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 medical schools.

What A-Levels Do You Need For Medicine?

Medical schools generally require applicants to have three A-Levels for Medicine, 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 and top it up with an extra science subject, such as Physics, Maths or Psychology. However, there are different combinations of subjects you could theoretically take, including non-science subjects. 

First Subject: Chemistry

A lot of medical schools (24 of them) state that Chemistry A-Level is an essential requirement to apply, and 13 medical schools specify that you need to have A-Levels in both Chemistry and Biology.

First or Second Subject: Biology

For around 16 medical schools, A-Level Chemistry isn’t an absolutely essential requirement, and they will consider you with Biology plus another science subject or Maths. 

Alternative Second Subject: Physics/Maths/Psychology

If you don’t take A-Level Biology, around 19 medical schools say they will consider you with Chemistry plus Physics or Maths as a second subject. 

Some medical schools (8) will accept Psychology as a second science subject.

Third Subject: One of Sciences or Unspecified

In terms of your third A-Level subject, most medical 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.

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 medical schools specify that you need to be taking A-Levels in both Chemistry and Biology to apply there:

Medical Schools Requiring Chemistry and Biology
AstonHull York
Brighton & SussexKing’s College London
Edge HillNottingham
Hull YorkSt George’s

Which Other Med Schools Require Chemistry?

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

Medical Schools Requiring Chemistry + Biology/Physics/Maths
Cambridge – they recommend that your third A-Level should also be Biology, Physics or MathsOxford
DundeeQueen’s Belfast – they want you to have Chemistry, but will consider various combinations of other subjects depending on what your grades are
St AndrewsUCLan

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

These medical schools say they will consider you with Chemistry or Biology A-Level:

Medical Schools Where Chemistry Isn’t Essential
BuckinghamLeeds – they advise that if you don’t do A-Level Chemistry, you should at least have Physics or Maths instead
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 ScienceNewcastle – 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
Lancaster – they say you can apply with any two of Chemistry, Biology or PsychologyNorwich (UEA)

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

Medical Schools Which Accept Chemistry or Biology + Second Science Subject
Anglia RuskinLeicester*
Brunel Sheffield*

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

Which Med Schools Require Biology?

These medical 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 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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Additional Factors in Medical School Admissions

Although A-levels are essential to your Medicine application, they’re just one of the assessment components. Here are the other factors that can impact the outcome of your application!


While the specific weight given to GCSE results may vary among different medical schools, they are generally considered an important factor in assessing an applicant’s academic ability.

In case you miss out on achieving the required A-Level grades, strong GCSE results can still play a role in your application. While GCSEs alone may not be sufficient to compensate for lower A-Level grades, they can demonstrate a strong academic foundation and potential for success in medical studies.

You can learn about individual GCSE requirements here. 

Personal Statement

A well-written personal statement holds significant weight in the medical school admissions process. It allows applicants to showcase their motivation, passion, and suitability for a career in medicine.

Admissions committees look for personal statements that go beyond a mere list of achievements and grades – they want to learn more about your character, values, and experiences!

Work Experience

Work experience in the medical field is also highly valued by medical school admissions committees. Applicants can gain relevant work experience by shadowing doctors, volunteering in healthcare settings, or participating in medical research projects.

When seeking work experience opportunities, make sure you reach out to local hospitals, clinics, or research institutions. You can also explore volunteering programs or initiatives offered by medical schools or professional organizations.

It is important to plan ahead and secure work experience opportunities well in advance, as they can be competitive and may require background checks or specific prerequisites.

Admissions Tests

Finally, admissions tests play a crucial role in assessing applicants’ aptitude for medical studies. The main accepted admission test in the UK is the UCAT. It consists of multiple-choice questions and is designed to test an applicant’s aptitude for the skills required in a medical career.


What is the best A-level to take for Medicine?

The combination that will open the most doors for you would be Chemistry and Biology and an extra science subject, such as Physics, Maths or Psychology.

What A-levels are compulsory for Medicine?

Around 24 Medical Schools name Chemistry A-Level as a compulsory requirement and 13 Medical Schools require A-Levels in both Chemistry and Biology. However, some schools are willing to consider applicants with a wider variety of science subjects.

Can you do Medicine without Biology?

Taking Biology A-level will increase your chances of getting into your dream med school, however, it’s not an absolute necessity. Overall, 19 UK Medical Schools say they will consider you with Chemistry plus Physics or Maths as a second subject, and eight – with Psychology as a second subject.


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