International students also apply to UK universities through UCAS. But there are some key differences to the process.
This page answers the following questions about applying to Medicine in the UK as an international student:
- Can international students apply for funding?
- What else do international applicants need to consider?
- Is medicine more competitive for international applicants?
- What happens after I get my place?
Can International Students Apply For Funding?
EU students are eligible for tuition fee loans, but not maintenance loans or maintenance grants. Students from outside the EU cannot apply for any loans or grants.
Individual institutions charge varying amounts of tuition fees for international students, so it’s best to check the funding and fees pages of their websites.
What Else Do International Applicants Need To Consider?
If you think you can fund your degree in the UK, then here are some important things to consider.
First, check that you meet the minimum entry requirements. Have you got the right kind of qualifications, subjects and exam grades for studying Medicine at a UK university?
Be aware that some courses require students to take an English Language test as part of their application.
You’re probably still required to take the UKCAT or BMAT as an EU or international student. There are test centres around the world, so if you know you’ve got to take the test then find a centre through their websites as early as possible.
There are some foundation courses designed specifically to help overseas students transition into courses at UK Medical Schools.
Is Medicine More Competitive For International Applicants?
There is a quota stipulating the number of non-EU students who can be accepted by UK Universities. This can make the process very competitive.
What Happens After I Get My Place?
You’ll need to arrange things like a student visa (If you’re from outside the EU) and accommodation in the UK.
Unless you are studying a short course or are under 17-years-old, you will be applying for the Tier 4 (General) student visa. You can apply for your visa up to 3 months before the start of your course.
5 Tips for International Applicants to UK Medical School
Michele applied as an international student to UCL. Here are her top tips for international students!
1. Familiarise yourself with UCAS
All medicine applications in the UK must be placed through an organisation known as the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Once you have created an account online, you will be able to enter up to five university choices, with a maximum of four being Medicine. You will also need to write a personal statement and have a reference from your current school.
In some countries, you are allowed to submit different personal statements to each university. However, this is not the case in the UK. As UCAS is a centralised system, you will only be able to upload one personal statement that will be seen by all your universities – this is definitely something to keep in mind while you are writing it. The deadline for submitting your UCAS form is October 15 for all Medicine applications.
2. UKCAT, BMAT, or both?
All undergraduate Medicine programs in the UK use either the UKCAT or BMAT as part of their screening – you can find out which ones use each one using The Medic Portal’s Medical School Comparison Tool. If you are also applying for Medicine in your home country, you may also have come across a similar sort of aptitude test.
Once you have decided on which tests you plan to take, check that this is available in your home country. Do this as early as possible in case you have to arrange to travel to another country to take the tests.
3. Work experience
Work experience forms an integral part of your application; it is something worth mentioning in your personal statement, as well as a great topic of discussion in interviews. It is understandably difficult for international students to find work placements in the UK, especially if you live in a different country. Don’t worry, people who read your application will also be aware of this.
My advice would be to start early and plan ahead; Focus on getting more long-term experience from your home country – for example, volunteering at a local hospice, and perhaps try to search for a short hospital placement over in the UK during the holidays. Plus, while you are over, it would also be the perfect opportunity to visit a few universities you are interested in applying for! You can find out the kinds of work experience medical schools look for on our Medical School Work Experience Requirements page.
4. Read about the NHS and current affairs
Although you might not live in the UK, you will be expected to know about the healthcare system and to discuss the latest news and controversies during interviews. In particular, knowing about their National Health Service (NHS) is crucial.
I would suggest finding out how and why the NHS was launched, its core principles, values, and obstacles they are facing at the moment. It is also worth keeping up to date with medical news.
I know this might seem like a difficult and laborious task, but remember, you don’t have to learn any of this off by heart, nor do you have to acquire all this information in one day. It’s about finding topics and news articles that you are interested in, or are passionate about.
Perhaps simply start by making a habit to read BBC news for 10 minutes when you wake up in the morning or before you go to bed, and you will become a current affairs guru in no time!
5. Be prepared to fly over for interviews!
Now that you have submitted your application on UCAS, and taken the aptitude tests you need (I personally think this is the toughest part), you may start to hear back from universities inviting you over for interviews.
A few universities would ask you in advance to provide dates that you are definitely not available for. However, other universities tend to simply allocate a specific date and time, and would rarely allow for rescheduling. Therefore it’s definitely worth looking up each university’s interview dates in advance to make sure it does not clash with anything important such as your school exams.
It would also be worth checking if your chosen university conducts interviews closer to your own country (for example, Singapore if you live in Hong Kong), which would save quite a lot of travelling time!