Lost Medics

Tuesday 29 November 2022

One of the last of St Andrews ‘lost medics’ awarded degree after 53 years

One of the last of St Andrews’ ‘lost medics’ has marked her 75th birthday by finally graduating with the medical degree she began at the University 53 years ago.

In 1966 Dr Judith Coles was offered a place to study for a BSc in physiology in St Andrews, after a year of studying zoology, physics and chemistry she performed well enough to persuade the Medical School to allow her to transfer and she completed the medical pre-clinical course and second MB exams in 1969.  While most of her fellow students then went on to undertake a further three years of their clinical training in Dundee, family circumstances led to Judith moving to Sheffield University where she gained her MB ChB medical degree in 1972.

Judith said “Sadly, because of my transfer to Sheffield, I lost contact with the others in my medical year but saw a reference in the St Andrews Chronicle magazine to a planned reunion in May 2022 to celebrate 50 years since our graduation as doctors. I subsequently attended this and was reunited with many of my former classmates.”

She went on to explain that it was at the Class of ’72 reunion that she learned about the group of ‘lost medics’ who, following the complications of Dundee becoming a separate University in its own right in 1967, had transferred to clinical training in other universities in 1969 and to Dundee in 1970 and had left St Andrews without any academic award to acknowledge their studies there.

She said: “I learned that, in 2003, this had been recognised by the University of St Andrews as an anomaly which should be put right, and the University had then awarded a BSc to those doctors who were traced. I had missed out on this but was encouraged to contact the University to see if this could be remedied for me too.  The happy result is my graduation just happens to take place on my 75th birthday as well!

“I am very grateful and proud to have been given the opportunity to study at St Andrews for three years, and I am delighted to have my time there and academic achievements formally recognised.”


The full news article can be found on the University news site.

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