If you’re considering Oxbridge Medicine, it’s important you understand how it’s different from other Med Schools – and how you can choose between Oxford and Cambridge, because you can only apply to one. 

This guide was produced by Oxbridge Applications.

What’s Different About Oxbridge Medicine?

There are a few things that set Medicine courses at Oxford and Cambridge apart from other Med Schools, including:

  • Both are traditional Medicine courses, offering three years of pre-clinical teaching before three years of clinical studies.
  • Both are intercalated degrees, which mean you’ll get a BA after your first three years of study.
  • Both teach through tutorials (at Oxford) or supervisions (at Cambridge) with tutors, rather than through larger seminars and classes like at other Medical Schools.

How Do I Apply To Oxbridge Medicine?

You apply to Oxbridge Medicine via UCAS, if you’re considered a home student in the UK. However, you have to choose between studying Medicine in Oxford or Cambridge, because you can only apply to one.

You will also need to choose which college to apply to, since Oxford and Cambridge are both organised into colleges. This creates a mini campus where you will live (for at least your first year, if not longer) and study. The college community is a ready-made social group with its own traditions, events and clubs. And, since most colleges offer most subjects, the student body is academically diverse, which nurtures the intellectually stimulating environment of a college.

When it comes to choosing a college, we recommend establishing which factors are most important to you as an individual. Think about:

  • the college’s location within the city
  • whether the halls have kitchens
  • how big the student body is
  • how old or modern the college grounds are, and more.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, we recommend visiting the college(s) you’re interested in, either as part of the university-wide open days or just by visiting under your own steam (most colleges are open to prospective students year-round). This should help you to figure out which college is best for you.

An alternative option is to make an Open Application to either university, which will automatically assign you a college based on how many applications said college has received.

How Are Oxford & Cambridge Different?

Understanding how Oxford and Cambridge differ in their Medicine programmes is an important way to help you choose the right option. The key differences are:

  • Cambridge uses full-body dissection but Oxford does not.
  • For intercalation, Cambridge offers students a wider choice of subjects to study than Oxford. However, both have an excellent variety of science subjects for students to choose from.
  • They have slightly different admissions requirements.

It’s also important to find out more about each university – and their colleges – as well as the areas of Oxford and Cambridge, so you can make a well-informed choice about where to apply.

What Are The Oxbridge Medicine Entry Requirements?

Oxbridge universities, as with all other courses, have very high entry requirements when it comes to the A-Level or equivalent grades they require from their applicants.

Both universities have a mandatory requirement of an A-Level or equivalent in Chemistry and either Maths, Biology or Chemistry. In terms of grades for 2023 entry, Oxford asks for A*AA whilst Cambridge asks for A*A*A.


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How Do I Get Into Oxbridge Medicine?

The shortlisting process for Oxbridge Medicine is very rigorous. Both universities review your performance in your Personal Statement, predicted grades, UCAT scores (so far for Cambridge only), and interview. However, the way in which each element is considered will vary from college to college. This means that strategically applying to the college that will look the most favourably on your application is something of an art rather than a science.

Cambridge tends to interview more applicants than Oxford, which suggests Oxford has a more intensive shortlisting process before interviews take place.

What Are Oxbridge Interviews Like?

You’ll face a few interviews when you apply for Oxbridge Medicine: one with the college you’ve applied for, and a few shorter ones with various groups of professors and admissions tutors. Oxford students are likely to undertake more individual interviews compared to Cambridge. You may find that the number of interviews will differ from applicant to applicant, but that does not reflect your chances of getting into Oxbridge Medicine.

Find out more in our guide to Oxbridge Medicine interviews.

Tips For Applying To Oxbridge Medicine

Oxbridge Applications’ top tips for applying to Oxbridge Medicine are:

  1. Undertake lots of extra reading. This is an easy, affordable and quick way to build up your subject knowledge and general interest. As an undergraduate at Oxford or Cambridge, regardless of your degree, reading will be a huge part of the way that you study, so it’s always good to show your prospective tutors that you are already widely read and can take in information from books on your topic. Reading will also give you access to areas of your subject, concepts and ideas that may not have occurred to you before, sparking further interests to explore and giving you plenty to talk about in your Personal Statement and interview. Take a look at NHS Hot Topics and Science Hot Topics for some inspiration.
  2. Enter an essay competition. Departments and colleges at both Oxford and Cambridge run various essay competitions that are open to students still at school and college of various ages. Preparing an entry is a very valuable experience for students thinking of applying for Oxbridge, giving you a taste of Oxbridge-style essay writing as well as showing off your skills to the university of your choice. These competitions often ask students to write about something that they have not studied directly in their classes, giving you a great push to look into other areas which may interest and inspire you. Oxford has a dedicated website that collates all the competitions with upcoming deadlines here, whilst any competitions at Cambridge can be found on the individual college websites.
  3. Try to get some form of work experience or volunteering experience. This gives you the chance to learn first hand about how healthcare settings work day to day, giving you plenty to discuss in your application. For example, you could try to shadow a Doctor by getting in contact with your GP and asking for a referral from them. Or you could try something more varied like working in a laboratory, hospice or care home rather than on the wards.
  4. Focus on getting as high a UCAT score as possible, to make sure your application is as competitive as possible.

About Oxbridge Applications

Oxbridge Applications speaks with young people and their families on a daily basis to discuss individual educational pathways. You can register with Oxbridge Applications to receive a wealth of resources, including a free e-book So You Want To Go To Oxbridge? Tell me about a banana. You can also call Oxbridge Applications on +44(0)20 7499 2394 or email at [email protected] to request a callback to discuss applying for Oxbridge.


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