6th August 2021
The government will fund hundreds of extra places on Medicine and Dentistry courses this autumn, after the combination of a record number of applicants and inflation in 2021 grades has seen an unexpectedly high number of students qualify for their place. Simon Pedley, Head of Academia, explains what this actually means.

How Many Extra Places?

This year there will be 9,000 places for Medicine and Dentistry courses. That’s 250 more than last year – and 660 more than in 2019.

This is happening because the government has adjusted the cap on numbers for 2021. It’s different to last year, which saw the cap get lifted completely to allow all students who met the grade requirements of their first choice to be offered a place.

Which Universities Will Offer Extra Places?

The government says that any university with the capacity to expand the number of places will be supported to do so. It explains: “For these universities that can take on more students that have met the grades whilst also ensuring teaching, learning and assessments standards are maintained, there will be flexibility to add to their numbers.”

However, we don’t know which universities this will be.

What If I Don’t Get A Place?

If your first choice university can’t increase its number of places, it’s likely that you’ll be offered a place at an alternative university that can accommodate more students.

We think this could happen, because the government said they have “worked with UCAS, the Office for Students and the Medical and Dental school process to ensure there is a system for 2021 that matches students who meet their grades to unfulfilled places at Medical and Dental schools with space.”


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Why Are The Extra Places Being Offered?

Grade inflation means that more students than ever are meeting the grade requirements, so courses have become over-subscribed.

“There is a major problem because teacher-assessed grades mean that hundreds more students have qualified than there are places for,” a vice-chancellor of a university with a Medical School told the Guardian.

This is combined with the fact that hundreds of Med Students had to defer their places and start in 2021, causing a further squeeze on teaching capacity.

It’s such a big issue that Exeter University offered a year’s free accommodation and a bursary of £10,000 to Med Students who agree to defer their studies for a year.

What Happens If I Don’t Get The Grades?

It’s probably no surprise to learn there are no Medicine courses in Clearing for 2021.

If you don’t get the grades, there are a few key things to consider:

If you simply don’t know where to turn, book an application advice session with our Medicine application experts and we’ll help you find the right pathway.


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