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The Ulster-Scottish Medical Tradition

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 25, 2009


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by Richard Clarke

"Young men wishing to pursue a career in medicine in past centuries had a much wider choice of options than today, but for those from Ulster all choices involved leaving the Province and in most cases also leaving Ireland. As well as obtaining a university degree, they had the choice of a licentiate of one of the Royal Colleges or Apothecaries’ Hall or they could take a short training in surgery for one of the armed forces and enter without any paper qualification. The preferred option, for those who could afford it, was to go to university, obtain a MD degree and practice as a physician; however, there was a range of university possibilities."

This article examines the Ulster-Scottish medical tradition, exploring medical education from the 18th to the mid-19th century, and looking at some notable Scottish-educated doctors.