Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, UK

Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry is a medical and dental school.[1] The school was formed in 1995 by the merger of the London Hospital Medical College (the first school to be granted an official charter for medical teaching in 1785) and the Medical College of St Bartholomew’s Hospital (the oldest remaining hospital in the United Kingdom, having been founded in 1123, with medical teaching beginning from that date).

The school exists on two main sites, having a presence at the site of both of the former colleges at and near their respective hospitals, St Bartholomew’s Hospital (in Smithfield, City of London and nearby in Charterhouse Square), and the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets with an additional site at Queen Mary’s main (Mile End) campus. A new building (Blizard Building), named after the founder of The London Hospital Medical College, Sir William Blizard, was completed in 2005 at the Royal London site, and houses research laboratories and is the main site for medical undergraduate teaching.

In the 2008 government Research Assessment Exercise, the school was ranked first for the quality of its medical research in London and fourth overall nationally; the dental school was ranked joint first. As of 2008 the school accepted 277 British medical students per annum and an additional 17 from overseas, making it one of the largest medical schools in the United Kingdom. As of 2017, it is ranked by The Guardian as the 2nd best medical school in the UK. The medical school is part of Queen Mary University of London, a constituent college of the federal University of London, and a member of the United Hospitals.

St Bartholomew’s and the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry was formed in 1995 by a merger of St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College and the London Hospital Medical College with Queen Mary and Westfield College, now known as Queen Mary University of London.

The Medical College at the Royal London Hospital, England’s first official medical school, opened in 1785, pioneering a new kind of medical education, with an emphasis on theoretical and clinical teaching. A purpose-built lecture theatre was constructed at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in 1791 and in 1822 the Governors approved the provision of medical education within the hospital. Later a residential college was established, which moved to premises at Charterhouse Square in the 1930s. At the Royal London, larger premises, still in use by the medical school, were built in Turner Street in 1854. In 1900 both medical colleges became constituent colleges of the University of London in the Faculty of Medicine.

A close association between the two medical colleges was developed following the Royal Commission on Medical Education in 1968, and new links with the then Queen Mary College were established at the same time. In 1989 the pre-clinical teaching at the two medical colleges was merged and sited in the Basic Medical Sciences Building at Queen Mary (where it stayed until 2005, when it was moved to the Blizard Building at the Whitechapel campus). In 1992, St. Bartholomew’s, the Royal London and the London Chest Hospital joined to form the Barts and The London NHS Trust, with a full merger of the medical colleges with Queen Mary taking place three years later.

A unique aspect of the Barts curriculum is the use of problem based learning which was first developed at McMaster University Medical School in the 1960s. Barts uses this method as part of an integrated curriculum as opposed to one that is solely or predominately based on problem based learning. Students work in groups with a tutor on a clinical case or problem, and use problem based learning to supplement the knowledge they acquire during their lectures.

Admission to the Barts and the London for both medicine and dentistry is highly competitive. Over 2,500 applications to study medicine are received by the school each year. Of these, 800 candidates are interviewed and approximately 440 offers are made. For dentistry, over 700 applications are received, of which 250 candidates are interviewed and approximately 150 offers are made.

The school accepts A-Levels, the International Baccalaureate Diploma, Irish Leaving Certificate, Scottish Highers, Cambridge Pre-U and the European Baccalaureate as entry qualifications. Both the medical and dental degrees are open to graduate students, with a minimum of a 2:1 required. Applicants must sit the UK Clinical Aptitude Test which is used alongside the UCAS application to determine selection for interview. The school also accepts medical students from the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and St Andrews aiming to complete a 3-year direct clinical entry programme. Students applying to this scheme do not need to apply by the October 15th deadline and are not required to take the UKCAT.

Barts and The London Students’ Association (BLSA) is the students’ union for the medical and dental school, a largely independent arm of Queen Mary Students’ Union (QMSU)formed when the student unions of St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School and the London Hospital Clubs Union merged with QMSU at the time their parent bodies merged in 1995. The Students’ Association has a very distinct culture from that of QMSU, with its own clubs and societies for most sports and activities, competing in the National Association of Medics’ Sports against other schools and universities. The Barts and The London Students’ Association is led by a sabbatical student president.

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