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Medicine courses in the UK

Introduction to Medicine

Medicine is one of the most competitive courses in the UK. If your grades are very high and you can prove that you have set your heart on studying and working in this field, then applying to read Medicine in the UK might be for you. You will need at least 3 As at A-level including Chemistry and Biology/IB of 38; a good UKCAT or BMAT score (for most medical schools); IELTS of 7.0; an excellent reference; a strong personal statement; a long record of volunteering work, such as one day a week for six months in a hospital, care home, hospice or other caring environment; an understanding of National Health Service structures and procedures; and success at interview.

Medicine interviews are deliberately difficult and students should expect questioning on motivation, previous work, and personal interests. You may be asked why you think you would make a good doctor; to give an example of when you have shown leadership, or shown integrity; or to describe a recent historical phenomenon that undermined trust in the NHS. Only one in twenty applicants get in, and only four of your five UCAS choices can be medicine.

A strong first degree and a successful career record are required for Graduate Entry Medicine, which is essentially undergraduate medicine for graduates of other disciplines. You will probably have to take GAMSAT, which tests scientific knowledge as well as clinical aptitude.

Careers in Medicine

There is a great variety of specialist areas in medicine, but they generally fall into the following categories:

  • Anaesthetics
  • General Practice
  • Medicine
  • Pathology
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiology
  • Surgery

What are the entry requirements for Medicine?

Undergraduate Medicine: If you want to study medicine, you will need to enrol at a medical school, which is part of a university but will have strong links to local hospitals and medical practices. An MBBS or MBChB, as medical degrees are known, takes five or six years, with three years pre-clinical and three years clinical.

After the first three pre-clinical years you can graduate with a BA; go on to the clinical years; or take an intercalated year studying a non-medicine subject before going on the clinical years. After the clinical years you graduate with an MBBS and go on to a foundation programme, a two-year period which all UK medical graduates must undertake before moving on to further training. After the foundation doctors train to specialise in either general practice or a specialty.

Graduate Entry Medicine: This is a four-year course, with one year pre-clinical and three years clinical, for graduates of other disciplines. If for example you had graduated in psychology, worked in a bank and then decided to be a doctor, you would undertake Graduate Entry Medicine. This is a competitive course because you will be competing against those with successful career records as opposed to fellow school-leavers. You will also need to be very good at science because what would be three years of undergraduate pre-clinical study are crammed into one year.

Postgraduate: If you have qualified as a doctor in your home country you can apply for specialist postgraduate training courses at UK universities, but most courses will insist on at least some experience of practising medicine post-registration.

Other options: If you have completed at least twelve years of schooling with high grades but lack the science and English skills necessary for undergraduate Medicine, The International Foundation in Medical, Biomedical and Health Sciences at INTO St George’s University of London is a good example of how you could progress into the field. It is a year-long course and if you get at least 75% and succeed at interview you can progress onto the 6-year International Medicine (BSc/MBBS) degree at what is one of the oldest and best Medical Schools in the country. Alternatively if you get 65% you can progress onto their 3-year Biomedical Science (International) (BSc Hons) degree.

Where can I study Medicine in the UK?

Here are the top ten UK universities for medicine:

How SI-UK can help with your application

To learn more arrange a free consultation with our counsellors today, ring us on 020-7287-7040 or email

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