Students wanting to pursue medicine after completing a first degree get in touch with us on a daily basis. Some choose to pursue a standard six-year degree but may others take the decision to pursue a four-year graduate-entry degree. This however begs the question what is graduate-entry medicine? This answer is not as simple as it may at first appear. Also, student-recruitment agencies are promoting so called graduate-entry programmes that, on inspection, are anything but what that are promised to be.
Simply put, graduate-entry medicine is a four-year pathway to qualifying as a doctor for those that already hold a degree. Some universities will accept any degree (in addition to having a suitable GAMSAT or MCAT result). Others require a science-based degree containing certain subjects.
If a four-year degree is not listed on a university’s WDOMS listing then it doesn’t have a graduate-entry medicine programme.
There are however, important features that graduate-entry programmes need to have. Firstly, they have to be accredited separately to the standard six-year straight from high-school programme. Secondly, the four-year route is a separately designed programme that acknowledges graduates need additional training in medical science theory. This is essential to ensure newly qualifying doctors possess the knowledge and skills to fulfil their career potential. This specifically designed curriculum is also important to ensure patient safety. Both of these factors are required for a programme to be considered a true graduate-entry degree.
The sure-fire way to determine if a programme is an accredited graduate-entry degree is to check the listing in the World Directory of Medical Schools. In this directory you can search each medical school in the world and the programmes they offer. By clicking on “Programme Details” you can see if a four-year programme is approved at the university you have searched for. You can do this for both of our partner graduate-entry programmes:
If you are unable to find a four-year graduate entry programme listed on the entry for a university then one doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, fee-charging agencies are attempting to mislead many aspiring students claiming that a graduate-entry programme is available when it simply isn’t. The truth is large sums of money are being paid by you for the privilege of entering a six-year degree at a higher year. This is not graduate-entry medicine and taking this path poses a number of significant risks.
This route results in material critical to your future registration being missed. Licensing exams such as the USLME and the upcoming MLA include content from the early parts of medical education. With this content being skipped you will be at serious risk of significantly underperforming on these essential licensing exams.
More importantly, patients depend on the depth of your knowledge to ensure your practice is safe and effective. Skipping elements of core theory by entering a higher year of a six-year programme will ensure gaps remain in your knowledge posing a direct risk to patient welfare.
If you are focused on the four-year pathway to a career in medicine then this route is there. The search to seek out these programmes should however be done with great care. Making a rushed or uniformed decision can result in significant career disadvantages. These can be avoided by making the right choices when starting to apply.
For more information refer to our dedicated GEM page.
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