Studying Medicine: The Requirements

Date of Publication: 24 January 2020

Applying to study for medicine in the UK can be pretty confusing at first glance. From trying to work out which subjects you will need to study at school to the costs and how long you will need to study before you become a specialised medic, there are lots of questions which you probably have.

In this blog, we take a look at what grades you need to study medicine, along with how long you will be studying and what other requirements you will need to complete before applying to universities.

 

What Subjects Do You Need to Study to Become a Doctor?

People often ask questions such as; What subjects should I take in high school to be a doctor? Do you need Physics in high school to become a doctor? 

Let’s take a look at the breakdown below of what subjects and grades you need to achieve in order to study medicine in the UK. 

In the UK, when applying to study medicine at university, most institutions will take into account your GCSE and A-Level results. According to UCAS, (the UK’s official Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) universities usually require:

  • Seven GCSEs, including the sciences, with five subjects at grades 9 to 7 (A* or A) and English and Maths at least grade 6 to 5 (B) 
  • Three A-Levels at grade A in Chemistry and either Biology, Physics or Maths, plus another academic subject.

If successful, you will then complete a five-year degree in Medicine, one which must be recognised by the General Medical Council. Following this, you will then need to complete the following in order to fully qualify in your chosen speciality as a doctor:

  • A two-year foundation course of general training
  • Two to three years of core medical training (CMT) or Acute Care Common Stem (ACCS) programme
  • Four to seven years of specialist training, depending on your chosen area of medicine. 

 

What are the requirements to study medicine in the UK?

Aside from the academic requirements that are mentioned above about studying medicine in the UK, there are also a few more things to be aware of:

  • Age requirement – Students must be at least 18 years-old by 1st November in the year that they intend to start the degree
  • BidMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) – All applicants to Medicine are required to take this examination in their own school or college, or in a registered test centre, as part of their application. The test takes place in early November each year, and students must register by 15 October at the latest. You can find out further information on the BMAT here.
  • Personal statement – All university applicants in the UK are required to write a personal statement, offering the student a chance to explain to universities who they are, what their passions are, and why they deserve to study their chosen subject. For medicine, universities will be looking for students who have experience of showing empathy, motivation, great communication, team-work skills, excellent coping strategies for stressful situations and awareness of ethics. 

 

Do you need all A’s to get into Medical School?

For the top quarter of universities in the UK that offer medicine, they will expect you to achieve straight As or higher. For example, the University of Oxford requires the grades A*AA at A-Level, while the University of Cambridge requires A*A*A. 

However, there are plenty of other universities in the UK who have lower entry requirements. For example, the University of Nottingham will offer AAB, while the Hull-York Medical School will accept applications with BBB at first sitting. 

It is important you check each university’s entry requirements as there are great variations between them all. For example, though the University of Oxford require A*AA at A-Level, they will also accept International Baccalaureates with an overall score of 39 of 7, 6 and 6 in a science or mathematical subject taken at higher level, along with many other equivalent qualifications. Each university’s course page and prospectus will have a breakdown of which qualifications they accept and any other requirements/entrance exams they may require for your application, so it’s always best to check with them. 

 

What is the cost of studying medicine in the UK?

For UK residents who choose to study medicine in the UK, universities are allowed to charge a maximum of £9,250 per year for tuition fees, with almost every university charging the top price or close to the maximum price. That means that over the 5 years that a UK student studies medicine, they will accumulate around a total of £46,250 in tuition fees. 

However, the price for studying in the UK as an international student is often a lot more expensive, with the high-quality education being very desirable to students coming to study medicine in the country. The average cost for students from abroad on a medicine degree can be as high as £38,000 per year, depending on the medical school. That could equate to a whopping £190,000 over the five years that they study the degree.

If you are looking at studying at a medical school in the UK, you must carefully consider all of the costs that are involved and budget accordingly. Aside from tuition fee costs, you also need to remember to factor in costs such as accommodation, food, travel, textbooks and equipment.

If you want to get a taster of studying medicine at university, why not take a look at our medicine summer courses? Alternatively, if you’re ready to apply, check out our blog on how best to prepare for medical school.

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