Medicine @ Glasgow | Q&A

These questions have been answered by Meghan, a 2nd year medical student at the University of Glasgow.

What’s the city of Glasgow like? e.g. safety, social side etc.

Since the University is situated in the West End it is filled with students and lots of bars, pubs and places to socialise with the city centre less than ten minutes away by subway! It’s safe to say that’s there’s always something to do at Glasgow, whether that be drinks on Ashton Lane, hitting the clubs on Sauchiehall Street or heading into town for a spot of shopping.

Glasgow sometimes gets a bad rep for safety, however this isn’t something I would let put you off. Just like any other city it has both good and bad areas so it’s important to stay in places that you feel safe. However this is something you find everywhere, so just like at any other uni it’s all about making sure you have the right people around you and not taking unnecessary risks! As long as you use your common sense you’ll be just fine. 

Do you really need A-level Chemistry to get in?

Yes, as stated on the university website this is required along with at least one other science subject (Biology, Physics or Maths). The requirements are different for postgraduate students, and in this case Chemistry may not be necessary.

How much free time would you have per week on average?

This is a very difficult question to answer, since the teaching at Glasgow is mainly self directed so it varies a lot person to person. For me personally I found that I had my weekends almost entirely free (apart from in the lead up to exams and when doing coursework) and I stopped studying most evenings by 8pm at the latest (again, outwith exam period). It’s completely dependent on your style of taking notes and how long PBL takes you- though with PBL you will gradually speed up as you get used to this new learning style.

Are there any international students in Glasgow? (e.g. from Kuwait)

Yes, Glasgow has international students from all over the world along with many societies aimed at bringing international students together!

I know it’s an undergraduate course, but what’s the proportion of graduate students to undergraduate?

According to the admissions data from 2019 there were 51 graduate students and about 250 school leavers in my year group. This document is filled with admissions data for the past few years and is very helpful: https://www.gla.ac.uk/media/Media_475041_smxx.pdf

Do you struggle with knowing what to cover because of the large aspect of self-directed learning?

Initially yes, this was a struggle, however it’s important to remember that everyone else is in exactly the same boat as you! Speaking to students in older years and your peers will help you to realise how much time you should be spending on different subjects, as do the weekly Moodle quizzes in Phase One (I would highly recommend doing these as the exam questions in the Christmas MCQ are very similar, sometimes a couple of quiz questions come up exactly too!).

Are the end of year/phase exams the only factor in grades? Or do tasks completed over the year also factor into grades?

At Glasgow there are exams in first and second year at the end of semester one and at the end of the year. These two marks are combined to give the overall grade. However, in order to pass the year it is necessary also have passed BOTH pieces of coursework from throughout the year.

Can you intercalate outside of Glasgow or do you have to stay there?

Yes, you can intercalate wherever you want, though universities will have less places reserved for students studying medicine at universities other than their own.

What would Glasgow Uni like to see on a good quality personal statement?

At Glasgow, interviews are usually made on the basis of the UCAT score which must be above a certain cut off (the cut off from previous years can be found in the admissions data published each year), however personal statements are also important. Here are some key points which may be helpful to include:

  • Any work experience which you think is particularly relevant, linked to why you see it as relevant (what did you learn from this experience about the career, yourself, etc etc?)
  • A range of extra-curricular activities to show that you are well rounded and what you’ve learnt from there/skills you have gained through these
  • Mention any important positions of responsibility you’ve held and what this has taught you (eg Head Boy/Girl)

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to mention absolutely everything, just include what you think is the most relevant and will make you stand out!

For the SSC, are we able to travel aboard for our research?

Yes, you can however it is up to you to organise this and it must be approved by the medical school.

How is Anatomy taught?

In Phase One, anatomy is mainly taught through weekly lectures (usually on a Friday) accompanied by one session of prosection a week and some PBL research. There are also two sessions of dissection in Phase One. From Phase Two the anatomy lectures continue, this time with weekly dissection sections (usually three hours per week, in one session). A lot of the anatomy learning is quite self directed, so it’s important to go away and work on some anatomy after lectures and dissection to make sure you know your stuff in enough depth!

How far is the main hospital from the campus and is travel for placements provided?

The main hospital (Queen Elizabeth University Hospital) is about twenty minutes away by bus or by bike. Travel for placements is not provided however costs will be reimbursed in the later years. In first year we have a few clinical visits, which the university does not reimburse the costs of travel for. However, usually there will be someone in your group who has a car available or your tutor will offer to drive. If this isn’t possible then most people take the train!


Thank you Meghan for answering these questions!


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Posted by:Life of a Medic

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