Welcome and Background

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Welcome and Background

The Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS) at UL was established in 2007 and is the first graduate-entry medical school in Ireland and the first to integrate problem-based learning techniques into its medical degree curriculum. The School is one of six departments/schools within the Faculty of Education and Health Sciences (EHS) in the University.  Since its establishment, there has been an expansion in student numbers from an original 32 BMBS students to over 700 students distributed across 5 programmes. 

The School offers a four-year graduate-entry programme leading to the degree of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (BMBS). The BMBS is open to graduates from any discipline. Its highly innovative, award-winning integrated curriculum (National DELTA Award 2018) places a strong emphasis on small-group teaching and on adult, self-directed learning, and aims to produce doctors who are well equipped to meet the existing and emerging needs of the society in which they work. 

The School also offers two Paramedic Science degree programmes with one catering to existing paramedics wishing to upgrade their current paramedic license to a Bachelor’s degree and the other being for undergraduate students wishing to attain their Paramedic license and BSc award. The latter is available to school leavers or mature applicants. 

The Masters in Health Professions Education programme  which was launched in AY2018-19 is designed to meet the educator training needs of busy health professionals, both locally and internationally. As such, the programme is offered in both Blended and Online/Distance Learning formats.  

Research at UL’s Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS) spans biomedical sciences, medicine, surgery, primary and pre-hospital care. With a focus on exploring the fundamentals of health and illness, GEMS researchers aim to contribute new knowledge relevant and translatable to real-world challenges. Through their expertise and leadership, GEMS faculty members and support staff are enabling the next generation of researchers as they aspire and strive to improve lives by preventing and treating disease. The Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS) offers postgraduate degrees including Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) (traditional or structured). The impact of postgraduate student research in the School is reflected in the winning of Prizes such as the Irish Health Services Executive Open Access Awards and the "Doctor Awards" of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland. PhD-led research has also resulted in patent applications and contributed to the design and assessment of novel medical devices.

Future programmes are also in the pipeline, details of which will be available soon. 


While objective data in the form awards and prizes are incredibly helpful, there is nothing more powerful that the testimonial of GEMS students expressing their own experience of teaching and learning at UL GEMS. Below are a few pertinent quotes from recent graduates:

"You are required from the beginning to find information for yourself so after a while it all becomes natural to give answers yourself and help explain to others rather than being spoon feed all your learning"

"It makes you a better doctor than someone who is spoon fed information but then is hit with the realization that medicine, once graduated, is effectively 90% self-directed learning"

"The emphasis on a collegial, welcoming environment that has been created there is like no other; as students, we never felt that we couldn’t approach our professors with questions and concerns, and the focus on tailoring the program to students’ needs is unparalleled."

Professor Deirdre McGrath

Head of School