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This post is written by Dean Hardy, a 4th year medical student at The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

UCLan have exceeded all my expectations of what I wanted from a Medical school. Entering into my fourth year, I have had more experiences and taught knowledge far beyond what I could of ever imagined. I am so happy to be part of this medical school.


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

An Overview of How We Are Taught

UCLan pride themselves on an integrated, small group, spiral curriculum approach. Within the pre-clinical years (years 1 and 2), you cover 3 modules: 

  1. Integrated science and Clinical Medicine (ISCM): this focuses on the vast majority of our learning and involves 6 block (Core, Musculoskeletal, Genitourinary, Cardiology and Respiratory, Neuro-endocrine and Gastrointestinal). Within each block there is a range of learning from anatomy, physiology, genetics, immunology, microbiology, pharmacology, cell biology and developmental biology. These are mainly taught lecture based, with the exception of anatomy which is the anatomy labs in small group classes, usually 6 students with a doctor. 
  2. Evidence Informed Practice of Medicine (EIPOM): this module has 4 blocks including Pysco-Social Medicine, Biostatistics, Epidemiology and public health, and medical law and ethics. Each of these areas are taught by experts in the respected field. Most are taught lecture based except for medical law and ethic which is small group classes. 
  3. Medical Skills and Quality of Care (MSQC): We are very lucky at UCLan that we start clinical and communication skills from week 1 of year 1. We learn a range of clinical and comm skills in small group classes each week in our clinical skills suites. In addition, we have simulation suites where we practice being placed in emergency situations. It is thrilling! This module also involves professionalism and portfolio

Within the clinical year (year 3, 4 and 5) you cover every speciality in clinical setting, including surgery, gynaecology and obstetrics, emergency medicine, anaesthetics, paediatrics, oncology, palliative care, neurology, psychiatry, medicine and much more.

A Typical Timetable of a 1st Year Medic

The Non-Medical Stuff

Studying at UCLan is at the heart of the city of Preston. Preston is a city that has everything you need at the doorstep. Cafes, bars, restaurants, desert shops (very popular amongst medical students), nightclubs, cinemas, shopping and much more, all available within walking distance. Preston has excellent transport links, with the train to Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, London and the Airport within 1 hour. Preston has been named one of the safest and best places to live in the north west by the Guardian Newspaper which is something that makes the city a safe place for students to feel at home. It is also one of the biggest campuses in the UK, with 33,000 students embarking on education. UCLan itself has one of the highest number of international students, so it is a great place to meet people from different backgrounds and make life changing memories. As a medical student, it is important to find that downtime. The sports facilities at UCLan are FREE for all students, including the university gym, sports central and UCLan sport arena where you can play pretty much any port you like. There is over 100 societies – so whatever hobby you have, no matter how strange, there is likely to be a society for that hobby. 

Pros of Studying at UCLan

 Early patient contact from week 1 of year 1. If you want to meet patient early, UCLan has that opportunity to do so, and it settles those nerves early on.

• Placement from year 1. You will send 2 week in the community, and 2 week at a GP practice in year 1, allowing you to see real patients from the first year. 

 Small group classes. My favourite thing about UCLan is the small group classes. It is almost as if you are getting 1 to 1 learning, which is really useful considering the amount we need to know.

 Everything on your doorstep. As a medical student the downtime is so important. Preston has everything you need to make sure you can enjoy your social life outside of medicine. 

• Spiral curriculum. UCLan work hard on maintaining a spiral curriculum. Meaning we are constantly revisiting information we learnt in previous years. This really helps us retain information.

• Placement areas. We are very lucky to be able to use a wide range of hospitals and primary care centres, some of which we are the only medical students there. This is perfect as you are not fighting for patients with other medical students on the wards. You are the only ones there and the staff are so keen to teach you. 

 Finals in year 4. At UCLan we sit our finals in year 4, allowing 5th year to be a transition year from student to doctor.

• No UCAT, BMAT or GAMSAT needed

 4 SCHOLARHSIPS available for a free ride!

Cons of Studying at UCLan

 New-ish medical school. The medical school has been going for 5 years now and has just been accredited by the General Medical Council (GMC). However being a relatively new medical school, some people may be put off going here, which is understandable. But from my personal experience, I have never been so cared for and been taught so much so well.

• Content heavy in pre-clinical years. The fact UCLan mix theory with practical learning in year 1 and 2 can make the work load extremely heavy and difficult to handle. Be prepared to work hard!

• Preston isn’t the biggest city in the UK. Of course some might prefer larger more well established cities like Manchester, Liverpool or London.

• Only a select few UK places. For now UCLan have only a select few of UK places. But they are in the process of bidding for more.

3 Top Tips For Applying to UCLan

1. Make sure you have read all the requirements on the website. So many people apply without reading them and then get rejected before interview. Please read all the information online. 

2. Know about the medical school from the back of your hand before applying, this looks really smart at interview. Speaking to current students on social media is probably the best way to achieve this.

3. Be willing to spend the next 5 years working very hard, and sacrificing lots of social time (especially come exam time) for revision. Of course you will get so many good memories also, and have such an impact on people’s lives from year 1.

Thank you Dean for providing such a detailed and interesting insight into UCLan. You can find out more about him on his social media channels:

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

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