UCL Medical School


Supporting your career

  1. Careers Advice and Developing your CV

  2. UKFPO - the National Foundation School Application Process

  3. Your Medical School Referee

  4. Foundation Training in Singapore

Please liaise with medsch.year6@ucl.ac.uk for advice about careers and Foundation School transition.


1. Careers Advice and Developing your CV

UCL Medical School:

UCL Medical School holds careers events in each year of the programme with the aim of supporting students in developing their CVs, beginning to consider different medical specialities, and preparing their Foundation School applications. Workshop and presentation slides and resources are made available to students in Moodle after each session.

  • Dr Aroon Lal, Deputy Head of MBBS Programme (Years 4-6), is the MBBS lead for Careers & Foundation School Transition
  • The Year 6 Team is available to help you with queries about the application process - medsch.year6@ucl.ac.uk
  • MBBS Tutors may also be approached for general advice about careers and you can book an appointment with our team

UCL Careers:

UCL Careers provides bespoke support to UCL medical students through the work of David Clegg, a Careers Consultant who specialises in medical careers. See the drop down menu below for further details.



    Support for Medical Students from UCL Careers

    David Clegg, a Careers Consultant who specialises in medical careers, works with UCL Careers to provide one to one appointments and a number of timetabled careers seminars through the academic year for specific year groups.
    Medical Careers appointments are available two afternoons each month and last up to thirty minutes. David is happy to discuss all aspects of medical career planning and progression. He can also provide advice to those who might be considering other options.
    Appointments with David are available to book online via the UCL Careers online booking system MyUCLCareers 

    Appointments are delivered remotely using Microsoft Teams video conferencing software.
    If you have any questions about this service, or other ways that UCL Careers can support you, please contact our Information Staff at careers@ucl.ac.uk

    For general information about UCL Careers 


      Managing your medical career - links and resources
        Reflective practice through the MBBS programme

        Reflective practice is an important part of medical undergraduate and postgraduate training. As you progress through your career, you will need to be able to demonstrate self awareness and a growth mindset as well as being able to provide examples of how you have developed core skills and competencies. These skills include the ability to work well in a team, management and leadership, prioritisation and decision making skills, the ability to cope under pressure and the ability to demonstrate empathy and sensitivity.

        It is important, therefore, to identify tools or approaches that will help you to reflect effectively on your work and your professional development. Keeping a reflective diary in your portfolio during your MBBS can be useful in helping to record and track your progress and development over time. There are a range of ways that you may choose to organise your reflective diary and you need to choose the method that best suits you and that will be most use to you when you come to apply for specialty training posts.

        Ways of organising a reflective diary

        • Focus on what is meant by the ‘core competencies’, e.g. communication skills, ability to work well in a team, professional behaviour, prioritisation skills, and an ability to cope under pressure, which we know are likely to be assessed during the specialty training application process and beyond.
        • Use these ‘core competencies’ as headings under which you can list particular examples which demonstrate that skill set.
        • Alternatively, you might want to start by reflecting on particularly positive (or negative!) experiences which you have had during your clinical training which you can then ‘unpick’ or analyse in terms of particular skills and competencies.
        • Remember, there is no ‘one right way’ to keep a reflective diary. It is your document and you need to make the experience as practical, useful and relevant to you as possible.

        Learning from seeing and doing – A reflective tool

        Reflection often tends to focus on the negatives. This model, based on counterfactual thinking (Rose 1997) is a reflective tool that encourages reflection on both the negative and positive elements of a situation.

         Positive ActionsNegative Actions
        What could have been better?

        Was something missed out?

        What else might be done?

        What would you do more of?

        What should have been avoided?

        What was unnecessary?

        What mistakes were made?

        What would you do less of?

        What could have been worse?

        What could have been forgotten?

        What would have caused problems if neglected?

        What can you learn from?

        What mistakes could have been made?

        How were mistakes avoided?

        What could you have done to do a worse job?


        UCL Medical School Career Events

        Year 1 - November

        • Introduction to Careers (CIF Week A)

        Year 2  - February

        • Careers in Medicine and Transition to the Clinical Years (CIF Week B)

        Year 4 - September

        • Introduction to the Career Management process and information on Foundation School application process (IOM)

        Year 5 - September

        • Careers and the Foundation School applications (IOM)
        • Specialty workshops (IOM)
        • Specialised Foundation Programme

        Year 6 - July of Year 5

        • Foundation Training (IOM)
        • Foundation Programme Application Process (IOM)


        Alternative Careers

        The vast majority of MBBS graduates go on to train within one of over 60 medical specialities.

        Medicine is such an extraordinarily varied profession that the likelihood of finding a specialty that suits your interests, skills and preference is very high.

        Nevertheless each year some doctors choose to move away from practising medicine to work within one of the many alternative careers available.

        It’s worth remembering that up to 60% of graduate-level jobs are open to all degree disciplines, including medicine. Therefore, if you treat your MBBS like any other degree you can see that you have a wide range of options available to you.

        If you are interested in alternative careers to being a doctor, first ask yourself whether you still want to work ‘within medicine’ in some capacity, or whether you’re more interested at looking at opportunities ‘beyond medicine’. This will help to clarify what it is you are looking for and why you are considering leaving the profession.

        It can also be valuable to reflect on what parts of your MBBS you have most enjoyed and which parts of the course have you found more challenging. This will give you an insight into alternative options that would suit your preferences and interests. For example, some students really enjoy the problem-solving or analytical aspects of medicine, whilst others get most satisfaction from working closely with patients.

        You may find talking things through with a careers adviser or educational adviser may help you to clarify your ideas and generate options to explore further.

        To aid your reflection, below are some suggestions of roles which are either linked to medicine in some way or those with are less connected to the field. Remember, these are a few starting points to reflect on; some of these roles will require additional study and training.

        Career alternatives 'within medicine' examples:

        Health policy, medical journalism, medico-legal work, medical (NHS + beyond) management, health economics, medical photography/illustration, medical education, medical statistics, humanitarian relief work, clinical trial management, translational research and development

        Career alternatives 'beyond medicine' examples:

        Management consultancy, psychotherapy, publishing, accountancy, social work, solicitor/barrister work, pharmaceutical research and development, forensic work, public affairs, banking, teaching, central/local government roles.

        Resources and Further Information

        • The NHS Medical Careers website has a useful section on alternative careers
        • UCL Moodle – Careers in Health Science. Provides information on career options, internships, jobs, PhD opportunities within Health Science.
        • Careerstagged.co.uk is a comprehensive career resource from The Careers Group, University of London with links to professional bodies, occupational profiles, relevant jobs boards, organisational websites.
        • Prospects.ac.uk is a graduate careers site with occupational profiles, case studies, sector information, links to professional bodies etc.
        • Target Jobs and Careers Match – graduate jobs sites
        • Contact UCL Careers Service to book a medical student appointment with a careers adviser on 020 3549 5900 or email careers@ucl.ac.uk


        External Resources

        Professional Bodies and Professional Organisations

        PG Medical & Dental Education in London and the South East

        Support for Doctors:

        Online resilience training

        Career Information 

        Application to Foundation Training

        • Oriel - UK wide portal for recruitment to postgraduate medical, dental, public health and healthcare science training programmes www.oriel.nhs.uk
        • UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO) – information on how to apply to the Foundation Programme and the F1/F2 stand-alone programmes 
        • Messly – online tool and blog - rates hospitals and rotations nationally (based on GMC survey data) plus qualitative feedback from trainees 

        Application to Specialty

        Academic Medicine and Research

        Integrated Academic Pathways for Doctors and Dentists

        Women in Medicine

        Working outside the UK


        2. UKFPO - The National Foundation School Application Process

        The application process is managed by the UK Foundation Programme Office and all information and guidance is published on the UKFPO website

        UCLH, The Royal Free and The Whittington Hospital Trusts are within the London Foundation School which is managed by Health Education England (London and South East). Information about this and other UK Foundation Schools can be found via HEE’s website


        3. Your Medical School Referee

        UKFPO will ask you to name one referee from your Medical School when you submit your application in September of Year 6. Your Medical School referee will be your Personal Tutor unless i) you are pre-allocated to an MBBS Tutor or ii) your Personal Tutor has left the Medical School, in which case an MBBS Tutor will provide your reference for you. The Year 6 team will notify you who you should name as your referee in late August of Year 6.  

        The Medical School reference is used primarily for pre-employment checks and has a series of drop down boxes for the referee to confirm that a student is in good standing and satisfactory/not satisfactory in specified areas. This reference does not require in-depth personal knowledge and the information required can be drawn from your medical school academic record, your e-portfolio and/or a CV. Personal Tutors and MBBS Tutors are well placed to provide these references on behalf of the Medical School. Please refer to the UKFPO Applicants’ Handbook for more information about referees.

        Students whose references are to be provided by their Personal Tutor are advised to contact their tutor before naming them in their application to discuss whether the tutor would like to meet prior to providing the reference and whether they would like you to provide e-portfolio items and a CV. Referees will be asked to submit their reference online in March.   

        4. Foundation Training in Singapore

        Since the transfer of the North Central Thames Foundation School from the Medical School to Health Education England in April 2018, we are no longer able to support Singaporean graduates who have chosen to return to Singapore for foundation training in seeking for full GMC registration.