Last week I was extremely pleased to hear from King’s College London on my acceptance to intercalate in women’s health in the following academic year. This means that I will be taking a year out from medicine to focus on getting a BSc on this topic which is very exciting. Not only will I be in the capital city but it means that I will be closer to home and I can get back into dancing again as I will have so many more opportunities to get involved with my cousin’s dance company.
Anyway, I am not going to bore you all with why I cannot wait to live in London for a year. So instead I will tell you what the advantages and disadvantages are of intercalating.
Aside from having more swanky letters after your name, what exactly is an intercalated degree?
If medicine was not intense enough, you also have the opportunity to take a year out and take on a whole new degree! It is a great opportunity to follow a passion you have or discover something that you are passionate about. So in effect, you are technically suspended from your medical school for a year as you study another undergraduate/postgraduate degree. At some medical schools, this is compulsory whereas in others it is optional.
When do you do it?
At most medical schools, they recommend you do it after your second, third or fourth year. However at my medical school, the only time they allow you to take a year out is after your finals which is after your fourth year of study.
What about funding?
Depending on what type of degree you do, it can be quite pricey! For example, an MSc tends to be more expensive than a BSc. You will be eligible for Student Finance and if you happen to be intercalating after your fourth year of medicine, you would also be eligible for the NHS bursary.
It allows you to explore topics which you are particularly interested in medicine and enables you to critically appraise research which will come in handy in the future. It will also be a break from your current university and you will be away from placements for a year.
What are the drawbacks?
It is a lot of work! Essentially, you would be doing a three year degree in just a year. One of the greatest disadvantage for me personally is the fact that I would not be graduating with my girls. It is also another year of debt that you will be in.
Having said all that, I am actually really looking forward to taking a year out. Especially as I will be doing a BSc in Women’s Health which is something I am extremely passionate about.
UPDATE: I will actually be intercalating in Imperial College London now. They have offered me a place on their course: Medical Sciences with Reproductive and Developmental Sciences. This is where I wanted to go the most out of all the places I applied to but I lacked a bit of self-confidence as they only had positions for five external applicants and I did not think I would be one of the five. So I hurried to accept my offer at King’s which they very kindly offered. The moral of the story is that I need to have a bit more self-confidence in my abilities and also to wait until the deadline to make my responses to offers!