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The beginning of your journey as a doctor in training starts now and we are looking forward to meeting and working with you in September.

The Flying Start web page is a place where you will find a lot of useful information about things to do before you get here, and what you will need to do when you arrive.

Welcome from BSc (Hons) Course Director

Welcome to the University of St Andrews School of Medicine, we think it’s the best in the land!

You have studied hard, shown your ability to succeed and now you are finally here – CONGRATULATIONS

You may not realise it, but we are quite probably looking forward to you arriving as much as you are, it is always a pleasure to meet new students and to help and encourage you all along the path to being a Doctor. That path is often difficult, and you may have to learn about yourself as much as about medicine, however we are absolutely confident that each and every one of you are capable of achieving excellence.

As you have (hopefully) seen on our website, the curriculum for this course is all mapped out for you and there are only a few significant choices for you to make. What is not mapped out, and what is just as important, is how to get the most from the rest of your University life. St Andrews (AKA ‘The Bubble’) is a truly special place to go to University, one of the oldest in the UK, small enough to enable you to meet each other easily (and spot staff in Morrison’s shopping furtively), and large enough to provide the facilities and recreational opportunities of larger institutions. I want to encourage you to take full advantage of the time you are here, not only to succeed in your studies, but also to enjoy the environment of St Andrews and all the good times ‘The Bubble’ has to offer.

I look forward to meeting you all and watching you thrive in our wonderful town!

John Z

Bsc (Hons) Medicine Course Director

Welcome from School President

Hi All!

Congratulations on your Offer & Welcome to the University of St Andrews!

I’m Nathan Titterton and I’ll be your School President for the 2019/2020 academic year. A large part of my role as School President is to represent you both within the Medical School & the University as a whole.

The primary focus of my role is academic representation, but there are plenty of societies to cover other priorities (like Sports & Socials), including the Bute Medical Society. Outwith university life, despite being a fairly quaint town, St Andrews has lots to offer. There are some great beaches (…ever seen Chariots of Fire?), an amazing selection of places to eat & drink and, of course, several golf courses!

Starting university is a big step, and I am sure you are all undoubtedly nervous, though I want to assure you that there is tons of support available for all students, and despite being medics there will be opportunities for you to get involved in other activities as well. Within the Medical School, you will have your personal tutor to support you as well as fellow medics – everyone is willing to help you!

As you will soon discover Galen, the Medical School’s curriculum management software, will give you all of the information you could want about your course, timetables, lecture materials, staff announcements, exams results and much more!

My top 3 tips for Medics: 1) Don’t buy textbooks yet – Any book you will need is available online & in the libraries, so wait to see which ones you actually will use before buying them. 2) Get involved – yes medicine is a busy course, but you are also at university, make the most of what it has to offer and get involved in university life, not only will it ensure you have a great 3 years here but you will also make some great friends along the way! 3) Don’t be afraid to ask for help – if you are struggling with anything ask for help early, the Med School staff are here to help you succeed.

If you have any questions (or feedback) either before your get to St Andrews or during your time here, please feel free to e-mail me at:

I’m looking forward to meeting you all in September!


Welcome from the Bute Medical Society President



All those hours spent slaving away over chemistry equations, trying to fathom how on earth the UKCAT uses shapes to determine whether you’ll study medicine and praying that your personal statement was in any way original…they’ve paid off!

It really is true that you’ve overcome by far the biggest hurdle to becoming a doctor. Take these few months before you start to breathe, relax, let your hair down and recharge because you’ve got an incredible but busy year ahead. One thing that really resonated with me on my first day here was being told that it’s no longer a competition. You don’t need to get the top grade in every exam, and you don’t need to compete against your friends. Yes, it was a tough fight to get a place, but now you’re here you want to work with your friends and support each other, celebrating everyone’s successes. If you do that, you’ll survive any exam stress and enjoy yourself as much as possible.

So aside from the medicine that you’ve come here to study, being at university itself is incredible and will be some of the best years of your life (before those long junior doctor shifts). To keep you sane while you’re juggling anatomy, pharmacology and the multitude of disciplines we’re trying to absorb, we’ve got a society that organises the fun for you, so all you need to do is show up! So, let me briefly introduce us:

Who am I?

My name is Isy Schlegel and I’ll be your Bute Medical Society president for the upcoming academic year. When you join us, I’ll already be in my 3rd & final year studying medicine at St Andrews – I can’t quite believe how the time has flown by! I’d like to think I’ve gained some advice and pearls of wisdom that will help navigate you through the wealth of opportunities (alongside academia) that make this university such an incredible place to study medicine! This year I served as Treasurer for the society and decided I loved it so much that I just couldn’t get enough, so you’ll be seeing my face around the medical school a lot (please come say hi, I’m only 5ft3 so am the least intimidating president you will ever meet).

What’s the BMS?

The Bute Medical Society is the largest and one of the oldest societies at the university, currently comprising over 500 students. Being a medical student and a ‘Butie’ come hand in hand, since the society plays such an intrinsic role within the medical school. Although most of our members our medics, we welcome any student at the university with open arms. The hard work of our committee and outstanding contributions from our members have earned us multiple awards over the past few years, including “Best Event” for our annual Bute Ball and “Best Society” for overall achievement.

Why should you join?

Our society hosts both social and academic events throughout the year – we work hard to ensure there’s something for everyone! I could go on for pages about why being a Bute member is an experience not to be missed, but for your sake I’ll pick out a few highlights:

Hecklings: a welcome social event for all freshers in the first few weeks of the semester, involving games and challenges hosted at a venue in town. This event is always unforgettable, a great laugh and a night to make memories and lots of new friends.

Academic talks: whether it be supplemented by wine & cheese or coffee & cake, there’s something for you. We source speakers to expand and even challenge our medical knowledge, both on topics within and beyond our curriculum, to give exciting presentations on current and exciting research.

Balls: we host three balls during the year filled with great music, ceilidh dancing, delicious food and lots of added extras, bound to help you blow off steam in style. As a society we subsidise these events as much as possible so we can host the best value for money balls in town!

Sports teams: Whether you aspired to be a professional athlete before deciding medicine was your calling, or you have the coordination of a rhino – there’s something for you! We currently run a Bute FC football team, Bute Rugby squad, Bute Hockey team and are working to get a Bute Netball squad set up for your arrival. Training and matches are flexible around the very busy medicine timetable, so you don’t need to worry that it’ll be too big a commitment. A bonus if you join is that you’ll already be part of a team for our annual SNIMS tournament (all the medical schools of Scotland & Northern Ireland come together in one city for a weekend of sports and socialising, absolutely unmissable) which will be hosted in Edinburgh this year!

Bute Revue: you’ll all very quickly meet and worship the lecturers and Med Dems here, so what better way to end the year than make fun of them and your fellow medical students at a comedy show? Undoubtedly one of the best nights of the year, this event never fails to impress and have you crying with laughter.

What’s on during freshers’ week?

  1. On Sunday, if you and your families would like a tour of the medical school building, our committee will be available between 13:00-15:00 to show you around. There will be separate tours for all medical students during the week so this is a completely optional extra (tea and coffee will be provided)
  2. Alongside introductory talks on Monday, you’ll meet me, and we have our annual BBQ so you can all get to know each other, and it also gives the second-year students an opportunity to adopt you into their academic families. Later in the evening we have a social event at the Vic in town, so come along for a great night!
  3. Tours will run on Monday and/or Tuesday and we’ll be running a help desk on both days to help you out if you can’t work out which room you’re looking for or have any questions about the upcoming year.
  4. On Thursday we host our annual Medic Freshers’ Fayre, where all the medical societies and unions will have a stall in the medical school so you can sign up (including the BMS obviously). Most societies will be looking for some 1st year reps to join the committee, which is a great way to get involved!
  5. Finally, (if you last this long) on Sunday we’ll be hanging out at the University Freshers’ Fayre in the union, so if you didn’t get a chance to catch us or any other societies on Thursday now’s the time! The Bute Medical Society will be armed with free ice cream from our famous sponsor: Jannetta’s Gelateria.

Is there anything I should be doing now?

To keep up to date with information and check out your fellow medics before you come to St Andrews please join our official “St Andrews Medic Freshers 2019” Facebook page! During the year this will also be a platform for lots of posts about upcoming events, elections and lots more, so I highly recommend you join. If you have any questions for us, you can:

  1. Pop Butemed Soc (our society profile, add us!) a message on Facebook
  2. Email me directly at (during term-time you can email our secretary on
  3. Check out our website which we’ll update closer to Fresher’s week with all the details about upcoming events and our new committee members (dressed in snazzy navy polo shirts)

We can’t wait to meet you all in Fresher’s week and you’ve made the right choice picking St Andrews as your medical school. Rest up and we’ll see you in a few months!


How do you do?

Some key staff at the School of Medicine are shown below

You can view a list of all staff and contact details on the School of Medicine website.


Things to do before I arrive…

Download the Flying Start checklist

The Flying Start Checklist is a document which you can print out and use to help you to keep track of the things you need to do as you prepare to start your medical training at St Andrews. Click for Word document

Read essential documents: BSc (Hons) Medicine Professionalism Agreement

        The BSc (Hons) Medicine Professionalism Agreement should be read before arrival – however do not sign the agreement yet – you will be asked to do this when you meet you personal tutor during Orientation Week. Click for pdf

Familiarise yourself with BSc (Hons) documents: Med Handbook UG Teaching





Students should be familiar with the School of Medicine Med Handbook.

Click for web based handbook

Download and prepare: Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme




You must prepare the information that you require to complete a ‘Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme’ application. This application form will be given to you during Orientation Week.

Please read the information and related documents with Advice for Medical and Health Psychology Students (formerly: letter from the Schools Disclosure Officer).

Complete and return: Occupational Health Questionnaire


The Pre-entry Health Questionnaire for Occupational Health which was emailed to you in April should be completed and returned to the address below.  Forms should be returned by 30th June but no later than 3 weeks before your arrival at St Andrews to:-
Pre-entry Occupational Health Questionnaire
Teaching Support Office
School of Medicine
North Haugh
St Andrews
Fife KY16 9TF

The ‘Pre Entry Questionaire’ can be found on this page

Review and complete essential tasks at the University New Entrants page





The New Entrants page contains important general information for students who are matriculating (registering) at the University for the first time.

Be aware that there are a number of admin tasks to do before you come to St Andrews. You will find a helpful list on the New Entrants page.

University New Entrants page

Things to bring ….

Text books


We are aware that you will have many questions about the course and what you should be doing to prepare.

We are often asked ‘What shall I do about textbooks?’ For this reason we thought it would be useful to give you this list of recommended texts and to offer some advice about buying them. Please do not feel that you must rush to buy the texts before you get here (excess baggage can be heavy and expensive!). The books will be available for purchase from Blackwell’s Bookshop located in the Students Association Building in St Andrews. You can contact the bookshop, place a credit card order and your books will be waiting for collection when you arrive in St Andrews.

Blackwells tel: 01334 476367 or email:

When choosing textbooks we try to ensure that they will be useful for your 3 years in St Andrews and your 3 years at clinical partner schools. Although our list may seem lengthy and expensive, it is unlikely that you will have to buy any other essential texts while you are at St Andrews.

In making a decision to select textbooks, not only do we try to find those best suited to our course but also, if possible, the books also include access to the publisher’s on-line learning resources.


The Medical School and the University library have licensed several ebooks from different publishers (see reading list). This provides on-line access to the texts without restriction using your University user name/password combination. In addition to the core reading list which you may consider buying, there are additional texts available on-line. Though these are considered to be very useful throughout our curriculum, we do not think it is essential for you to buy these actual texts.

An important thing to note about most ebooks is that they are often not accompanied by the extra on-line resources which are available if you buy the texts and activate the access codes to the publisher’s web site.

Reading list (pdf)

Is there anything I could be reading before I come?

Students often ask us if they should read anything in preparation for Medical School. Rather than burden yourself with facts before you actually come, we suggest that students might rather read something that stimulates the mind!

Ben Goldacre’s book serves to remind us that not everything we read can be trusted. Tracy Kinder’s book reminds us about the humanity of medicine. Another book of interest is How to Succeed at Medical School: An Essential Guide to Learning.

  • Ben Goldacre:  ‘Bad Science’ (ISBN 000728487x Harper Perennial 2009)
  • Tracy Kinder: ‘Mountains beyond Mountains: One doctor’s quest to heal the world’ (ISBN-10: 1846684315 Profile Books)
  • Dason Evans / Jo Brown: ‘How to Succeed at Medical School: An Essential Guide to Learning’ (ISBN 978-1118703410)
Stethoscopes, Pocket Masks and Laboratory Coat
You will need to have your own stethoscope, pocket mask and laboratory coats for our clinical skills training.

Stethoscopes:  We currently recommend the Classic Littmann III stethoscope, which you can find at:  It is very important for your basic training that your stethoscope has both a bell and a diaphragm. The Classic Littmann Classic III is all you need; you will NOT require a specialist cardiology- or electronic stethoscope.

Where do I get a Stethoscope and Pocket Mask?

Use Google to research this. Last year the BMA ( British Medical Association) had a good offer on stethoscopes if you join.

There are a variety of suppliers and some special deals may be available after you arrive in St Andrews.

Pocket Masks: You will need a pocket mask, the clinical skills team recommends the Laerdal LD040 or LD021 masks. These can be purchased from:

Laboratory Coats: You will need a white ‘Howie’ lab coat for the Dissection Room. Although there are some available for purchase locally (from the shop in the Students Association), supplies are limited and it may be better to buy one before you come to St Andrews.

Safety Glasses: You will need your own safety glasses for dissection. There are many suitable types, some examples are:

Example of Dissecting Room lab coat and safety glasses:-

Clinical Skills Dress Code
We also require students to follow the NHS Fife Dress Code and Uniform Policy in any clinical environment, on any patient contact and within clinical skills.  This may affect the clothing you pack.  See summary as below:

  • Wear your identity badge that confirms you are a student.
  • Dress in a discreet and professional manner to convey a professional image and create and maintain public confidence. Denim jeans, short skirts or revealing tops which expose large areas of flesh are not appropriate clothing to wear.
  • Wear appropriate footwear (clean, soft soled, closed toe shoes). Trainers or excessively high heels should not be worn.
  • Tattoos that could be considered offensive should be covered where this does not compromise good clinical practice.
  • Keep hair tied back and off the collar.
  • Arms should be ‘bare below the elbow’. Long sleeves should be rolled up.  Wristwatches, fitness tracker wrist-straps and bracelets must not be worn when in clinical areas.
  • Jewellery is restricted to wearing one plain metal finger ring and one pair of plain stud earrings. Any other visible body piercings should be removed.
  • Keep finger nails short and clean. No nail varnish, false nails or nail extensions should be worn.
  • White coats, neck ties or lanyards should not be worn.
  • Pens or scissors should not be carried in outside breast pockets.
  • Store your stethoscope in a safe place such as your pocket or in your bag when moving between clinical areas or during breaks. Stethoscopes should not be worn around the neck.

For the purposes of learning clinical skills students practice non-intimate examinations on each other.  You may therefore also wish to pack some sports wear, such as shorts (+/- leggings) and a t-shirt; or an acceptable suitable equivalent.

Examples of clinical dress code are:-

Personal documents

You will need these documents when you are in St Andrews:

  • passport
  • driving license
    or an alternative formal piece of identification with your address
    (a bank statement is a good example)
  • birth certificate (not a copy)
Immunisation history
Students must research their own immunisation history to establish an immunisation record for their life to date, this probably involves a visit to their GP. Students are strongly encouraged and keep this record to prove their immunisation history through their studies and working life.

You should bring your immunisation history with you when you come to St Andrews.

There is more to read about this and related matters in the Occupational Health Questionaire and accompanying notes (see ‘Things to do before I arrive…’  on this page).

 Things to think about…

If you feel your health or a disability may impact on your studies please get in touch early.

Watching this video created by our students may help you reflect.

We want  you to achieve your full potential. If you want to explore this further contact putting “support” in the subject line.

Blood borne viruses
At the time of entry to Medical School students will be screened for tuberculosis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV infection and any necessary immunisations and antibody tests will be performed. All entrants are required to complete a course of immunisation against hepatitis B virus.

If you have been infected with hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV this does not mean that you cannot train to be a doctor but it is important to consider at this stage whether or not this is the career option that you wish to pursue. Any entrant student who is found to be a carrier of hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV will require special counselling, as such a situation may place restrictions on the student’s clinical training and limit his or her medical practice following qualification. If you have had an infection of this nature and wish to discuss this further before making a decision, we would be happy to put you in touch with our Occupational Health Services who will be able to advise you of current policy.

If you are infected with any of these diseases you should consider your position carefully. If you wish to discuss this with an Occupational Health advisor, please contact the admissions team and we can arrange this for you.

Further advice can be found in the Medical Schools Council publication Medical and dental students: Health clearance for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and Tuberculosis

IT skills

During your time as a medical student you will need to be competent with the Microsoft products Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Although many of you will have been taught these skills at school there may be a number of you that would benefit from more formal training.

The University offers some IT training resources.

Any questions..?

First, please have a look at the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below …

I've got a question about IT, or computers...

It’s good that you are thinking about IT.

We’ve made a special section of Flying Start just for questions about IT.  You can find this here…

Where do I go on Monday of Orientation Week?

Where do I go on Monday of Orientation Week?

The School of Medicine orientation begins at 9.00am on Monday of Orientation week in the main Lecture Theatre on the ground floor of the Medical School building on the North Haugh.

At this introductory event, you will be welcomed by the Dean of Medicine, the Director of Teaching and 1st year Module Controllers. We will also explain all the events that are planned for Monday and the rest of Orientation Week.

The full programme can be found on this page in the medhandbook, linked under ‘Orientation Week Programme’

What about improving my study skills?

What about improving my study skills?

The University Orientation Week Programme includes courses in study skills which may help you in the transition to University. One of the great differences between school and university is that although we are committed to supporting you during your medical studies, we are unable to provide individual help on a daily basis. The School provides many resources to help you self-assess your own progress, and the University provides study skills sessions via CAPOD for those requiring additional help, but you ultimately have to take charge of your own studies. The responsibility for your success now falls on your own shoulders (this is a health warning!).

Are there any classes in Orientation Week?

Are there any classes in Orientation Week?


During Orientation Week there will be a full programme of introductory classes specifically organised by the School of Medicine for new medical students. Your attendance at these classes is essential since they will help you to find your feet in the early stages of your medical course.

The full programme can be found on this page in the medhandbook, linked under ‘Orientation Week Programme’

I still have another question…

If you have questions that are not covered in the FAQs, we’re here to help.

You can contact us by emailing the Teaching Support Office on or you can use the form below to send us your question. Either way, please do get in touch.

Please use this form to send us your questions

Enter your question



Orientation week

The University, Students’ Association, Societies and the Athletic Union organise a whole series of social and academic activities during Orientation Week. Find out more about Orientation Week at the University.

As well the University Orientation events, the School of Medicine is organising a programme specifically for new medical students to help you prepare for the beginning of your course. The full programme can be found on this page in the medhandbook, linked under ‘Orientation Week Programme’

St. Andrews Medic Freshers on Facebook

Tours of the School

Staff and students will be available to show parents and new students round the building on Sunday afternoon, meet at the front door.


Finding your way about

These should help you to find your way here, and around the Medical building: