Scottish Graduate Entry Medicine (ScotGEM) MBChB
ScotGEM is a four-year graduate entry medical programme. It is designed to develop doctors interested in a career as a generalist practitioner within NHS Scotland. The programme is tailored to meet the current and future needs of the NHS in Scotland and focuses on rural medicine and healthcare improvement.
The programme is taught through a partnership between the universities of St Andrews and Dundee in collaboration with NHS Fife, NHS Tayside, NHS Highland, NHS Dumfries and Galloway and the University of the Highlands and Islands. This exciting partnership has enabled us to create a truly distinctive programme.
First and second year are led by the University of St Andrews, with third and fourth year led by the University of Dundee. In first year, students are based at the University of St Andrews and within Fife. From second year onwards, the programme includes periods of time living and studying in rural areas of the Highlands and Dumfries and Galloway. You must be prepared to live and study in this context.
ScotGEM will be awarded on a joint basis by the universities of St Andrews and Dundee.
Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB)
Four years full time
- Start date: 5 September 2023
- End date: 26 June 2027
Number of places
55 to 70
This programme is only open to applicants who are classed as Home or RUK (rest of UK) for fee purposes. Those who are classed as overseas for fee purposes are not eligible to apply for this course. See the fees status policy for more information.
Applicants to the ScotGEM programme must meet a number of entry requirements, including both academic and non-academic conditions.
If you gained your qualifications outside of the UK, please email the admissions team at email@example.com to ensure that they meet the entry requirements.
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.
Dundee’s School of Medicine is ranked first in Scotland for Medicine in the Complete University Guide 2022 and third in Scotland in the Guardian University Guide 2022.
ScotGEM is a unique and innovative four-year graduate entry medicine programme run by the universities of St Andrews and Dundee. Our collaboration with four health boards - NHS Fife, Tayside, Highland, and Dumfries and Galloway - along with the University of Highlands and Islands, allows us to deliver a truly distinctive programme.
The programme addresses all core MBChB requirements as stipulated by the General Medical Council (GMC). Whilst ScotGEM focuses on enthusing graduates to become generalist practitioners with experience in rural health care, the programme will prepare students for any branch of medicine through the normal postgraduate training process.
ScotGEM aims to produce a cohort of high quality, adaptable and compassionate clinical leaders. You will contribute to local communities and the health service whilst in training through supported 'Agents of Change' projects in all four years.
Working as an effective doctor involves being able to change health and care systems. Agents of change enables ScotGEM students to learn and attempt to bring about real change in healthcare delivery. This aspect of the course has five themes:
- quality improvement
- prescribing and therapeutics
- public health
- community engagement.
Agents of Change helps learners understand, develop and practice skills required to generate change in complex systems. It includes taught materials and project work and helps students develop their expertise. For example, a group pf students might work within a general practice to research and analyse prescribing patterns or supporting a practice to reduce their impact on the climate. Agents of Change is a key opportunity to develop related scholarly output for students and offers some chances to pursue individual interests. It is also a key opportunity to develop a sense of social accountability.
This is an intensive graduate programme where students are expected to study and work long terms (around 40 weeks per year). From second year onwards, components of the programme will include periods of living and studying in rural areas in the Highlands and Dumfries and Galloway especially. You should expect to live and study in this context.
To graduate from the MBChB ScotGEM programme, you must complete specified modules across the four years at the universities of St Andrews and Dundee. ScotGEM will address all core MBChB requirements as stipulated by the General Medical Council (see GMC outcomes for graduates).
You will be based at the University of St Andrews and NHS Fife, where your learning will be focused around 30 one-week-long patient scenarios using an approach known as case-based learning. For example, a case of sore throat might lead into examination of the throat and neck, related anatomy, microbiology, pharmacology and related public health issues.
The complexity and challenge of the cases builds as you and your peers become more effective learners. Case-related clinical and communication skills will be introduced alongside topics such as biochemistry, pharmacology and anatomy.
Semester 1 will use cases that focus on foundational medical sciences; this knowledge will subsequently underpin more challenging scenarios.
Semester 2 concentrates on the body systems where you will learn examination skills in conjunction with the relevant regional anatomy.
During this year, for one day a week, you will be engaged in small-group, work-based learning supported by a dedicated team of GP teachers or ‘generalist clinical mentors’ in a local general practice. This will include regular clinical experience and patient contact from the outset.
Agents of Change projects will include a voluntary sector placement and prescribing improvement project.
This year introduces a further 20 patient scenarios structured around the lifecycle.
Teaching in Year 2 is delivered across three regions, enabling placements in Fife, Inverness, and Dumfries. Teaching will take place simultaneously across the three regions.
You must be prepared to live and study away from St Andrews for between 12 to 24 weeks during Year 2. The location of your study will be based on regional quota and student preference, if possible.
Student accommodation will be provided for placements outside Fife.
You will continue to work for one day each week with a generalist clinical mentor in the GP setting and spend an additional half a day in a specialist clinical environment. Year 2 closes by providing experience of unscheduled care (GP, emergency department, ambulance, etc) and project work related to Agents of Change.
In Year 3, you will undertake a 'longitudinal integrated clerkship' (LIC) where you will join a general practice over the course of a year rather than taking part in ‘traditional’ clinical rotations. This apprenticeship-style educational model allows you to follow patients through their illness journeys.
Approximately half of your week will be spent consulting with patients, the remainder studying the conditions you have encountered or following your patients into the secondary care setting. This approach works especially well for graduate learners and has been shown to develop more patient-centred doctors with improved decision-making skills.
Agents of Change activities run in parallel with your clinical learning during this period.
LIC placements will be available in all four partner health board areas for the entirety of the year and the majority will be in rural areas predominantly in Highland and Dumfries and Galloway. You must be prepared to live and study away from Fife and Tayside.
As a competent generalist student, you will now be immersed in the hospital environment and prepare yourself for work as a junior doctor. You will complete two month-long foundation apprenticeships and other hospital-based clinical attachments in final preparation for practice as a Foundation Year 1 doctor.
You may choose clinical areas of particular interest which you can experience in greater depth. You will also arrange an eight-week clinical elective period which can potentially take place anywhere in the world and will be focused on your own objectives.
You will also conduct a healthcare improvement project in a hospital setting.
ScotGEM uses a wide range of teaching methods, much of which will be delivered within an NHS setting. A case-based learning approach in the first two years will prepare you for an exciting range of clinical learning opportunities in third and fourth years.
The ScotGEM course is based on clinical cases from the outset. These will be supported by:
- learning objectives
- practical classes
- simulated and ‘real’ clinical and consultation skills
- extensive supported independent and peer-peer learning.
Your learning will be underpinned by a sophisticated online Curriculum Management System, which will give you access to a wide range of resources and enables you to monitor your progress, particularly during Year 2 when the students will be located in different regions. For instance, regular online self-assessment tests and workplace-based learning assessments will be required.
Increasingly, learning will become more self-directed, and you will need to rely on yourself and your peers to explore, investigate and learn from the cases (still guided by clear learning objectives and with synchronised centrally organised teaching). This approach will set you up well for learning based on real patients in the clinical environment.
The longitudinal integrated clerkship in Year 3 will allow you to join a clinical team and learn whilst becoming increasingly involved in patient care. You will select patients to follow through and study them, their conditions and their care in more detail. Where relevant, you will attend specialist clinics, operations, etc as you follow these individuals’ journey through the healthcare system.
Finally, in Year 4, you will experience intensive hospital attachments that involve shadowing foundation doctors and other secondary care attachments.
Each year will require you to pass assessments of knowledge, clinical skills and a portfolio demonstrating professional development.
- In Years 1 and 2, you will be assessed on your knowledge using a mix of online multiple choice questions and short answer written assessments. Year 3 will use online multiple choice questions aligned with the planned General Medical Council common exam (Medical Licencing Assessment).
- In every year, there will be a portfolio assessment based on a mixture of engagement with learning, workplace-based performance and project work related to the curriculum themes.
- In every year, there will be an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).
The assessments are selected specifically for the ScotGEM course, but draw heavily upon those available within both medical schools. Thus, your progress will be benchmarked against existing UK standards throughout.
Students must pass all of their modules each year to progress to the subsequent year.
ScotGEM visiting days
If you are interested in studying ScotGEM, you can join us for one of our visiting days.
ScotGEM virtual visiting day
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Postgraduate virtual visiting days
Tuition fees for 2023 entry
Tuition fees will be paid by the Scottish Government. Students do not need to apply to SAAS for payment of tuition fees.
England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland
Channel Islands, Isle of Man
See the ScotGEM funding arrangements for the 2022-2023 academic year; guidance and legislation may change in future years.
Additional compulsory costs
Students need to cover costs for lab and course materials of up to £70 each year. You will also be expected to pay around £59 to register with the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme when you arrive in St Andrews.
Find out about University of St Andrews accommodation fees.
Find out about University of Dundee accommodation fees.
The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.
The University of Dundee does not have any scholarships or funding available for ScotGEM applicants.
Students on the ScotGEM course are offered a 'return of service' bursary, a grant worth up to £16,000 in total, in exchange for working in NHS Scotland for up to four years.
The scheme, administered by NHS Education for Scotland (NES), will offer ScotGEM students a bursary of £4,000 per student per annum in return for a year of service up to a maximum of four bursaries and four equivalent years of service.
For students opting to participate, the ‘return of service’ arrangement will become effective at the beginning of Year 1 of their foundation training.
If you have any questions on the ‘return of service’ bursary, please contact the Fees and Funding team at email@example.com.
How to apply for ScotGEM bursary
Any student who has been offered a place on ScotGEM is eligible to apply for a bursary. Payment of the bursary will only take place once matriculation onto the ScotGEM course is complete.
If you wish to apply for the bursary, please follow the link supplied on your offer letter, download the application form and return the completed form to NHS Education for Scotland.
If you wish to leave the return of service scheme, you will have the option to buy yourself out.
If you have any questions on applying for the ‘return of service’ bursary, please contact the NHS Education for Scotland directly.
Graduates of ScotGEM will receive an MBChB degree, which is a primary medical qualification (PMQ). Whilst ScotGEM is designed for students who are interested in a career as a generalist practitioner, the programme will prepare students for a career in any branch of medicine through the normal postgraduate training process.
There is a wide range of career opportunities for doctors with over 60 different specialities available. For more information, please see NHS Medical Careers.
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. Advice on careers in the NHS will be available throughout the course.
As ScotGEM students, you will be fully matriculated at both the University of St Andrews and the University of Dundee. You will have access to all facilities available at both institutions, including accommodation, study spaces, student services and over 250 sports clubs and student societies. ScotGEM students will have a truly distinctive student experience.
In Year 1, students will be based at the University of St Andrews. With its mix of ancient and modern buildings, greenery, seaside and bustling café culture, the town of St Andrews has lots to offer. Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.
ScotGEM students will also spend time at the University of Dundee. Dundee is Scotland’s fourth largest city and has a population of about 150,000. It is a dynamic and multicultural place and has recently been described as "Britain’s coolest little city" (GQ Magazine). Find out more about student life at the University of Dundee.
Students in the initial cohorts have reported very positive experiences and huge benefits from the opportunities to live and study in different areas of the country. Some of these can be found in the highly informative ScotGEM Stories blog.
University of St Andrews facilities
Since 2010, the School of Medicine has been housed in a £45 million purpose-built Medical and Biological Sciences building with outstanding facilities for teaching, learning and research. Collaborations with key University disciplines, such as physics, chemistry, biology and psychology, add an important dimension to medical research and the training of research scientists and healthcare professionals.
Pro-section dissection is part of the ScotGEM curriculum. The dissection room is purpose-built and equipped with state-of-the-art facilities; it is spacious and well-ventilated, with 16 tables for dissection and room to display numerous excellent models and specimens. Technicians and medical staff are on hand to offer advice and assistance. The clinical skills suite features 7 rooms containing 48 beds. All beds are equipped with ceiling-mounted video capture facilities and 'bed-head' touch screens to allow instant playback or video resources. The centre features a full range of real and simulated clinical equipment.
University of Dundee facilities
The School of Medicine is integrated within Ninewells Hospital in Dundee’s west end. Ninewells is one of Europe’s largest teaching hospitals and boasts internationally renowned research facilities. The University of Dundee has invested around £11 million on upgrading the learning and teaching facilities.
The emphasis is on learning and how to learn, so as to keep knowledge and skills updated throughout an individual's working life. This exciting, focused structure produces well-rounded graduates who are equipped with the skills and knowledge to work within, as well as go on to shape and lead, healthcare delivery in the 21st century.
School of Medicine
University of St Andrews
Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3619
Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.
Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online.
The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online.
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