Category Archives: Intercalation


The four students had intercalated in a variety of subjects: pharmacology, psychology and statistics, giving several different perspectives.

Initially the focus was on the pros:

Through undertaking an intercalated degree students can gain valuable new skills and enjoy a subject they are genuinely interested in. Students can also gain confidence in interpreting and analysing research papers, something that we have minimal exposure to in medical school but are expected to do throughout our medical careers. Furthermore research projects provide opportunities for students to get work published and present research at conferences.

Followed by cons:

Many students find their intercalating to be the most challenging year at medical school and the written exams can be extremely tough. The workload can be heavy – completing a research project, module coursework and summer exams.

Intercalating adds another year of study to an already long course. The talk covered the integration into the new year group and return to a medical degree after a year away. Whilst intercalating may be off putting due to moving years most students do not find this to be a problem and integrate well with a new year. Losing clinical knowledge can also be a worry to students, however, most of them found the transition back into clinical medicine to be fairly easy.

They all found intercalating to be a great experience and would highly recommend it. However, it is not for everyone and researching the degrees thoroughly before choosing is essential.

Sarah Lynch and Anon

Intercalation: Myth-busting Q&A

Three 5th Year students who have previously intercalated provided some straight answers to common intercalation questions.

Here are a few of the hottest topics of discussion…

Q: How difficult is it to reintegrate into the medical course after your intercalation year?

A: “Not at all! Coming back to medicine was a dream, I suddenly loved clinics…at least for a while.”

Q: What it was like to join the 3rd year of a biosciences course? Was it hard to hit the ground running?

A: “You’re a little behind on some of the background but there’s nothing that didn’t come together in the first few weeks”

Q: How much does your ranking matter?

A: “Very little. If you want to intercalate then apply: there’s nothing to lose and you don’t have to have a tip-top ranking to have a good chance of getting your first choice. Just go for it!”

Q: Is it a chilled year?

A: “It depends what you do, my year was half and half: very relaxed until January exams. Then dissertation started looming and the library became my second home. But there is always the long summer to look forward to! However, be sure to choose something that is of interest to you. No amount of time off later can cheer you through a dissertation that doesn’t remotely float your boat!”

Maia Tanner