Swansea University Medical School

Swansea University Medical School is a medical school on Swansea University’s Singleton campus with additional teaching centres located throughout South and West Wales, including Cefn Coed Hospital, Singleton Hospital and Morriston Hospital in Swansea, Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli, Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest and Bronglais Hospital in Aberystwyth. The Medical School also has an extensive network of primary care (General Practice) teaching centres.

One of the fastest growing medical schools in the UK, Swansea University Medical School is ranked as the 6th best medical school in the UK by the Complete University Guide. Swansea University is the top university in Wales in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 league table – and has also won the inaugural Welsh University of the Year title.

The Medical School offers a four-year graduate entry medicine degree (MB BCh) alongside BSc degrees in Applied Medical Sciences, Genetics and Biochemistry. The school also offers higher degree programmes, including PhD, MD, MCh and master’s degrees.

Swansea University Medical School employs four core activities; Learning and Teaching, Research, Enterprise and Innovation and collaboration with the NHS [1]


Swansea University

Swansea University first attempted to establish a medical school in the 1960s but initially missed out to other schools. The university did succeed in introducing Genetics and Biochemistry departments, laying the foundations for future expansion into medicine.

Following Welsh political devolution in the 1990s, fresh calls were made to establish a medical school to serve the people of south-west Wales. In 2001, the Welsh Government established a medical school at the university’s Singleton Park campus. By 2004, the clinical school had developed into the School of Medicine, welcoming its first students onto the Graduate Entry Medicine course – a 4-year fast track graduate entry programme in 2004 in collaboration with Cardiff University.[2]

Swansea University Medical School – Data Science building

The Medical School has undergone considerable expansion, with the opening of the Institute of Life Science 1 (ILS1) in 2007, the Institute of Life Science 2 in 2012.[3]

A Centre for NanoHealth, the first of its kind in Europe opened in 2011 for research into NanoHealth technologies.[4]

In 2012 ILS2 became home to one of 4 UK centres for eHealth Research (HeRCs) funded by a Medical Research Council led consortium of funders.[5] The college also hosts the EPSRC National Mass Spectrometry Service.[6]

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework gave the Medical School a glowing report, ranking it joint 1st as the best research environment in the UK and 2nd in the UK for overall research quality.[7]

Since its inception, Swansea University Medical School has helped create 30 new life science companies.

The new Data Science building was opened in 2015, cementing the Medical School’s reputation as a top 10 UK medical school.

In 2016, Swansea University Medical School was awarded the highly coveted Athena SWAN Silver award, making it the first department in the university to achieve the prize, dedicated to promoting equality in the workforce.[8]


The Institute of Life Science (ILS) is the research and innovation arm of the Medical School. It comprises two purpose built research facilities (ILS1 and ILS2) which represent an £80 million investment at Swansea University’s Singleton Park campus in Swansea, equipped with an IBM Blue-C supercomputer.

Swansea University Medical School – Institute of Life Science 2

In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, 87% of staff in the school were assessed as producing research of international quality or above.[9]

The school currently employs 4 main research themes Biomarkers & Genes, Devices, Microbes & Immunity Patient & Population Healthy. These themes are centred around the main research facilities, including Biomedical Laboratories, Informatics, the Institute of Mass Spectometry, the Centre for NanoHealth, Commercial Incubators and the Joint Clinical Research Facility.

Graduate Entry Medicine

Swansea University Medical School provides one of a small number of Graduate Entry Medicine programmes currently available in the UK. The course is also unique for being open to graduates of any discipline who meet the entry requirements of the school, including a sufficient score in the GAMSAT exam. Traditionally restricted to UK and EU applicants, the course is now open to candidates from around the world.

The 4 year programme, which combines learning weeks and clinical placements, doesn’t adhere to the traditional ‘body systems’ approach but attempts to imitate clinical practice methods regarding how clinicians approach patients and vice versa. To allow students to hone their skills, it provides early and continued exposure clinical practice through learning opportunities in the clinical setting (LOCS), community-based learning, clinical apprenticeships and specialty attachments.[10]

Undergraduate Courses

Swansea University Medical School currently offers 6 Undergraduate courses [11]

  • BSc Applied Medical Sciences
  • BSc Biochemistry
  • BSc Genetics
  • BSc Medical Biochemistry
  • BSc Medical Genetics
  • BSc Biochemistry & Genetics

Many of these courses include feeder modules for access to Graduate Entry Medicine.

View of Mumbles from ILS2, Swansea University Medical School

Postgraduate Courses

Swansea University Medical School has a range of Postgraduate taught programmes,[12] including –

  • Applied Analytical Science (LCMS)
  • Applied Liquid Chromatography Mass spectrometry (PG Cert only)
  • Autism & Related Conditions
  • Health Data Science
  • Health Informatics
  • Leadership for the Health Professions (with distance learning option)
  • Medical Radiation Physics
  • Nanomedicine
  • Physician Associate Studies
  • Trauma Surgery
  • Trauma Surgery (Military)

The medical school also has a large number of students on research degrees, including MRes, Masters by Research, MPhil, MD and PhD.


Swansea University Medical School is a central part of ARCH, A Regional Collaboration for Health. The medical school has ambitious plans to work closely with Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board and Hywel Dda to transform home and hospital care across the region, including the continued investment in Singleton and Morriston Hospitals, and the development of a multi-million pound Medi-Park [13]

Notable academics

  • Keith Lloyd, Dean & Head of Medical School. Chair of Welsh Psychiatric society.
  • Julian Hopkin CBE, Founder of Medical School. Awarded CBE in 2011 for service to medicine.
  • Shareen Doak Chair of Genotoxicology and Cancer.
  • Catherine Thornton Deputy head of Medical School. Member of Management and Executive Boards of the Life Sciences Research Network for Wales.
  • Ronan Lyons Clinical Professor of Public Health. Director of the National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research. Director of the Farr Institute Centre for the Improvement of Population Health.

See also

  • Medical education
  • Medical school in the United Kingdom
  • List of medical schools in the United Kingdom


  1. Jump up^ http://www.swansea.ac.uk/medicine/
  2. Jump up^ BMA Health Policy and Economic Research Unit – School of Medicine – University of Swansea
  3. Jump up^ [1]
  4. Jump up^ nanotechwire.com – Wales to host Europe’s first Centre for NanoHealth
  5. Jump up^ – New Centres put health records at the heart of UK medical research
  6. Jump up^ [2] Archived April 8, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. Jump up^ [3]
  8. Jump up^ [4]
  9. Jump up^ http://www.swansea.ac.uk/media/Media,32016,en.pdf
  10. Jump up^ http://www.swansea.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/medicine/mbbchgraduateentrymedicine/#modules=is-expanded&key-features=is-expanded&year-1-level-4-ua101d=is-collapsed&year-2-level-5-ua101d=is-collapsed&year-3-level-6-ua101d=is-collapsed&description=is-collapsed&entry-requirements=is-expanded
  11. Jump up^ http://www.swansea.ac.uk/medicine/learningandteaching/undergraduate/
  12. Jump up^ http://www.swansea.ac.uk/medicine/learningandteaching/postgraduatetaught/
  13. Jump up^ http://www.swansea.ac.uk/medicine/nhs/