School of Medical Education

Standard & Accelerated Programmes

Standard and Accelerated Programmes


The MBBS degree is designed in two phases; Early Years (Years 1 and 2) and Later Years (Years 3, 4 and 5). The programme provides a general medical education for all types of doctor, which can serve as the foundation for later career specialisation.

Standard programme

This programme is designed to equip you with the knowledge, skills and professional behaviours to enable you to progress to career specialisation. 

For entry requirements, careers, and finance information please see the degree description on our central prospectus.

Accelerated programme

Designed for graduates and healthcare professionals, the accelerated programme is open to home/EU and international applicants.

It recognises students will already have acquired certain skills and so combines and tailors the content delivered in the first two years of the standard five-year programme into one extended year (Eary Years). 

The programme adopts a case-led approach and you are organised into small study groups, during which time you will adopt a problem-first, task-based approach to your learning.

The post-offer open day provides an opportunity for you to sample this style of learning to ensure it is the right one to meet your needs.

The NHS provides some financial support for students on Graduate Entry programmes under the NHS Bursary Scheme.

For entry requirements, careers and finance information please see the degree description on our central prospectus.

More information

Find out more about Early Years (Year 1 and 2) and Later Years (Years 3, 4 and 5)

Early Years (Years 1 and 2)

The ‘Essentials of Medical Practice’ is the focus of Year 1 and 2 of the standard programme and Year 1 of the accelerated programme.

You will spend the majority of your scheduled teaching time in the Medical School complex, supported by lectures, seminar-based teaching and guided self-study.

This time is interspersed with practical clinical skills sessions, as well as Early Clinical and Communication Skills Experience (ECCE).

This will take place around the region in partner hospitals and general practice placements.

Standard programme

During Years 1 and 2 on the standard programme, you'll learn about normal and abnormal structure, function and behaviour.

Contributions come from a variety of basic and behavioural medical science disciplines, with clinical relevance demonstrated through the use of clinical cases.

There is also early clinical and community experience and input from other professions allied to medicine, such as nursing, and from the social care and voluntary sectors. 

Accelerated programme

The accelerated programme is designed for graduates. It completes Early Years in one extended year rather than two years.

The programme takes a case-led approach, with clinical cases introduced as the ‘trigger’ to ensure a problem-first, task-based focus to your learning. 

Early Clinical and Community Experience (ECCE)

Newcastle MBBS was a pioneer of Early Clinical and Community Experience (ECCE) in the 1970s.

It has a good reputation as an integrated course, with clinical contact throughout the first two years of the course in the form of full and half-day GP and hospital visits.

We believe ECCE helps you to:

  • develop a professional identity
  • increase your motivation to learn
  • apply basic science and retain knowledge better
  • consider your career options earlier
  • understand patient perspectives
  • identify role models

Between Year 1 and Year 2, you will undertake a number of hospital and community visits within the region.  

At the end of Year 2, two weeks will be predominantly spent in general practice, community and hospital settings. This will help you to prepare for full-time clinical learning. 

Clinical learning bank sessions will also be available. You can select from a database of clinical specialities to gain early clinical experience in an area that interests you.

Later Years

At the end of Year 2 (standard programme) and Year 1 (accelerated) you will transition to Year 3, the focus of which will be ‘clinically based practice’ and spent the next three years allocated to one of the base units.

Later Years (Years 3, 4 and 5)

Later Years refers to years 3, 4 and 5 of your programme. It is the same for the accelerated and standard programmes.

Year 3

In Year 3, you will be allocated to clinical placements within the region and may spend the year studying outside of Newcastle.

The year starts with 10 weeks of integrated medical practice, followed by a six-week attachment in medicine, surgery and acute specialties.

This is followed by three six-week integrated placements in women’s health, child health and mental health, when you will spend time in primary and community care.

The year concludes with a period of assessment, followed by four weeks of a student selected component (SSC).

Year 4

Year 4 will begin with a period of study focusing on clinical decision making, which is combined with time each week undertaking a clinical student selected component.

Following a period of assessment, you will undertake longitudinal placements in long-term conditions and medicine and surgery.

Following the finals written assessment, you will have the opportunity to study a particular aspect of medicine during the eight-week elective period, which gives you the opportunity to go abroad.

Year 5

Final year is again spent in clinical placements within the region and undertaking senior assistantships.

The year will focus on both primary and secondary care and is designed to prepare you for postgraduate training. Year 5 will include placements and assistantships in:

  • primary care
  • women's and child health
  • mental health
  • preparation to practise

Semester 2 begins with an eight-week attachment in critical care and is followed by the final clinical examination in March.

The senior assistantships will follow this assessment period. The assistantships, together with a short preparatory course, will seek to ease your transition from student to Foundation Doctor.

This short course will prepare you for the work of a Foundation Doctor in the specific NHS trust where you will be employed.