Imperial College School of Medicine

Imperial College School of Medicine
Imperial College School of Medicine
Established 1821 Charing Cross Hospital Medical School
1834 Westminster Hospital Medical School
1854 St Mary's Hospital Medical School
1984 Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School
1997 Imperial College School of Medicine
Type Medical school
Undergraduates 2200
Postgraduates 240
Location London, England
Colours Dark Blue, Red, Pale Blue, Gold
Affiliations Imperial College London

The Imperial College School of Medicine (ICSM) is the medical school of Imperial College London in England, and one of the United Hospitals.

Founded as a result of merging several notable hospitals in London, it now comprises core campuses at South Kensington, St Mary's Hospital, London, Charing Cross Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

Ranked 3rd in the UK and 5th in the world among medical schools on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2011 rankings,[1] the school is especially known for its heart and lung transplant surgery skills led by Sir Magdi Yacoub, rheumatology treatments by Sir Marc Feldmann, and recent robot-assisted surgery techniques by world leading surgeon Lord Darzi.



Imperial College London first gained a medical school by merger with St Mary's Medical School in 1988. The current School of Medicine was formed in 1997 by the merger of St Mary's Medical School with Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School (formerly Charing Cross Hospital Medical School and Westminster Hospital Medical School), the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and the National Heart and Lung Institute.

Imperial College School of Medicine is organised into 6 sections: Institute of Clinical Sciences, School of Public Health, Department of Medicine, Department of Surgery & Cancer, National Heart and Lung Institute, and the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology.[2]

Unlike several other medical schools in the UK which are part of a Life Sciences Department or similar, ICSM belongs to its own Faculty of Medicine. Furthermore, the School runs a number of courses besides the standard MBBS degree programme. These include the Imperial College MPH Programme. Teaching hospitals of the School are part of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which was formed in 2007 and is the UK's first academic health science centre. All undergraduate students within the Faculty of Medicine (including Biomedical Science and Pharmacology BScs) are supported by the Imperial College School of Medicine Students' Union. The Faculty of Medicine also offers postgraduate MSc, MRes and PhD programmes, but these fall under the Graduate School of Life Sciences and Medicine, not the School of Medicine. Imperial College Faculty of Medicine academics each have their own webpages on the college website. These include an Imperial College London Publications page that allows viewing of an academic's publication record.

Campuses and associated hospitals

The School's teaching campuses include:

Students in the 1st and 2nd years as well as those on the BSc courses attend lectures and labs mainly at these four campuses. Parts of the 4th year, as well as other selected modules are also held at the postgraduate hospitals, where much of the School's research is based:

Clinical attachments and teaching in years 2 (three weeks), 3 (thirty weeks), 5 and 6 (all year) are held at these hospitals. These hospitals also have small research divisions which are part of the Imperial College Faculty of Medicine.

Undergraduate courses

The School runs 4 undergraduate courses.[3]


For 2011 entry, the School accepts approximately 286 school leavers as medical undergraduates each year (including 21 from outside the EU) for a six-year course leading to the award of an MBBS and BSc. Fifty graduates (including ten from outside the EU) are accepted for the four-year course that leads to the MBBS.

Entry is highly competitive with applicants requiring AAAb at A-level, with chemistry and/or biology required at A-level and mathematics preferred (required to at least AS level). A 2:1 degree and/or PhD in a biological subject is required for graduate entry. Furthermore, the BMAT is required for entry to the six-year course and the UKCAT for the four-year course, as well as an interview. For 2008 entry, there were approximately 3000 applicants for the six-year and 500 for the four-year course, an average acceptance rate of 1 in 10. However, medical students from other institutions may also join various portions of the course.

Six-year MBBS/BSc

Teaching in the first two years is focused on the scientific basis of medicine with study focussing on a systems-based format, moving towards integrated disease and including clinical aspects later on. It also includes communication skills, medical ethics and law. Teaching comprises lectures, clinical demonstrations, tutorials, dissection, computer workshops, laboratory practical and clinical skills classes, independent study, and some problem-based learning.

Clinical experience in first year is provided by a patient contact course and in the second year with a three-week attachment in general medicine or surgery at one of the attached teaching hospitals.

Third year consists of three ten-week attachments in general medicine and surgery. Teaching consists of in-hospital clinical teaching, problem based learning within firms and a lecture programme delivered at one of the central teaching sites and via the faculty intranet. This year also consists of a 3 week background to clinical specialties course.

Fourth year involves study for the BSc, comprising 3 5-week modules then a 10-week supervised research project or specialist course, leading to a BSc (Hons) in Medical Sciences with one of the following: Cardiovascular sciences; Endocrinology; Gastroenterology and hepatology; Haematology; Immunity and infection; Management; Neuroscience and mental health; Reproductive and developmental sciences; Respiratory science; Surgery and anaesthesia. The following specialist courses are available instead of undertaking a research project: Medical humanities, History of medicine, Epidemiology and international health. BSc courses that have available places after the allocation of Imperial students are open to medical students from other universities who wish to intercalate.

Fifth year covers the specialties of obstetrics and gynaecology, radiology, paediatrics, psychiatry, oncology, general practice, critical care, infectious diseases, dermatology, rheumatology and orthopaedics through clinical attachments. It includes a 4 week course in clinical pathology at the start of the year and a 1 week teaching skills course.

Final year consists of seven three-week clinical attachments in accident and emergency medicine; general practice; cardiology and radiology; ear, nose and throat, ophthalmology and renal medicine; two professional work experience attachments (one in medicine and one in surgery); one specialty choice module; an eight week elective period which may be spent in the UK or overseas, and a practical medicine course, which provides specific preparation for the foundation year after graduation.[4]

Oxbridge entry

Historically, all Oxbridge students completed their clinical training at one of the London medical schools. Although those universities now have their own clinical schools, Imperial accepts students who have completed the first three pre-clinical years at the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge. Oxbridge students join the third year of the undergraduate course. This begins with a 10-week attachment to bring their clinical experience into line with that of other Imperial students, then joining the rest of the undergraduate year for two further 10 week attachment. After this, they progress to the fifth and sixth years of the standard course.[5]

Four-year graduate-entry MBBS

Despite only accepting graduates, this is still considered an undergraduate course. The first year is an accelerated programme, which is designed to bring students to the same level as someone who has completed Years 1 and 2 of the 6-year course. The second, third and fourth years of the graduate-entry course correspond to the third, fifth and final years of the six-year course respectively.[6]

Biomedical Science

The School offers a BSc in conjunction with the Department of Life Sciences. This three-year degree commenced in 2006 and accepts 50 students per year. Although a four-year undergraduate Master's (MSci) was initially offered, students would not have been awarded the BSc. In 2008, the MSci was withdrawn and instead, students who achieve a 2:1 average by their second year will be guaranteed a place on one of the School's MSc taught courses, thus obtaining a BSc and an MSc in four years to comply with the Bologna process.

The entry requirements are identical to those required for the MBBS course: AAAb at [A-level] and the [BMAT] test.

In the first year, students follow the Biological Chemistry and Cell Biology modules from the Biology degree, and newly developed modules on human anatomy and systems physiology drawn from years 1, 2 and 4 of the medical course. Short courses on bacteriology and animal behaviour are also given from the Biology degree.

In the second year, students again follow the 2nd year of the Biology degree completing the Applied Molecular Biology, Immunology, Genetics or Parasitology, Tutored Dissertation and compulsory humanities modules. However, instead of the animal, plant and microbiological modules of the biology degree, students attend the newly developed Human Pathophysiology and Disease course which comprises basic pharmacology (from medicine year 2), ethics, epidemiology, radiology, cancer and other human diseases.

In the third year, students take one of the BSc modules from Year 4 of the medical course, followed by a research project. These modules (including Management) may be combined with or replaced by modules from Biology and Biochemistry degrees.[7]

ICSM Students' Union

In contrast to other British universities where medical students may merely be part of a "Medsoc", the School of Medicine has its own complete union. Imperial College School of Medicine Students' Union is a subsidiary part of Imperial College Union, and medical and BSc students are members of both. As such, they may join any of the 300 ICU clubs and societies and take up positions of responsibility in them. However, over 40 of these clubs and societies are under the direct jurisdiction of ICSMSU. Further, the medical students' union also owns the Reynolds building at the Charing Cross Hospital campus, as medical students live or spend more time around that area than the South Kensington campus. The Reynolds Bar represents the heart and soul of ICSM, and regularly plays host to themed parties or "Bops". It also fulfils the role of a normal student bar, where medical students can congregate and socialise whilst enjoying the occasional pint at a lower price than the average London pub.


The ICSM Alumni Association was founded in 2004 with the graduation of the first cohort of ICSM doctors.[8] Still in its infancy, it is jointly run with help from ICSMSU and members of the alumni. The association aims to provide funding for the clubs and societies of the medical school, as well as offer support to students.

Two other alumni associations also exist for graduates of the original medical schools - the St Mary's Association and the Charing Cross and Westminster Alumni.

Notable alumni

The list below, including five Nobel Laureates in Physiology and Medicine, shows the notable past or current staffs and alumni from Imperial College School of Medicine or from the various institutions which are now part of it.


External links

Coordinates: 51°29′55″N 0°10′33″W / 51.4987°N 0.1757°W / 51.4987; -0.1757

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