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Gateway to Medicine

The Gateway to Medicine is aimed to reinforce your existing scientific knowledge to A level and allow a smooth transition to first year Medicine. The course is split into 4 units:

1) Foundations in Bioscience I (Molecules to Cells)

2) Foundations in Bioscience II (Tissues to Organisms)

3) Chemistry 1E (Foundations of Chemistry)

4) Personal and Professional Development (PPD)


The details of each will be covered in depth by your relevant unit organisers. ​Throughout the year, students will be taught by teachers who are scientists and clinicians, with a wide variety of specialties including anatomy, biochemistry, epidemiology, genetics, and microbiology. You will learn alongside students on the Gateway to Veterinary and Dentistry programmes. These students share your passion to become a professional clinician, whilst having their own interests in different areas of health sciences. This will benefit you from the academic diversity it creates, especially during group projects. 

A highlight of the Gateway year comes in the form of a series of 12 work placements, offering a chance to shadow clinicians in a variety of specialties and stages of healthcare. As a Gateway medic, you will have the opportunity to visit a wide variety of clinical settings, which may include General Practice, Hospital wards, Surgery and many more. Wherever you end up, you are guaranteed to learn a vast amount around the attributes required of a good clinician. 

Your ‘home’ for the Gateway year is the Centre for Applied Anatomy (CAA) on Southwell Street. You can get great support from the Student Admin team here as well as hosting lecture theatres, dissection rooms, a library, the offices of the course staff and the student common room –  used to relax in your free time. Your lectures will be spread over several buildings in the Clifton Campus, allowing you to experience a range of teaching environments, and build up your navigation skills of the city (very useful in the years to follow!). The practical sessions of the Bioscience units will be taught in the Biomedical laboratories and the practical labs of the Chemistry unit will take place in the state-of-the-art Bristol Chemlabs, part of the Chemistry Department.


  1. Use your independent study hours wisely! It is all too easy to spend that spare few hours relaxing in the student lounge or going for coffee… The gaps in your timetable are designed to give you time to take in the knowledge from your lectures properly in your own time. Make sure you give yourself a break too though!

  2. During research assignments, take time to properly gather reliable sources. Use established research sites such as PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus for access to peer-reviewed (scholarly) literature. The University of Bristol Library search tool is very handy, and don’t forget, the librarians are experts if you are in doubt.

  3. Take notes during your placements. It is likely that your work placements will make up the bulk of your PPD portfolio entries, so it is crucial that you remember where and what you experienced in each setting. Prepare some questions before each placement to show your mentor that you are engaged.

  4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This applies to your lectures, practical sessions, placements, tutor meetings, and even amongst your cohort. It is often likely someone else has the same question too, so by asking, you can help each other.

  5. Take full advantage of the medical & veterinary libraries at the CAA. The pathological specimens housed within these libraries are unique and only accessible to a lucky few. They can also assist with your anatomical understanding, so make use of them wisely.

  6. Actively engage in your tutorials. Your chemistry tutorials are a valuable tool outside of lectures and a chance for you to learn in a smaller group environment. Chemistry is a challenging unit and the tutorials are a great time to improve on any weak points.

  7. Have your say! Your opinion is very important to the university. The Course Rep system allows a student from the cohort to act as a representative for the group. They collect opinions and feedback from the cohort and pass it on to the relevant staff through meetings.

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