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definition - University_of_Birmingham_Medical_School

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University of Birmingham Medical School

University of Birmingham Medical School
College of Medical & Dental Sciences
Established 1825 (1767 - beginning of formal medical teaching[1]
Type Medical school
Dean Prof Lawrence Young (Head of College), Prof Paul Stewart (Dean of Medicine)
Location Birmingham, United Kingdom
Affiliations University of Birmingham
Website [1]

The University of Birmingham Medical School is one of Britain's largest and oldest medical schools with over 400 Medics graduating each year.[2] It is based at the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston, Birmingham, England. Since 2008, and following a departmental restructure, the school became an entity within The College of Medical and Dental Sciences.



The roots of the Birmingham Medical School were in the medical education seminars of John Tomlinson, the first surgeon to the Birmingham Workhouse Infirmary and later to the General Hospital. These classes were the first held in the winter of 1767-68. The first clinical teaching was undertaken by medical and surgical apprentices at the General Hospital, opened in 1779.[1] Birmingham Medical School was formally founded in 1825 by William Sands Cox, who began by teaching medical students in his father's house in Birmingham. A new building was used from 1829 (on the site of what is now Snow Hill Station). Students at this time took the licentiate/membership examinations of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries.

In 1836, Earl Howe and a number of prominent local men submitted a memorandum to King William IV and on June 22, a reply communicated His Majesty’s acquiescence to become a Patron of the School to be styled the Royal School of Medicine and Surgery in Birmingham. There was serious need for a new teaching hospital and in 1839 Sands Cox launched an appeal. Sufficient money was raised within a year and the hospital built in 1840-41 was opened in 1841 by Sands Cox.

Queen Victoria who had granted her patronage to the Clinical Hospital in Birmingham also allowed the new teaching hospital to be styled "The Queen’s Hospital." In 1843, the medical school became Queen's College, and students became eligible to be considered for medical degrees awarded by the University of London.[3]

A rival medical school, Syndenham College opened in Birmingham in 1851. This merged with Queen's College in 1868 to form a new combined institution, and later merged with another institution, Mason Science College. In 1897, the Mason University College Act was passed which made Mason Science College (incorporating Queen's College) into a university college, and this, in turn, became Birmingham University in 1900, and MB ChB degrees were able to be awarded by the new university.

Janet Parker, the last person to die of smallpox in the world in 1978, contracted the disease while working as medical photographer in the anatomy department.

  About the Medical School today

The Medical School is now housed within a building on the University of Birmingham campus in a building constructed in 1938. The Medical School was extended to a design by Scott Wilson and constructed by Architects Design Partnership. The scheme cost £8 million and consisted of a 450 seat lecture theatre and student catering facilities.[4] In October 2008, the medical school opened a new prosectorium to its students which cost in the region of £500,000 to build. The medical school remains extremely competitive with entry requirements set very high. For the 5 year medicine course potential students are expected to have a minimum of 7 A* grades at GCSE as well as straight A predictions for A level examinations. Although these are minimum requirements, the medical school often increases its GCSE expectations. The typical offer was also increased to AAA for 2010 entry. Candidates are also expected to perform well at interview. Dentistry at Birmingham often receives many applications for each place available. With few spaces on the course, it is extremely competitive and candidates are expected to perform excellently at interview.

The Medical School runs a variety of undergraduate medical degree (MBChB) courses. There is both the five year programme along with a four year graduate entry course (GEC). In addition there are a small number of places on a 3 year programme allocated to dental graduates aiming for careers in Oral Medicine or Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. The School also offers bachelor degrees in medical sciences (BMedSc) leading to further study at postgraduate level. Medical students may also intercalate to the final year of the BMedSc course to attain an additional degree. The College of Health Sciences at the University of Zimbabwe was modeled after the Birmingham Medical School. The two hence share and enjoy a special relationship.

University of Birmingham students of dentistry, nursing and physiotherapy have access to the Barnes Library and computer cluster within the medical school building. With the restructure of the university all these schools now come under the umbrella of the College of Medical and Dental Sciences. The school does not use the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) like many other UK medical and dental schools.


  • J. T. J. Morrison (1926). William Sands Cox and the Birmingham Medical School. Birmingham: Cornish Brothers. 
  • A. P. Thomson (1957). A Short History of the Medical School, Birmingham, The Faculty of Medicine. A. P. Thomson (n.d.).  History of the Medical School (as appeared annually in the Faculty Handbook)
  • K. D. Wilkinson (ed.) (1925). The History of the Birmingham Medical School, 1825-1925. Birmingham: Cornish Brothers.  (Special Number of the Birmingham Medical Review, December 1925)
  • R. A. Cohen, "The Birmingham Dental Hospital", Birmingham Medical Review, 1957–58, 20: 331-337; and the lecture notes of the late Dr. B. T. Davis, sometime Assistant Dean, Senior Tutor and Historian of the Medical School
  • Weiss MM, et al. (2004). Rethinking smallpox. Clinical Infectious Disease, 39(11): 1673–1688.

  External links

Coordinates: 52°27′7.3″N 1°56′17.3″W / 52.452028°N 1.938139°W / 52.452028; -1.938139



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