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UK Medical Schools: Steps to Become a Doctor

Thinking of a career in Medicine? If you aspire to become a doctor, you need to be aware of the demanding training involved. Becoming a doctor requires dedication and hard work, with multiple steps to follow. We have narrowed it down to 10 areas to focus on so you can take the positive steps required to become a doctor in the UK:

1. Qualifications Needed

To become a registered doctor in the UK, you must complete a recognised five-year Medicine degree accredited by the General Medical Council. Following this, a two-year foundation course is necessary, followed by two to three years of core medical training (CMT) or Acute Common Care Stem (ACCS). Specialisation then takes an additional four to seven years. If you hold a science degree, consider a four-year graduate entry programme with a minimum 2:1 grade.

2. GCSE Requirements

Top UK medical schools still consider GCSE grades when reviewing applications. Most require Grade 5-9 (A*-C) in core subjects like Mathematics, English, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology.

3. A-Level Choices

A-Level requirements continue to vary, but Chemistry remains commonly mandated. Biology, Mathematics, and Physics are often preferred as second science subjects. Logic-based subjects such as Mathematics and Physics indicate problem-solving skills.

4. Medical School Expectations

Medicine remains a highly competitive field in the UK, and universities assess applicants beyond academics. While they primarily look for BMAT or UCAT test scores, relevant voluntary or clinical experience, and a well-crafted personal statement is essential.


These tests evaluate critical thinking and scientific knowledge essential for Medicine.

Voluntary or Clinical Experience

Universities still value hands-on experience in healthcare settings, such as clinical placements, shadowing, or community care work. Studying a medical summer course could also help boost your theoretical experience.

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should highlight your motivation for Medicine and relevant experiences, demonstrating your suitability. This should include details on extracurricular activities that you do.

5. Duration of Medical Degree

A standard UK medical degree continues to last for five years, while graduate entry programmes take four years. After graduation, a two-year Foundation Programme follows, providing clinical experience.

6. Types of Medical Degrees

Medical degrees in the UK share common content. Types include Standard Entry Medicine (five years), Graduate Entry Medicine (four years), Medicine with a Preliminary Year (six years), and Medicine with a Gateway Year (varied entry criteria).

7. Top Universities for Medicine

The top UK universities for Medicine have remained consistent, including:

  • Swansea University
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Dundee
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Aberdeen
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Keele University
  • University of Exeter

8. Undertake Medical Studies

While traditional medical school attendance remains essential, online courses can still supplement knowledge and enhance applications. A summer course can also be a great way to get a feel of the subject and some hands on experience in the field.

9. Cost of Medical Training

The estimated cost of medical training, around £220,000 for a five-year degree, still holds true. However, scholarships and bursaries continue to vary by university. Tuition fees, clinical training, and living expenses can still partially be covered by government support and loans.

10. Duration and Difficulty

Becoming a doctor in the UK still involves a lengthy process, with a five-year degree, two-year Foundation Programme, and specialised training. The difficulty still depends on individual strengths and experiences. Adequate research and preparation remain crucial to making the right decision.

In summary, a career in Medicine demands commitment and careful planning. Start early, meet academic requirements, gain experience, and be prepared for a challenging yet rewarding journey towards becoming a doctor in the UK.

Discover our Medicine University Summer School

Want to see what studying Medicine at a top UK university is like? Perhaps you are looking for clarity on whether pursuing a career in Medicine is the right choice for you. Either way, attending a Medicine summer course may be the perfect opportunity for you.

With short, 2 week intensive courses available in the cities of Oxford and Cambridge, our Medicine summer courses are designed to introduce you to the practical side of medicine, while also challenging you to consider the ethicalities of human life through analysis of real-life problems. 

From learning how to read x-rays to understanding the importance and complications of communication in emergency situations, our expert tutors will guide you through this exciting subject field during your time with us. 

Interested? Find out more about our Medicine summer courses, or contact us directly to speak with an advisor. 

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Thinking of a career in Medicine? Understand the complex training process, qualifications needed, and steps involved. Check out the top 10 FAQs about clinical medicine and training in the UK. Start your journey to becoming a doctor.

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