University Admissions

Getting Into Medicine in the UK: An Overview

Pathways

There are four main pathways for getting into medicine in the UK.

Standard Entry Medicine

Standard entry medical courses are usually five years long, but some universities offer a six year program. The degree obtained may vary (often referred to as MBBS or MBChB), but all result in a bachelor’s degree in medicine.

Graduate Entry Medicine

This pathway is available to students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another discipline. Many universities accept a degree in any discipline, but some require the previous degree to be science or health related. At most universities it is a four year course, but in some universities it takes five years.

Medicine with a Preliminary Year

This pathway involves a five year standard entry medical degree with an additional year at the start, which takes a total of six years to complete. It is designed for those students who have a very good academic record, but who did not take the required science subjects. The extra year provides students with the necessary background in science required to study medicine.

Medicine with a Gateway Year

This pathway is available for those who have a high level of ability, but are from a disadvantaged background. Courses may take this into account in various ways. For example, some universities may lower their entry requirements for certain applicants. These are often six year programs, with the first year being a foundation year. Some universities offer a standalone foundation year, which allows progression to a standard medicine course.

Admissions Tests

Almost all universities in the UK offering medicine use an admissions test as part of their entry criteria. There are three admissions tests which are used. Applicants may sit a combination of these tests depending on the medical schools to which they intend to apply.

UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test)

Thirty medical schools in the UK use the UCAT for entry into medicine.
A full list of all the universities requiring the UCAT can be found on MedEntry's Links page.
UCAT takes place from the beginning of July to the beginning of October each year.

BMAT (BioMedical Admissions Test)

Seven medical schools in the UK use BMAT.
BMAT takes place on two dates per year: in early September and in late October/early November.

GAMSAT (Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admission Test)

Seven medical schools use GAMSAT.
It is used mainly for graduate entry medicine courses, but it is also used for graduate applicants to a small number of standard entry medicine courses.  

Ciriteria For Entry

The criteria for entry into medicine depends on the specific university.

In general, the criteria for entry into medicine in the UK is comprised of a combination of the following:

  • Academic performance (A-levels, GCSE, Scottish Nationals/Highers, International Baccalaureate, university performance)
  • Admission test score (UCAT, BMAT, GAMSAT)
  • Interview (MMI or panel interview)
  • Personal statement
  • Work experience

The weighting of each of the above criteria, and how each university uses the criteria varies.