We use a range of teaching methods as we know that not everyone learns in the same way, and we know from experience that certain subjects are better taught in a particular way. We'll help you to get the most out of your studies through our varied, engaging, and challenging curriculum.

You'll learn via:

  • traditional lectures
  • small group teaching
  • case based teaching
  • interactive quizzes
  • formative assessment


You'll be taught about human anatomy through hands-on full-body dissection sessions using Thiel-embalmed cadavers. These cadavers retain flexible, realistic tissue and full joint mobility – qualities which are lost in traditionally-embalmed cadavers.

This will help you understand human anatomy through true-to-life placement of body systems and tissue. You'll also develop practical skills such as scalpel handling and suturing (using medical implements to stitch tissue together).

Simulation-based learning

You'll use our Clinical Skills Centre with its purpose-built replica ward to learn your clinical skills. Here, you'll interact with real and simulated patients to practice what you'd do in real-life scenarios.

As well as building your practical skills, this immersive experience will help build your knowledge, confidence, people skills, and resilience – all important characteristics for medical professionals.

We also have a Surgical Skills Centre where you'll learn the hands-on skills required for surgery and gain an understanding of surgical procedures.

Ward-based experience

As we're based on-site at Ninewells, an NHS teaching hospital, there are many opportunities to gain experience on a real working ward. We have an open-door policy for all medical students to access the wards in Ninewells Hospital, allowing you access to speak to real patients at any time. 

Many of our lecturers are clinicians at Ninewells, so if you have a specific interest in an area of medicine, it's often possible to arrange your own ward experiences by speaking to a relevant clinician.

Clinical placements

In your clinical years, you'll have longer-term placements where you'll be embedded in a clinical setting for a number of weeks. These placements are designed to give you broader experience in a range of clinical areas and may take place away from Dundee. There are also many placements based in General Practice for short periods in early years and longer blocks later.

Digital resources

We have a huge library of digital resources including animations, graphics, and notes to help supplement your learning. We employ an in-house medical artist to ensure these are of the highest quality and many students also contribute to these resources.


You'll be assessed in a range of ways during this course. Some assessments will take place throughout the course, your portfolio for example, and others will be exams that you'll take at the end of a year.

The assessments will take the form of:

  • essays
  • case discussions
  • self-directed research
  • online exams – usually multiple choice
  • anatomy spot tests
  • OSCE
  • portfolio

Objective Structured Clinical Exams (OSCEs)

These exams will test your clinical capabilities through a series of scenarios where you'll be faced with a problem in our simulated ward and assessed on how you deal with this.

You will either be given instructions to perform a clinical task or respond to an actor pretending to have symptoms. These assessments are a great way to show your knowledge and practical skills as well as demonstrate you can stay calm and make good decisions under pressure.

Professional portfolio

This is a part of the formal assessment in each year of the programme. It gives you the opportunity to reflect on your progress and ensure the development of core skills alongside aspects of professional practice.

Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA)

From 2024 onwards all doctors practicing in the UK will need to pass the MLA which is formed of two parts: an applied knowledge test and a professional skills assessment. You'll undertake this assessment so that by the time you graduate, you are able to be licensed to practice as a doctor.


Levels 1-3

Foundations of Medicine block

Level 1 will start with an introductory block where you'll cover the scientific principles that underpin the function of the human body.

You'll learn the basic principles of the normal structure and function of body systems, and be introduced to broad categories of disease (for example, infection and cancer).

Systems-based teaching

You'll then move on to systems-based teaching, which looks at the body's organ systems. Weeks within these blocks are usually themed according to the specific but common things patients may present with.

Classroom-based teaching is complemented by the development of your vocational skills through clinical skills practice, meeting real patients and ward experience. This is something you'll gain from the start of Level 1.

In Dundee we use a spiral curriculum. This essentially means that from day one, we lay the building blocks needed for all aspects of a medical career and keep revisiting and adding to these as you progress through the course.

Clinical skills

Throughout your studies you'll build on your clinical skills in our Clinical Skills Centre (CSC) – a purpose built simulation-based education facility that is made up of fully-equipped replica wards. This means that by the time you graduate, you'll be able to complete important tasks, like taking a case history or a blood sample with confidence, accuracy, and efficiency. 

Within the CSC, procedure rooms are used to deliver training on a variety of areas of medical practice. These range from simple, but important, skills such as appropriate hand hygiene to more complicated skills and procedures used in medical specialties such as ophthalmology.

This includes infection control, assessing and documenting vital signs, communicating with patients and other healthcare professionals.

The Centre also has a multipurpose simulation suite which allows you to participate in simulated exercises, including dealing with trauma victims, cardiac arrest scenarios, and managing a deteriorating patient. We use a mix of mannequins, actors, and real patients throughout our simulation training.

Student selected components (SSCs)

You'll take at least one SSC during each year of your studies.

SSCs are self-directed opportunities for you to undertake relevant work experience, and are designed to give you the opportunity to explore areas of interest in more depth, and build your wider skillset. Examples of recent SSCs include

  • in-depth study of clinical specialities (pathology, microbiology, biochemistry...)
  • creating learning aids including podcasts, wikis, and apps
  • arts-based modules covering medicine in literature or the history of medicine
  • quality improvement

Levels 4-5

Clinical teaching

Levels 4-5, focuses on developing your practical skills in preparation for your role as a junior doctor.

You'll start with a transition block that will help you learn how to get the most out of your ward-based learning. Throughout these years, you'll rotate around a variety of hospitals and primary care centres in a series of clinical attachments where you'll explore a wide range of clinical problems, looking at the patient as a whole rather than focusing on specific disease entities. This strategy will ensure patients' concerns and problems are central to your practice.

Clinical attachments

There are a variety of clinical attachments throughout Levels 4 and 5. These cover:

  • medicine - general medicine and medical specialities (neurology, oncology, and infectious diseases)
  • surgery - general surgery and surgical specialities (ENT, ophthalmology, and urology)
  • integrated specialities - old-age medicine, dermatology, orthopaedics, rheumatology, emergency medicine, and anaesthetics
  • obstetrics, gynaecology, and child health
  • general practice and psychiatry


During Level 5, you will have the opportunity to undertake an eight-week elective, which can be overseas - this is a period of clinical practice that you'll organise and will allow you to focus on your own objectives.

Preparing for practice

During Level 5, you'll complete a series of placements to prepare you for practice as a foundation doctor. These will take the format of Student Selected Components and Pre-registration (Foundation) Apprenticeship blocks. Our apprenticeship model allows our graduates to be fully prepared for work after graduation.

Contact our enquiry team

If you have any questions about the admissions process, studying, or living in Dundee, please contact us

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