine.

Information can be supplied in various forms; the UCAS reference, the UCAS personal statement and in a web-based questionnaire that will be sent to all applicants in October after application.

A candidate’s interest in ScotGEM and their reflections on work experience will form part of the discussions at interview.

The UCAS Reference should indicate the referee’s judgement on:

  • The applicant’s preparedness and suitability for a degree in medicine.
  • In addition, if the degree is not yet achieved the referee should predict the likely degree classification.

The UCAS personal statement should demonstrate:

  • A range of suitable personal attributes such as motivation, commitment, social contribution, teamwork/leadership and excellent communication skills.
  • An understanding of, and commitment to, medicine.
  • Achieved medically-related work or shadowing experience.

The web-based questionnaire will allow candidates to:

  • Explain why they are particularly interested/suited to ScotGEM.
  • Give detail about their medically-related work experience.

Medically-related work experience

  • Before applying to ScotGEM applicants should have had work experience in a health situation; with people who may be ill, disabled, elderly or by shadowing a doctor at work.
  • The main aim of work experience is to gain insight into health and healthcare delivery and to allow candidates to make an informed choice before deciding to apply to study medicine.
  • We do not credit the volume of work experience and would discourage applicants seeking to acquire experience in excess of two weeks. We do not encourage work experience in resource poor settings where candidates may be exposed to risk or take up scarce staff time.
  • Medically-related work experience is not ‘scored’ but instead forms part of the discussions at interview.

We reserve the right to require applicants to provide details regarding activities described on UCAS personal statements or the web-based questionnaire (such as contacts regarding work experience) and shall investigate a number at random as well as any suspect claims. Misleading statements may lead to an application being rejected.


A disability need not be a bar to becoming a doctor. Applicants who have a disability will need to consider what effect that disability could have on patients and colleagues and how it would impact on their capacity to function as a medical practitioner in an effective and safe manner. For more information, see HEOPS guidance for medical students.

It is important that disabilities and health conditions are declared at the time of application so that any reasonable adjustments required can be put in place at interview or subsequently on entry to the medicine course.

In the first instance, applicants with a disability (including dyslexia) or other health problems are advised to contact the St Andrews University’s Disability Adviser before submitting their application to UCAS to explore what support will be available. Contact should be made through the Advice and Support Centre:

Advice and Support Centre
79 North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2020

Fitness to Practise

It is important that the choice to enter medicine is made with insight into where a career might lead, the role of life-long learning, and with awareness that the course is a training for professional practice. Medical students are expected to behave with the utmost integrity from the very start of their training.

It is therefore essential that you are able to fulfil ‘fitness to practise’ criteria requirements based on the General Medical Council’s publication of Good Medical Practice, incorporating the points outlined in duties of a doctor.

At the start of each year, ScotGEM students will be required to submit a signed declaration which indicates what is expected of professionals in training, and this includes giving consent to being videoed as part of their training in clinical medicine. If a student’s conduct falls below acceptable standards this could lead to a student being referred to a ‘fitness to practise’ committee.  The ScotGEM declaration for signature is not yet available, however we anticipate that it will be similar to the Medical School Agreement for the St Andrews A100 course.   The ScotGEM document will be available before offers are made and applicants should read this before accepting an offer of a place.

Criminal Record Declaration

As part of the non-academic conditions of their offer entrants to Medicine are required to undertake satisfactory criminal record screening. This involves applying to join the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. The scheme provides the applicant and the university with a live update of the person’s fitness to work with regulated adults or children.  In addition students will be asked to declare any minor historical offences, warnings or cautions and any which are still pending.

Please see information on the disclosure of criminal convictions in the University’s admissions policy.

For more information see PVG guidance or contact the ScotGEM office via the admissions email:

Occupational Health and Immunisation

Entrants to Medicine will be subject to an Occupational Health assessment; a pre-entry questionnaire and screening on arrival.  Entrants will be screened for tuberculosis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV infection; any necessary immunisations and antibody tests will be performed.

All entrants are required to complete a course of immunisation against hepatitis B virus.  More information about the screening process will be available in due course.

Infection with hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV does not mean that training to be a doctor is impossible, but applicants should consider at this stage whether or not this is the career option that they wish to pursue. Any entrant student who is found to be a carrier of hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV will require counselling as such a situation may place restrictions on the student’s clinical training or practice following qualification. Applicants who have had an infection of this nature and wish to discuss this further before making a decision should email:

For more guidance, please see the Medical Schools Council on blood-borne viruses.

Please note, if a student is found to have deliberately failed to disclose information that could have made him or her ineligible to study medicine, or given false information, the course provider can consider removing them from training on grounds of dishonesty.

Applicants assessed as either Home (Scotland/EU) or RUK (England, Wales, N Ireland) for fee status will be eligible to apply for the ScotGEM programme.
If you are assessed as Home funded for fee status purposes, your tuition fee will be paid for you by the Scottish Government. For 2017-2018, the tuition fee is £1,820.
EU students applying for entry in 2018/19 and assessed as Home funded, have their fee status guaranteed for the duration of their programme.
If you are assessed as RUK, you will be charged in line with RUK fee levels which may increase annually during the course of your study. The 2018/9 fee level will be confirmed by early September 2017. For guidance, the 2017/8 tuition fee is £9,250. Information on funding will be published on our webpages as it becomes available.
If you are unsure about your fee status, then please see the following link:
  • An academic reference will be required as part of the UCAS application (e.g. academic tutor or advisor of studies). Your referee should comment on your academic performance, your attitude to study and your approach to working with others, including communication skills. They should comment on your other skills or attributes that make you a suitable candidate for medicine.
  • Your referee should be up-to date with your academic progress and should have taught/supervised you in the last 3 years prior to entry to ScotGEM.
  • Academic references must come from an official Higher Education institution email account.
  • Applicants whose degree was obtained a number of years ago, may also wish to provide a supplementary supporting reference from their recent workplace. The reference should comment on the applicant’s suitability for medicine and should be submitted directly to St Andrews (not via UCAS)
  • References from family members or close friends are not acceptable.
Deferred entry

The ScotGEM programme will not usually consider deferred entry.

Fraudulent or plagiarised applications

The Universities of St Andrews and Dundee will not admit students based on fraudulent or plagiarised applications or documents. All applications will be processed by the University of St Andrews. If a student is found to have deliberately failed to disclose information that could have made him or her ineligible to study medicine, or given false information, the course provider can consider removing them from training on grounds of dishonesty.


  • The Scottish Government will be introducing a bursary scheme for ScotGEM entrants, the terms of which are in the process of being finalised. Terms will be announced as soon as possible but it is anticipated that there will be an element of return of service to NHS Scotland in exchange for the bursary. Details of the scheme will be posted on University websites in due course.
  • Please note that those who are ‘overseas’ for fee purposes are not eligible to apply for this course.
  • Applicants will only be allowed to apply to ScotGEM twice.
  • Applicants applying to this programme may apply to the A100 courses at the University of St Andrews and the University of Dundee, in the same application cycle.
  • Applications and decisions will be processed through the University of St Andrews.
  • Further details of the application process will be published in due course.