Medicine Courses in the UK

Introduction to Medicine

Medicine is one of the most competitive courses in the UK and every year thousands of international students are accepted into medical school. If your grades are of the highest standard, and if you can prove that you have set your heart on studying and working in the medical field, then applying to read Medicine in the UK is for you. 3 As at A-level, including chemistry or biology, an IB score of 38 points or higher (predicted score) and an IELTS score of 7.0 is the academic standard required for undergraduate Medicine.

A strong first degree and a successful career record are required for graduate Medicine and work experience of one day a week for six months in a hospital, care home, hospice or other caring environment is the sort of evidence of intent the medical schools will be expecting and look for. Understanding of the National Health Service (NHS) and how it works is also crucial for international applicants.

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The entry standards for any medical school are strict and exacting. Interviews for admission can be tough and students should expect questioning on motivation, previous work, personal interests, as well as being able to produce evidence of all previous achievements, including relevant work experience. A number of medical schools will expect completion of the clinical aptitude test, UCAT (UKCAT) and/or Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT).

Medicine Entry Requirements

Undergraduate: If you decide you want to study medicine, you will need to enrol at a medical school, which is often part of a university, but will have strong links to local hospital and medical practises. To initially study at undergraduate level, students will need AAA grades, with ether Chemistry or Biology a requirement. An IB Diploma student must have a predicted score of 38 points or higher (on 42 and not 45), with Biology and Chemistry as HL subjects.

For international students wishing to study Medicine at undergraduate level, an IELTS score of no less than 6.5 across all four categories – reading, writing, speaking and listening – with an overall 7.0 score generally required at most universities.

If you need to improve your IELTS score, why not join our IELTS coaching? A range of IELTS study options  are available to suit your needs.

Foundation: Once undergraduate study of two-years has been completed, medical students will then move on to Foundation training, lasting another two-years. This brings together medical school graduates, other postgraduates and various health care providers. Once completed, you will move into your specialist training path.

Speciality Training: Once you have completed four-years of study, now the serious work begins! The entry process once you have decided on which area you wish to specialise in is extremely competitive, so plenty of hard work is needed to ensure you can secure a place in the area you wish to focus on. Training here can last for anything up to seven years, and upon completion you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion Training (CCT).

UK Clinical Aptitude Test

The UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) is part of the selection process of some UK medical and dental schools. It is an online test designed to test cognitive abilities, attitudes, critical thinking, and logical reasoning. There are four reasoning tests and a situational judgement test.

  • Verbal Reasoning: Assesses ability to think logically about written information and arrive at a reasoned conclusion: 21 minutes, with 11 passages to read and 44 questions
  • Quantitative reasoning: Assesses ability to solve numerical problems: 24 minutes, 9 tables, charts, graphs etc. as information and 36 questions
  • Abstract reasoning: Assesses ability to infer relationships from information by convergent and divergent thinking: 13 minutes and 55 questions
  • Decision Analysis: Assesses ability to deal with various forms of information to infer relationships, make informed judgements, and decide on an appropriate response: 32 minutes, 1 scenario full of information and 28 questions (basic calculator provided)
  • Situational Judgement: Measures your responses in situations, and your grasp of medical ethics: 27 minutes and 67 questions on 20 scenarios.

The UKCAT test is taken at your local test centre, with each subtest in a multiple choice format. Past papers are not available but there are specimen questions on the UCAT website.

BioMedical Admission Test

The BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) is an admissions test for applicants to Medicine, Biomedical Science and Dentistry courses at certain universities.

BMAT is a 2-hour, pen-and-paper test divided into three sections. You can see what is in each section and also a list of courses that require BMAT below.

The BMAT test format includes the following;

  • Section 1: Aptitude and Skills: This section tests the generic skills in problem solving, understanding arguments, and data analysis and inference. It consists of 35 multiple choice questions to be answered in 60 minutes
  • Section 2: Scientific Knowledge and Applications: This section tests the ability to apply scientific knowledge typically covered in school Science and Mathematics by the age of 16 (for example, GCSE in the UK and IGCSE internationally). It consists of 27 multiple-choice questions to be answered in 30 minutes
  • Section 3: Writing Task: This section tests the ability to select, develop and organise ideas, and to communicate them in writing, concisely and effectively. It consists of one writing task from a choice of three questions to be finished in 30 minutes

For more detailed information about the format of BMAT, see the BMAT test specification

Which UK Universities accepted the UCAT (UKCAT)?

The UKCAT must be taken by applicants at the following universities:

  • University of Aberdeen
  • Aston University
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Bristol
  • Cardiff University
  • University of Dundee
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Glasgow
  • Hull York Medical School
  • Keele University
  • King’s College London
  • University of Leicester
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Newcastle
  • University of Nottingham
  • Plymouth University
  • Queen Mary, University of London
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Southampton
  • University of St Andrews
  • St George’s, University of London
  • University of Warwick

Note: Queen Mary University also offers the same medicine courses in Malta

Which UK Universities use BMAT test for admission to medicine and dentistry?

BMAT test is used by the following UK Universities for the medicine courses listed:

UK UniversityCourse
Imperial College London (I50)A100 Medicine
A109 Graduate Medicine
Keele University (K12)A100 Medicine
Keele requires only ‘overseas for fees’ applicants to take BMAT
Lancaster University (L14)A100 Medicine & Surgery
A900 Foundation Year for Medicine & Surgery
University of Manchester Medical School (international applicants)A106 MBChB Medicine and A104 MBChB Medicine (with foundation year)
University College London (U80)A100 Medicine
University of Cambridge (C05)A100 Medicine
University of Leeds (L23)A100 Medicine
A200 Dentistry
University of Oxford (O33)A100 Medicine
A101 Graduate Medicine
BC98 Biomedical Sciences

Note: Please always check the website of your chosen UK University to confirm which BMAT test session(s) they accept

Where can I study Medicine in the UK?

Learn more about the best Medicine universities in the UK below:

UK Medical School Fees

How much does it cost to study medicine in the UK?

For international and EU students, the average cost of a medicine degree can be as high as £38,000 per year, depending on the medical school.

At the University of Oxford medical school for example, the 2019 fee to study medicine for Home and EU students was £9,250, while for overseas students (eg. students from India) was £27,240 per year for Pre-clinical years (the first 3 years). For the remaining years 4, 5 and 6, the fee for overseas students is £37,445 per year.

Another example could be, at the University of Leicester Medical School for example, UK and EU students pay the standard £9,000 per year, including the iBSc, but if you live in a non-EU country, the tuition fee for the Medical Degree (MBChB) is £17,270 per year for the first two years, then £35,170 for each of years 3, 4 and 5.

If you wish to study at a medical school in the UK, you need to be fully aware of all the costs that are involved and budget accordingly. Alongside costs associated with the course, including tuition fees, textbooks and equipment, you will also need to factor in living expenses such as accommodation, food and travel. Living costs are estimated to be around £10,000 per year if the University is outside London. In London, the living cost could go to £12,000 or higher per year.


Financial support for medical students

All UK medical schools offer a variety of scholarships and bursaries for students who may need financial support during their studies.

If you are accepted onto an approved course, you may also be eligible to receive financial support from the NHS, the UK’s health service. Financial support can be in the form of:

  • Tuition fee loan
  • University scholarships and bursaries
  • NHS bursary
  • Maintenance loan (living costs)
  • Private scholarships and bursaries
  • Professional studies loan

It could be very competitive for international students to get any financial support.

Careers in Medicine

With the number of positions medical graduates can move into numbering over 60, there is no shortage of opportunity depending on what area you wish to specialise in. Areas of expertise generally fall into the following categories:

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


Foundation Route

Foundation courses to study medicine in the UK

Students who do not meet the academic entry requirements to qualify to apply to UK Universities for medicine can try an alternate route to pursue their passion in the field of medicine. Students can enroll for the foundation course offered by British Universities or their academic partners such as University of Central Lancashire or St. George’s University of London.

A foundation course could be upto one year. Typically, during the foundation course, students must score 75% or higher, after which they become eligible for an interview with the medical school. If they perform well in the interview, then the students can gain entry into the medical degree at these Universities.

In the event that the student yet does not qualify, the best alternate is to join the Bachelors in Biomedical Sciences degree in the UK, which is of 3 years in duration. Queen Mary University of London, for example, offers both, medicine as well as biomedical sciences degree. Since Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry is one of the oldest medical schools in the UK and the location is London, the University is one of the premier choices for students. If you study Biomedical Sciences and the performance is excellent, you can gain an opportunity to be considered for studying the medicine (MBBS).

Study Medicine in the UK

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