Posted on October 12, 2016

Doctors who completed the Graduate Entry Medicine programme in RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) return to the College today to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the introduction of this innovative new approach to educating doctors.

In 2006, RCSI became the first medical school in Ireland to admit students to a four-year Graduate Entry Medicine (GEM) programme and since then, 415 doctors have graduated from the programme. Graduate Entry Medicine offers students with a degree in another discipline the opportunity to study medicine at an accelerated rate of a four year programme instead of the more traditional five- or six-year (direct entry) programme.

The GEM programme has allowed RCSI to broaden access to medical education, having admitted students with a broad range of primary degrees from nursing to aeronautical studies, from music to neuroscience. The diversity of background has enriched the educational experience for the entire cohort including the direct entry students.


Shane Farrington (3rd year Graduate Entry Medicine student), Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI, Minister Richard Bruton, Minister for Education, Professor Seamus Sreenan, Director of the Graduate Entry Medicine, RCSI,  Sinéad Spencer (final year Graduate Entry Medicine student) and Dáire O'Haodhagain (final year Graduate Entry Medicine student)


Professor Cathal Kelly, CEO/Registrar RCSI, speaking before the event said “The Graduate Entry Medicine (GEM) programme was the first of its kind in Ireland when it was founded in 2006. It is now a well-established and highly successful programme with recent research showing that its students achieve standards of excellence at least equivalent to students training in the longer traditional medicine programme.”

“As Ireland’s only health sciences focused institution, Ireland’s largest medical school and one of the leading health sciences institutions in the world, RCSI has a long track record of pushing boundaries and leading the way in healthcare education. The introduction of GEM in Ireland was another example of the College’s pioneering approach to education and we are proud that the graduates of the programme have gone on to become well rounded healthcare professionals, who are making a difference to the delivery of healthcare in Ireland and around the world,” concluded Professor Kelly.

Minister for Education, Richard Bruton TD, stated: “The Graduate Entry Medicine programme is an innovative approach to educating new doctors, allowing people from diverse backgrounds with different degrees enter medical training and bring that prior learning and experience to their new career. This approach is an excellent example of innovation in education.”

For the last 10 years, the Graduate Entry Medicine (GEM) programme has offered an accelerated course with dedicated facilities for the first two years which enables the students to attain the level achieved by their counterparts in the more traditional five or six year (direct entry) programme prior to the two groups joining together for their senior clinical years. The focus of the GEM programme on innovative teaching methods, small group teaching and a strong emphasis on early clinical contact has enabled RCSI to achieve this goal.

RCSI is ranked in the top 250 institutions worldwide and joint 1st place in the Republic of Ireland in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2016-2017). It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide

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