US non-traditional pre-med student moving to Scotland


I would greatly appreciate any insight you all might have regarding the following:

I am a 37 year old non-traditional premed student in South Carolina (post-bacc) w/ a degree in Finance and a dual-bachelors in History and Political Philosophy as well as all sciences needed to qualify for med school. I have a 4.0 GPA. I have been in banking/finance for 17 years and am now two semesters away from MCAT/applying to med school.

Recent events with my wifes job may relocate us to Scotland, specifically Edinburgh. This is extremely exciting; however, I am not sure how it will impact med school or the length of schooling.

I have been speaking with the University of Edinburgh, but a lot of the terms they use are not familiar to me. They have a six year program and I am trying to determine, out of the six years, how much time I would have left if I transferred my bachelors and additional sciences that I took to qualify for med school.

They said that with a four year degree and all qualifying sciences I would “…skip the 3rd Intercalated year of the MBChB, making it a 5 year programme, rather than 6 years.” How many more years would the program be?

Does anyone have any insight? Have you gone through this same thing? Anyone in pre-med in Scotland by chance?

Thanks in advance for all your help.

Is your plan a return to the US for residency? or a permanent relocation to Scotland? US citizen?

I will tag @WayOutWestMom for this. If anybody would know, it is her.

From the Uni Edinburgh Medical School website: What You Will Study:

"Years 1 and 2
In your first two years, you will study the biomedical and clinical sciences such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology and micro-biology, along with social and ethical aspects of clinical practice.

You will learn practical clinical skills such as resuscitation and interviewing patients, developing your clinical reasoning and decision-making skills. These skills will be advanced through workshops, community projects, GP-based teaching and student-selected components or projects on a range of topics from the clinical to the non-medical.

Year 3 (intercalated degree)
In Year 3, you’ll take on a whole new challenge, beginning an academic year of full-time, research-based study, leading to a Bachelor of Medical Sciences Honours degree. This means, upon graduation, you will receive both a MBChB and your research-based BMedSci (Hons) degree.

Known as an “intercalated” degree, the programmes on offer include biochemistry, neuroscience, pharmacology, psychology, sports science medicine, zoology and many more.

In addition to the above, for those students who are particularly interested in pursuing an academic career, with research as a significant part of their undergraduate training, there is an exciting opportunity for a small number of talented students to undertake an intercalated PhD for those interested in early training in research as well as clinical medicine. The programme is joint between Edinburgh and Glasgow. More information on this is provided below.

Years 4, 5 and 6
In Year 4, you will study all aspects of clinical medicine and healthcare. You will also develop your practical experience through placements in hospital and general practice.

In Year 5, you will explore a number of speciality areas whilst working on hospital wards as part of a team. As well as further clinical placements, you will complete an individual research project in partnership with a clinical tutor.

In your final year, you will apply your learning from previous years, with an emphasis on developing practical skills and knowledge of general and acute medicine, emergency medicine, surgery, anaesthetics and intensive care. You will have the opportunity to assist a junior doctor and, under supervision, undertake some of the duties of a Foundation Year 1 doctor."

So it looks like you can skip Year 3 and proceed straight to Years 4-6.

However, IMV you have some bigger issues to consider

  1. Do you have the right to work in the UK after graduation? This is a big question. Places in UK medical schools for non UK citizens are limited. This is because, as I understand it, funding partly comes from the NHS for whom the new graduates will be expected to work for, and where the rest of their training will occur. They do not want to waste funding on those who cannot or will not work for the NHS once qualified. I would ask admissions about this directly.

  2. It is hard, although not impossible, to take international medical degrees back to the US and gain the required residency experience. @WayOutWestMom will have more information on this.

I would also read ‘This is Going to Hurt’ by Adam Kay, the diary of a junior doctor in the UK.

If we made the decision to move there we would most like remain there at least until my kids graduate. It would not be a quick turnaround.

Thank you so much.

Yes, that is how I interpreted it as well. Begin at year 4. That seems to make the most sense, yet, until I hear it from the horses mouth.

I will bring up point 1 to admissions, thank you for that. I have researched point 2 and am aware of the idiosyncrasies of it all. If we did make the choice to move, it would be for good so I would most likely to have clearly communicate my intentions of serving the citizens of the UK and to work for the NHS.

I look forward to hearing from WayOutWestMom and I’ll also check out that diary.

LOL “This is going to Hurt” is a great, tragicomic, read.

OP, you have probably worked this out, but there is no “pre-med” in the UK- you go straight from secondary school to medical school. As a “Graduate Entrant”, the “credit” you get for your undergrad degree & classwork is (as @CollegeMamb0 pointed out) that you get to skip the middle year.

So, you would be in school for 5 years. After you finish you sit the MLA (Medical Licensing Assessment), and are then “provisionally registered”. During Year 5 of med school you apply for Foundation Year 1 posts (comparable to the US Intern year), which (as in the US) are allocated on a competitive basis (there is no guarantee of a post, but from a school like Edi I wouldn’t imagine there would be a problem). When that’s done you can apply for a license to practice independently (through the NHS or privately).

Assuming your undergraduate degree is good (a 2:1 honours is ~a B+ average), your 4.0 in the pre-req classes qualifies you. You also have to sit the UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test).

@CollegeMamb0 is also right that there are very few places for international students.

Hope that helps.

I also wouldn’t limit my application to just Edinburgh if I were serious about being a medical student. I would also be applying to all the Scottish universities that have Medicine and maybe even Newcastle in England. Note that for placements, you could be sent anywhere in Scotland.

I am also looking into the University of Glasgow. I would need to be near the family and if placed somewhere else in the UK my wife would likely need to transfer her position. Lot’s of moving parts to say the least, but trying to figure out the best option.

You need to know that if you plan to return to the US in the future, you won’t be able to practice medicine in the US even if you do complete your medical education and medical training in Scotland.

You will be considered a US IMG (US citizen who has completed their medical education outside of the US). As such, you will have a bunch of hoops to jump through to get medical license, including completing an entire new medical residency in the US.

The first hoop are the USMLEs, a series of 4 exams that can only be taken in the US.

None of the exams are trivial and you will be years and years removed from the basic science material that comprises STEP 1 when you return to the US 10 years from now.

There is also a hard limits on when you can take the exams series and how often you can take them. Once you sit for your first USMLE, you have 5 years to complete them all. And you only have a lifetime total of 7 attempts at passing all 4 exams and no more than 2 attempts at each exam.

Once you pass the USMLEs, you must then apply for and complete a medical residency in the US. As you probably know, residency last from 3 to 7 years, longer if you plan to subspecialize. A few states may allow IMGs who have completed 2 years of a US residency to get a license, but as a practical matter you cannot get reimbursed by medicare/medicaid or insurance companies without a US board certification/board elgibility–which requires the completion of a US medical residency.

US IMGs (US citizens who complete their medical education abroad) are at severe disadvantage when it comes to getting a residency placement. Fewer than half get one.