The educational environment has been shown to have a great influence on teaching and learning in undergraduate education. The operating theatre can seem an intimidating and frightening environment for medical students. This study used the Surgical Theatre Educational Environmental Measure (STEEM) questionnaire to measure the operating theatre learning environment for 83 final-year medical students at the University of Birmingham. There was a 100% response rate. Data were analysed overall and with regard to gender. The results showed that overall there was an acceptable educational climate within the operating theatre for medical students. Male students viewed the atmosphere in the operating theatre in a less positive light than female students and also perceived more discrimination because of their race than their female counterparts. The STEEM has been shown to be a reliable and practical tool for measuring the operating theatre educational environment in medical students with an overall alpha reliability of 0.86.