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ScotGEM Launchpad

Important things to do before coming to the University as an entrant on the ScotGEM (MB ChB) Programme


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 ScotGEM Launchpad 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 ScotGEM Programme Director


ScotGEM Programme Director


We realise you will be very excited to join the ScotGEM programme and both St Andrews and Dundee Medical Schools.  As our second cohort, we are very excited to meet you too.

Our team has been preparing for your arrival and we look forward to helping and encouraging you along the path to becoming a Doctor. That path is often difficult but is varied and interesting. You will learn much about yourself while learning medicine, as it is an all-encompassing profession. Being a Doctor is a privilege and we aim to make your journey with ScotGEM a truly unique and rewarding experience.

As you will have seen on our website, the curriculum is exciting and innovative. We are introducing some cutting edge medical education techniques and technologies amidst a dispersed and community facing course. Our goal is to work closely with you as a ‘community of learners’, and with your help we will create the best course possible.

You have a great opportunity to revisit University life in both St Andrews and Dundee. Both are truly special places; St Andrews is one of the oldest universities in the UK. It is small enough to be friendly, and large enough to provide the facilities and recreational opportunities of larger institutions. Dundee is renowned for offering a superb student experience in a dynamic city currently enjoying a waterfront renaissance. Thereafter Scotland becomes your oyster and you will be living and studying in some of the most beautiful areas across the NHS boards.

I want to encourage you to take full advantage of the opportunities ScotGEM will bring you, not only to succeed in your studies, but also to enjoy the variety that St Andrews, Dundee and wider Scotland have to offer.

I look forward to meeting you and introducing the team who are ready to guide you through your medical studies.

Jon Dowell

ScotGEM Programme Director

Welcome from School President

Hi All!
Congratulations on your offer and welcome to The University of St Andrews!
I’m Nathan Titterton, and I’ll be your Medical School President for the 2019-2020 academic year. Part of my role as the School President is to represent you both within the Medical School & the University as a whole.
The primary focus of my role is academic matters, but there are tonnes of societies to take care of things like sport & socials, including the Bute Medical Society. Despite being a quaint, sea-side town, St Andrews has plenty to offer outside of University life including great beaches (…ever seen Chariots of Fire?), an immense selection of places to eat & drink and, of course, a plethora of golf courses!
I’m sure you are all undoubtedly nervous about starting life at a new university, though I want to assure you that there is lots of support available for all students. Within the medical school you will have your own personal tutor and of course other medical students – everyone is willing to help you!
As you will soon learn Solas, the Medical School’s bespoke ScotGEM curriculum management system, will quickly become your best friend. It will give you information about your personal timetable, staff notifications, exam results and much more!
My Top 3 Tips for ScotGEM Students: 1) Wait until you get here to buy textbooks – they are all available online & in the library, so see what you use most before you buy it yourself. 2) Engage with other medics, an amazing culture exists within the medical school so make the most of it and try to get to know people both within & outside the ScotGEM programme. 3) Get involved in University life – there are so many societies in the Medical School and University and they always provide a great opportunity to meet new people!
If you have any questions (or feedback) for me either before you get here or during your time at St Andrews, please e-mail me at:
I’m looking forward to meeting you all in September!

Welcome from the Bute Medical Society President



It really is true that you’ve overcome by far the biggest hurdle to becoming a doctor by gaining a place to study medicine. And not only will you embark on your journey through medical school, but you’ll be having the unique experience of doing so on a unique course in St Andrews. This seaside town never  disappoints; the breath-taking scenery coupled with the rich history of renowned academia and tradition culminate to create a thriving community that fosters both excellence and enjoyment.

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 be in my 3rd year studying undergraduate medicine at St Andrews – I can’t quite believe how the time has flown by! This year I served as Treasurer for the society and decided I loved it so much that I just couldn’t get enough.

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.


As a society we work hard to facilitate the integration of your ScotGEM classes and the undergraduate cohort, by hosting a multitude of academic and social events throughout the year, timed such that they fall at minimally pressured points during the year. Thus, nearly every medical student chooses to join our society! Since there’s so many events we put on; I’ve just picked out some highlights for you:

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. Our most famous annual event is our “Bute Ball”, featuring an elegant three course meal. 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: 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.

Bute Revue: This end-of-year comedy show hosted by medics, performed by medics, and mostly making fun of medicine and us people who study it. Undoubtedly one of the best nights of the year, this event never fails to impress and have you crying with laughter.


Given it’s always a busy academic year, we will be around every day during Freshers’ week so that you can all get to know one another and ask us any questions you may have. Currently, this is our plan for the 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 if you’re keen to get involved in our university-wide academic family tradition this is a great time to meet other students. 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 (including the BMS) and unions will have a stall in the medical school so you can sign up. Most societies will be looking for some ScotGEM reps to join the committee (especially Bute!), which is a great way to get involved!
  5. Finally, on Sunday we’ll be 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.


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!



Welcome from the ScotGEM 2018/19 Year 1 Class Rep.

Hello and welcome to ScotGEM!

I was the class rep for First Year and have loved my time on the course so far. As you’ve probably recognised, ScotGEM is different from other medical degrees – you will be in general practice from week one and taking blood by Christmas. As a small year group, you will get to know each other quickly and I hope you get on as well as we have. 

We had a Facebook group so those who were here the weekend before Freshers’ week could meet up. But if you’re not around, there will be plenty of time to spend time together in your first week, so don’t worry. I didn’t meet or know anyone on the course until 9am on our first day.

A few tips to help you out in your preparation for coming to St. Andrews:

  • If you have a car – BRING IT! You will be in your GP practice every week and will undertake a voluntary sector placement, so will need to travel. It’s not essential but will make your life easier.
  • If you haven’t done any Anatomy before, look online for basic anatomy textbooks and teaching tools to look over before you start so you understand the basics and general principles. You WILL use them again through the course of the year – I use flash cards that I bought online which I find really helpful but there are also colouring books and online tools that a lot of my class use too.
  • ‘Solas’ is the ScotGEM online platform that contains almost everything you need to know – your timetable, portfolio, exam results and all your lecture slides and teaching content. You will spend a lot of time on it. It has been developed by the School of Medicine and has both a desktop version and a really good smartphone/tablet version. You will have access to it prior to arriving in St. Andrews and I’d recommend spending some time familiarising yourself with it and linking your timetable to your own calendar if you like.
  • Look after you – make sure to take time out to exercise, spend time with friends and family and enjoy yourself! It’s easy to get bogged down and burn yourself out. You are only in St. Andrews for one full year so make the most of it!

When you arrive, the Second Year students will be at placements across Fife, Dumfries & Galloway and Highlands & Islands. At least half of the year group will be in St. Andrews at any time though, so please say hello to them and ask them any questions you might have – they’ll be happy to help you, as will the BSc students. Hopefully when you start there will be a social event for you all to get to know each other but I will be in Dumfries so I will see you in November!


Feel free to drop me a line

How do you do?

Some key staff at the School of Medicine, University of St Andrews 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 ScotGEM Launchpad checklist

The ScotGEM Launchpad  Checklist is a pdf checklist 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.

Checklist can be seen here


Read essential documents: ScotGEM Student Contract

The updated ScotGEM Student Contract will be available by the end of July.   A link to the document will be provided below (until the contract is updated you can view the 2018/19 version).

The ScotGEM Student Contract should be downloaded and read before arrival – however do not sign the contract yet – you will be asked to do this when you are here.

ScotGEM Student Contract.

Read essential documents: School of Medicine Handbook /ScotGEM section

Students should be familiar with the School of Medicine Handbook . There is a section of the handbook, which relates specifically to MBChB ScotGEM  .

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 Occupational Health Questionnaire was emailed to you on 19th April.  It should be completed and returned directly  to the NHS Tayside address on the Questionnaire.

A copy of the document can be found here: 

Arrange Accommodation
Accommodation should be arranged before you arrive .

For St Andrews visit the University’s new entrants and orientation web page and follow the accommodation link .

Accommodation may also be available at through the University of Dundee.

ScotGEM applicants who wish to be considered for student residences at the University of Dundee  may contact to request an application invitation to be sent to them .

See the University of Dundee website for more information

Review and complete essential tasks at the University New Undergraduate Students Page
The New Undergraduate Students page contains important information for students who are matriculating (registering) at the University of St Andrews for the first time as entrants to the ScotGEM Programme.

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 Undergraduate Students page.

Complete the Preparatory Task for ScotGEM

Welcome to ScotGEM. You already have lots of pre-existing ideas about Medicine, because Medicine is about people and you have been living with them, observing them, thinking about them in one way or another all of your life. Many of you will have had contact with medical professionals, doctors, nurses or other members of the allied health professionals. Something about these interactions has made you aspire to join the medical profession. Professionalism is something we are all striving towards. It is easy to recognise professionalism when we see it in action but much more challenging to define the term.

Your first ScotGEM task:

What does professionalism mean to me? Assignment Briefing: 300 words (+/- 10%) Access your pre-existing knowledge and experiences and use this to form the basis of your written response to the question; “What does professionalism mean to me?” There is no requirement for references. In addition Identify THREE keywords that for you, epitomise professionalism. List these words below your paragraph We don’t want you to:

  • Conduct a literature search.
  • We don’t even want you to use google.
  • We especially don’t want you to worry about this task.

We do want you to:

  • Spend about an hour on the task.
  • Write from your personal viewpoint you may all have different ideas (we hope so!) but they will all be valid.
  • Submit the document as a pdf to  by Thursday 5th September 2019 at 16.00.
  • Come along prepared to discuss your views on professionalism in a small group session facilitated by your Generalist Clinical Mentor (GCM) during Orientation week.
  • Save an accessible, electronic copy of the file as this will be one of the first pieces of work we require you to upload to your professional portfolio (more about that in orientation week).

Things to bring...

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 Questionnaire and accompanying notes (see ‘Things to do before I arrive…’  on this page).

Where a student cannot evidence to OH that they have had a BCG (TB) immunisation or have had a negative mantoux or IGRA blood test done in the last 5 years  they must be screened and found non infectious prior to commencing clinical work. 

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. Purchase of books is not compulsory, but you may find it useful to meet your specific learning needs. When choosing textbooks we try to ensure that they will be useful for your 4 years in the ScotGEM Programme. 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. The books will be available for purchase from Blackwell’s Bookshop located in the Students Association Building in St Andrews. Blackwells  can be reached at tel: 01334 476367 or email: . 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.

University of St Andrews MBChB (ScotGEM) Reading List (2018/2019)

Reading throughout the first two years of the curriculum will be largely drawn from these 2 lists of books.

The Medical School and the University library subscribe to a number of key eBooks which will be available online to all medical students. Our advice is to wait until you get to St Andrews before making decisions about purchasing, as some of these books are heavy! Note that the library only holds ~20 copies of each so it is recommended that students who prefer using physical copies consider buying their own copies in order to access the course literature in their own time. Additionally, most textbooks offer online resources that you can access using a code found within your purchased copy of the textbook. You should check that you are buying the most recent edition. Books can be ordered in advance by contacting Blackwell’s bookshop within the Student Union (

Stethoscopes, Pocket Masks and Laboratory Coat

You will need to have your own stethoscope, pocket mask and laboratory coats for our clinical skills training.


It is strongly recommend that you buy the 3M™ Littmann® Classic III™ Stethoscope . It is very important for your basic training that your stethoscope has both a bell and a diaphragm. The  3M™ Littmann® Classic  III™ Stethoscope is all you need. You will not require a specialist cardiology- or electronic stethoscope.

Pocket Masks

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

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.

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:

Fob Watches

If you do not already have a fob watch we have some for sale at a cost of £4.  These can be purchased from Dr Lysa Owen in CLIC

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:-


Things to think about...

IT skills

During your time as a medical student you will need to be competent with the Microsoft products Word, Excel and PowerPoint. If you are not as familiar as you would like to be with these programs, you can enrol is some formal training with the university. The University offers some IT training resources.

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 will 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


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

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

Agents of Change Placements

ScotGEM: Changing the future medical workforce – Third sector placements for first year medical students.

Dr Heather Shearer, ScotGEM Clinical Teaching Fellow;; @hlshearer
Meg Wright, ScotGEM Service Learning Vertical Theme Lead.



Year 1 ScotGEM medical students will complete at least 20 hours in third sector community placements, offering positive benefits for both the students and third sector partners.


ScotGEM aims to create doctors for the 21st century who can deliver care and develop healthcare systems. Much medical training is focused upon using techniques to gather information from each individual patient in order to inform the choice and delivery of treatment. To practie as a medical professional embedded in local and global communities requires interaction with the wider environment and therefore changes to the existing medical education models are being adopted. The third sector placements will enable you to develop a fuller understanding of the social determinants of health and enhance decision making.

As one of the students in 2018/19 intake said “You couldn’t learn this in a classroom. You have to experience it” Dominic Pascoe, SCOTGEM Y1 2018/2019

Examples of previous students’ activities include:

  • Accompanying staff on home visits to families and individuals
  • Attending support groups
  • Creating and offering food parcels
  • Community gardening
  • Developing activities for children and young people
  • Meeting with and supporting people who live on the streets

You need to be prepared to undertake one of these placements during your first semester. Information will be provided to help you indicate your preference for placement and we will endeavour to meet your preferences.

The attached poster gives further information about the experience in 2018/19.  

Can you please think about the type of voluntary sector placement you would like to take part in during semester 1 in Fife?

You will be able to submit your preferences when you start the course in September.

View Poster here: 


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 Launchpad just for questions about IT.

You can find this here…

I've got a question about Orientation Week?


Tours of the School of Medicine for parents/families and students by the Bute Medical Society are available on Sunday 9/09/18 from 1-3pm .

There is also a reception for University Parents in the Younger Hall from 3.30 to 4.30 .

Where do I go on Monday of Orientation

The formal School of Medicine orientation begins at 9.00am on Monday of Orientation week in Booth 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 Programme Director, the Year 1 Lead and the Lead GCM.  We will also explain all the events that are planned for Monday and the rest of 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 you feet in the early stages of you medical course .

The full programme for ScotGEM students can be viewed by clicking here

Students should note that they will be required to bring their laptops/mobile devices with them on Friday 14/09/18 for the visit to Dundee University and medical School.

What about improving my study skills?
The University Orientation Week Programme includes courses in study skills.   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!).

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 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 ScotGEM  medical students to help you prepare for the beginning of your course .  The provisional programme can be viewed here: 

The University of Dundee also hosts Welcoming and Orientation activities that ScotGEM students are welcome to attend. Find out more about the University of Dundee Union Freshers Events and the  Medicine Welcome.

Please note that these events occur before the ScotGEM semester begins on Monday the 10th September and are optional for all ScotGEM students. If any student would like to attend any ‘Medicine Welcome’ event at the University of Dundee, please contact to allow us to notify Dundee.

Tours of the School

Staff and students will be available to show new students, and those accompanying, 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:

School of Medicine

University of St Andrews

North Haugh

St Andrews

KY16 9TF

School: +44 (0) 1334 463599

Admissions: +44 (0) 1334 461886

ScotGEM enquiries: +44 (0) 1334 463619

fax: +44 (0) 1334 467470