You are viewing: 2022/23 version

Honour School of Medical Sciences


  • 1. The subject of the Honour School of Medical Sciences shall be the sciences basic to medicine.

  • 2. No candidate shall be admitted for examination in this school unless they have passed Part I of the First Examination for the Degree of Bachelor of Medicine.

  • 3. The examination in this school shall be under the supervision of the Medical Sciences Board, which shall prescribe the necessary regulations.

  • 4. Candidates may be examined by such of the Public Examiners in the Honour School of Experimental Psychology as may be required.

  • 5. Candidates may be examined in one or more Supplementary Subjects. The Supplementary Subjects available in any year will be notified to students annually during Trinity Term. Account shall be taken of a candidate's results in any such subject in the candidate's overall classification. Candidates awarded a pass in a Supplementary Subject examination may not retake the same Supplementary Subject examination.


  • 1. The list of options of the school shall be published to students not later than noon on Friday of Week 6 of Hilary Term of the second year.

    Each option shall be divided into themes. The list of themes shall be published no later than Week 0 of Trinity Term of the second year. Most themes will be specific to a single option, but some may be shared. The total number of themes comprising each option shall be 3. Each candidate will be expected to have studied 8 themes in total in order to address the synoptic questions of Paper 2, and to have prepared sufficient of those themes in depth to be able to address the requirements of Paper 1 (see paras 2, 3, and 5 below).

    2. The following written papers shall be set:

    • Paper 1 One paper consisting of questions from all the options

    • Paper 2 One paper consisting of synoptic questions

    • Paper 3 Critical reading, data analysis and experimental design

    Paper 1 shall contain a choice of questions addressing in-depth knowledge and understanding within individual specified themes of each option. Paper 1 will require candidates to answer three questions on three different themes, which must be picked from at least two different options.

  • Paper 2 questions will not be specific to any option.  Each question will require a synoptic approach. Candidates shall be required to answer any two questions.

    Paper 3 shall have questions relating to pieces of primary literature.

  • 3. In addition to the written papers, each candidate must both:

    • (i) undertake and be examined in a research project


    • (ii) submit an Essay.

    • If, in any part of the examination, a candidate presents essentially the same information on more than one occasion, then credit will be given in only the first instance.

  • 4. Research Project

    • (i) Form, subject and approval of the project

    • Candidates must undertake project work under the supervision of a person approved on behalf of the Pre-clinical Medicine Steering Committee. 

    • The project shall consist of original experiments and/or data analysis carried out by the candidate alone or in collaboration with others (where such collaboration is, for instance, needed to produce results in the time available).

      Applications for approval of the research project must be made according to the instructions and by the deadlines given on the Virtual Learning Environment. Candidates who have not applied for approval by the specified deadline or who have submitted a Research Project which did not receive approval may be subject to an academic penalty, as set out in the examination conventions.

    • (ii) Application to change title of project

      If required, candidates may apply to change the title of their project through the Faculty of Physiological Sciences Undergraduate Studies Office on one occasion and no later than noon on Friday of Week 4 of Hilary Term in third year.

    • (iii) Submission of the Project Report

      Project Reports must be uploaded to the University approved online submission system, not later than noon on the Friday of Week 8 of Hilary Term of the third year.

      In exceptional cases, where through unforeseen circumstances a research project produces no useable results (i.e. not even negative or ambiguous results), the candidate may apply through their college to the Director of Pre-clinical Studies or a deputy for permission to submit a concise review of the scientific context and the aims of the work that was attempted, in place of the normal Project Report. Such an application must be accompanied by supporting evidence from the supervisor of the project. The concise review to be submitted in such circumstances should be comparable in length to the Report of a successful research project. The examiners will be advised that substantive results could not be produced.

      Project Reports previously submitted for the Honour School of Medical Sciences may be resubmitted. No Project Report will be accepted if it has already been submitted, wholly or substantially, for another Honour School or degree of this University, or for a degree of any other institution.

    • (iv) Oral assessment of project-based written work 
    • Each candidate shall make a brief oral presentation of their project to two markers selected from a panel of examiners and assessors and shall be expected to answer questions on the project. A moderator may also attend the viva. 
  • 5. The Submitted Essay

    • (i) Form and subject of the essay

      Information on the content, length and format of the Submitted Essay will be published on the Virtual Learning Environment.

      The subject matter of a candidate's essay shall be within the scope of the school. The essay may relate to any of the themes taught in the options of the school.

      A list of essay titles registered by students in previous academic years will be made available by Week 5 of the Trinity Term of the academic year preceding that of the examination, to assist candidates in the choice of topic or general field for the essay.

    • (ii) Registration

      Every candidate must register their essay by the deadline and according to the instructions on the Virtual Learning Environment.

    • (iii) Application to change title of essay

    • If required, candidates may apply to change the title of their essay through the Faculty of Physiological Sciences Undergraduate Studies Office on one occasion and no later than noon on Friday of Week 8 of the third year.

    • (iv) Authorship

      The essay must be the candidate's own work. Candidates' tutors, or their deputies nominated to act as advisors, may discuss with candidates the proposed field of study, the sources available, and the method of treatment, but on no account may they read or comment on any written draft. Every candidate shall submit a certificate to the effect that this rule has been observed and that the essay is their own work.

    • (v) Submission

    • Essays must be uploaded via the University approved online assessment platform, not later than noon on the Friday of Week 0 of Trinity Term of the third year.

  • 6. Should any one option of the school be oversubscribed and the supply of suitable teaching in that option is unable to meet the demand, then the Medical Sciences Board may impose a limit on the number of candidates that may attend Faculty-organised tutorial teaching for that option. Such regulation of numbers may be achieved by the allocation of places in the option to specified students provided that these allocations are published by Monday of Week 5 of Trinity Term of the academic year preceding that in which the candidates are to sit the examination.

  • 7. Candidates may be examined viva voce, the topics may include the subject of any written paper taken by the candidate, or the research project or Submitted Essay.