The three-year Cambridge course in pre-Clinical Medicine is academically demanding and scientifically based with an emphasis on the understanding of basic principles and experimental evidence. This approach provides a solid foundation for Clinical Medicine and research and for General Practice. You should read this page alongside the information page about the Medicine course on the University website.
Medicine at Pembroke
Pembroke is ideally suited for those reading Medicine: the back gate of the College leads directly into the New Museums Site where most of the pre-Clinical laboratories are situated. The College has thus, not surprisingly, a strong tradition in the subject. Like all other universities, Cambridge is restricted in the number of places which can be offered in Medicine: over the last few years Pembroke has been allowed to admit eight medical students each year (Home and Overseas). As in all Colleges, Medicine is a very competitive subject. All students are offered College accommodation for their three pre-clinical years and may continue to live in College houses during their clinical years if they wish to do so. The programme in clinical medicine is based at the Cambridge University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (Addenbrooke’s Hospital) situated on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, an outstanding centre for clinical practice, medical education and biomedical research. In addition to those primarily concerned with the pre-clinical part of the course, the College has Fellows in Clinical Medicine, including Dr Menna Clatworthy, who directs studies for the College’s clinical students at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. She also contributes clinical elements to the course for pre-clinical students and provides a link with clinical activities at Addenbrooke’s.
If you are applying to any Cambridge College to read Medicine, you will be required to take a two-hour test (the BioMedical Admissions Test, BMAT) in your school or college before coming for interview. If you are a post-A-level candidate, please get in touch with us to discuss where you should take the test (many post-A-level candidates arrange to take it at their old school or college).
The course can be tough, and we would expect those applying to have a very strong background in the appropriate sciences.
Candidates are usually expected to take Chemistry, Biology and one of Maths and Physics to A2 Level (or equivalent).
Interviews and Assessment
We are looking for students who are highly motivated and enthusiastic about medicine and have the academic ability to learn very fast in a demanding course. You should have a strong scientific interest in medical sciences and a realistic view of Medicine as a career. We do not admit for medicine without interview, and interview all candidates who stand a reasonable chance of gaining a place at Cambridge; some overseas candidates applying from Canada, Singapore, Malaysia or Hong Kong can be interviewed in their own country: please ask for information about this.
Medical candidates are given two or three interviews with those who teach in medically-related fields: we will assess your interest and ability in the more scientific aspects of medicine, and your attitude to Medicine as a profession.
Please note that the pre-medical requirements for Cambridge differ from those of some other Medical Schools. It is advisable to check the details on the University website.
We are happy to offer one or two deferred medical places each year to candidates who wish to take a gap year.
Students under the age of 18 cannot undertake any clinical elements of the Medicine course, which start in the second term of first year at the latest. Therefore, students must have reached the age of 18 by the start of the second term of Year 1 to be eligible to apply for Medicine.
Students with disabilities
Whilst we welcome applications to Pembroke from students with disabilities, it is important to realise that, in being admitted for medicine, you are entering the medical profession. You will need to be assessed as to whether you will be eligible for registration by the General Medical Council on graduation as being ‘fit to practice’. We encourage any student with a disability who may be considering applying for medicine to consult us at an early stage.
See also page about Medicine on the University website.