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Frequently Asked Questions

Aston Medical School opened its doors for postgraduate research students in 2014 and to its first CPD course in 2016. In September 2017 we will take our first cohort of Masters students and in 2018 we will be taking on our first cohort of MBChB undergraduate medical students.


Applicant FAQs

Aston Medical School

Aston Medical School opened for postgraduate research students in October 2015 and will commence the five year MBChB Bachelor of Medicine degree from September 2018*. 

The first undergraduate students will join Aston Medical School in September 2018*.

The MBChB Bachelor of Medicine course will take five years to complete.

Aston Medical School will be a predominantly self-funding School of Study within Aston University.

Fees for 2018 entry are as follows:

  • International students: £37,000** per academic year.
  • UK (Pathway to Healthcare Programme graduates): £9,000** per academic year.

At this stage you can visit the Aston University campus, where the Medical School will be based, in Birmingham City Centre.  For details of guided and self-guided campus tours, please visit the university’s open days page: www.aston.ac.uk/opendays.

We are anticipating that tours of Aston Medical School will be made available in early 2017.  

You will require a visa if you do not hold a British or EU passport: www.ukcisa.org.uk/. The University has a team of qualified immigration advisors to guide you through this process.

Each year we will have a range of small financial awards and prizes** for the most talented students both entering their first year at Aston and in subsequent years of study. Announcements of these awards will be made on our website closer to the 2018 application period.

Full scholarships covering all or the majority of tuition fees will not be available.


Applying to Aston Medical School

We will offer 100 places** per intake year on our MBChB course, 80 of these are reserved for international fee paying students and 20 for UK students who are eligible through successful completion of our Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare Programme.  

To be eligible for our Pathway Programme you will need to come from one of our partner school/colleges based within the Birmingham, Solihull or Black Country region. If you would like to check your eligibility as a UK student please email pathwaytohealthcare@aston.ac.uk.

Please note the only UK places available at Aston Medical School will be via the completion of this Pathway Programme.

Applications will be via the UCAS system.

Applications will open in the September of the year before the start of the course and all applications must reach UCAS by the published closing date, usually 15 October of that year, i.e. applications for entry in September 2018 will open in September 2017 and close on the 15 October 2017.

Aston Medical School will accept applications from students who resit their A Level or equivalent examinations once. Applicants who have more than one resit due to extenuating circumstances will be considered on a case by case basis

The UKCAT is a standardised test used by Medical Schools to assess applicants. 


As detailed on their website: "It helps to ensure that candidates selected have the most appropriate mental abilities, attitudes and professional behaviour required for new doctors and dentists to be successful in their clinical careers.  It is used in collaboration with other admissions processes such as the UCAS application and academic qualifications. The UKCAT does not contain any curriculum or science content.  It focuses on exploring the cognitive powers of candidates and other attributes considered to be valuable for health care professionals."

Find out more about the test at www.ukcat.ac.uk

 

All Applicants to Aston Medical School will be required to take the UKCAT in the year of application and cannot be carried over from the previous year. 

We will use the UKCAT as an additional parameter and have not set the minimum requirement as we want to evaluate the importance of this particular factor in the selection students to study medicine. 

Key UKCAT dates:

  • Registration opens: 2 May 2017
  • Testing begins: 3 July 2017
  • Registration closes: 19 September 2017
  • Bursary deadline: 19 September 2017
  • Booking/Rescheduling closes: 2 October 2017
  • Last testing date: 3 October 2017
  • UCAS application deadline: 15 October 2017

 

The final stage of the admissions process for Aston Medical School will require applicants who have satisfied criteria related to academic and personal qualities to attend for Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) which will take place in December, January, February and if needed March. All applicants will be required to attend the MMIs and offers will be made subject to their performance at these interviews.

Multiple Mini Interviews consist of individual work stations, each of which are intended to test an applicant’s skills in relation to their suitability to study and practice  medicine as described in the GMC documents ‘Good Medical Practice’ and ‘Promoting Excellence’. 

In one MMI cycle there are normally seven to ten stations, each lasting five or six minutes with one or two minute breaks in between. Interviewers are present in each station providing independent assessment of the interviewee. 

Station are formulated to address various aspects including:

 

  1. Tests of capacity to reflect upon the applicant’s own life events and experiences as described in their ‘personal statement’.
  2. Tests to demonstrate the applicant’s understanding of what is involved in studying and practicing medicine.
  3. Tests of ability to communicate and empathise with simulated patients simulating medical scenarios.
  4. Tests of ability to follow instructions for a practical task involving interaction with a simulated patient and of capacity to interact sensitively with the patient when undertaking the task.
  5. Tests of ability to identify strengths and weaknesses of communication skills exhibited during a simulated consultation between doctor and patient.
  6. Tests of ability to observe and summarise information from a video recorded interview between a doctor and a simulated patient.
  7. Tests of comprehension and verbal explanation of ideas presented in writing.
  8. Tests of numerical skills relating to common tasks in the practice of medicine.
  9. Tests of ability to identify the characteristics of effective and ineffective team work.

 

 

Performance at each station is scored according to a check list, defined in advance, by the trained interviewer who may be a doctor, scientist or simulator. The number of marks available at each station are the same. For each applicant a total score is cumulated across stations and applicants are ranked according to total score. The rank of an applicant is part of the main factors influencing whether an offer of a place is made.

Anyone wishing to come to the UK for an interview will have to apply for a standard visitor visa.  We will agree the dates for entry and provide the student with an invitation letter. The visa will normally be issued for 6 months and the duration of stay cannot exceed the total amount of time required to be in the UK (plus a few days to allow for leaving and entry). For example if the interview is for one day, it is reasonable to come for a week but unreasonable to stay for 2-3 months.

Students cannot study or work on this visa.

Yes. Deferred entry is permitted, however interviews, UKCAT and academic qualifications must be obtained in the year of application.
While it is desirable to have experience of medically related placements, Aston Medical School understands that this is not always possible and voluntary or community related work is equally valuable. It is important that you are able to demonstrate continuity of commitment for example helping in a care home, work with young children, helping at youth clubs etc over a period of time.

There are currently no plans to offer a shortened postgraduate entry route for the MBChB programme at Aston Medical School, however we welcome applications from postgraduate applicants looking to undertake the five year programme.

We will not take applicants via the Clearing process.

We will not accept direct transfers from medical or any other degrees.

All applicants even if they are attending a University or Medical School in the UK or abroad will have to apply through UCAS and will be subject to the established admissions criteria and MMIs. If successful, they will enter the first year of study as for all applicants.

Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate an excellent command of the language. Accepted tests and scores include:

  • IELTS (Academic test): 7.5 overall with a minimum of 7.0 in each area.
  • TOEFL: 110 overall with a minimum of 24 in each area.
Currently we do not offer foundation courses leading to an application for the medical course. 

* subject to full GMC approval

**subject to change

Media FAQs

  • Aston Medial School forms the fifth school of study within Aston University and aims to build and enhance upon existing expertise in Life and Health Sciences.
  • Aston Medical School aims to train future medical doctors to meet the increasing need in both the UK and overseas.
  • Currently we conduct scientific research into cardiovascular diseases and women's health, in particular, pregnancy complications.
  • We work in partnership with organisations such as the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and the Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group.

 

  • The curriculum will focus on skills that are essential for the delivery of excellent healthcare including clinical interpersonal skills.
  • Aston Medical School graduates, in addition to obtaining a MBChB qualification, will also obtain an enhanced leadership and management 'mini MBA' as part of their degree, providing them with the business acumen they will require during their Medical career.
  • Unlike many other UK Medical Schools, Aston Medical School will make a high proportion of its places available to International students allowing a global community to access a top class UK medical education.
  • Aston Medical School will be located in central Birmingham, an area that suffers significant health inequalities with an aim that a proportion of our students will be selected from the local region. Once trained and qualified as doctors, these students will choose to practice in Birmingham-Black Country or Solihull.
  • The School will build upon Aston University's strong reputation for widening access, by working with local secondary schools and colleges with a high index of deprivation to support their students who have aspirations to apply to Medicine. We will also be providing up to 20 scholarship places each year for UK Home students, based at partner schools in Birmingham-Black Country and Solihull who fit our widening participation criteria. Scholarship students will pay £9000 per year for the first four years of the MBChB Bachelor of Medicine degree and receive a fully funded fifth year. Details of eligibility criteria for the scholarship places will be made available in due course.

There is an excess demand over supply for medical education and medical practitioners in both the UK and worldwide, meaning that the extra provision that Aston Medical School will provide will be welcomed by stakeholders across the sector. Aston Medical School wants to help to address the demand over supply deficit by providing an opportunity to train 100 new doctors each year for the local and global communities whilst also adopting a new approach to the funding of medical education, ensuring a lower financial impact on the public purse and opening up the market by ensuring it leads to a lower cost of medical education in the UK for the taxpayers.

There is a need for a second medical school in Birmingham to tackle poor health outcomes such as diabetes, infant mortality, childhood obesity, early onset cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses where Birmingham is below the national average.  In this first city outside the Capital, there is only one Medical School. By comparison, there are six medical schools in London.

Aston Medical School will be located in the heart of Birmingham City Centre and will be complementary to current provisions provided by the pre-existing medical school in Edgbaston. There are sufficient training places available for both Medical Schools in local hospitals and GP practices, demonstrating the opportunity for new provisions.

The underlying ethos of the new Medical School is to widen access to medical education.  This includes offering greater opportunities to obtain a prestigious UK Medical degree for international students and supporting local students from disadvantaged communities by working with schools and colleges to develop students’ academic ability and extra-curricular portfolio to increase their aspirations and evidence-base for applying to study a degree in Medicine within the UK.

Aston Medical School’s approach to medical education will be very different to current medical provisions and we hope other universities in other cities will, in due course, look to the Aston model as an example of best practice that they would also like to follow.

Traditionally, UK Medical Schools receive Band A funding from HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Council for England) which acknowledges the significantly higher costs of a medical education compared to a large majority of other Higher Education programmes.  As things currently stand there is no more Band A funding available for universities to apply to so Aston University is unable to adopt a traditional model of medical education in the UK. 

However, Aston University is committed to widening participation in the medical field across the sectors most underrepresented in traditional UK Medical Schools.  In line with this, Aston Medical School has adopted a funding model that will allow us to provide a medical education to students that may otherwise struggle to access this opportunity.

Aston Medical School, its funding approach to medical education and its widening participation aims have received a welcome and positive response both from the education and medical sectors.  Some of our key supporters include:

  • The Aston University Council and Aston University Senate;
  • The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust;
  • Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust;
  • Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust;
  • The Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group;
  • Heath Education England;
  • HEFCE;
  • Birmingham City Council;
  • The Rt Hon David Willetts MP (Minister for Universities and Science May 2010-July 2014);
  • Sir Doug Ellis OBE (Entrepreneur, former chairman of Aston Villa Football Club);

  • Tim Watts (High Sheriff of the West Midlands and Lifetime President of Pertemps Network Group).

We always welcome input, advice and comments on our ground-breaking concept for medical education and would encourage anybody with the skills, knowledge or expertise to help us to achieve our ambitions. To get in touch with us, please visit our Contacts page