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Medicine

Somerville admits students to all three medical courses in the University: the pre-clinical course, the clinical course and the accelerated graduate-entry course in medicine.

We also welcome applications from graduate students wishing to study for higher degrees within the research departments of the Medical Sciences Division.

Somerville admits five or six medical students to the pre-clinical medicine course each year. These students take the three-year pre-clinical course, reading for a BA in Medical Sciences, before proceeding to their clinical studies.

The majority of successful applicants are school leavers, but we also consider applications from graduates who have (or expect to have) good first degrees, and are not eligible for admission to the graduate-entry medical course. Somerville strongly wishes to encourage applicants from the widest range of social, ethnic and geographic backgrounds; candidates are selected solely on the basis of academic excellence and future academic potential.

The Oxford pre-clinical course places strong emphasis on basic science and acquiring an evidence-based approach to all aspects of academic study. It deliberately does not treat medicine as simply a vocational training course. As such the Oxford course is best suited to those wishing to explore the scientific basis of medicine, how basic biomedical scientific research is carried out, and how it is applied to clinical medical problems.

Particular advantages which Somerville can offer its medical students are:

  • A very strong emphasis on academic excellence and scientific education.
  • An outstanding library; one of the many valuable legacies of this former women’s college.
  • Dedicated IT learning facilities for all medical students in the Banister Room in College.
  • Graduate scholarships awarded on merit to Somerville graduate-entry and clinical medical students.
  • Support for our clinical students’ elective periods with grants currently of the order of approximately £500 per student. Additional travel funds are available in open competition. In addition, equipment grants are available for each student
  • An active medical society, the Janet Vaughan Society, with the opportunity to be part of a thriving medical community within College where students
  • on all three medical courses, tutors, clinicians and visiting guests meet on a regular basis.

Somerville has a long tradition of outstanding achievement in the pre-clinical medical sciences, exemplified by a Nobel Prize award in chemistry in 1964 to Dorothy Hodgkin for her determinations by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances. This award was particularly for determining the structure of vitamin B12, although she also studied the structures of insulin and penicillin. The College also has a history of excellence in clinical medicine: our two medical College Principals, Dame Janet Vaughan (1945-1967) and our present Principal, Dame Fiona Caldicott (1996- ), being

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