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University of St. Andrews (Degrees in Medicine and Dentistry) Bill


The University of St Andrews cannot currently hold exams and award degrees in medicine and dentistry. This is in paragraph 17, schedule 6 of the Universities (Scotland) Act 1966.

The Bill as introduced will let the University of St Andrews (jointly with the University of Dundee) award undergraduate Primary UK Medical Qualifications to Scottish Graduate Entry Medicine (ScotGEM) students. ScotGEM is Scotland’s first graduate-entry programme for medicine. It is jointly delivered by the universities of Dundee and St Andrews.


You can find out more in the Explanatory Notes that explains the Bill.

Why the Bill was created

The 1966 Act reconstituted Scotland’s "ancient universities" (Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews). It also created the University of Dundee. The University of Dundee took over the clinical part of the medical degree that the University of St Andrews had previously delivered.

The Bill was created to remove part of the 1966 Act so the University of St Andrews can hold exams and award degrees in medicine and dentistry.

You can find out more in the Policy Memorandum that explains the Bill.

Where do laws come from?

The Scottish Parliament can make decisions about many things like:

  • agriculture and fisheries

  • education and training

  • environment

  • health and social services

  • housing

  • justice and policing

  • local government

  • some aspects of tax and social security

These are 'devolved matters'.

Laws that are decided by the Scottish Parliament come from:

Government Bills

These are Bills that have been introduced by the Scottish Government. They are sometimes called 'Executive Bills'.

Most of the laws that the Scottish Parliament looks at are Government Bills.

Hybrid Bill

These Bills are suggested by the Scottish Government.

As well as having an impact on a general (public) law, they could also have an impact on organisations' or the public's private interests.

The first Hybrid Bill was the Forth Crossing Bill.

Members' Bill

These are Bills suggested by MSPs. Every MSP can try to get two laws passed in the time between elections. This 5-year period is called a 'Parliamentary session'.

To do this they need other MSPs from different political parties to support their proposed law.

Committee Bill

These are Bills suggested by a group of MSPs called a committee.

These are Public Bills because they will change general law.

Private Bill

These are Bills suggested by a person, group or company. They usually:

  • add to an existing law

  • change an existing law

A committee would be created to work on a Private Bill.

Bill stage timeline

The University of St. Andrews (Degrees in Medicine and Dentistry) Bill is currently at Stage 1


The Scottish Government sends the Bill and related documents to the Parliament.

Stage 1 - General principles

Committees examine the Bill. Then MSPs vote on whether it should continue to Stage 2.

Have your say

Submit your views on the Bill here. Submissions close on 18 November 2020.

Committees involved in this Bill

Lead committee: Health and Sport Committee

Who examined the Bill

Each Bill is examined by a 'lead committee'. This is the committee that has the subject of the Bill in its remit.

It looks at everything to do with the Bill.

Other committees may look at certain parts of the Bill if it covers subjects they deal with.

What is secondary legislation?

Secondary legislation is sometimes called 'subordinate' or 'delegated' legislation. It can be used to:

  • bring a section or sections of a law that’s already been passed, into force

  • give details of how a law will be applied

  • make changes to the law without a new Act having to be passed

An Act is a Bill that’s been approved by Parliament and given Royal Assent (formally approved).

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