Intercalation decision. Advice wanted.


New Member
I have to make a decision about whether to undertake an intercalated degree next academic year or not and I thought it would be a good idea for me to post here so that I could get the opinion of other medics who did intercal or did not do intercal, their reasons for making the choice they did and general advice.

I study at Glasgow and the Scottish government actually pays our tuition fees for us so money is not a massive factor for consideration to me (without sounding rude). I guess it would be an extra year of university paying for rent, food as well as the loss of one year of consultant salary in the long run I would think.

If you could let me know factors which should be taken into consideration and which factors shouldn’t be considered much with regards to making a decision about intercalation, that would help a lot. I have been told many times that intercalation helps if you want to go into a particularly competitive specialty choice. The truth is that, for me, I can’t be certain as to which specialty I will end up in as my preferences fluctuate almost as quickly as the world of medicine does. Currently, I am fond of cardiothoracic surgery, general surgery, ophthalmology, haematology, infectious diseases but as I say, these could change markedly over the next two years and they have changed since the last two years. If I did my project on heart disease but didn’t end up in cardiac surgery, would that be less useful than if I did the project on a topic that was relevant to which specialty I would end up in and, if so, how much of a difference does that play?

Some people say that it does help in learning how to evaluate papers and articles and it helps with statistic analysis but I would think that, given medicine is truly a life-long learning experience, I could learn at least many of those skills over the next 40 years or so?

Another important consideration is the fact that I want to work abroad, probably in the UAE, Qatar, Egypt or Jordan. I won’t go into the details as to why I am leaving but at this point, I am almost certain that I will move to the Middle East to work as soon as possible (probably after foundation training). Given this information, I am not sure how much weighting employers would give to a recently qualified doctor planning on training in a foreign country? I hear that they are particularly fond of Western educated doctors working over there (which is positive for me) and if anyone can give me any more advice regarding that, I would appreciate it.

Ideally, I would like to you complete the following sentence “you should intercalate if you ......... and you should not intercalate if you .....”.

Any other advice regarding intercalation or what you wished you had known prior to intercalating but didn’t would be really helpful.