University of Wales college of Medicaine, Cardiff Wales

The medical school was founded as Cardiff Medical School in 1893 when the Departments of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology were established at University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire (now Cardiff University). Much of the initial funding came from the donations of Sir William James Thomas, 1st Baronet.

The opening ceremony took place on 14 February 1894 at the College buildings on Dumfries Place and was conducted by John Viriamu Jones, Principal of the College, and Richard Quain, President of the General Medical Council. During the ceremony professors of the new medical school encouraged it to emulate the recent advances in medical education at the University of Heidelberg.] The first Dean of the school was Alfred W. Hughes of Corris.

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A department of Pathology and Bacteriology was added in 1910. Students finishing their preclinical studies at Cardiff went on to other medical schools for their clinical studies, many going to University College Hospital in London, part of University College London.

In 1921 it became a clinical and pre-clinical medical school with the name of the Welsh National School of Medicine, and in 1931 it became an independent institution of the University of Wales. The name was further changed in 1984, to University of Wales College of Medicine.

In 2002, ideas were floated to re-merge Cardiff with the University of Wales College of Medicine (UWCM) following the publication of the Welsh Assembly Government’s review of higher education in Wales. This merger became effective on 1 August 2004, on which date Cardiff University ceased to be a constituent institution of the University of Wales and became an independent “link institution” affiliated to the federal University. The process of the merger was completed on 1 December 2004 when the Act of Parliament transferring UWCM’s assets to Cardiff University received Royal Assent. On 17 December it was announced that the Privy Council had given approval to the new Supplemental Charter and had granted university status to Cardiff, legally changing the name of the institution to Cardiff University. Cardiff awarded University of Wales degrees to students admitted before 2005, but these have been replaced by Cardiff degrees. Medicine, dentistry and other health-related areas began to admit students for Cardiff degrees in 2006.

In 2004, Cardiff University and the Swansea University entered a partnership to provide a four-year graduate-entry medical degree. An annual intake of around 70 post-graduate students undertook an accelerated version of the Cardiff course at the Swansea University for the first two years before joining undergraduate students at Cardiff for the final two years. However, from September 2010 Swansea University began independently providing medical education in a revised 4-yr Graduate Entry Degree.

In 2005, The Wales College of Medicine, which is part of the University, launched the North Wales Clinical School in Wrexham in collaboration with the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education in Wrexham and Bangor University, previously University of Wales, Bangor, and with the National Health Service in Wales. This has been funded with £12.5 million from the Welsh Assembly and will lead to the trebling of the number of trainee doctors in clinical training in Wales over a four-year period.

By 2008 the medical school it had an intake of some 305 British medical students per year and an additional 25 students from overseas.

In November 2011 Cardiff University’s School of Medicine officially opened the Cochrane Building, a health education centre offering students the latest teaching, library and simulation facilities. The Centre’s facilities include a Clinical Skills Centre, a high-technology medical simulation centre and a new library. The Cochrane Building provides teaching and learning facilities for all healthcare schools based on the Heath Park Campus and is named after the University’s medical pioneer, Archie Cochrane.

In 2012, Cardiff University’s School of Medicine and ‘Meducation’ hosted the Wales Medical Undergraduate Conference, the first national undergraduate medical conference held in Wales, with over 100 posters, and 15 oral presentations taking place and attendees from throughout Europe.

Alumni have also gone onto success in professional sports, such as Wales international rugby union players Jamie Roberts, Hallam Amos, and Gwyn Jones (the latter captained Wales whilst at medical school).

Cardiff has two Nobel Laureates on its staff, Sir Martin Evans and Robert Huber. A number of Cardiff University staff have been elected as Fellows of the Royal Society, these include Graham Hutchings, professor of Physical Chemistry and Director of the Cardiff Catalysis Institute, School of Chemistry and Ole Holger Petersen, director of Cardiff School of Biosciences.Cardiff University was established as the University College of South Wales and Monmouth shire in the year 1883. In the year 1893, it was among the developing colleges of the University of Wales. From the year 1997, it started granting degrees to the students. It merged in 1988 with the renowned university, the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology. The name of the university as Cardiff University became legal in 2005 that gave it the power to award degrees on its own. Being the third among the other oldest universities in Wales, it comprises of 26 academic schools which are categorized into three colleges including College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences.

The Cardiff at the Cathays Park is the centre of administrative facilities while the Bute building houses Cardiff School of Media, Journalism and Cultural studies and the Welsh School of Architecture. The Glamorgan Building has the Cardiff School of Planning, Geography and Social Sciences. A number of academic facilities of the university are centred on Health Park Campus, formed at the University Hospital of Wales. This is home to the Cardiff University of Medicine and the School of Healthcare.

The university has a total enrollment of over 33,190 students out of which 23,960 are undergraduate students and 9,230 are postgraduate students from over 100 countries, according to the survey by HESA in the year 2018-19. Moreover, 8,620 are international students. As per the Universities, the employment report is concerned, about 95.7% of the graduates are employed or go for further studies shortly after completing their graduation.

Around 160,000 alumni of the university from 180 countries are recognized across the world. These alumni have made their names in diverse fields and organizations including Barham Salih who was the former Prime Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan Region and the BBC Governor Richard Tait.

Cardiff University is an innovative university; it is known as the Welsh University of the Year (The Times & The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018). As a global university, it is home to over 7,000 international students from 100 different countries.

The University shares strong ties with leading institutions and organisations in over 35 countries, that encourage better learning and teaching outcomes. It also ranks 99 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and has been awarded the honourable Queen’s Anniversary Prize six times for its effective research.

Academics and researchers at Cardiff have won many awards for their discoveries and innovations. Two eminent scientists in the academics have won the Nobel Prize for their ground-breaking work in medicine and chemistry.

The University has gained good recognition from students; in fact, as per the NSS survey in 2017, 84% of students were found to be satisfied with overall experience at Cardiff. It invests in upgrading its facilities, and a major investment of £600 million is underway to improve the amenities available for students and staff. The ‘Translational Research Facility’ unit houses two research institutes.

At the heart of the University lies the ‘Centre for Student Life’ that accommodates several support centres for students. The University rewards meritorious students with a number of scholarships every year.

As per the NatWest Student Living Index 2017, Cardiff is amongst the top UK cities that has affordable living options. There are lots of places to see and experience while living in the elegant city of Cardiff. Students can explore film locations, visit stunning national parks and islands, enjoy rugby days and be part of the Students’ Union. Over 200 student societies and sport clubs are open for students at the University.

Average Tuition Fee Per Year Undergraduate
Costs per year Overall cost of living
Campus accommodation

The University is investing hundreds of millions of pounds to provide its students with world-class facilities as part of its largest campus upgrade in a generation.

A massive GBP 600m capital investment programme across the University, including GBP 260 m in student facilities, will help it ensure that it can give students the best experience possible.

Its on-going programme of investment has already delivered state-of-the-art buildings such as the Cochrane Building, home to the School of Medicine. Located at the Heath Park Campus, it is shared with students studying other healthcare disciplines and has a range of facilities including a clinical skills centre, a high-tech medical simulation centre and a library. Also on Heath Park Campus, the School of Dentistry has opened a new GBP 2m simulation suite.

Plans are being drawn up for a new home for the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies alongside the new BBC Wales studios in the city centre, and there are proposals for new facilities for many of its academic schools. The University is also investing in new research facilities on its GBP 300m Innovation Campus on Maindy Road to help create economic and social prosperity.

Cardiff’s Students’ Union has been voted the best in Wales and one of the best in the UK ji(Which? University Student Survey 2017). The Student Union has led to many exciting developments in recent years including a new social learning and evening entertainment venue, Y Plas, as well as new shops and student services which have transformed the building. In addition, one of Cardiff’s most ambitious projects is to create a GBP 50m Centre for Student Life to provide a central hub for its student support services as well as offering modern, flexible social learning spaces and a 550-seat lecture theatre. Work has already begun on this project. Cardiff University offers a range of teaching and assessment methods to suit all learning styles, including formal lectures, group seminars, one-to-one work, tutorials, lab classes, presentations, exams, coursework, and industry placement opportunities. Its varied approach to teaching ensures that Cardiff University graduates are well-rounded; educated using cutting-edge research and up-to-date curriculum; and prepared for the world of work, with skills that are highly sought-after by employers in the competitive global jobs market.

Its academic staff are knowledgeable and enthusiastic teachers, committed to developing effective and exciting learning communities and the University offers a stimulating and supportive environment in which all its students can thrive.

Students, parents, teachers and graduate employers can have confidence in the quality and standards of its teaching owing to the University’s independent awards and recognition from professional bodies such as the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

Cardiff University graduates are among the most sought-after by employers who recognise the quality of its degree programmes and its graduates’ academic abilities, motivation and resourcefulness. Many international students study at Cardiff to improve their job prospects and its graduates are among the UK’s most employable with almost 95% in employment or further study within six months of graduation (HESA 2016).

Cardiff has a dedicated Careers and Employability service available to all students, helping them develop a wide range of skills and gain work experience to help achieve their career goals. The Careers and Employability service run free training programmes, workshops and skills sessions to help improve students’ team-work, management, problem-solving, communication, literacy, numeracy and IT skills. Students involved in extra-curricular activities and work experience can also participate in the Cardiff Award Programme which provides formal recognition of employability skills gained during these activities.

Many of its courses offer students the opportunity to spend a year in industry and gain work experience in their chosen field. Cardiff also offers a free careers service with specialist international student support. They offer advice and guidance on choosing a career, interview techniques, job seeking and improving their CV.

The University also provides dedicated careers events for international students with regular opportunities to meet potential employers recruiting on campus.

Its graduates are working across the globe in reputable, international corporations including the likes of Pepsi-Cola, Unilever, Sony, Shell, Microsoft, HSBC, Emirates Airlines, Citibank, BBC and many more.

Department structure

Cardiff University offers over 500 degrees across a range of subject areas. It has three separate colleges which are each home to 25 academic schools.

The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences covers subject areas such as:

  • Business
  • English, Communication and Philosophy
  • Geography and Planning
  • History, Archaeology and Religion
  • Journalism, Media and Culture
  • Law and Politics
  • Modern Languages
  • Music
  • Social Sciences
  • Welsh

The College of Biomedical and Life Sciences covers subject areas such as:

  • Biosciences
  • Dentistry
  • Healthcare Sciences
  • Medicine
  • Optometry and Vision Sciences
  • Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Wales Deanery (PGMDE)

The College of Physical Sciences and Engineering covers subject areas such as:

  • Architecture
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science and Informatics
  • Earth and Ocean Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Physics and Astronomy

Many of its academic schools are among the best in the UK, with award-winning academics, Nobel Prize winners, Queen’s Anniversary Prize winners and tutors with many more accolades delivering cutting-edge research and teaching.

As a member of the Russell Group, Cardiff University attracts funding, grants and awards that enable it to deliver the highest quality teaching across its academic schools.

Cardiff University is ranked among the world top 100 in numerous subject areas and in the UK top 5 for subjects including: Architecture; Civil Engineering; Communications and Media; Dentistry; Healthcare Sciences; Journalism; Optometry; Pharmacy; Psychology; Sociology and more.

It is also ranked within the UK top 10 for: Business; Chemistry; English; General Engineering; Geography and Planning; Mechanical Engineering; Medicine; Modern Languages; Physics; Radiography and more (Top 5 and Top 10 subject areas ranked by independent sources – The Times, The Guardian, The Complete University Guide, REF).

Entry requirements

Entry requirements at Cardiff University vary from course to course. Have a look at the admissions criteria for undergraduate students for more details.

For some undergraduate degree programmes, international students may be required to undertake an International Foundation Programme prior to undergraduate study, if they don’t have the appropriate subject background for direct entry to first year, or they haven’t studied the appropriate subjects in the required depth.

The International Foundation Programme (IFP) is a one-year programme designed to give students the academic and English language skills needed to begin a variety of degrees with the University. The IFP offers automatic progression to a range of degree schemes in some of the best academic departments in the UK.

All undergraduate applicants must demonstrate a standard level of English Language that will enable them to benefit fully from their course of study. If they are an overseas applicant and their first language is not English, then they must have a proven level of English to study on its courses.

The University accepts a variety of language qualifications for entry to its courses and for some programmes, the University may ask for higher grades in order to cope with the requirements of the course. Most undergraduate courses at Cardiff University require an IELTS score of 6.5 (with at least 5.5 in all sub-scores), with some courses requiring a higher score of 7.0.

If students are looking to improve their English language skills before starting their University studies, there are pre-sessional English language programmes ranging from 8 to 20 weeks in length which cater for most language levels and abilities.


What if I can’t attend on the date given? 

Please respond to your email invitation as soon as possible even if you don’t plan to attend. If you are unable to attend on your allocated day or interview slot we may be able to make alternative arrangements for you.

I am travelling from outside the area. Can you recommend anywhere to stay?

There are plenty of hotels that surround each of our campuses. 

Can I bring guests? 

You are welcome to bring one guest only with you for support. Your guest will be allowed to come with you to any optional subject information talks you choose to attend, but they will not be allowed to sit in on interviews. We ask that guests use their discretion on particularly busy days and wait in the cafe or take the opportunity to visit the local area.

How should I dress for the Interview Day?

Our Interview Days are quite informal, so you can wear whatever you feel comfortable in. We recommend smart/casual.

Where can I park?

Parking is available on Glyntaff campus. 

What should I do if I’m going to be late? 

We strongly recommend that you arrive on time wherever possible, as failure to do so may result in you losing your allocated interview slot. If you think you will be late for reasons beyond your control, let us know as soon as you can by calling us on 03455 76 77 78. We can then plan for your arrival.

What if I arrive on the wrong campus? 

You will receive information on how to get to your chosen campus, but if you do arrive at one of our other campuses by mistake, staff will be able to direct you to the right one.

What should I do when I arrive? 

Generally, applicants will be asked to talk about what interests them about the course and why they would like to study at the Univeristy.

When will I find out if I’ve got a place?

Decisions are usually sent to UCAS within 7-8 days of attending the Interview Day. You can find out if you’ve secured a place on your UCAS Track page and you will also be e-mailed confirmation of your place if you are successful. It is important that you check your e-mails regularly, because we may need extra information before we can process your offer.