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Find out which A-Levels you need to apply for Medicine and get into Medical School – plus details on the subjects that are favoured (and rejected) by different Med Schools.

What A-Levels Do I Need To Apply For Med School?

Medical Schools generally require applicants to have three A-Levels, with high grades achieved/predicted in all of them. 

To cast the net as wide as possible when you’re choosing a Med School, it’s a good idea to take A-Levels in both Chemistry and Biology. 

A lot of Med Schools (24 of them) state that Chemistry A-Level is an essential requirement to apply, and 13 Med Schools specify that you need to have A-Levels in both Chemistry and Biology. If you don’t take A-Level Biology, around 19 Med Schools say they will consider you with Chemistry plus Physics or Maths as a second subject. 

For around 16 Med Schools, A-Level Chemistry isn’t an absolutely essential requirement and they will consider you with Biology plus another science subject or Maths. Some Med Schools (8) will accept Psychology as a second science subject.

In terms of your third A-Level subject, most Med Schools don’t specify a preference for what you should take. However, Cambridge mentions that most of their applicants are studying A-Levels in Chemistry plus two of Biology/ Physics/ Maths. In contrast, Brighton & Sussex says that applicants who study a third subject outside of Science or Maths are welcomed, because these subjects are considered to broaden academic horizons.

What A-Levels Should You Avoid?

Most Medical Schools do not accept A-Levels in subjects like General Studies, Critical Thinking, Citizenship Studies or Global Perspectives – so you should try to avoid these.

You also need to remember that subjects with overlapping content are often not considered, or are only counted as one subject. These include A-Levels in Maths and Further Maths, or Biology and Human Biology.

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A-Level Subject Requirements

Here are some details on the A-Level subject requirements of different UK Med Schools. Before making any decisions with your application, make sure you check the specific requirements on university websites.

Do I Need to Study Chemistry AND Biology?

These Med Schools specify that you need to be taking A-Levels in both Chemistry and Biology to apply there:

  • Aston
  • Birmingham
  • Brighton & Sussex
  • Cardiff
  • Edge Hill
  • Exeter
  • Hull York
  • Imperial
  • King’s College London
  • Lincoln
  • Nottingham
  • St George’s
  • UCL

Which Other Med Schools Require Chemistry?

These Med Schools ask for Chemistry A-Level, plus a second subject that’s either Biology, Physics or Maths:

  • Aberdeen
  • Bristol
  • Cambridge – they recommend that your third A-Level should also be Biology, Physics or Maths
  • Dundee
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Liverpool
  • Oxford
  • Queen’s Belfast – they want you to have Chemistry, but will consider various combinations of other subjects depending on what your grades are (find out more here)
  • St Andrews
  • UCLan – they only consider UK applicants from the North West of England

Are There Any Med Schools Where Chemistry Isn’t Essential?

These Med Schools say they will consider you with Chemistry or Biology A-Level:

  • Buckingham
  • Kent Medway – they state that if you don’t take both Chemistry and Biology for A-Level, you’re advised to have Physics, Maths, Psychology or Computer Science
  • Lancaster – they say you can apply with any two of Chemistry, Biology or Psychology
  • Leeds – they advise that if you don’t do A-Level Chemistry, you should at least have Physics or Maths instead
  • Newcastle – their website doesn’t mention specific subject requirements, it just specifies they don’t consider General Studies, Use of Mathematics, World Development, Communication and Culture or Critical Thinking
  • Norwich (UEA)

The following Med Schools ask for Chemistry or Biology A-Level, plus they specify a second subject that’s either Chemistry, Biology, Physics or Maths:

  • Anglia Ruskin
  • Barts 
  • Brunel (currently open to international applicants only)
  • Keele*
  • Leicester*
  • Manchester*
  • Sheffield*
  • Sunderland

* These highlighted Med Schools also consider Psychology as a second science subject. Keele will consider Economics too.

Which Med Schools Require Biology?

These Med Schools consider Biology to be an essential A-Level subject for applicants:

  • Plymouth – they want Biology, plus another subject that’s Chemistry, Physics, Maths or Psychology
  • Southampton – they ask for Biology, plus another science which they say can include Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Sociology, Environmental Studies or Geography
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What Should I Do Next?

Med School applications are rising every year, and it’s clear that academic excellence isn’t enough to stand out from the crowd.

Once you’ve chosen your subjects to make sure they meet entry requirements and started working towards your A-Levels, you’ll also need to spend time writing a compelling Personal Statement and preparing for the UCAT and/or BMAT if you want to get shortlisted for interview.

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