Aston Medical School to recruit first medical students

Aston Medical School & logo
First cohort of of undergraduates in medicine start September 2018

28 July 2018

  • School successfully completed latest stage in GMC quality assurance process
  • First cohort to include local students on widening participation programme
  • Undergraduates to embark on five years of study for medical degree from September 2018

Aston Medical School at Aston University officially opens its doors in September 2018 to its first medical undergraduates on a five-year study programme for an MBChB Medicine degree.

The first cohort will be made up of international students as well as 13 per cent of the 99 local students currently on the School’s innovative Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare programme who achieve the entry criteria.  

Student recruitment follows the School’s application to the General Medical Council (GMC) which sets rigorous standards and undertakes regular monitoring of all medical schools in the UK.

The application is subject to the GMC’s stringent quality assurance programme. An inspection team recently visited the university to assess the School’s proposed programme of study and facilities, the expertise of its staff and its ability to provide adequate clinical experience for students.       

Having successfully completed this stage of the rigorous process, the GMC has now committed to undertaking a programme of further quality assurance, including annual visits and following the first cohort of students as they progress through their course until they graduate in 2023.  

Professor Asif Ahmed, Aston University’s Pro Vice Chancellor for Health and Executive Dean of Aston Medical School, said: “I am delighted Aston Medical School has successfully passed the GMC process to take in medical students. I am very proud of my team but this was truly a team effort across the whole university. There is great excitement amongst our students and staff to be able to start recruiting undergraduate medical students on to our MBChB degree course starting in September 2018.

“The General Medical Council’s quality assurance process for all new medical schools is rigorous and exhaustive, and rightly so, as patient safety is paramount for us all. Medical qualifications gained in the UK are recognised, valued and respected worldwide. The GMC ensures all medical schools in the UK are held to the standards ‘promoting excellence’ in medical education and training.”

Aston University has submitted proposals to Birmingham City Council to transform a wing of a building on the Gosta Green edge of the campus into a purpose-designed medical school at a cost of £15 million. The building was previously the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design and acquired by Aston University in 2012.

The Pathway to Healthcare programme, which is giving more than 90 young people from disadvantaged circumstances across Birmingham, the Black Country and Solihull the chance of a future career in medicine and other healthcare professions, is being sponsored by well-known philanthropist and former Aston Villa chairman Sir Doug Ellis.  

The first cohort of school and college pupils are just completing the first year of the two-year learning and development programme with short placements at local hospitals, GP practices, clinical research units and other healthcare settings.

The innovative programme aims to inspire other people to aspire to careers in medicine or another healthcare profession through a range of activities including support with the university application process and interviews, an intensive A Level revision “boot camp,” medical taster days, workshops and research projects.

The first cohort’s first year culminated with a residential summer school from 25-27 July at Aston University, supported by the Royal Society for Public Health. The students will participate in an emergency response conference and public health recovery scenarios, work on an ethics project and develop presentations that they will present to an audience including their parents and supporters on the final day.


Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare Programme:  Year 12 pupils selected for the programme must meet at least one of the following criteria: be in receipt of a means-tested bursary (eg 16-19 Bursary); be eligible, or have been, for free school meals during secondary education (Ever 6); be from a local authority care background; be from a family where neither parent has attended university. They must also have attained B grades, or above, in five GCSE subjects including mathematics, English language, chemistry, biology or double science.

At the end of the programme, students meeting the admissions criteria will be able to apply for a subsidised place at Aston Medical School, or opt for another healthcare degree course in a wide range of subjects such as pharmacy, optometry, audiology and biomedical sciences. They will also be supported in applying to other medical schools.

Sir Doug Ellis  is deeply committed to Birmingham and to Aston University and is one of the city's leading philanthropists. He assisted the university to undertake the refurbishment of the Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre which benefits students and staff and the local community. He is recognised as the pioneer of the package holiday industry and his business activities have included electronics, insurance, farming and retailing. He was Chairman of Aston Villa Football Club for 35 years and is now the club's Honorary Life President. Sir Doug was awarded the OBE for services to football and the community in 2004 and received an Honorary Degree from Aston in 2007. 

Aston Medical School:

Aston University: Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston University has been always been a force for change. For 50 years the University has been transforming lives through pioneering research, innovative teaching and graduate employability success. Aston is renowned for its opportunity enabler through broad access and inspiring academics, providing education that is applied and has real impact on all areas of society, business and industry.

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