The University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine (Clinical School) was formally established in January 1975 when it subsumed the School of Clinical Research and Postgraduate Teaching that had existed since 1946; the first entry of 50 Clinical Students was admitted in October 1976. For the last few years, and up to and including 2016 entry, the annual intake to the Standard Clinical Course was around 160 students. From September 2017, all preclinical students will stay in Cambridge for the clinical component of the course, subject to satisfactory progression. This will increase the annual intake to around 260 students. Around 10 of those students are offered places on the MBPhD programme; in addition, 20 students are admitted to the Cambridge Graduate-entry Course (CGC) (this will rise to 40 students from 2018-19).
The focus of the Clinical School’s activities is the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Addenbrooke’s Hospital) situated on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, an outstanding centre for clinical practice, medical education and biomedical research. In addition, there are significant links in teaching and research with Regional Partner NHS Trust hospitals and in general practices throughout the East of England.
The MB/PhD Programme leads to the MB, BChir and PhD degrees and is designed for medical students who are interested in academic or research careers by enabling them to integrate a three-year period of research with their clinical education.
The clinical component of the curriculum is designed to equip students for a lifetime of medical practice in a changing world with emphasis on the acquisition of clinical skills by direct patient contact. At the start of the programme, students follow the Standard Course Year 4 curriculum up to and including the Year 4 Student Selected Component (SSC). (More information on the new clinical teaching programme can be found on the Standard Course website.) In general this SSC will be conducted in the prospective PhD host laboratory. After Part 1 of the Final MB examinations, and subject to satisfactory progress, a three-year period of full-time research follows, combined with regular clinical education, including weekly clinical supervisions and monthly clinical seminars. It concludes with students rejoining the clinical course to complete their studies.
During the research component, students are based mainly in the laboratory or department of their choice at the Addenbrooke’s complex or at one of the University sites in central Cambridge, or at a University-affiliated research institute.