Online Teachers’ Conference

Join us from 15:00 until 17:00 to ask our experts questions you may have about your students applying to study here at Birmingham.

In our first ever online conference, our panel of experts, including our Director of Admissions and Student Recruitment Manager, will be taking your questions. There will be a focus on medical/health related subjects with academics from Medicine, Public Health and Psychology answering questions on their degree course, what we look for in applicants and how students can make their application stand out.

Speaker profiles

  • Andy Cotterill

    Student Recruitment Officer

  • Jessica Oakes

    Student Recruitment Coordinator

  • Roderick Smith

    Director of Admissions

  • Nerisa Anwar

    Student Recruitment Co-coordinator
    College of Life and Environmental Sciences

  • Paul Fisher

    Admissions Tutor for Public Health

  • Austen Spruce

    MBChB Medicine and Surgery Admissions Tutor

  • Katherine Pagett

    Student Recruitment Manager

Q&A Archive

These were the questions asked during the Online Teachers’ Conference live event.

Thank you everyone for dropping by.

We hope that you found this afternoon useful. These questions and answers will stay here, but if you have any more please get in touch with us at

Many Thanks

The Recruitment team

Ellie Lee asked:

For your Nursing degree I am aware that you accept the extended diploma in health and social care. Do students need to have studied particular modules within this so that they cover the science knowledge neccessary for nursing? Is your preference biology A level?

Auste replied:


Applicants do not need to offer an A Level if they are undertaking the Extended Diploma (in either Health and Social Care or Applied Science – grade requirements are DDM). No particular modules need to be studied. They do need to offer an A Level if it is the Diploma qualification.

When A Levels are the main qualification, one of the subjects should be Biology, Psychology or Sociology. In other words, Biology A Level is not preferred and an applicant who offers this is not at an advantage over applicants who offer other valid qualifications.

Kind regards,


Vicki asked:

as public health will be a new course, will there be any subject specific requirements? What will you be looking for in a personal statement?

Paul Fisher replied:

Hi Vicki

Due to the epidemiological and statistical elements of the course we are asking for one science A-level which could be Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Geography, Maths, PE/Sports Studies, Psychology, Physics, Statistics, Geology (other qualifications are considered and students can contact the Admissions Tutor for further information).

Public health is a broad subject and therefore a wide range of experiences would be applicable for a personal statement, for example:

– Relevant volunteering or work experience (e.g. within the NHS or a local authority)

– Demonstrating an understanding of what public health is and which particular modules the student is looking forward to and why

– Examples of leadership, advocacy and communication skills

– Long-term goals after the BSc


Ellie Lee asked:

Could you tell me a little bit more about the Foundation Pathways in Medical, Life and Geosciences please? Are these appropriate for students who have missed the grades for medicine for example?

Katherine replied:

Hi Ellie

This Foundation programme is for international students and further details about the entry requirements can be found here. The Medical, Life and Geosciences Pathway does not lead onto the degree in Medicine but can lead onto a wide range of other degree programmes which can be found here.

Ellie Lee asked:

What work experience opportunities does the University of Birmingham consider as ideal oipportunities for prospective students interested in medicine, Public Health and Psychology?

Nerisa and Austen Spruce and Paul Fisher replied:

Hi Ellie,

Thank you for your question.

For prospective applicants who are interested in applying for BSc Psychology, we do not currently have set work experience requirements that applicants need to meet as part of our entry requirements. We consider applications as a whole and would look at all of your skills and experience demonstrated in both your personal statement and listed on your application. Work experience or paid employment does not necessarily need to be within the realm of Psychology, as we appreciate it is difficult to source clinical based work experience for example, and we would look at a wide range of experience from varying backgrounds. If you are specifically interested in finding work experience related to Psychology, then you can perhaps take a look at community volunteering initiatives such as charity helplines or project based work working with young people for example. It is more important for you to demonstrate your motivations for studying the course and the skills and personal development you have gained from your various life experiences as a whole.

From the perspective of medicine….. healthcare experience (broadly defined) is very important.  An applicant does not need to offer shadowing – in fact, though this can be very helpful to the individual, it says nothing to us about the qualities of the applicant. Rather, we would prefer an applicant to take on some kind of caring responsibility for vulnerable people. This doesn’t have to be in a classical healthcare setting but it should not be only experience gained with family members. There are various ways that medical schools might assess this in the selection for interview but we would all be trying to measure how well an applicant can demonstrate empathy. The ability to present considered, rational  views on an issue at the same time is also important. A candidate will be expected to convey the understanding the have gained from their own experiences in trying to provide care and support.

Public health is a very broad subject and so a variety of volunteering/work experience would be valuable preparation for the BSc. The main organisations with public health responsibilities are the  NHS, local authorities and Public Health England but there are also numerous third sector organisations that supply a growing amount of public health interventions (e.g. via community groups, working with the homeless etc.). The key is highlighting which element of public health the experience is related to (e.g. healthcare public health, mental public health, health protection etc). There also is a strong emphasis on global health during the BSc and any international exposure should be highlighted in personal statements.