Welcome to the 7th week of the Virtual Medicine Open Day: giving you an insight into each of the UK medical schools and the opportunity to ask current medical students about the realities of studying there!

This post is written by Charlotte, a 5th year medical student at the University of Sheffield.

The past 4 years studying in Sheffield have been incredible. After receiving 3 offers for Medicine, Sheffield was always my top choice and it hasn’t let me down. Sheffield Medical School is probably one of the most friendly and kindest Medical Schools in the country. With so much to do in the Medical School alongside the Students Union (best SU in the country) and its proximity to the Peak District the opportunities are endless. Hopefully this post gives you an insight into what life at Sheffield is like…

Contents

  1. An Overview of Teaching Methods
  2. Typical Timetable of a 1st year Medical Student at Sheffield
  3. The Non-Medical Stuff
  4. Pros
  5. Cons
  6. 3 Top Tips For Applying to Sheffield
  7. Q&A

An Overview of How We Are Taught

Sheffield uses an Integrated teaching model. What that means is that we have a range of lectures for the whole year group and small group teaching (10 people). The small group teaching is used for Integrated Learning Activities (ILAs) these are sessions where you come together as a group to discuss a Clinical Case in relation to what you’re learning in lectures at time. 

Unique to Sheffield clinical exposure begins in your first year. This exists as Early Years GP (EYGP) sessions. Here a group of 6 of you go to a local GP surgery and get taught about how the stuff you learnt in lectures applies to clinical practice. In these sessions you also get the chance to speak to patients with the Body System you are focusing on at the time. For example, if you are studying the Respiratory system one week you may talk to a patient with asthma and the next session you may talk to a patient with COPD. 

In your first year you are also taught clinical skills in small groups (up to 20 people). The type of clinical skills you learn are how to take vital signs such as: taking Manual Blood Pressure. These are super fun and definitely a highlight of the timetable. 

Like previously said the teaching model is integrated. This means that in first year you look at the anatomy, physiology and histology of the ‘normal’ body and focus on all of the main body systems. We do anatomy, physiology and histology for each system at one time. For example, if you were on your cardiology module you would have lectures and ILAs based on the physiology and histology and your anatomy sessions would be focused on the Cardiovascular System. 

In Sheffield we are taught anatomy via full body dissection. This means you and a group of 9 others work with the same cadaver through the year. Learning the anatomy of each body system on your cadaver. Each group of students has their own facilitator so you’re not left alone.

A Typical Timetable of a 1st Year Medic

Here is an example of a typical week for a 1st yr medical student. Please note as clinical skills tutorials generally happen once a month, I haven’t included them in this timetable. On these days you generally lose your Thursday afternoon slot of lectures.

The Non-Medical Stuff

Sheffield is such an amazing city to study in. It’s got the perfect balance of being a city and only a 15 minute drive away from the Peak District National Park! We’re quite a big university so campus always has a great exciting buzz to it with lots going on. Our Student’s Union is the best in the country and we have a society for anything you can imagine: Quidditch, Tea, Mindcraft? The options are endless. Sheffield’s sport facilities are only a 15 minute walk away from campus which is great too! The Students Union also has it’s own Night Club in the basement which basically all students go to! Especially on a Saturday night to go to Poptarts (give it a google!). 

The main accommodation sites Ranmoor and Endcliffe, are only a 15 minute walk away from the Medical School and probably a 40 minute walk from the town centre. If walking isn’t your thing- don’t worry! We have lots of regular buses. And with a student pass you can get a single bus fare anywhere in Sheffield for £1!

Sheffield is such a friendly city, so you’ll feel welcome wherever you are in the city! The University is also incredibly friendly. We have our own Counselling Service; University ran GP (so you don’t have to worry about finding one) and a great Disability and Dyslexia Support Service. 

Pros of Studying at Sheffield

The atmosphere: I know I’ve mentioned this so many times already. But it is by far the most friendly and welcoming university I’ve been too. The University has so many systems in place to support students too no matter what happens. 

The Medical School: the early clinical exposure and the ability to do full body dissection are amazing opportunities that can’t be missed. 

The importance the university puts on having a life outside of your degree: compared to some universities that only promote studying. Our university promotes having hobbies outside of our course, to keep us well rounded and ultimately happier. Because of this they’ve invested so much money in creating opportunities and providing students with grants/bursaries and subsidising society events.

The location: Sheffield is in a great location in the country. It’s easy to get to and from many cities and places in the country. This makes it perfect for visiting friends at other unis, going home for the weekend or going for day trip places! Plus, we have loads of really cool places to eat in the city with multiple food halls, vegan restaurants and a monthly Peddler’s Night Market. If shopping is more your thing, we also have Meadowhall! Which is only a short trip on the tram. 

Cons of Studying at Sheffield

• I would say one of the biggest negatives for me is that we only have end of year exams. By that I mean in first year you only get assessed at the end of the year with 3 exams. Thus, there’s a lot of pressure to do well on these 3. Conversely, a lot of my friends like this as an assessment method as it stops you having loads of exams throughout the year. 

Every year after completing your exams you get a ranking. This tells you the place you’ve come in the year compared to your peers. I personally found this a bit stressful to begin with. But you get used to it!

Compared to other medical schools we don’t have as long holidays. Have a look at the website for exact numbers. But in 4th year I only had 5 weeks off the entire year.

3 Top Tips For Applying to Sheffield

1. Make sure you know the course that Sheffield offers really well. You could easily be asked questions about what are you looking forward to on the course, how does it compare to other medical school courses or even what are you apprehensive about?

2. Acknowledge that Medicine isn’t your whole life. There’s a big emphasis at Sheffield on having a work life balance and having interests outside of medicine. So have a few examples of hobbies you like or ones you want to try. 

3. Have a good idea about Sheffield University and Sheffield as a city in general! Not only is this good for you as it makes you realise if you really want to study here. But it shows that you’ve really thought about your application and that you really want to come to Sheffield! 


Thank you Charlotte for such an interesting and detailed insight into Sheffield! Find out more about her and feel free to get in touch with her on Instagram:


Your Turn To Ask Any Questions!

Thank you for submitting your questions, they’ve now been answered by a current student – click below to read the answers!

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Posted by:Life of a Medic

2 replies on “What’s it Really Like To Study Medicine at Sheffield Medical School?

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