New medical school out to make its mark

SINGAPORE - The dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine has a message for those who might perceive the new school as a second choice among potential students.

Professor Dermot Kelleher said: "We are looking to provide excellence in our own right, rather than looking over our shoulder at anybody else."

"It's (The school's) a new kid on the block."

When its first school term opens in August, the medical school - a partnership between the Imperial College London and the Nanyang Technological University - will be the third here.

Speaking to the media yesterday, Prof Kelleher said: "I think inevitably medical schools tend to be competitive.

"What we've really learnt both in Dublin and in London is that it's far more important to be collaborative," said Prof Kelleher, who is also the head of Imperial's medical faculty.

The Irishman formerly worked at the prestigious Trinity College Dublin, where he was head of its medical school and vice-provost for medical affairs.

Potential medical students have to sit the BioMedical Admissions Test, administered by international examinations group Cambridge Assessment in Britain.

Currently, 832 students here have taken the test for admission to Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, and about 400 will be selected for interviews next month. This will be further whittled down to 54 students for the first intake.

The school - which will have two campuses, one at Novena and the other at NTU's Yunnan Garden Campus - will eventually increase its annual intake to 150 students. It is set to boost the number of doctors catering to Singapore's ageing population.

Last year, the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore produced 261 graduates and the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School produced 38.

Asked what qualities the new school is looking for in its students, Prof Kelleher said: "People who have an ability to think widely, enquiring minds, empathy and ability to relate to people."

How to apply for admission

1. Potential students will have to sit the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). The test must be taken 12 months prior to the application for the results to be considered.

2. Applications should be done via the Nanyang Technological University's online application portal and include information such as academic results and personal statements.

3. Successful applicants will be selected for interviews around April each year on the basis of their online applications and BMAT scores.

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