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The basics
THE UK: Subject Guides

What to expect from an MBBS programme as an international student

Want to know what it's like to study medicine in the UK? Our interview with the head of UCLAN’s medical school should shed some light.

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What is an MBBS?

An abbreviation for Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, an MBBS is a highly sought-after degree. A medicine degree encompasses several disciplines such as pharmacy, surgery and psychotherapy. The course is a total of four to five years, including any placements in a hospital or care setting. This degree is awarded by medical schools and can be studied in many countries around the world. However, an MBBS is highly competitive and demanding, requiring perseverance and dedication to the field. If you have a passion for science and a desire to help people, then this could be the right course for you, but make sure you are prepared to work hard.


We spoke to Cathy Jackson, head of the medical school at the University of Central Lancashire, who said, “We’re looking for really high calibre students. The qualifications that you need are published on our website each year, they are different for every country so I would advise potential students to visit our website.”


She added, “Academic qualifications are one thing, but what we’re also looking for is students who are going to make good doctors. So, we want to know that you know something about what it is like to be a doctor, because entering on a five-year course is a big commitment so ideally you would have some work shadowing, you would spend some time with some doctors to see what they do.”

Why study medicine?

Working within the field of medicine can be very rewarding, particularly if you want to help people. The everyday work also tends to be quite varied, which means that you are less likely to grow tired of your role and can continue to learn on the job. Due to the nature of the work, doctors will always be in demand and so graduates with an MBBS tend to find work easily after graduation compared to other many other disciplines. In fact, 99% of all medicine and dentistry graduates find employment within six months of graduating. Not bad eh?


Similarly, medicine also tends to come out on top for salary expectations with the potential to earn a very comfortable wage. The starting salary for medicine graduates is estimated at GBP 28,191, however there is also scope to specialize and earn anywhere between GBP 39,060 and GBP 72,840.


What job opportunities are available for MBBS graduates?

A large proportion of medicine graduates go on to pursue a career as a practising physician where they will diagnose and treat patients, choosing to work in either a hospital or in surgery. Cathy Jackson underlines this saying, “With a UK MBBS degree, there will be no shortage of opportunities for a successful career.”


Perhaps the most obvious career path for anyone studying an MBBS is to become a doctor or surgeon, yet there are many transferrable skills that can be applied to other industries. For example, a researcher, lecturer, teacher, consultant and solicitor are all roles in which the skills learnt from an MBBS can be readily applied.


Cathy Jackson notes, “If you decide that medicine isn’t what you want to pursue a career in, an MBBS degree is also a passport to doing many other things. You may decide that you want to do a further degree, a master’s in medicine for business, medical leadership, journalism, or go into the pharmaceutical industry and use it in that way. With a UK MBBS degree, there will be no shortage of opportunities for a successful career.”


Now that you know what to expect from a medicine degree, start browsing courses today!


To watch the video interview with Prof Cathy Jackson, click here

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