This page provides an overview of how you can make the most of your O&G experience as a medical student (undergraduate).
For information about the structure of medical training in the UK, please read the overview of medical education in the UK.
The timing of your exposure to O&G as a medical student varies for each individual school and can incorporate teaching hospital, district general hospital and community experience. In your O&G attachment, you’ll encounter both commonplace and unusual problems of pregnancy and you’ll also see many different methods of investigating and treating gynaecological complaints.
Many medical students find that O&G is one of the first specialties where they really get to be hands-on. With luck, you’ll deliver a baby as part of your training.
Special study module
You may have the opportunity to undertake a special study module, to spend time working in a specialty you find particularly interesting. In O&G, this could involve spending time in a fetal medicine unit, a regional gynaecological cancer unit or a fertility unit. It’s likely that you’ll undertake a written project as part of the module.
A special study module is an opportunity to experience O&G in greater depth. If you’re interested in academic career pathways, a special study module will also introduce you to research methodologies.
O&G experience as part of your medical school elective can be both exhilarating and terrifying. If you go to an under-resourced country, you’ll be exposed to pathological conditions that are rarely seen in the UK. Lack of basic care and pharmacological treatments means patients often present late and in advanced stages of disease. You can make a massive difference by being an extra pair of hands, and you’ll certainly see lots of deliveries.
If you undertake an O&G elective in a well-resourced country, you may get to see new techniques and procedures that aren’t yet in current practice in the UK, and you’ll get the chance to see how modern healthcare systems differ in their patient care.
Intercalated BSc and MSc degrees
You could take a year-long intercalated BSc or MSc degree to explore the science that underpins O&G practice, and to get an introduction to research and academic O&G. Recent student projects include developing screening tests for prevention of preterm labour; investigating why women miscarry; looking at methods to identify molecular abnormalities that place women at high risk of gynaecological cancers.
Awards, merits and prizes
Many medical schools, and also the RCOG, have prize competitions that medical students can apply for, usually for an extra endeavor such as presenting a piece of investigative work or writing an essay. Sometimes, prizes or merits are awarded for an excellent exam performance. If you’re thinking about a career in O&G, these competitions are a great way to show that you’re interested in the specialty. You can add them to your CV and make you stand out from the crowd.
Find out more about a career in O&G
The O&G careers prospectus also includes:
- The medical student experience of O&G
- Foundation training
- Specialty training in O&G
- Research and academic training
- Assessment and exams
- How the RCOG supports and works with trainees
- Working life in O&G
- Personal profiles of O&G doctors
Elsewhere on the site
Specialty training in O&G
Overview of the specialty training programme in O&G, including assessment and certification of training
About the College
Find out more about the College and how we support our members