Medicine A990 BSc (Hons)
The A990 is a six-year medicine degree course for Canadians only (or those who have Canadian residency rights) and who are considered ‘overseas’ for fee purposes. The programme is designed for applicants who wish to return to Canada for postgraduate training.
Students entering the A990 have the unique opportunity to graduate after three years at St Andrews with a BSc Honours degree in Medicine before moving on to the University of Edinburgh's Medical School to complete their training as a doctor and graduate with an MBChB. Students are given assistance in applying for residency placement in Canada for postgraduate training.
The course provides students with an excellent scientific foundation for clinical practice, helps develop ethical understanding and decision making skills and provides early, relevant clinical experience in a highly supportive educational environment.
For more information about completing training in Edinburgh and applying for residency placements, please see:
You can also view short videos about the A990 programme.
Bachelor of Science (single Honours degree)
Three years full time, plus a further three years of training at the Edinburgh Medical School to graduate with a Bachelor of Medicine or Surgery (MBChB).
- Start date: September 2023
- End date: June 2026
- Start date: August 2026
- End date: June 2029
Undergraduate applicants to the School of Medicine must meet a number of entry requirements, including both academic and non-academic conditions.
The School of Medicine has retained its position as second place of UK Medical Schools in the National Student Survey (NSS). The NSS gauges students’ experiences of learning and teaching at university. The same survey placed St Andrews as the UK’s top mainstream university for the thirteenth time in the past 15 years.
The University of Edinburgh was ranked first in the UK for Medicine (Guardian University Guide 2022).
The medical degree programme is six years long; students graduating BSc (Hons) Medicine from the A990 programme at St Andrews will progress to the University of Edinburgh's Medical School for the final three years. Students will also spend up to four months in Alberta during the programme.
The School of Medicine at St Andrews offers an integrated curriculum within a strong clinical context. In addition to exploring the foundations of medical science, this course will help you develop a professional attitude, ethical understanding and decision-making skills required by the General Medical Council (GMC) and detailed in their ‘Outcomes for Graduates’ and ‘Promoting Excellence’.
The curriculum addresses the following core principles:
- Competence – understanding of the scientific basis of medicine and an extensive anatomical and physiological understanding of the human body.
- Professionalism – development of clinical skills, personal values, interpersonal skills and ethical awareness.
- Reflection – monitoring self-awareness and decision-making through the completion of a portfolio.
- Independence – encouragement of self-directed learning and an ability to cope with uncertainty.
Clinical teaching is integrated with basic science learning throughout the course, teaching you to apply medical sciences to clinical problems.
Clinical skills teaching, including communication skills, takes place in simulated wards and other dedicated teaching spaces, supported by video technology. Clinical experience is also offered in the form of clinical placements with patient contact from first year onwards. Professionalism and patient safety are key components of the entire course.
To graduate with the BSc (Hons) Medicine after Year 3, you must take seven compulsory modules across three years.
More information about the Medicine modules currently on offer can be found in the module catalogue.
In the first year of the course, the modules emphasise the interrelationships between the pre-clinical sciences. Additionally, you will be introduced to key themes which run throughout the whole programme (for example, ethics, public health, health psychology).
- Foundations of Medicine 1: provides a general overview of the structure and functions of the body systems from the microscopic to the macroscopic level. It includes strands of microbiology, public health and health psychology. This module:
- reviews fundamental aspects of molecular and cellular medicine
- introduces medical ethics and communication skills relevant to medicine
- uses clinical problems to develop an understanding of the levels of consciousness and the assessment of health status
- includes an anatomical overview of the major body systems and the dissection of the back
- provides opportunities to speak to patients with chronic health problems in the Medical School environment.
- Foundations of Medicine 2: continues the introduction of fundamental topics, including the principles of disease mechanisms and therapy, and the development of communication skills. This module:
- provides an in-depth study of the musculo-skeletal system, including nerve and muscle physiology (you will study the anatomy of the upper and lower limbs through dissection and lecture)
- develops an understanding of the principles of disease mechanisms and therapy
- introduces particular topics in behavioural sciences (for example, stress, coping and pain)
- introduces concepts of pharmacokinetics and pharmacy
- reviews genetics and the effects of genes on development and disease
- includes a community-based clinical placement
- provides further opportunities for exposure to clinical problems relevant to the teaching.
The Honours programme, which runs through both second and third year, focuses in detail upon the normal function and dysfunction of specific physiological systems.
The two modules in second year take an integrated approach to the scientific basis of medicine in Honours. They build upon the material delivered in first year and introduce new concepts.
- Medicine Honours 1: covers the structure and functions of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
- Medicine Honours 2: covers the renal, gastrointestinal and reproductive systems.
Both second year modules:
- introduce and build on normal form and function to explore disease mechanisms and therapy of disorders pertinent to the body systems covered.
- explore the body systems through cadaveric dissection, including the integration with clinical imaging.
- use relevant clinical problems and clinical skills to provide a clinical context to your studies.
- integrate the ethical, moral and behavioural aspects relevant to body systems.
- provide a series of community placements in primary health care settings.
In third year, the first semester focuses on complex integrative physiological systems (central nervous system and endocrine organs). Semester 2 comprises of two modules, one focusing on a significant student-selected research project, and the other focusing on applying medicine and developing clinical skills.
- Medicine Honours 3: revisits foundation knowledge and progresses to more complex systems. This module:
- provides in-depth coverage of normal structure and function of the central nervous system and endocrine systems.
- introduces diseases and possible therapies pertinent to these important control systems.
- presents case studies associated with the central nervous system and endocrine systems to highlight appropriate clinical skills for the identification of neurological and endocrinological disorders.
- utilises cadaveric dissection, including covering aspects of radiology.
- integrates ethical issues and behavioural science with clinical medicine.
- provides hospital (secondary care) clinical placements.
- Medicine Honours 4 (Student-Selected Component): you will undertake a research project in an area of interest at an advanced level. Research projects will provide the opportunity to:
- develop critical appraisal skills
- develop an understanding of scientific methods
- gain competency in using literature searching methods
- develop an inquisitive and questioning attitude and ability to apply rational thought processes
- prepare a scientific research dissertation demonstrating critical thinking and analysis
- give an oral presentation on the research findings
- develop reflective practice using a portfolio entry for a significant learning event.
- Medicine Honours 5 (Clinical Reasoning): consolidates knowledge gained throughout the course and introduces new advanced skills to stimulate clinical development. This course is taught primarily by clinicians (including Honorary staff), and case studies will be used extensively to direct student learning. This module:
- reviews clinical anatomy in preparation for later clinical training
- provides the opportunity to significantly advance clinical consultation skills, including examination and communication
- provides an opportunity for multi-disciplinary team working through a ward-simulation scenario involving other health professionals
- develops the ability to consider differential diagnoses effectively and practice enhanced clinical reasoning.
The modules listed here are the compulsory modules that students must take in order to graduate in this subject.
Modules are taught through a combination of:
- laboratory-based practicals
- small group tutorials
- clinical placements
- audio-visual capture system for training and feedback on clinical skills
- computer-based resources
- research projects.
In third year, students participate in a ward simulation exercise in the School of Medicine’s clinical skills suite. As an interprofessional learning activity, this provides students with the opportunity to explore the skills required to work as part of a team and to develop their understanding of some of the roles and responsibilities of the healthcare team within a hospital ward environment.
First, second and third year level modules are assessed by:
- written examinations (multiple choice and short written answers)
- anatomy practical examinations
- observed structured clinical examinations.
In third year, students will also complete a dissertation in an area of interest.
Students must pass all of their modules each year in order to progress to the subsequent year. The award of BSc (Hons) Medicine degree requires students to possess a comprehensive knowledge of basic medical science and its clinical application.
To progress to the University of Edinburgh's Medical School to complete your MBChB, you must achieve the award of BSc (Hons) Medicine from the University of St Andrews.
Medicine virtual events
If you are interested in studying Medicine, you can join us for one of our virtual events.
Medicine visiting days
If you are interested in studying Medicine, you can join us for one of our visiting days.
Tuition fees for 2023 entry
Tuition fees for 2023-2024 have not yet been announced. You can view the Medicine funding arrangements for the 2022-2023 academic year. Guidance and legislation may change in future years. For overseas students, tuition fees may increase each year.
Find out more information about tuition fees at Edinburgh Medical School.
Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation.
Funding and scholarships
The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.
Graduates from the six-year Medicine degree (A990) will have career prospects in practical, clinical, policy and academic positions.
Students on this programme will be responsible for their own applications to Canadian residency positions or to the Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS) residency placement scheme, but will be assisted by the University of Alberta in the process.
Although the A990 programme is primarily for applicants who want to practise medicine in Canada, A990 students are also currently eligible to apply to Foundation Training in the UK. This however cannot be guaranteed at the point of entry for those graduating in 2029 and beyond.
The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.
The University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students can participate in a range of traditions, such as wearing the red academic gown for the weekly pier walk, the May dip, be mentored and mentor as part of an academic family, and the annual foam fight in the historic St Salvator’s Quad. These traditions and the choice of over 150 different sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensure there is something for everyone and a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.
Medical students may be interested in joining the Bute Medical Society, one of the University’s oldest, largest and most active student societies. The society runs regular events throughout the year as well as the annual Bute Medical Society Ball. There are also numerous other medical societies such as Friends of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF/Doctors Without Borders) and the Surgical Societies.
The School of Medicine aims to provide a supportive environment in which all students have the ability to thrive. The small size of the School (around 200 in each year group) allows a close academic relationship between staff and students and gives an opportunity for teaching staff to get to know students individually. Each student is allocated a personal tutor who they can contact about and welfare issues and academic development. The School also has a specific student support team that students can also contact for pastoral support and help navigating their time at the University of St Andrews.
The School of Medicine is housed in the £45 million purpose-built Medical and Biological Sciences building which offers outstanding facilities for teaching, learning and research. These include a dissection room, clinical skills suite and multi-purpose lab. Find out more about facilities in the School of Medicine. The School of Medicine at St Andrews is one of the few in the United Kingdom that still offers full-body cadaveric dissection. The dissection room is purpose-built and equipped with state-of-the-art facilities; it is spacious and well-ventilated with 16 tables for full body dissection and room to display numerous excellent models and specimens. Technicians and medical staff are on hand to offer advice and assistance.
The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As University buildings are located throughout the town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings, parks and beaches, providing a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning.
School of Medicine
University of St Andrews
Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 1886
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