Standard Medical course
St Hugh’s admits a quota of six pre-clinical medical students each year. We welcome applications from pre-A-level candidates, from candidates who have already achieved good A-levels, and from graduates with recent good first degrees.
Pre-clinical medical students read for a BA (Hons) in Medical Sciences, unless they are already graduates. This three-year course comprises a little more than five terms of study for the First BM Examinations in basic medical sciences (including courses on organisation of the body, biochemistry and medical genetics, pathology, pharmacology and physiology, neuroscience and integrative systems of the body). There follow nearly four terms of advanced study of one (selected from five) options covering various subjects in biomedical science. Most students also undertake a practical research project. After completion of the Honours School and a short Clinical Anatomy course in the final term, students go on to study clinical medicine. Most study at Oxford, with St Hugh’s students usually staying on in College for their three clinical years, while a few go on to study in London, or at other clinical schools (the entry is competitive).
Graduate students may apply to study medicine on the standard course; in which case they study basic medical science for six terms (two years) before progressing to clinical school. Alternatively graduates with a suitable science degree may apply directly to St Hugh’s to study for the four-year accelerated graduate entry course (see below).
For the standard medical course, a good basic knowledge of science, which must include an appropriate advanced qualification in Chemistry and at least one other Science, is essential. Applicants with a broad academic and social experience are welcomed. For further details of available courses, the application process and admissions criteria, please refer to the University admissions information for Medicine and the Medical Science Division course pages. The pamphlet Medicine at Oxford University, which is available from the Tutor for Admissions sets out entrance requirements for GCSE, Scottish CE and International Baccalaureate and also gives more details of the courses. Whatever the combination of subjects studied, a lively interest in the biomedical sciences, which form the foundation of medical practice, is assumed.
Graduate entry Medicine
St. Hugh’s also offers up to three places each year on the graduate entry Medical course, where students with a suitable previous science degree can undertake an intensive four-year programme. We work with other Colleges to provide full and extensive tutorial support for this course. For further details, see the information on the Medical Sciences website.
St Hugh’s also welcomes applications from students who wish to study Biomedical Sciences: the College takes two students each year. This new course is the successor to the Physiological Sciences course in Oxford. It has been designed so that students first acquire an integrated understanding of biomedical and physical sciences, combined with relevant mathematics. This allows them to shape their subsequent studies towards those topics that interest them the most.
For the first two years, the majority of teaching on this new course runs independently of the pre-clinical medical course. In the specialist Final Honours School options taught in the third year Biomedical and Medical students share resources. Students ultimately select one of two courses in their third year, Neuroscience or Cells and Systems Biology. St Hugh’s has Tutorial Fellows with expertise in both these areas. For more details, see the University admissions information for Biomedical Sciences.
Funding and Awards
A very generous donation in 2012 from a previous medical graduate from St Hugh’s, Lucy Jones, has allowed the establishment of a series of prizes for our top students at different stages of their preclinical and clinical education. These are the Jonathan Boulter Memorial Award (£300) for the top performance at First BM, the John Morris Medical Award (£300) for the top performance in Preclinical Finals and the Jones Award (£400) for the top performance in Clinical Finals.
In addition, clinical students can apply for up to £500 to cover some of the costs of their electives, and if they or preclinical students undertake research or attend research conferences, there are opportunities to apply for funding to help cover some of the costs involved. College will also fund the costs of a stethoscope for clinical students.
Finally, undergraduate students in Medicine and Biomedical Sciences frequently need to stay in Oxford over the vacation to undertake parts of their Final Honours School research project, and College will consider applications for funding to help to cover some of the costs involved.
Teaching at St Hugh’s
Clive Wilson and Ed Mann, the two Tutorial Fellows in Medicine at St Hugh’s, take overall responsibility for guiding students in the undergraduate courses and see students each week or fortnight for tutorial discussion during most of the pre-clinical and biomedical course. John Morris, the recently retired Wellcome-Franks Fellow in Medicine and Emeritus Professor of Human Anatomy, and past Director of Pre-Clinical Studies, still retains an active role in teaching at St Hugh’s. Other College Fellows with clinical backgrounds (Anthony Harnden and Elizabeth Soilleux) and a strong team of lecturers teach almost every aspect of basic medical and physiological science, and clinical medicine. Research interests of the staff include the regulation of neural activity, neural control of hormones and movement, neuropathology, control of respiration, biomembranes, genetics, control of growth and the cell cycle, insulin signalling, cell-cell signalling, regulation of cell movement and cell ultrastructure. Interests of our clinical Fellows include immunology, cancer biology and chemotherapy, angiogenesis, primary care paediatrics, common childhood infection, vaccine-preventable childhood infection, neurodegeneration, brain injury and repair.
A distinctive feature of the teaching structure at St Hugh’s is that some of the most talented students who have been trained at the College remain in Oxford and choose to join the College teaching team; they are innovators in the development of College aspects of clinical teaching within the University.
Why come to St Hugh’s?
Both standard and graduate-entry medical students, from St Hugh’s have consistently been very successful academically over the last several years at all stages of the course, and St Hugh’s students on the Biomedical Sciences course are now starting to follow in their footsteps. In recent years, seven medical students have won the Gibbs Prize or equivalent for top place in BM or graduate-entry examinations and a significantly greater proportion have achieved first class honours in FHS, and Distinctions and Merits in BM exams than the average for the cohort. For example, in 2010, St Hugh’s medical students received an unprecedented five University Awards, four of them for its clinical students, while in 2011 and 2013 respectively, four and three of our graduating clinical students were awarded Merits. An important factor in this consistently high level of academic performance is the strong sense of community in St Hugh’s, which encourages students both from the same year and from different years to work with each other outside the tutorial system.
The College also encourages students to become involved in other non-academic activities. For example, St Hugh’s medical students have acted as President in the undergraduate medical society Medsoc in four of the past 10 years. Although St Hugh’s offers tutorial support in all relevant areas of medicine and physiological sciences, it has particular strengths in neuroscience, endocrinology, anatomy, genetics, cancer biology, developmental biology, cell-cell signalling and pathology. Students with interests in these areas are encouraged to work on research projects with their tutors during the pre-clinical or biomedical sciences courses.
During the preclinical years, Anthony Harnden teaches as part of an early clinical contact course in his general practice in Wheatley. The majority of preclinical students who stay on for their clinical studies at Oxford remain at St Hugh’s. The College has a consistently highly rated group of clinicians who provide ward-based and primary care tutorials for clinical undergraduates, as well as tutorials in other areas such as clinical pathology. St Hugh’s is in fact the nearest College to the hospital sites with a convenient bus stopping directly outside College.
There is a very strong sense of community at St Hugh’s, both within the cohort of Medical and Biomedical Science students and with students from other disciplines. As mentioned above, the College has a tradition of involving some of its most exceptional clinical students and graduates in preclinical, biomedical and clinical tutorial teaching, and in helping new students find their feet when they first arrive. There are also numerous social events organised by St Hugh’s Medics and Biomedical scientists in addition to other College-based activities. For example, the College Medical Society run by the undergraduates has strong links with medical alumni of the College who can help with practical advice concerning many medical specialities. The recently established Subject Development Group brings together senior and junior members of College linked to medicine, biomedicine and other areas of bioscience to discuss issues relating to careers, clinical medicine and medical research at termly evening meetings, including a pizza supper.
Margaret Esiri (Professor of Neuropathology) and Adrian Harris (Professor of Clinical Oncology) are Professorial Fellows of the College.