The University of Sunderland Medical School, based in the North East of England is fairly new, having opened in 2020. 

Sunderland is currently ranked 19th in the UK for medicine by the Guardian in 2024.

About The Course

Sunderland’s MBChB degree aims to prepare its students for the necessary knowledge, skills and professionalism that modern day doctors require within a supportive and inclusive environment.

As the course is only four years old, its spiral curriculum is modern, including problem-based learning and a spiral curriculum which builds on knowledge year on year. Sunderland Medical School is partnered with three hospital trusts, two mental health trusts, 63 GP practices and various community services, giving students a rich and diverse opportunity to gain experience in all aspects of medicine.

Sunderland’s Medical course is split into three phases with the first being predominantly based on campus and the second and third being spent mostly in clinical placements.

Structure Of The Course

Year 1-2

‘The Doctor as a Scholar and a Scientist’. Phase one focuses on the fundamentals of biomedical, behavioural and social sciences while developing research, communication and clinical skills. Units in year one include:

  • Health and Disease
  • Immunology and Infection
  • Emergencies
  • Life course,
  • Brain and Mind
  • Pregnancy and lifestyle

Units in year two include:

  • Mechanism of Disease
  • Inputs and Outputs
  • Movement and Trauma
  • Circulation
  • Breath of Life
  • Integrated Systems

Throughout both years of phase one, students engage with longitudinal GP and hospital placements in which they can begin to develop their professional and clinical skills.

Year 3-4

‘The Doctor as a Practitioner’. Phase two builds upon the knowledge gained in phase one with a greater emphasis on complexity and pathology. Time spent in clinical placements also increases with students being able to put into practice what they have learnt in the clinical environment.

Units in phase two include Medicine, Surgery, Elderly Care, Mental Health, Paediatrics and General Practice. Students also have the opportunity to engage in a Student-Selected Component in which further interests can be explored.

Year 5

‘The Doctor as a Professional’. Medicine at Sunderland ends with further placements in the units outlined in phase two in addition to an extensive student assistantship designed to prepare students for their roles in Foundation jobs.

Academic Requirements

GCSEs: Five grades at A/7 with a minimum of B/7 in Mathematics, English Language, Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

A-levels: AAA To include Biology or Chemistry and a second science. A-levels must have been completed within the past five years in order to be considered.

Scottish Higher: AAAAB. Chemistry/Biology plus a second science both at A, to be achieved by the end of S5.

Scottish Advanced Higher: BB. Minimum of 2 Advanced Highers at BB, both in science subjects.

International Baccalaureate: 35 points. Three grade 6’s at Higher level including Biology of Chemistry and a second science.

IELTs (International applicants only): IELTS 6.0 + minimum 5.5 in each component.

Bachelor's Degree (Graduates only): A minimum of 2:1 at undergraduate level in any subject, regardless of post-graduate qualifications. Additionally, a minimum of BBB at A-level including Biology or Chemistry and a second science. The degree must have been completed within the past five years in order to be considered. If the GCSE or A-level science requirements are not met, graduate applicants may sit the GAMSAT exam to compensate.

Mitigating Circumstances

Resits policy: Students who have re-sat their A-levels will not be considered. However, GCSE resits are accepted with a maximum of two attempts per subject.

Extenuating circumstances: Sunderland’s extenuating circumstances policy is unclear, if you feel extenuating circumstances should be considered in your application, please contact the university using the email at the bottom of the page.

Deferred entry: Sunderland welcomes applicants who want to defer their entry into medicine, however, it is best that this wish is stated at the point of application.

Transfers: Students wishing to transfer to medicine at Sunderland from another medical school in the UK are not considered.

Further Entry Requirements

Work experience: Although there is no specified number of hours work experience required, Sunderland expects their applicants to have work experience to show they have insight into what a degree and career in medicine involves.

Personal statement: Candidates personal statements are neither used or assessed in the application process for Sunderland medicine.

Admissions Process

Application to Sunderland Medical School must be done via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Deadlines for submission are earlier for medical courses, typically mid-October. This application will include all of your academic history as well as your personal statement and other qualifications/achievements.

Admissions Tests:

UCAT: All candidates are required to sit the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) in order to apply for Medicine at Sunderland. You can learn more about the UCAT in our guide. To be considered at Sunderland, applicants must score within the top eight declines and an SJT band within 1-3.
Numeracy test: This is a 40 minute online test consisting of approximately 20 questions. The test aims to assess mathematical ability at the level of GCSE maths. Further information about Sunderland numeracy test can be found here.
GAMSAT: The GAMSAT is only required if you are a graduate applicant and do not meet the minimum GCSE or A-level science requirements. Their GAMSAT calculator can be used to see whether you will be required to sit the test or not.
Sunderland uses candidates’ academic achievements, UCAT score and numeracy test in determining who is shortlisted for an interview. It is unclear how Sunderland weighs the different components in their shortlisting process.

Interview Type: MMI

Interview Topics: In the interview stage of selection, Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) are used which involve a series of short interviews and will take place online or in person between late December and January. While little information is available about Sunderland’s interviews, candidates will receive all the information needed prior to their session.

Attributes that Sunderland aims to assess in its MMIs include:

  • Motivation for medicine and experiences informing this decision 
  • Empathy and insight
  • Responsibilities and challenges of being a doctor
  • Awareness of ethical issues
  • Resilience
  • Comprehension
  • Communication skills

You can find out more about typical interviews for Sunderland Medical School on our school-by-school guide.

Candidates successful at the interview stage can expect an offer some time in February.

Admissions Statistics

Total number of applicants: 709
Total number of places: 154
Total number of entrants: 155
Acceptance rate: 21.86%


Home students: £9250 pa
Rest of UK: TBC
International students: TBC

Teaching Methods

Teaching style: Teaching at Sunderland is done through a variety of methods, including problem-based learning in which students can put their knowledge, clinical and communication skills into practice.

Students also receive scheduled teaching activities including lectures, small group learning and regular one-to-one tutor sessions. Finally, students engage with clinical placements in hospital and community settings from year one.

Intercalation mode: Students have the opportunity to intercalate either after year two in a Bachelor’s degree or after year four in a Master’s degree which can be taken at the University of Sunderland or another university.

Graduate Prospects

Graduate prospect data is unavailable for Sunderland Medical School as it only opened in 2020 thus there are no graduates yet.


When did Sunderland Medical School start?

Sunderland opened its medical school in 2020, making it only four years old!

Is Sunderland a good Medical School?

Despite its young age, Sunderland Medical School is impressively in the top 20 medical schools in the UK as ranked by the Guardian in 2024.

Does Sunderland Medical School take graduate applicants?

Yes, although Sunderland does not have a specific graduate entry medical program, graduate students are welcome to apply for the Undergraduate course. Applicants require a minimum of 2:1 in their degree in addition to A-level and GCSE requirements as specified above.

What A-levels do you need for Medicine at Sunderland?

Candidates require a minimum of AAA including Biology or Chemistry and second science.

Does Sunderland Medical School accept international students?

No, Sunderland is not currently accepting international students for their medicine programme.


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