Medicine, in simple terms, is concerned with knowing how to heal the sick and the ability to prolong illness and death. A degree in medicine is an essential path to becoming a doctor, from working at a local surgery or practice, or completing complex operations and becoming a notorious name within your field. Medicine involves the study of human anatomy to the application of treatments, and everything in between.
Medicine plays a vital part in the development of health, and illness within society and culture. It is responsible for amazing scientific discoveries, the advancement of treatment and research as well as curing those who are ill.
Medicine is a tough course to gain admission onto, and most universities require prospective candidates to have science subjects, such as chemistry, biology, physics or mathematics as their prerequisites. Each institution will ask for a variety of grades for entry onto their degree courses, asking for either AAA or A*AA, especially institutions that are part of the Russell Group Universities. Students are advised to check with their chosen institutions and degree programmes to understand what they need to successfully receive an offer from a university, in terms of UCAS entry points and relevant A-levels.
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Usually, a degree in medicine will last for five years – which is longer than other standard degrees – and a degree at the University of Oxford will take six years to complete. Contact hours are much higher than other degrees too and can be up to thirty hours per week. This may seem intense; however, lecturers are teaching individuals to become well-trained, knowledgeable and capable assets in the healthcare system.
Programmes usually involve a mixture of theoretical and lab-based learning, including lectures and clinical placements. Students tend to study for the first two years and then move onto shadowing doctors and conducting placements in the second half of the degree.
Students may also be able to explore into extra units within health sciences and learn all aspects of the human body and organ systems. Candidates will study core modules from biological molecules, metabolism, genetics and the mechanisms of disease. Modules will cover cellular biology, pathology, biochemistry, epidemiology, public health, statistics, histology physiology and anatomy.
Candidates can choose to specialise their studies and study a Bachelor’s of Science (BSc) degree in cancer studies, and microbiology with immunology, or study an integrated course which includes a Bachelor (undergraduate) and Masters (postgraduate) degree together, for example, in Surgical practice, or dermatology. Students should research the variety of courses at different universities to ensure they choose the right university and course, that suits their needs best. It’s highly recommended that students should visit university open days to get a feel for surroundings.
Students will be assessed via a range of means across the years of study, from practical anatomy assessments, online tests, written assignments, presentations, simulation exercises and a practical portfolio.
Individuals who study medicine will learn many practical skills in treating illnesses, diseases and conditions that are concerned with the human body, as well as understanding drugs and medicines and how they interact with the body as well as each other.
Medicine is only suited for those who have a strong desire career path to become a doctor, physician or to work within medical research. It isn’t suited for someone who is squeamish or who don’t like the sight of blood. Studying this area will be incredibly tough, but also rewarding and satisfying.
Graduates tend to end up working for the National Health Service (NHS) in junior doctor roles, and then after experience and training can specialise in specific areas, such as radiology. Other options include starting a career in psychiatry or to continue studying at university and join the field of biomedical research.
The skills gained from studying Medicine at university allows students to carry them through employment and other areas of their life, from research, communication, and presentation to practical skills and the ability to work under pressure. These skills are highly sought after in any employment sector, especially in healthcare.
Specific jobs include hospital Doctor, General Practitioner (GP), health service management, a genetic scientist, consultancy, scientific research, teaching and lecturing, journalism and solicitor.
Masters programmes are available for candidates who wish to continue their studies after graduating, including clinical practice, neonatal nursing, blood science, advanced audiology, cardiac care and cancer studies.
Actor Ken Jeong, known for his role in the Hangover completed his Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill prior to his claim to fame and the comedy genre.
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