Cardiff University School of Medicine

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Cardiff University School of Medicine
Ysgol Feddygaeth Prifysgol Caerdydd
Former names
Welsh National School of Medicine,
University of Wales College of Medicine
Established 1893
Type Medical school
Dean John Bligh[1]
Academic staff
Undergraduates 1000
Postgraduates 1100
Location Cardiff, United Kingdom
Affiliations Cardiff University

The Cardiff University School of Medicine (Welsh: Ysgol Feddygaeth Prifysgol Caerdydd) is the medical school of Cardiff University and is located in Cardiff, Wales, UK. Founded in 1893 as part of the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, it is the oldest medical school in Wales.

It is one of the largest medical schools in the United Kingdom, employing nearly 500 academic and 300 support staff; and with over 1000 undergraduate and 1100 postgraduate students enrolled on medical and scientific courses. The school has an annual financial turnover of over £50 million, of which nearly half comes from competitive external research funding. The school is based at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.


The Main Building of Cardiff University

The medical school was founded as Cardiff Medical School in 1893 when the Departments of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology were established at University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire (now Cardiff University). The opening ceremony took place on 14 February 1894 at the College buildings on Dumfries Place and was conducted by John Viriamu Jones, Principal of the College, and Richard Quain, President of the General Medical Council. During the ceremony professors of the new medical school encouraged it to emulate the recent advances in medical education at the University of Heidelberg.[2] A department of Pathology and Bacteriology was added in 1910. Students finishing their preclinical studies at Cardiff went on to other medical schools for their clinical studies, many going to University College Hospital in London, part of University College London. In 1921 it became a clinical and pre-clinical medical school with the name of the Welsh National School of Medicine, and in 1931 it became an independent institution of the University of Wales. The name was further changed in 1984, to University of Wales College of Medicine.

In 2002, ideas were floated to re-merge Cardiff with the University of Wales College of Medicine (UWCM) following the publication of the Welsh Assembly Government's review of higher education in Wales. This merger became effective on 1 August 2004, on which date Cardiff University ceased to be a constituent institution of the University of Wales and became an independent "link institution" affiliated to the federal University. The process of the merger was completed on 1 December 2004 when the Act of Parliament transferring UWCM's assets to Cardiff University received Royal Assent. On 17 December it was announced that the Privy Council had given approval to the new Supplemental Charter and had granted university status to Cardiff, legally changing the name of the institution to Cardiff University. Cardiff awarded University of Wales degrees to students admitted before 2005, but these have been replaced by Cardiff degrees. Medicine, dentistry and other health-related areas began to admit students for Cardiff degrees in 2006.

In 2004, Cardiff University and the Swansea University entered a partnership to provide a four-year graduate-entry medical degree. An annual intake of around 70 post-graduate students undertook an accelerated version of the Cardiff course at the Swansea University for the first two years before joining undergraduate students at Cardiff for the final two years. However, from September 2009 Swansea University will be independently providing medical education in a revised 4-yr Graduate Entry Degree.

In 2005, The Wales College of Medicine, which is part of the University, launched the North Wales Clinical School in Wrexham in collaboration with the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education in Wrexham and the University of Wales, Bangor and with the National Health Service in Wales. This has been funded with £12.5 million from the Welsh Assembly[3] and will lead to the trebling of the number of trainee doctors in clinical training in Wales over a four-year period.

By 2008 the medical school it had an intake of some 305 British medical students per year and an additional 25 students from overseas.[4]

In November 2011 Cardiff University’s School of Medicine officially opened the Cochrane Building, a health education centre offering students the latest teaching, library and simulation facilities. The Centre's facilities include a Clinical Skills Centre, a high-technology medical simulation centre and a new library. The Cochrane Building provides teaching and learning facilities for all healthcare schools based on the Heath Park Campus and is named after the University’s medical pioneer, Archie Cochrane.[5]

In 2012, Cardiff University’s School of Medicine and Meducation hosted the Wales Medical Undergraduate Conference, the first national undergraduate medical conference held in Wales,[6] with over 100 posters, and 15 oral presentations taking place[7] and attendees from throughout Europe.[8]


The old biosciences building

The school’s major undergraduate programme is the MBBCh in Medicine. This is an integrated five-year curriculum, delivered in partnership with the School of Biosciences with additional contributions from Psychology and Social Science.

The curriculum blends basic medical sciences, pathological sciences and clinical experiences. It is delivered using a variety of teaching methods, including small-group tutorials, lectures and practical laboratory-based sessions. Clinical skills are learned initially in clinical skills sessions, using models and simulators, before being put into practice on clinical placements.

Clinical placement teaching occurs in partnership with over a dozen NHS Trusts and over 150 general practices, covering the whole of Wales.

A wide range of post-graduate taught (PGT) schemes is also offered. The school is the largest provider of medically related PGT courses in the UK. These include both conventional and distance learning courses. Many courses are aimed specifically at qualified doctors and health care professionals, such as the Diploma in Practical Dermatology and the MSc in Psychiatry.


Cardiff School of Medicine is currently undergoing a major redevelopment of its undergraduate medical education programme. C21 is a comprehensive programme to review the undergraduate curriculum, its delivery and the supporting structures, mechanisms and processes and improve the quality of the medical education delivered at Cardiff University. Led by the Division of Medical Education, and in partnership with colleagues from across the University, student and patient representatives, the NHS and Welsh Assembly Government, C21 consists of 5 coordinated projects.

Research institutes

University Hospital of Wales

Across the school, five institutes lead research that covers a spectrum from basic laboratory science to bedside practice. These are the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, the Institute of Infection & Immunity, the Institute of Primary Care & Public Health, the Institute of Cancer & Genetics, and the Institute of Molecular & Experimental Medicine. Alongside these research Institutes, core functions of the school are provided by the Institute of Medical Education and the Institute of Translation, Innovation, Methodology & Engagement (TIME).

Research facilities have recently been enhanced with the £11m Henry Wellcome Building for Biomedical Research in Wales. The building includes 4500 square meters of state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment for research into Infection & Immunity, Cancer Biology and Psychiatric Genetics, adjacent to a purpose-built Clinical Research Facility. The Henry Wellcome Building is the largest development of its kind ever undertaken in Wales and will be a flagship for biomedical research in Wales and the Principality.

Notable recent successes include the establishment of a Medical Research Council-funded translational research collaboration with Bristol University (called SARTRE), and the award of an MRC Centre in Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics– the first MRC Centre in Wales and the first aimed specifically at harnessing the genetics revolution for research in mental disorders.

The school also houses the Institute of Medical Genetics, winner of a 2007 Queen's Anniversary Prize.[9]

Clubs and societies

Cardiff University medical students are able to join both all the Cardiff University clubs and societies, and also clubs and societies run specifically for students studying medicine, and in some cases other healthcare sciences. These clubs and societies are run by Cardiff Medsoc which is the Medsoc within Cardiff University Students' Union.[10][11]

Alumni and faculty

There are many distinguished alumni of the Cardiff University School of Medicine. These include;

Alumni have also gone onto success in professional sports, such as Wales international rugby union player Jamie Roberts.

Cardiff has two Nobel Laureates on its staff, Sir Martin Evans and Robert Huber. A number of Cardiff University staff have been elected as Fellows of the Royal Society, these include Graham Hutchings, professor of Physical Chemistry and Director of the Cardiff Catalysis Institute, School of Chemistry and Ole Holger Petersen, director of Cardiff School of Biosciences.

Notable incidents

Examination errors, August 2009

In August 2009, the General Medical Council asked the School of Medicine to carry out a full investigation after serious errors were made in the qualifying Final MB Examination. One student, who was told he/she had failed was found to have passed after an appeal. The appeals process revealed that 4 students had been told they had passed the examination but, in fact, had failed. The 4 had already gone through the graduation process and had been registered as doctors by the General Medical Council. They were subsequently suspended from practice. This was said to be due to a "clerical error".[12]

Investigation into research misconduct, September 2012

Following allegations of research misconduct in 2012, a formal investigation was launched into the laboratory of the dean of medicine, Paul Morgan.[13][14] The formal investigation panel, after a six-month investigation, cleared the dean and his colleagues of the charges, though four allegations of image manipulation against a former member of staff were upheld.[15] Two retractions were published on 7 November 2013 in the journal "Cancer Research".[16][17] A retraction of another paper was published in the Journal of Immunology in 2011.[18] A 2014 retraction, the 4th, has been published in the journal Molecular Immunology.[19]

See also


  1. "New Dean of Medicine". Cardiff University. 2 January 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  3. "Health Minister opens North Wales Clinical School". Welsh Assembly Government. Retrieved 4 July 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "The Medical School Application Guide: Admission Statistics". Retrieved 19 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "The Cochrane Medical Education Centre". Cardiff University School of Medicine. Retrieved 12 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Lemon TI, Cooksey F, Smith R (2012) "WMUC - Encouraging medical student research and interaction", Cardiff University, (Classmark 610.7)
  7. Yarrow Jenkins et al (2012) "First Wales Medical Undergraduate Conference", Cambridge Medicine Journal
  8. Cserharti Z (2012) "First Medical Undergraduate Conference" Telemedicine and e-Health
  9. Royal Anniversary Trust
  10. "Cardiff Medsoc Sports". Cardiff Medsoc. Retrieved 22 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Cardiff Medsoc Societies". Cardiff Medsoc. Retrieved 22 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Changes after doctor exam error
  13. Formal investigation launched into work at dean's lab
  14. Cardiff University medical research misconduct probe
  15. Cardiff University dean of medicine cleared of research misconduct
  16. [1]
  17. [2]
  18. [3]
  19. [4]


  • Morgan, Prys (1997), University of Wales 1939-1993, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, ISBN 0-7083-1437-6<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Roberts, Alun (2008), The Welsh National School of Medicine, 1893-1931: The Cardiff Years, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, ISBN 978-0708321744<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Williams, J Gwyn (1997), The University of Wales, 1893-1931, Cardiff<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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