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Solveig Hoppe

BSc in Physiological Sciences, graduated June 2016, First Class Honours Degree.

Graduate-entry Medicine, University of Oxford

I graduated from Newcastle University in 2016 with a BSc honours degree in Physiological Sciences. The following year I ended up having a year out of education, re-applying to medicine and working. I am currently in my second year of the graduate-entry medicine course at the University of Oxford.


The graduate entry course is challenging, especially the first year, where most of human physiology has to be learnt in a largely self-directed way. Going through that year, I was always extremely grateful for the knowledge and understanding I gained throughout my BSc and the excellent teachers we had (and that I kept all my notes – they’ve come in handy!). Although it is a different perspective looking at human physiology from a clinical point of view, compared to the viewpoint I had studying Physiological Sciences, I find it very useful to understand concepts at the level of detail I learnt in Newcastle. My experiences from my undergraduate degree also meant that I had already been confused about, questioned and discussed difficult physiological concepts with my teachers then, making it much easier to revisit and apply now!

Newcastle University was a great place to do my first degree. Especially when I had chosen Physiology, and the class was smaller, I felt that we got to know our teachers well, and I always felt welcome to ask questions and discuss whatever confused me. I find it very motivating to be taught by people so keen for me to learn. The final year project, although daunting at first, was also a great research experience, and although it didn’t lead me into a research career in the first instance, I am keen to take up the skills I learnt then in the future.

I know a lot of students studying biomedical sciences or physiology are keen to go into medicine afterwards, and it may feel like a rocky road to get there doing a different degree first – I felt that way. However, in retrospect, I am very pleased with the way I ended up where I am now. Doing an undergraduate degree first lets you learn how to learn, gain fundamental knowledge and certainty in choosing a medical degree. My time at Newcastle University helped me with this!