The College admits 6 preclinical Medical students each year (regulated by Government quota). Full details on admission procedures and course structures in the University can be found in the Cambridge Admissions Prospectus. The minimal conditional offer for Medicine at Corpus is A*A* A grades at A level or equivalent, of which one must be Chemistry. Although application on the basis of two science subjects (which may include Maths) and one or more Arts subjects at A level is technically possible, the vast majority of successful applicants are taking three or more sciences.
All applicants for Medicine are required to sit the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT), after making their application and before interview. The test is used to assess scientific aptitude and focuses on scientific abilities relevant to the study of Medicine at Cambridge. Applicants are responsible for ensuring they enter for the BMAT by 30th September. You must include your BMAT entry number on the Supplementary Application Questionnaire and for overseas students on their Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA). Any queries about the BMAT and centre arrangements should be made to the BMAT helpdesk (telephone: 01223 553366).
The preclinical course lasts three years. After two years, a student should have reached the qualifying standard for going on to Clinical School (the 2nd M.B. level), having covered a range of subjects that include Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Medical Genetics, Neurobiology, Pathology, Pharmacology, Psychology, Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, Sociology and Statistics. This leaves the student free in the third year to pursue one of the following options, at their choosing:
- a third year course from the Natural Sciences Tripos, such as Biochemistry or Pathology – these courses typically include a lab-based research project, which forms part of the final assessment. This is an exceptional opportunity to carry out a piece of original research, and students are often co-authors of published research papers as a result.
- Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS), whereby students major in one subject and minor in a second, both from the Natural Sciences Tripos; BBS students also carry out a library based research dissertation in their final year.
- certain 1-year courses from a different Tripos, such as Philosophy, or Social and Political Sciences,
Corpus is centrally situated within three minutes walk of the Downing Site, where the majority of lectures and practicals are held. During the first two years, each student has three to four supervisions per week (usually in groups of two or three undergraduates); this teaching is often carried out by a Fellow of the College. Corpus has several Fellows working in Medical and Biological disciplines, and so is well equipped for teaching in the necessary subjects:
|Prof. Chris Howe
Director of Studies for Preclinical students/Professorial Fellow/University Professor of Plant and Microbial Biochemistry; a biochemist whose research interests include the biochemistry of protists, such as the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, and who supervises the 1st year Molecules in Medical Science course
|Dr. Ewan St.John Smith
Fellow in Pharmacology/ University Lecturer; research interests include pain, respiratory control and naked mole-rats, supervises the 2nd year Mechanisms of Drug Action course
|Dr. Hugh Robinson
Fellow in Neuroscience/ University Senior Lecturer; research interests include electrophysiology of cortical neurons, and glutamate receptor ion channels, deals with the 1st year Homeostasis and 2nd year Neurobiology and Human Behaviour courses.
|Dr. Philip Bearcroft
Director of Studies for Clinical students/Fellow in Clinical Medicine/ Associate University Lecturer/Consultant Radiologist; research interests imaging techniques in musculoskeletal complaints and their effectiveness, supervises the 1st year Functional Anatomy of the Body (FAB)
|Dr. Alexis Joannides
Fellow in Clinical Neuroscience / Clinical Lecturer in Neurosurgery; research interests include clinical heterogeneity of acquired brain injury and molecular pathogenesis of diffuse axonal injury; supervises 1st year development and 2nd year neuroanatomy
Dr. Damgaard is a Fellow in Molecular Biology based at the MRC. He has a degree in molecular biomedicine with a strong background in biochemistry, molecular cell biology and pathophysiology. His main research interest is in understanding how ubiquitylation regulates cellular signaling cascades.
Dr. Vickie Braithwaite: Research Fellow in Bone Health and Nutrition/MRC Career Development Fellow; her research interests include bone mineral and iron storage and metabolism with a particular interest in FGF23 biology during pregnancy and childhood. Vickie’s research is based in Africa in countries including The Gambia, Malawi and Kenya. Vickie is involved in teaching as part of College outreach programmes.
Corpus students staying in Cambridge for their three-year Clinical Course can remain members of the College and are based at our Leckhampton site; accommodation is guaranteed for the three-year Clinical Course. Leckhampton is situated just a 15-minute walk from the town centre and houses postgraduate Corpus students from all disciplines; sports facilities, frequent talks, meals and parties enable both academic and social exchange.
For those doing their clinical studies in Cambridge there is the possibility of joining the MB/PhD programme, combining the clinical training with a research degree.
Corpus Medics form a lively group, who are usually to be found at the forefront of not only the academic, but also the sporting and social life of the College (for example in the JCR, Boat Club or the May Ball Committee). The Lewis Society of Medicine is an important feature of the College for medics. It organises a range of social and academic events such academic lectures, and the Annual Dinner. It runs a very successful placement scheme to allow undergraduates to get clinical experience in a range of settings during the summer vacation, and its alumni network is a valuable source of career guidance and support.
Joe O’Sullivan, pre-clinical graduate 2015
When I was trying to pick a college, the only thing I decided I really wanted was being central. I went for Corpus instead of some of the other central colleges because of the 24-hour library, which I thought was extremely cool. Being such a small college means that everybody really does know everybody, and you get to make friends in other years as well as your own. Also the location isn’t just central like I originally thought; it’s completely perfect, especially if you’re doing medicine. You can get up at 9 for some 9 am lectures if you really run.
Medicine is tough, there’s no denying that. There’s a lot of contact time, a lot of learning, and a lot to understand. However, it’s always interesting stuff, and when you talk to the older students about the clinical years, you see that all the facts you learn do come in handy some day. There’s some great teaching at Corpus for supervisions, as we have a mixture of older clinical students who really know the tricks of the trade, and Fellows who are experts in their subject. There’s also plenty of medic time away from the books, and The Lewis Society of Medicine (the College MedSoc) organises plenty of fun social events, as well as interesting talks.
In the third year, you get to focus your studies and become a student of one of the many Departments of the School of Biological Sciences. It’s great to have some choice and to really be able to follow your own interests. Even more so than in the first two years, in third year you are really taught how to search through, understand, question and critique the scientific literature, for both theoretical and practical purposes. I like to think that leaving the undergraduate three years of the course, I have truly been taught how to think critically, and am very well prepared to enter hospitals next year.
Jonathon Cushenan, pre-clinical graduate 2016
As someone who enjoyed studying science at A-level, I have found studying medicine at Corpus to be a difficult, but thoroughly enjoyable challenge. It is the quality of education, as well as the passion and interest I have in what I am learning, which has made the course enjoyable so far. What I enjoy most about studying medicine is the thought of what the future will hold for me. In those moments when I am finding aspects of the course difficult, I remember that by continuing to work hard I will be enabled to, one day, deliver a baby and place him or her in its mother’s arms. The course itself is varied with anatomy, biochemistry and physiology covered in the first year, giving a taste of three of the basic foundations for future medical practice. Personally, I find that the sense of achievement after pushing yourself hard enough to overcome the academic challenge is one of the best things about the course.
Aside from the course, I find myself thanking fate that I chose Corpus Christi College. Choosing a college is a personal decision and Corpus was definitely the right choice for me. Corpus is the second smallest college, which is extremely advantageous as it fosters such a brilliant sense of community within all three year groups. Corpus is also very central which was an important factor for me – not having to walk too far for lectures! The fact that there are only 6 medicine students at Corpus is something I really appreciate, we have formed close friendships and there is a sense of camaraderie as opposed to hostile competition: we share notes, explain difficult concepts to each other and support each other when we are struggling. I am extremely pleased with my choice of Corpus and cannot wait to spend another 5 years studying here.
Maddie Leadon, pre-clinical graduate 2015
My decision to choose Corpus was originally based on its central location, impressive appearance, and the famed Corpus Clock! However after spending two years here, I pride myself on this choice as there are so many more positives. It is small but very intimate, meaning you are friends with students in all years and know the majority of people; this creates an almost unique college atmosphere as it really does feel like your home, as opposed to still feeling like a tourist just walking through.
There are normally 5 or 6 medics in each year at Corpus and I feel this is the perfect. Unlike other larger colleges, whereby the phenomenon of ‘hidden medics’ exists along with a more competitive atmosphere, Corpus is an incredibly friendly, sociable and pleasant environment. The amount of contact time and number of hours you spend together not only forges strong friendships, but can be a source of great support (with a sense of ‘we’re all in this together!’)
Describing medicine as tough is probably an understatement. The amount of supervisions, contact time, and the sheer number of facts to learn, makes it very hard work. However, if you enjoy a challenge and want to do something that is not only interesting, but incredibly motivating, knowing what you learn in lectures could be used to save someone’s life, it is ideal.
Daniel Fernando, 3rd year medical student
The course is challenging and designed to push us beyond our limits and help us grow as academics and future clinicians. Corpus provides the perfect environment in which to study medicine. The college is perfectly located within 5-10 minutes of all the places we will need to visit for lectures and practicals during our pre-clinical years. The fact that there are only 6 undergraduates per year means that we can benefit from the wealth of experience of students in the years above us. The Lewis Society of Medicine has been extremely supportive of its members, through dinners, lectures, and its alumni-networking scheme, which organises placements for undergraduates and provides opportunities to develop as medics beyond the course.
One of the highlights of my experience at Corpus is the chance to work with fellows, all experts in their fields, and senior clinical students with their experience of the course, week in week out in supervisions. Such focused group sessions offer a great opportunity to pursue our own specific academic interests within the framework of the course.
Hong Kai Lim, 3rd year medical student
Medicine is a challenging course involving a lot of hard work and contact time. However, I have found it to be an enjoyable experience due to the quality of teaching and my inherent interest in the subject. There is always close support available from classmates, college friends and supervisors. Aside from the work, I still manage to take part in many of the extracurricular activities that Cambridge has to offer. The Corpus MedSoc (The Lewis Society) organises many social events and lectures throughout the year where you get to interact with medics from other years and sometimes old members.
Applying to Cambridge as an international student, I wasn’t very familiar with the intimacies of the different colleges. When it came to choosing a college, I knew that I wanted to be somewhere beautiful and central with a smaller student community; I was very happy to find that Corpus fulfilled these criteria! The central location means that I don’t have to travel too far for most things, whether it’s heading to a lecture or into town. At Corpus, you get to know everybody fairly quickly! The friendly atmosphere of a smaller college really helped me to make friends and settle into a new country, away from home. I feel that I am extremely fortunate to be at Corpus and I sincerely look forward to spending the remaining years of my medical education here.
Munaib Chowdhury, 2nd year medical student
I first came to Corpus because of an Access event I attended here when I was in Year 9, my school was invited to Corpus to get a feel for Cambridge and university life. I had my heart finally set on Corpus once I attended an open day in Year 12 and got a detailed look at what medicine here was actually going to be like. The central location and the intimacy of the College community is great for meeting people and getting to grips with a daunting environment. The buildings are beautiful and the people are fantastically friendly.
Studying Medicine in Cambridge is very demanding, but it’s also a hugely enjoyable experience, especially if you love science and trying to develop a deeper understanding of why things are the way they are. The course itself is really intense. In the first year we have lectures, practical sessions and supervisions virtually every day, spread across Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry, as well as bonus supervisions for Embryology and Sociology. Medicine is a subject that has a lot of contact time, which can sometimes feel overwhelming, but our supervisors are great, all being very approachable and more than willing to go over a concept several times when you’re struggling.
Thankfully, one of the many benefits of being at Corpus is that since the College is small, you end up being on friendly terms with students in the years above and the older medics are always willing to lend a helping hand. Amongst medics across all colleges there’s a real sense of camaraderie, more so at Corpus. There are only six medics per year at Corpus, and that number works out perfectly. It fosters an environment of helpfulness, rather than unnecessary competition. We share notes and mnemonics. It’s very much a sense of ‘we will get through this together’. You really couldn’t ask for a more supportive environment!
Isobella Allard, 2nd year medical student
When I visited Corpus on the open day, I loved the welcoming atmosphere, beautiful buildings and small size of the college. The central location is perfect; close to lectures, shops and social/extracurricular activities. The college is small enough to really get to know everyone in your year and other years, and quickly feel at home.
A typical week in first year is very busy and demanding, with the timetable packed full of lectures, practicals and supervisions for anatomy, biochemistry and physiology. However, the teaching is excellent quality and very interesting, which makes it enjoyable and allows you to really be immersed in the subject. Thankfully I have still found time away from work to enjoy life in Cambridge!
Since there are only six medics per year at Corpus, we have formed strong friendships to support each other without the competitive environment in larger colleges. The supervisors are always willing to help and explain difficult concepts, and the older medics have plenty of tips to share! The Lewis Society of Medicine, the College’s medical society, organises lots of events throughout the year for medics to socialise and share their wisdom.
Despite finding my first year very challenging, the sense of community amongst the medics and throughout the college means I cannot imagine studying anywhere else, and I am looking forward to the coming years.