Our curriculum

Our curriculum is patient-centred; it will help you to develop the core competencies in medicine and nursing, gain key teamwork skills and understand the workings of the internationally admired NHS (National Health Service).

Aston Medical School has successfully completed the rigorous General Medical Council (GMC) approval process and is able to award a primary medical qualification. Medical students graduating from 2023 will be awarded Aston University degrees and be added to the medical register

The Nursing Studies (Registered Nurse, Adult Nursing) BSc (Hons) programme is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)  and has been approved for undergraduate recruitment starting from 2023. 

Our partners

We are partnered with a number of carefully selected NHS trusts and primary care providers who serve an exceptionally diverse range of communities and settings such as inner city areas, towns and rural locations. This means you will encounter a wide range of patients and experiences, giving you an excellent foundation for your future medical or nursing career. Learning how to recognise and manage a broad spectrum of conditions as well as understanding the importance of the multi-disciplinary healthcare team will give you a wider perspective of clinical practice.

Your placements

Medicine MBChB 
Clinical Placements are an important part of your course. Much of your learning in years 3, 4 and 5 will take place in real life clinical environments. Working with medical staff will allow you to get first-hand experience and you will apply the knowledge that you have already gained during Phase 1. You will be based in our partner organisations - hospitals, clinics and a range of medical facilities with a particular emphasis on primary care. 

Nursing Studies (Registered Nurse Adult Nursing) BSc
You'll spend 50 per cent of your time on placement in the community, in hospitals, and in our skills and simulation areas, developing valuable hands-on skills. You will work with patients, carers, and other healthcare students and healthcare professionals. Placement opportunities include district nursing, GP practice nursing, integrated community teams, medical and surgical wards, oncology, Intensive Care Units, Accident and Emergency Units, coronary care, and operating theatres.

'Simulated patient' opportunities

What is a ‘Simulated Patient’?

‘Simulated Patients’ are people who assist with the development, training and assessment of our medical students.   They will play the role of “real” patients, giving our students the opportunity to demonstrate their clinical skills as part of the assessments that are required throughout our MBChB programme. 

What would I be expected to do?

‘Simulated patients’ play a key role in the assessment of our students’ clinical skills.  Here you will be given a “brief” and asked to play the part of a patient in a role-play scenario.  A student will then carry out a consultation with you, either with the aim of making a diagnosis or practising a particular aspect of their communication skills e.g. empathy or breaking bad news.  You will also have the opportunity to give feedback to our students, helping them to become skilled, empathetic doctors.  

Why become a ‘Simulated Patient’?

‘Simulated Patients’ will help to train the next generation of doctors for the NHS, many of whom will work in the local area. We hope you will enjoy the opportunity to meet with other ‘Simulated Patients’ and our medical students. We expect that this will be a sociable and rewarding experience. It may also help to enhance your CV if you are applying for other roles in the future.  

‘Simulated Patients’ will be employed on a casual worker basis (which is a “zero hours contract”) and paid at a rate of £22 per hour NB. You will not be able to undertake this work on a self-employed basis. 

Who can become a ‘Simulated Patient’?

We are keen that our ‘Simulated Patients reflect the rich diversity of our local community.  There is a minimum age of 18 years, but otherwise, we would like to hear from all interested parties irrespective of ethnicity, level of education, age or previous employment.  Previous acting experience is not mandatory though this may be an advantage.  Either way, ‘simulated patients should be able to demonstrate the following:

  • An interest in medical education
  • Maintaining confidentiality
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Punctuality and professionalism
  • Giving appropriate feedback (after receiving training in this area)
  • Good spoken English

You should also be able to:

  • Learn and retain role-play information from a short briefing script
  • Respond spontaneously to questions from students in a role-play scenario
  • Convey the feelings of the ‘simulated patient’ (e.g. upset, frustrated, embarrassed etc.)

What level of commitment will I need?

You will be employed as a casual worker and invited to participate on an “ad hoc” basis. Assessment will be carried out over a series of dates from early March to late July.  Whilst some of our assessments take place at our campus in Aston, many of them will be hosted at our partner hospital sites across the West Midlands conurbation (Birmingham, Dudley and Wolverhampton): as such, you would be required to travel to the relevant location.  Assessments will normally last for a whole day, and you would therefore need to work between the hours of approximately 8:30 am until 5 pm (exact times to be confirmed)

Will I be trained?

Yes, you will be invited to an initial induction session that will introduce you to Aston Medical School and give you further information about the ‘Simulated patient’ role.  We will also give you the opportunity to practise several role-play scenarios and receive feedback on these before working with the students.  Further “on-the-job” training will also be offered.  

How to become a ‘Simulated Patient’

If you are interested in helping us with our work then please email medicalschool@aston.ac.uk. A member of the Aston Medical School team will then be in touch with the full job description and an application form.  If you wish to progress with your application then it will be necessary to attend an informal online interview so that we can get to know you better. 

Expert patient volunteering

What are Expert Patients?

Expert patients are those who have been affected by a significant medical condition and are willing to share their experience of this with our students.  We would like to hear from anyone who feels able to describe and discuss a significant health problem that has impacted on their quality of life.  However, we would be particularly interested to involve people who have experienced any of the following conditions:

  • Ischaemic Heart Disease i.e. angina or a heart attack
  • Heart Failure
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease
  • Asthma
  • Inflammatory Bowel disease (Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis)
  • Renal Colic (Kidney Stones)
  • A deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
  • Peripheral vascular disease (a blockage in the blood supply to the leg)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Severe or recurrent migraine
  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s Disease

Why are they needed?

It is important for our students to gain insight into the experience of living with some of the medical conditions that they have studied from a scientific perspective.  We hope that this will enable them to offer improved care to patients in the future.

What is involved?

Participants will be invited to describe their experience of illness through an interview with a member of our medical team: this will be observed by our students.  The possible topics to be covered will be discussed with you beforehand to ensure that you are comfortable with them.  We would not expect this to include any sensitive or personal matters.  The interview will last for between 30-45 minutes and will include time for the students to ask any questions that they may have.   

Who can I take part?

Expert patients should be at least 18 years old but there is no upper age limit.  No previous experience of medical education is required but you will need to be comfortable with discussing your own health.

Why should I take part?

We hope that being an Expert Patient will prove to be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  You will also have the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped to train the future generation of doctors and have raised awareness about your own medical condition, with the aim of improving care for others going forward. 


If you are interested in participating in this programme then please email: ams_mbchb@aston.ac.ukA member of our team may then contact you to discuss things further.

Information for General Practitioners

We are partnered and have Service Level Agreements in place with over 100 GP surgeries to teach undergraduate medical students. We are always keen to hear from enthusiastic GP colleagues to help train the next generation of doctors!

Thank you very much for reviewing this information. If you are keen to sign up, please email: ams_mbchb_phase1@aston.ac.uk

When did Aston Medical School Start?

Aston Medical School (AMS) welcomed its first students in September 2018. Since 2019 we have been awarded government funding for 100 UK students and we have a target of 20-30 international students per year”. 

When do students have clinical placements in Primary care?

AMS has a strong focus on Primary Care.

Year 1: Two weeks of an 'observational' placement, observing the breadth of the multidisciplinary team. The students gain an appreciation of the delivery of NHS services, develop their consultation skills, appreciate the holistic assessment and management of patients, and develop their professional identity

Year 2: Nine days developing their consultation skills, examination skills, and diagnostic reasoning skills. Students are placed in groups of approximately 8 at the same site, with direct teaching from their GP Educator

Year 3: 10-week placement

Year 5: Six-week placement

Why should I be motivated to teach medical students?

We have a wonderful opportunity to promote Primary Care and re-balance the workforce crisis we face, and AMS is directly addressing this. The Wass report (By choice - not by chance) recommends that students recognise the breadth and complexity of general practice care, have an increase in undergraduate general practice placements, and have positive and enthusiastic General Practitioner role models. There is a direct relationship between the percentage of clinical curriculum devoted to authentic general practice experience and subsequent career choice. Whether students choose a postgraduate training route in General Practice or not, you will be directly contributing to training well-rounded doctors who value Primary Care. AMS will also support you with CPD.

What does the Year 1 placement entail?

The placement is an observational placement, and there are no tutorials to deliver. Students spend time with the breadth of the Primary Care team, including both healthcare and administrative colleagues. The aims of the placement include gaining an appreciation of the delivery of NHS services, developing their consultation skills, appreciating the holistic assessment and management of patients, and developing their professional identity. Students are allocated to placement in at least pairs (and in larger numbers depending on the size of the surgery). The placement week is Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm (except Wednesday afternoons when the students are back at the University for their sports/ societies afternoon).

The GP Educator is overall responsible for the coordination of the placement, and providing individualised structured placement at the end of the week. Core activities of the placement week include:

  • Induction (a brief induction on Monday morning to include a meet and greet, general introduction to the practice, a tour, health and safety, etc.)
  • Reception (observing patients and receptionist interactions, both from behind and in front of the reception desk; and spending time talking to patients in the waiting room)
  • GP Clinic
  • Nurse Clinic
  • Longitudinal Patient (a patient is specifically selected by the GP educator for the medical students to consult with: the students gain an appreciation of the bio-psycho-social impacts of illness, and speak with the same patient in the second placement week in June, and then present the case in a poster presentation at the Medical School)
  • Student-led Feedback (students are required to seek feedback from both patients and healthcare staff on their performance)

  • Feedback (individualised feedback from the GP Educator for approximately 20 minutes at the end of each placement week)

In addition to the core activities, the GP Educator also coordinates the timetabling of supplementary activities, depending on the services delivered at the GP surgery:

  • Home visits
  • Chronic disease clinics
  • Baby clinics
  • Practice meetings
  • Significant event analysis meetings
  • Multidisciplinary team meetings
  • Healthcare Assistant or Physician Associate clinics
  • Community nursing experience
  • Ancillary services such as audiology, physiotherapy, podiatry, etc.

The timetable for the second week in June can be replicated, and to include additional supplementary experiences wherever possible. The students are able to integrate additional knowledge and skills they have accrued over the Year-1 teaching at the medical school into their learning, during the second placement week.

I have no previous teaching experience – can i still get involved?

Absolutely, Aston Medical School will support you with training to establish your site as an undergraduate teaching practice.

Are there any additional commitments required of the GP Educator?

  • A mandatory annual half-day training at the Medical School (which is funded)
  • If no previous experience in education, then training to up-skill
  • A commitment to engage in peer review of teaching every 3 years
  • Confirmation that the GP Educator has undertaken all mandatory training for their clinical role including training in Equality and Diversity, that there is sufficient time in their job plan to deliver the requirements of the placement, and that there are no GMC conditions in place, health matters, or pending investigations that restrict the role of the GP Educator

What are the requirements for the site to be eligible for Year 1 placements?

  • The GP surgery is within a commuting time of approximately 1 hour from the Medical School via public transport (if your surgery is further than this, you may be eligible for placements in subsequent years)
  • The most recent CQC overall rating is either Good or Outstanding
  • There is suitable capacity for facilities and staffing, including consultation rooms, IT access, clinical and administrative staff, and mechanisms for induction and reporting concerns
  • If the site is involved in teaching other healthcare professionals (either medical/nursing/ PA/pharmacy/HCA etc. at either undergraduate/postgraduate level), then there are suitable mechanisms to delineate responsibilities, make staff aware of the roles of each cohort, and there is sufficient capacity and no overall conflict of interest

I want to sign up! What happens next?

  • Over the next few months, Aston Medical School will offer a Service Level Agreement with your GP Surgery
  • All GP Surgeries who have an SLA in place will be asked to state their capacity for teaching Year 1 students 
  • A Quality Assurance visit will be arranged over the summer
  • If the GP Surgery is approved, training dates will be offered in September 
  • The first placement week is in November

Get in touch

Email: ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk
Telephone: For general enquiries +44 (0)121 204 3284 or for undergraduate admissions and recruitment +44 (0)121 204 3030

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