Choosing a Medical School

Now that you have done some work experience and decided that you want to study Medicine, you will need to start thinking about choosing a Medical School.

There are 33 medical schools in the UK, and no two are exactly alike. Choosing which ones to put down on your UCAS form can be a daunting task. Ultimately, the goal is to find the best fit for you.

This page provides the headline information on choosing a Medical School, before offering a step-by-step guide on what you need to do. Don’t forget to use all the subpages to make the most of the section.

Compare medical school entry requirements

Choosing a Medical School: What Are The Different Medicine Course Types?

There are three different course structures in Medicine. Please click on the links to read more detail about each.

There is also a fourth option, called Case-Based Learning (CBL). Similar to PBL, CBL is used by many international Medical Schools and is now starting to appear in the UK – in universities like Cardiff, for example.

We answer the question ‘What Is CBL?’ on our PBL page.

The key with course structure is first to understand the differences between them, and second to reflect on which system best suits you.

Which course would best suit you? Take the quiz!

Choosing a Medical School: Can I Do A Foundation Year?

Foundation Courses at medical schools are designed to prepare you for a medical education. They might also be referred to as a ‘pre-clinical year’.

They can be a useful way into Medicine for those who didn’t get the grades required, who studied the ‘wrong’ subjects, who are coming from overseas, or who didn’t get an offer the first time.

Read more about Foundation Courses on our dedicated page.

Choosing a Medical School: How Important Are UCAT And BMAT?

Different universities place different levels of importance on the UCAT.

You can learn more about this by visiting the dedicated guide we have created for UCAT, as well as by using a comparison tool.

You will know your UCAT score by the time you apply to Medical School, so that should be a major consideration.

You can find out which universities use the BMAT by visiting the dedicated BMAT page.

Unlike the UCAT, the BMAT will be sat after your application is submitted. So you might want to hedge your bets by applying to no more than two BMAT universities when choosing a medical school.

Choosing a Medical School: How Important Are Grades?

Grades are very important to study Medicine. Your GCSEs and A-level grades will ultimately dictate which Medical Schools to apply to. To view the entry requirements for every UK Medical School, please see our Medical School Comparison Tool.

Importantly, with the new Linear A-level system there has been increasing confusion over how applicants’ grades will be assessed. Please see our AS level Admissions Policy Updates table to see how every Medical School in the UK will consider AS levels for 2016/2017 applications.

Choosing a Medical School: How Important Is Location?

When you eventually interview at Medical Schools, you will stress that the course itself is the primary reason for applying there, rather than the location of the university.

However, the reality is that location is important. Some of you will want to stay close to home. Others probably want to get as far away as possible! Just remember to choose wisely as you will be away for up to 6 years.

Choosing a Medical School: How Do I Apply To Oxbridge For Medicine?

You can pick only one of Oxford or Cambridge, but not both. So, for some high achievers, that will be the first dilemma.

Of course, academic excellence is a prerequisite. Both institutions use a traditional course structure, based around a tutorial system.

If you are considering applying to Oxbridge for Medicine, we recommend visiting both and getting to grips with the differences between the two.

But first, make sure that you have read all about them.

Choosing a Medical School: What Are Intercalated Medical Degrees?

This means you get a BSc (or a near equivalent), usually between your third and fifth year.

At some universities, like UCL and Imperial, this is compulsory. At others, it depends on your preference (and your grades).

The availability of Intercalated Degrees is charted on our medical school comparison tool.

 What You Need To Do  

  1. Make sure you have looked through the entry requirements, course structure and ethos of each medical school, using our school-by-school pages.
  1. Narrow it down depending on which course structure you prefer, and whether you want a city, campus or collegiate setting. Also think about location, cost and extra-curricular.
  1. Compare schools using our Medical School Comparison Tool.
  1. When you’ve narrowed it down, visit your favourites and get a feel for the places. Try to speak to someone who goes to the university. Start by making use of the case studies on our school-by school pages.

Learn More


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