Medical Sciences


Those studying for medical degrees at Cambridge take the Medical & Veterinary Sciences Tripos during their pre-clinical years. This provides students with a much stronger scientific training than is found in most other medical courses. The subjects studied in the first two years cover the full range of biomedical science; there is also a course called ‘Preparing for Patients’ which provides contact with patients from an early stage. In the third year it is possible to specialise in one of the biological subjects offered in Part II of the Natural Sciences Tripos, or to continue with a more general biomedical course. At the completion of their third year medical students graduate with a BA degree and begin their clinical training at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

There is a fixed number of medical places for Cambridge as a whole. These places are distributed across Colleges by a quota system which limits the number of offers that a college is permitted to make. In recent years Trinity’s quota of places has been 11 and it is likely that this will also be the figure for entry in October 2017. Over the last three years, the combined quota has been split equally between men and women, from a range of schools.

Trinity has a long and distinguished history of contributions to medical research and three recent Masters of the College have been Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine. At present the teaching of Medical Sciences at Trinity is looked after by six Fellows of the College: Catherine Aiken (Obstetrics and Gynaecology), Rebecca Fitzgerald (Physiology and Tumour Biology), Colin Hughes (Microbiology and Pathology), Roger Keynes (Neurosciences), Rick Livesey (Pharmacology) and Jason Chin (Biochemistry).

Applicants for places at Trinity usually have two interviews, each with two members of the Medical Sciences teaching staff. The special nature of the Cambridge medical course means that the interview is likely to focus strongly on scientific matters and you should be prepared to discuss topics from any of your A-level science subjects. The standard minimum conditional offer is A*A*A at A-level, including Chemistry and two other science subjects, although successful applicants typically achieve three A* grades; comparable conditions are set for those taking the IB and other school-leaving examinations.

The College does not normally invite for interview applicants who do not perform well in the BMAT, especially Section 2. Successful applicants in recent years have usually had AA or BA in Sections 1 and 2 of the BMAT.

Over recent years Trinity College has accepted 11-13 medical students per year.  In the current 3 undergraduate years they are 65% male/35% female, with three quarters of the UK students coming from Maintained schools and 10% from Independent schools, the other c.15% from Europe and Overseas. Our students have achieved substantial success in the preclinical tripos, specialising in a wide range of 3rd year subjects, and gone on to a variety of interesting and successful careers in clinical research and practice.

For more information, visit the Biological Sciences website and the Medical School website:

Teaching Staff

Trinity has five teaching Fellows in Medical Sciences, who variously supervise and direct studies of Trinity students during their preclinical and clinical courses. We support a broadening of experience through summer research experience and travel related to medical studies.

Catherine Aiken is a Clinical Lecturer in the University Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She is an active clinician who specialises in high-risk fetal and maternal medicine. Her research focuses on understanding the impact of a suboptimal intrauterine environment on long-term health.

Rebecca Fitzgerald is Professor of Cancer Prevention at the MRC Cancer Unit. Her laboratory investigates the cell and molecular biology of the earliest steps of cancer development with particular emphasis on how this knowledge can be applied to novel methods for early detection of cancer of the oesophagus and stomach

Colin Hughes is Professor of Microbiology in the University’s Department of Pathology, where he studies the molecular basis of multidrug resistance, the activation and export of protein toxins, and the assembly of flagella by pathogenic bacteria.

Roger Keynes is Professor of Neuroscience in the University’s Department of Physiology, Development and Neurocience. His lab investigates the molecular regulation of nerve growth, a major aim of which is to identify new ways to promote nerve and brain repair after injury and disease.

Rick Livesey is a Senior Group Leader at the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, where he directs the Alzheimer’s Research UK Stem Cell Research Centre, and is also Reader in Molecular Neuroscience in the Department of Biochemistry. His lab researches the cell and molecular biology of human brain development and disease, with a particular interest in dementia.

Admissions Assessment

All Standard Course (A100) applicants (including applicants to mature Colleges) are required to take the Biomedical Admission Test (BMAT) pre-interview at an authorised centre local to them (for a lot of applicants, this will be their school/college).

Assessment format


You must be registered in advance (separately to your UCAS application) to take the BMAT – the registration deadline is 5.00 pm on 1 October 2016. This means you must be entered for the BMAT before submitting your UCAS application by 15 October.

Your assessment centre must register you for the BMAT; you’re not able to register yourself. See the written assessments page for information about assessment centres and registration.

The BMAT will be taken on 2 November 2016.

The BMAT is used to assess scientific aptitude and focuses on scientific abilities relevant to the study of Medicine at Cambridge (the BMAT is also used by some other universities). It is based on factual knowledge of mathematics and science to GCSE/IGCSE, and doesn’t require special teaching or preparation.

Information about the BMAT and how to register is available from the BMAT website.

There is an entry fee for the BMAT, details are available on the BMAT website. If you’re a UK/EU student, we are concerned that the entry fee shouldn’t deter you from applying. Applicants in receipt of certain financial support may apply for their BMAT fees to be reimbursed. Please contact the BMAT Support Team for more information.


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