Durham University M Pharm

By | 24th May 2017

Durham University logo

Durham University M Pharm

Durham University School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health was founded in 2001 as a partner with the Newcastle University Medical School to educate medical students in the first phase of their medical education (Years 1 and 2).

The School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health is located on the Queen’s Campus of the University of Durham, with students being members of one of the two colleges on this campus – John Snow and George Stephenson College.

In July 2016 it was announced that the school would be fully transferred to Newcastle University to “ensure a coherent and sustainable regional medical education provision for the future”. The Queen’s Campus will remain in the ownership of Durham University.


The yearly intake quota for medical students at Durham is 102, 95 home student places and 7 Overseas places.

The current conditional offer given to a student taking A-Level examinations is AAA, to include Biology and/or Chemistry at A-Level, and whichever may be missing at AS-Level. Since October 2007 entrants must take the UKCAT prior to applying, an exam aimed at facilitating choosing between similarly high-achieving applicants, akin to the BMAT.

As with all UK medical students, successful applicants must have proof of immunity or non-infectivity against Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Polio, Rubella, Tetanus, Varicella and Tuberculosis. Without complete immunisation, offers may be withdrawn.

Case-led curriculum

At Durham, students have the traditional medical sciences taught alongside their clinical relevance. For example, just before learning the physiology of the lungs, a case was presented about a girl admitted to an Accident and Emergency department with shortness of breath and other symptoms of asthma. Once the topic has been taught, a “case round-up session” is held, where formative questions are asked, some with more clinical relevance.

The curriculum also means that while, for example, learning the physiology of the lungs, their anatomy and embryological development are also taught by other departments (anatomy and embryology respectively).

The curriculum is broadly taught in the following strands, with some departments spanning many, for example, anatomy and embryology:

  • Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Renal Medicine (CVRR)
  • Medicine in the Community (MiC)
  • Personal and Professional Development (PPD)
  • Life Cycle (LC)
  • Foundation Case (CF)
  • Clinical Sciences and Investigative Medicine (CSIM)
  • Thoughts, Senses and Movements (TSM) (Formerly known as Neurological and Skeletomotor Systems)
  • Nutrition, Metabolism and Endocrinology (NME)
  • Student Selected Component (SSC)

The Foundation Case is only taught in the first three weeks of the course in the first year, and its aim is to integrate the fundamental parts of preclinical medicine. During this time, a sufferer of the disease studied, cystic fibrosis (hence the abbreviation CF), pays a visit to the medical school and students pose questions of the disease’s impact on the individual and the family.

This integrated curriculum also has implications for the students, in that they have very early patient contact, some within weeks, in the form of the Family Project, where students follow a pregnant woman through her pregnancy and into the first few months of life of the newborn in groups of two or three, and also in the form of hospital visits.