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A guide to intercalation

Further your knowledge, broaden your experiences

What is an intercalated degree? How do you find a course? Wondering if it's right for you? Find the answers to all this and more in our guide to intercalating during your Medicine degree.
Intercalation is an opportunity to enrich your undergraduate degree by exploring a new subject or gaining in-depth, specialist knowledge. It also strengthens your career prospects in getting what you want in the increasing competitive application process of Foundation Year Programme.

What is an intercalated degree?

Intercalation is one extra year on top of your medical degree, during which you can study another undergraduate or postgraduate degree. At Hull York Medical School, you can intercalate after your second year (to study an undergraduate programme) or after your third year (to study either an undergraduate or a Masters programme).

For some medical schools this is compulsory, but for many others it is optional. Whilst intercalation is not a pre-requisite on our Medicine programme, we encourage all our students to consider this option to broaden your skills and knowledge and explore a new subject area.

Why intercalate?

Choosing to intercalate brings many benefits:

  • Broaden your horizons
    Whether you study a Bachelors or a Masters, intercalation is an opportunity to broaden your horizons, study a subject you are passionate about or help you to decide where your passion lies.
  • Develop research and academic inquiry skills
    Gaining a Masters degree whilst studying medicine shows not only your motivation to your studies and self-development, but also your ability to work at a much higher level, as you will develop useful research skills while working in an academic environment.
  • Gain points for your Foundation Programme application
    In addition, successful completion of an intercalation degree will gain you extra points for your Foundation Programme application, giving you a competitive edge for training positions after graduation.
    • 5 points: PhD
    • 4 points: Masters degree or 1st Class Honours degree
    • 3 points: 2.1 Honours degree
    • 2 points: 2.2 Honours degree
    • 1 point: 3 Honours degree
  • Stepping stone to a career as an academic clinician (ACF)
    If you are considering a career as an academic clinician, intercalation is an important step on this path. An intercalated BSc qualification is often cited as a minimum requirement for entry onto academic foundation programmes, for many specialty-training pathways.
  • Helping the NHS
    Health Education England (HEE) has noted that there are many benefits to students intercalating, including delivering more mature, well-rounded graduates into the NHS. In addition, the HEE mandate from the Department of Health requires Health Education England to develop a workforce that “embraces research and innovation and to explore opportunities for students to intercalate onto MSc programmes as part of their education”.

Choosing the right programme for you

It’s important to research and find the best programme for you. Intercalation is a great opportunity to explore an aspect of medicine you have not had much time to explore in depth in your course, such as anatomy or public health. It may even be totally separate from medicine – for example, an arts or a business subject.

As well as studying a programme in an area that interests you, you should consider whether a Masters or a Bachelors degree is the best option for you.

You may find it useful to talk to people you know who have intercalated, visit universities to meet academic staff and current students, find out as much information about what and how you will learn, and how it will help you in your future career.

How to find a course

Here at Hull York Medical School, we offer a comprehensive suite of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes on which you can intercalate. If you are interested in furthering your knowledge of anatomy, medical education, pharmacology or public health, then we can provide you with an intensive, comprehensive and hugely rewarding year of study in these areas. Find out more about our programmes.

We have also developed a website www.intercalate.co.uk for students thinking about intercalation, listing all the intercalation options available to medical students in the UK.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for courses vary depending on the programme and the institution. Please do check tuition fees with your chosen course provider.

Financial support

Intercalated undergraduate degree
The financial support you have in place from Student Finance England should continue for an undergraduate intercalated degree. Contact the awarding body to double check.

Intercalated postgraduate degree
If you choose to study a Masters, you may be entitled to a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 from Student Finance England. This will mean you’re not entitled to undergraduate funding anymore because you’ll hold a higher level qualification. Therefore if you wish to intercalate a Masters, it is worth doing so between your Student Finance and NHS funded years (i.e. in your fourth year).

You’ll be eligible for funding from the NHS Bursary from the fifth year of your period of study, irrespective of the year you intercalate.

Why not to intercalate

Unless you are studying a Medicine programme at an institution that has an intercalation year as a mandatory component of their Medicine programme, you don’t have to intercalate if you don’t think it’s right for you.

For example, you may need to consider the financial implications, or whether taking a full year out of a clinical environment is going to be right for you, and whether you will be able to get your clinical skills up to date in time for your final exams.

It is possible to gain extra points for your application onto your chosen foundation programmes in other ways, for example by undertaking extra research as part of your degree. There are a number of opportunities on our undergraduate Medicine programme to do this.

Eligibility

Students will need to have passed their exams first-time round to be eligible to intercalate at Hull York Medical School.

We also advise students who would like to intercalate onto one of our programmes from other medical schools to do so after their third year, rather than after their fourth year.

Questions?

If you have any questions about intercalating, please contact us at pgtadmissions@hyms.ac.uk