Access to medicine courses

(34 Posts)
angelpuffs Tue 04-Oct-16 20:09:45

I'm hoping to start a medicine degree in a few years time when both of my children are at school. I've contacted a few universities and they have told me that, as it's 18 years since I did A- levels and my first degree was not science based, is have to apply for the undergraduate medicine degree and would be best to complete an Access to Medicine course or the "Subjects allied to medicine" course at Birkbeck college as a first step? Once one of these is completed I can take the UKCAT or BMAT and apply from there.
Any advice? What are these access courses like re workload and content? Has anyone down this as a mature student and what was your experience? I'm keen to hear any advice/tips or just general info on how you found the process.
Thanks smile

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yeOldeTrout Tue 04-Oct-16 20:22:32

I kind of thought there was an upper age limit, like maybe 35, to get onto an English medical school course. You need to check, anyway.

angelpuffs Tue 04-Oct-16 20:33:33

No- not any more. Maybe there was once an age limit but not now.

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Buttercupsandaisies Tue 04-Oct-16 20:35:59

There is no age limit anymore but they get a lot of recent graduates applying, most will have science degrees and you will be competing with them so it'll be more difficult. Having said that, there's prob less competition within your group than a college leaver.

Buttercupsandaisies Tue 04-Oct-16 20:37:22

As a side note do you have future childcare sorted? A couple of my friends are doctors and their parents live in to care for the kids as shift and on call work isn't flexible

angelpuffs Tue 04-Oct-16 20:56:10

Buttercups- recent graduates with science degrees would be applying under the graduate program which is 4 years as opposed to the 5 year course I'd be applying to, and I wouldn't be in competition with them. My kids would be 9 and 12 by the time I finished my degree so I've got 8 years to figure out childcare! I know the first 2 years after graduating are very tough with little flexibility on where you are posted and the shifts you're given.

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Askja Tue 04-Oct-16 20:59:14

There is no age limit. I've just started 1st year (as a mature student) and loving it so far. What you need varies a lot depending on where you apply. I don't know much about the access to medicine route as I have a science background, but I don't think it's the only route for non-scientists. Do you know if you want to do a graduate or undergraduate course? There's a good summary of what the various graduate courses require here. Could you sit chemistry A-level? Some unis offer a foundation year which might work for you? Best of luck with it all!


PurpleDaisies Tue 04-Oct-16 21:00:12

I know the first 2 years after graduating are very tough with little flexibility on where you are posted and the shifts you're given.

It isn't the first two years, it's at least five depending on what specialty you end up in. Goodness knows what state the NHS will be in by then.

Think very very carefully before training as a doctor if you want any sort of family life at all.

angelpuffs Tue 04-Oct-16 21:02:42

Thanks Askja! Encouraging to hear you're doing it too. How hard did you find the UKCAT test? And the interview? I'd have to do the undergraduate course as I don't have a science degree- I think I'd rather do an access to medicine course than an A-level as they are apparently like a foundation year of a degree and I think the universities prefer that if you've been out of education for a while. But I'd love to hear about how others have accessed the degree....

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angelpuffs Tue 04-Oct-16 21:06:49

Thanks purpledaisies- it's what I've always wanted to do and I'm lucky to have the financial support to do so. I know it will be tough with hours and shifts- but right now it's getting onto the actual course that is concerning me- it seems to be so difficult to get a place. But I hear what you're saying and have definitely considered that.

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PurpleDaisies Tue 04-Oct-16 21:06:51

You don't have to have a science degree to get into a graduate course. I do, but many of my fellow students didn't. Depending on the course, you just need to have a good enough grasp of science to get through the entrance exam.

angelpuffs Tue 04-Oct-16 21:08:06

When I spoke to Kings, they said my economics degree would not be acceptable to get onto the graduate course. Maybe some other universities would feel differently....

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PurpleDaisies Tue 04-Oct-16 21:10:47

It might not be acceptable for their graduate course but all the universities have different requirements.

leghoul Tue 04-Oct-16 21:10:54

some universities still accept non science graduates but I actually don't think school age DC makes it any easier at all. If anything it can be harder (days off/ odd hours/ missing parents evenings or whatever) I think easier preschool to manage with medical training as longer childcare tends to be available

However, no upper age limit and I think it's a great thing to do if you've always wanted to do it - but be prepared for childcare mayhem. I'd personally try for graduate entry first for funding reasons and because in a few places you'd be eligible potentially. Access courses have dried up a bit but a number of universities offer 6 year courses still though these are less aimed at mature students now, and there used to be a program with the OU that a few universities would accept (or said they would accept) in lieu of science A levels. A good access course is the one at College of West Anglia in Kings Lynn, but explore the other options first.

leghoul Tue 04-Oct-16 21:12:16

Try St Georges and Southampton

leghoul Tue 04-Oct-16 21:12:51

Economics fine but make sure you have sufficient relevant work experience and sit the GAMSAT, I think it is..

PurpleDaisies Tue 04-Oct-16 21:15:02

Yes, it's the GAMSAT for Nottingham too. You just need a 2:2 degree in any subject. Then there's obviously the interview where you'll need to talk about your relevant experience and knowledge of what being a doctor is really like.

leghoul Tue 04-Oct-16 21:15:55

Kings recently changed their grad entry requirements and they now require a science degree, for a while think they accepted other subjects. I know Georges and Southampton accept non science but I suspect there are still more.
Also, see Jeremy Hunt/ Theresa May's latest diatribe and think long and hard before you take the plunge. It's easy enough to apply thinking it's a long shot but if you get the place it could be unexpected life chaos speaking from experience

angelpuffs Tue 04-Oct-16 21:16:58

Forgot to mention that I'm in London and would have to study here as my husbands job and our house etc are all here.
The link sent to me by Askja is great and has shown that there stemmed school options in London which will take non science degrees on the graduate programme- however this would be cutting down my options. I'd plan to start the access to medicine course in Sept 2017 so have a while to research the options.

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PurpleDaisies Tue 04-Oct-16 21:18:06

If you want to start in Sep 2017 don't you have to apply by October 15th this year?!

PurpleDaisies Tue 04-Oct-16 21:19:03

Or is it just regular medicine courses that have the earlier deadline?

angelpuffs Tue 04-Oct-16 21:19:41

Purple- i only want to start the access course in sept 2017- not the medical degree. So no, I've got ages to apply for that (I called them today to check)

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angelpuffs Tue 04-Oct-16 21:20:37

Leghoul- are you a doctor? Can you let me know what your training and first few years after graduating were like...?

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NightCzar Tue 04-Oct-16 21:27:34

I had a friend who started retraining from HR to be a doctor at age 29. The year before he started, he took on an additional job in a bar in the evenings to build up some extra savings. He said the first year of the course and the first year of work were the hardest. He's a gay man who moved back home to be with his mum, so no kids in the equation. I still saw him quite a lot until he started work, when shifts etc meant that it was hard to coordinate our diaries.

He's had to do a few rotations thorough types of medicine he has no interest in, which has been tough too.

However, and this was why I posted, he said it was the best thing he ever did. He really enjoys it and would always have wondered, what if?

titchy Tue 04-Oct-16 21:28:45

OP the course you're referring to is hard work, but has a decent success rate. Have you looked at the course spec - that should have some further reading which might be useful.

It's also very flexible if you find the workload too much.

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