Medical Teaching in St Andrews

Medicine has been taught in the historic Scottish town of St Andrews since 1413. St Andrews’ School of Medicine has a long-standing reputation for embracing and encouraging innovation and for being one of the best places to study medicine in the UK.
In 2010, the University opened the UK’s most modern medical school at the heart of its science campus. The building was purpose-built to match the School of Medicine’s redesigned curriculum, which meets the General Medical Council’s (GMC) aspirations for future undergraduate teaching. Students on the programme have a unique opportunity to graduate after three years before moving on to one of our Partner Medical Schools to complete their training as a doctor.

Education: Overview

At the School of Medicine in St Andrews, we integrate a sound knowledge of the scientific basis of medicine within a professional, clinical context. This approach produces graduates who not only understand medicine but also recognise the important contribution that science and scientific research make to the practice of modern medicine.

The School of Medicine currently offers one undergraduate degree programme – BSc Honours in Medicine, lasting three Comm Skills ©Ian Gordon
years. The structure and content of our curriculum are specifically designed to educate students for medical practice in the 21st century, preparing them for clinical training with our partner institutions and life-long learning in the medical profession. As a result, our curriculum implements best practice in medical education, satisfies all our partner institutions and the statutory requirements of the General Medical Council (GMC) – and meets the needs and increases the employability of our students.

On a postgraduate level, the School offers two Masters-level programmes and a comprehensive PhD programme. In 2015, the School launched an MSc in Global Health Implementation (GHI) that draws on the School’s GHI collaborations with the College of Medicine in Malawi and the University of Malawi. The School’s MSc in Health Psychology is well established and continues to provide Stage 1 Professional Training for Chartered Health Psychologist status with the British Psychological Society.

Lecture Theatre ©Ian Gordon

Approximately 480 undergraduates and approximately 55 postgraduates (total taught and research) attend the School of Medicine every year. The School currently employs a range of teaching and research staff from both clinical and scientific backgrounds, including a number of medical demonstrators, teaching technicians and administrative staff. The School also utilises the services of a number of current and retired NHS staff, who teach clinical skills, communication, ethics, public health and health psychology alongside our core staff.

The School of Medicine is located in an award-winning building, which provides the School with the first-class facilities required to support our best-practice approach to teaching.

Undergraduate: BSc Hons Medicine

The first year of the undergraduate curriculum is the Pre-Honours component of the degree programme. This lays the foundations of medical training by providing:

  • An overview of the organisation of the body
  • An initial examination of the molecular and physiological basis of metabolism, genetics and disease
  • An introduction to the core skills of clinical medicine, such as history taking and blood pressure measurement
  • The study of aspects of medical history, philosophy and ethics, providing a basic understanding of the concepts of professionalism and responsibility in medicine. 

The second and third years of this course are the Honours component and comprise an in-depth, integrated study of all the body systems, including consideration of disease processes and therapeutics. Patient workshops continue to provide a clinical focus for core generic skills training and the detailed study of normal and abnormal structure and function in all the body systems. These themes also incorporate the relevant aspects of public health, communication skills and health psychology.

The final element of the Honours programme consists of two components:

  • An Honours-level, student-selected research dissertation
  • The Applied Medical Science module, which provides students with excellent opportunities to apply and further develop their scientific knowledge and clinical reasoning skills.

After completing the BSc Honours, students proceed to clinical training at one of our five partner Medical Schools at the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester, where they will graduate with an MBChB degree.

See also: Medical Admissions


Why Medicine at St Andrews?


Entry requirements


How to apply


How students are selected

New Entrants


If you have been accepted to study medicine at the University of St Andrews, congratulations! The School of Medicine website provides a number of resources to assist students who are soon to begin at the School of Medicine. These are brought together in two special pages:

Flying Start provides important ‘getting ready’ information for students who have already secured a place to study Undergraduate Medicine at the University of St Andrews.

Stepping Stones is for students who are on a pre-medicine pathway with a direct link into Medicine at St Andrews, that is to say, one of: the International Foundation for Medicine at St Andrews, Pre-Med in Science at St Andrews, or HNC Applied Sciences Pathway to Medicine at Perth College.

Curriculum Development in Malawi


Learn more


MSc in Global Health Implementation

global-healthThe main aim of this programme is to develop the skills and knowledge needed to fulfil roles as global health implementation practitioners, policy-makers, or academics. This is achieved through the provision of a detailed theoretical understanding of the global health implementation literature and issues within the field associated with the attainment and maintenance of health, on a global level.

See Also: Course web pages


MSc in Health Psychology

msc-health-psychThe St Andrews School of Medicine MSc in Health Psychology is accredited by the British Psychological Society. The MSc in Health Psychology is a full-time course offering five modules from the School of Medicine and two from the School of Psychology, meeting the defined curriculum prescribed by the British Psychological Society.

Successful completion provides students with the Stage 1 professional qualification of Chartered Psychologist status.

See Also: Course web pages


PhD Programme

alumniPhD students at St Andrews School of Medicine are involved in scientific research covering a wide range of subjects, including Community Health Sciences, Health Psychology and Molecular Medicine.

Submission of work or undertaking research for a Doctorate in Medicine (MD) degree at St Andrews School of Medicine is open to former medical graduates of St Andrews and/or suitably qualified current staff.

See Also: Course web pages