Undergraduate courses: A100 Medical degree - MBChB

Information for prospective undergraduates.

There are many attributes required to be a successful doctor. Perhaps the main ones are motivation and compassion but others include enthusiasm, stamina,
tenacity, initiative, courage, loyalty, excellence, resilience, ability to work in a team and a sense of humour. You need to have the capacity to deal with frustrations and disappointments and to be able to deal with a career that may have many highs and lows and on occasions be extremely stressful. You need the ability to be able to wind down and relax and to have hobbies and pastimes that will allow you to do so.


Medicine is the study of diseases affecting people. Its scope is vast, encompassing the causes, the nature and the treatment of disease. The course at Sheffield offers a broadly based but extensive education and training incorporating all the recommendations of the General Medical Council's report Outcomes for Graduates, while conserving the strengths of the pre existing curricula. The course leads to the professional qualification of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB). The MBChB programme that you may join has been designed to educate and train you so that you will become a doctor equipped with the clinical abilities, knowledge, attitudes and professional behaviours needed to become a junior hospital doctor. This preparation will also prepare you for your continued professional development after graduation.

The medical course at Sheffield aims: -

  • To equip students with the essential personal and professional skills required throughout the rest of their course and in their
    future careers,
  • To integrate the basic and clinical sciences throughout the course,
  • To cultivate in students an attitude of curiosity and a desire for intellectual
    exploration and critical evaluation.


The underlying philosophy of the curriculum is that all learning and teaching should be thought of from the perspective of the patient. A medical curriculum should include what a student needs to know, understand and be able to do in response to the problems presented by patients in a range of health care settings. To achieve this the Sheffield medical course is based upon the approach shown in the diagram with the patient's needs at its centre.

The medical course in Sheffield is clinically led and gives students opportunities to start developing their clinical skills from the very start. It is designed around the common and important clinical conditions and uses an integrated learning and teaching approach that relates clinical medicine to the underlying medical sciences.

The two main themes that run throughout the course, Clinical Competencies and Medical Sciences are linked together by Integrated Learning Activities where students work in teams, and later in the course by themselves, to solve clinical problems. A combination of teaching approaches, including clinical teaching on the wards in hospitals, in clinics both in general practice and hospitals, lectures, seminars, tutorials, small group work, dissection, together with personal and professional development supported by experienced tutors and personal mentors helps ensure that graduates are well prepared for work in the National Health Service.

Information about the course structure can be found here.

At the end of the undergraduate programme you will receive your MBChB degree, which is a primary medical qualification (PMQ).  Holding a PMQ entitles you to provisional registration with the General Medical Council, subject only to its acceptance that there are no Fitness to Practise concerns that need consideration.  Provisional registration is time limited to a maximum of three years and 30 days (1125 days in total).  After this time period your provisional registration will normally expire.

Provisionally registered doctors can only practise in approved Foundation Year 1 posts: the law does not allow provisionally registered doctors to undertake any other type of work.  To obtain a Foundation Year 1 post you will need to apply during the final year of your undergraduate programme through the UK Foundation Programme Office selection scheme, which allocates these posts to graduates on a competitive basis.  All suitably qualified UK graduates have found a place on the Foundation Year 1 Programme, but this cannot be guaranteed, for instance if there were to be an increased number of competitive  applications from non-UK graduates.

Successful completion of the Foundation Year 1 programme is normally achieved within 12 months and is marked by the award of a Certificate of Experience.  You will then be eligible to apply for full registration with the General Medical Council.  You need full registration with a licence to practise for unsupervised medical practice in the NHS or private practice in the UK.

Although this information is currently correct, students need to be aware that regulations in this area may change from time to time.

There is some discussion about whether to remove provisional registration for newly qualified doctors.  If this happens then UK graduates will receive full registration as soon as they have successfully completed an MBChB (or equivalent) degree.  It should be noted that it is very likely that UK graduates will still need to apply for a training programme similar to the current Foundation Programme and that places on this programme may not be guaranteed for every UK graduate.

The GMC has decided to introduce a Medical Licensing Assessment - the MLA - from 2022 to demonstrate that those who obtain registration with a licence to practise medicine in the UK meet a common threshold for safe practice.  Applicants should be aware that to obtain registration with a licence to practise, medical students will need to pass both parts of the MLA, pass university finals and demonstrate their fitness to practise.

We hope these pages will assist you in deciding on where you would like to study. If you need further information, or would like to order our prospectus, please contact us.