The clinical speciality of Obstetrics and Gynaecology takes the lead on undergraduate teaching for medical and physician associate students in the reproductive system and Women’s Health.

To recognise pathology, you must first understand normality.

Dr William Smellie (1697-1763) Lanarkshire apothecary and Leader of Obstetric skills and training. William Smellie had a scientific approach to learning Obstetrics and its skills using his own models and students attending intrapartum care.

Good health is key to our speciality and our course is based on integrating understanding of normal anatomy and reproductive physiology to promote good health and care.


We meet the MBChB students in Year 3 for their first module on reproductive health which includes Sexual Health and breast disease.  They attend for 6 weeks in September to October, the first system in that year.  Teaching is delivered in lectures and interactive demonstrations as small group or whole year teaching as well as online podcasts, film and online clinical cases.  The course includes anatomy, embryology, reproductive physiology, antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care, screening, history taking, pharmacology in pregnancy, gynaecology, neonatology, clinical examination skills and procedures. This course also includes global women’s health.

In Year 4 students attend in 5 week clinical rotations based on attachments to clinical areas  – Labour Ward, Antenatal clinics, Gynaecology  and breast clinics and wards and theatre.  We provide access to online podcasts, presentations and cases.  Students are supervised in small groups with a tutor.  Tutorials are usually case based discussion sessions at lunchtimes covering a number of common or important topics designed to take them up a level from the Year 3 teaching. All students have dedicated shifts with different members of the Labour Ward (medical, midwifery and theatre staff) team and are involved in intrapartum care.

In Year 5, students may select Obstetrics and Gynaecology as their surgical speciality and we supervise students for an 8 week clinical attachment.  They have a consultant as their educational supervisor but work as part of the clinical team and perform tasks similar to an FY1. This will include out of hours care at night or weekends.  All year 5 students will take on more responsibility for a small group of patients under supervision as their student assistantship during this block.

Student Elective Projects

Our staff supervise and support a wide variety of Year 5 student elective projects in Aberdeen but also abroad.  We welcome any enquiries about potential supervisors and projects. Please contact Rhoda Frith our teaching co0-ordinator.

Intercalated BSC students

Each year, we offer a number of supervised projects to medical students as part of intercalated BSc degrees in medical sciences. These cover basic science, clinical research, epidemiology and secondary research. These often result in lasting research collaborations and publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Student Selected Modules

Staff in the University Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology supervise student selected modules for year 1 and year 4 groups. These groups allow student s with an interest in reproductive health to work on an area of interest to them. Students conduct a rigorous review of the literature and develop their team working skills to produce a report and present their findings orally. These modules allow students to develop detailed knowledge of an area, recognise the existing research and related gaps and have led some students to publish their work in peer-reviewed journals.

Summer Studentships

MB ChB students with an interest in our speciality can undertake summer studentships. We offer a variety of research projects as part of the University of Aberdeen Hot Start programme and Medical Education projects with the Division of Medical and Dental Education.  We also able to consider projects and supervision out with these programmes.

Physician Associate Post graduate Certificate

Our PA students have a lecture based course during Year 1 covering Reproductive Physiology and common Obstetric and Gynaecological conditions.  There are also some practical sessions on Obstetric Abdominal Palpation and Pelvic Examination.  These students also have access to podcasts and clinical cases online.

In Year 2 the students visit for a week and gain experiencing at Infertility clinics, a set of sessions with expectant mothers run by community midwives, Gynaecology wards, MDTs, Smear clinics, Gynaecology theatres and Ring Pessary Clinics.

For all of the above we receive very positive feedback from the students who seem to enjoy the experience gained in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.