10 Best Medical Schools in the UK-REQ, GCSE, UCAT/BMAT

Searching for the best medical schools in the UK? Are you thinking of a career in Medicine? Do you have ambitions of one day becoming a doctor?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then chances are that you are already aware of the complex training process that is involved with a career in medicine. 

To become a doctor, a lot of hard work, training, and perseverance are required from you.

There are lots of steps involved in the process, the earlier you start thinking about all your options, the better it would be for you. 

There are several medical schools in the world, you can decide to pick one out of the numerous schools to start your training and education.

This article will contain the 10 best medical schools in the UK, including the general requirements you would need to get accepted in one of the medical schools in the UK. 

I will always advise that you make sure you find out and understand what the process involves the length of time it would take, and the qualifications you would need that are specific to the school of choice. 

A career in medicine is a lifelong choice that can also turn into a lifestyle. There is an image of doctors in our minds, we see them as the ones who help patients with their physical and mental problems. They are also there to support and give important information to both patients and their families in difficult times. 

Many international students pursue their studies in the UK, so if you are looking for an experience abroad and you have made the decision to study medicine, you might want to take a closer look at the medical schools in the UK. 

The medical schools in the United Kingdom provide quality research, programs that are internationally recognized, and a study environment that is both pleasant and multicultural.

Medical degrees do not differ so much in the UK. Medicine is a universal subject, and it would be best if doctors from all the different universities share a similar understanding of the content, so they can treat their patients effectively.

There are varieties of different named courses in medicine but they usually fall into one of four types: Standard Entry Medicine, Graduate Entry Medicine, Medicine With A Preliminary Year/Medicine With A Foundation Year, and Medicine With A Gateway Year.

General Requirements to Study Medicine in the UK

I have listed some of the most common requirements for applicants to medical schools in the United Kingdom.

Remember that each university might have its different criteria, you are advised to check the admission details on the website of the university for the course you choose. 

If you want to get admitted to study for a bachelor’s degree in medicine in the UK, you would be required to have: 

  • Previous (high school) studies with at least two Science subjects. They are usually Chemistry and Biology or Physics/Maths. 

  • Proof of English language proficiency: IELTS – average score of 6.0 or 6.5, or the equivalent. 

  • UCAT test score. Each university can decide to use it differently. Some establish a minimum UCAT score they’ll accept.

    While other universities use a points system for evaluating applications and will offer you more points for a higher UCAT result. 

  • International Baccalaureate with at least 36 points in total, including three higher level subjects (Chemistry and Biology), and three standard level subjects.

    Each subject must be passed with a minimum of six points. This is not required by all universities in the UK. 

  • Successfully pass the interviews offered by the universities.

  • Evidence of voluntary or work experience related to medicine and healthcare.

  • Reference letter from teachers or academic supervisors.

10 Top Medical Schools in the UK

A significant part of your training in becoming a doctor in the UK is when you obtain your medical degree. Medical degrees in the United Kingdom typically take five years to complete. 

There are several medical schools in the UK for you to choose from. To help narrow your search down, here is a list of 10 top medical schools in the UK:

Swansea University:

This is a public research university located in Swansea. It is the third-largest university in Wales in terms of the number of students.

The university educates and trains the next generation of doctors, life scientists, and health professionals. 

Their community of students, researchers, and partners draw on and benefit from the expertise of their international researchers and educators. Their research is ranked top 5 in the UK (REF2021).

The Swansea University Medical School is ranked as the 3rd best medical school in the UK by the Complete University Guide. 

University of Oxford:

The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford. It is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s second-oldest university in continuous operation. 

The university is also ranked among the most prestigious universities in the world. The Oxford University Medical School is a component of the Medical Sciences Division.

This course at Oxford provides thorough intellectual training with an emphasis on basic science research. 

The School of Medical and Biomedical Sciences at Oxford is relatively small. This allows students and staff to get to know themselves and benefit more from a friendly atmosphere. 

University of Dundee:

This university is one of the 10 top medical schools in the UK. It is a public research university in Dundee. The school concerned with medical education and clinical research is the University of Dundee School of Medicine. 

The School of Medicine encompasses undergraduate, postgraduate, specialist teaching centers and four research divisions.

The school admits around 160 students each academic year. This size and structure help the students get to know their peers, academics, and clinicians. 

The curriculum offered by the school is well-packed with the needed education and teaching students would need to get into the real world. It will help you start thinking like a doctor and begin clinical problem-solving.

University of Cambridge:

The University of Cambridge is a collegiate research university in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the world’s third-oldest surviving university.  The school is ranked among the most prestigious universities in the world.

The medical school of this university is The School Of Clinical Medicine. It is ranked as the 3rd best medical school in the world, according to the QS World Ranking 2021. 

The university has an acceptance rate of only 21% and it receives 5 applicants per seat, this makes it one of the most competitive medical schools.

The curriculum of the medical school is focused on providing quality education with hands-on training that is required to become an expert in the field of medicine.

University of Edinburgh:

It is a public research university in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is the sixth-oldest university in continuous operation in the English-speaking world. The school is the second-most popular university in the UK by application volume.

The medical school was founded in 1726, making it the oldest medical school in the United Kingdom. In 2022, it was ranked 1st in the UK by the Guardian University Guide.

The medical school in Edinburgh offers a modern, innovative curriculum designed to prepare students for medical practice. 

The aim is to graduate doctors who are competent, ethical, reflective, and has the care of patients as their first concern. The students will also have a deep understanding of medical research and evidence-based medicine. 

University of Glasgow:

It is a public research university that was founded in 1451. it is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland’s four ancient universities. 

The University of Glasgow School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing is the medical school of the University of Glasgow. It is one of the largest in Europe and is ranked 2nd in the UK for medicine by The Times Good University Guide 2018.

The teaching is delivered in a range of innovative modern styles including small-group teaching, problem-based learning, and traditional lectures. 

University of Aberdeen:

The University of Aberdeen is one of the 10 top medical schools in the UK. It is a public research university in Aberdeen and was founded in 1495. It is the third-oldest university in Scotland and the fifth-oldest in the English-speaking world. 

Aberdeen University School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition contains the Medical School and Dental School.

The school provides training and also carries out research in medical sciences, nutrition, public health, dentistry, health sciences, and physician associate studies at BSc, MSc, and Ph.D. levels. 

Their modern and dynamic programs use a systems-based, integrated approach. Their curriculum is constantly reviewed and updated and they encourage student feedback.

Queen Mary University of London:

It is a public research university in London. The university is organized into three faculties – the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Queen Mary University of London’s Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry is one of the oldest medical schools in the UK. Their curriculum will equip you with clinical, communication, observation, teamwork, and management skills. 

You can also follow your interests by choosing student-selected components, from basic sciences to clinical specialties, community and public health, medical ethics, and law.

University of Keele:

It is a public research university in Keele and was founded in 1949. The university is the largest campus university in the UK.

Keele Medical School is ranked third by The Guardian and The Sunday Times. Globally, the School of Medicine at Keele is ranked 401-450 by the QS World University Rankings. 

The School of Medicine brings together world-leading research experts with experienced teaching staff in order to provide a pioneering teaching and research environment. This provides students with the skills and experiences needed to work in increasingly complex health and social care settings. 

The University of Exeter:

This university is the last on our list of 10 top medical schools in the UK. It is a public research university in Exeter. University of Exeter Medical School is a part of the University of Exeter.

The mission of the medical school is to improve the health and well-being of the public, in the South West and across the world. 

They do this by turning discoveries into treatments and therapies, and by nurturing graduates, staff, and researchers who are critical thinkers and problem-solvers. 

How Long Does It Take To Become A Medical Doctor In The UK?

The training needed to become a doctor in the United Kingdom requires a significant amount of time from you as a student.

The fact that the training is a lengthy process should not come as a surprise because once you are qualified, you will be responsible for handling the health and lives of others.

Before you become a doctor in the UK, you would need to first complete a five-year undergraduate degree. Here, you will be equipped with the basic sciences and complete the clinical training you need.

Once you graduate, you will enter a Foundation Program that will last for two years. Here, you will be granted a provisional license to practice in clinical environments. After your first year of training, you will be awarded full registration.

After this, if you choose to work in a more specialized field, you will need additional training. This typically involves two to three years of core medical training (CMT) or the Acute Common Care Stem (ACCS) program. This forms the first stage of the specialty training.

Between four to seven years of specialist training depends on whether you choose to pursue a chosen area of medicine to work in.

What GCSE Qualifications Do You Need To Be A Doctor?

If you have dreams of becoming a doctor, you need to try to narrow down your decision as early as possible in your academic journey. Most medical schools in the UK will take your GCSE grade or the equivalent into consideration when they’re reviewing your application. 

Most medical schools would require that you have either a grade 5-9 (A+ – C) in at least the five core subjects: Mathematics, English, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. Some may expect you to score 7, 8, and 9 across your GCSE subjects.

If you are not sure of the medical schools that consider your GCSE grades as part of your entry requirements, you can browse them online. Most university websites will outline the needed grades and subjects you would need in their ‘Entry Requirements’. This can go a long way to help you set and achieve your dreams.

What Do Medical Schools In The UK Look For In Applicants?

Medicine is a highly competitive subject field, with top medical schools in the UK receiving applications that increase every year. Therefore, the admissions teams of these schools usually look for additional sets of requirements from prospective students, outside academic achievements. 

This can help them make sure that they are choosing the very most talented, dedicated, and passionate students for their courses. There are three main components the admissions teams look out for:

BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) or University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT):

When you apply for a Medicine degree in the UK, you might be asked to take one of the following tests. These tests would determine if you have the skills needed to excel in a degree in Medicine. The skills include critical thinking, problem-solving, and clear communication.

Relevant Voluntary Or Clinical Experience:

Most Medical schools will expect you to have completed some relevant paid or voluntary work experience.

This work experience is critical in helping students gain insight into the working industry of medicine and then decide if the career is right for them or not.

It can also show the admissions teams of the university that you excel in a care position. Some examples of voluntary experience are securing a placement in a clinical environment, shadowing a doctor or medical professional, providing care work in the local community, etc.

A Comprehensive Personal Statement:

You will need to submit a personal statement in addition to your academic qualifications. A personal statement is a state written by yourself, about yourself. It outlines your ambitions, skills, and experiences that are relevant to the course.

This is a chance for you to show why you would be a great student for the course you are applying for.

You also get to tell them about your skills, interests, and experiences. This is one of the first things the admissions teams will use to determine if you should be considered or not.

You should add exactly why you want to study medicine, the qualities you bring to the role, and why you are suitable for the course.

How to Become A Doctor In The UK

In the UK, many elements are involved in you becoming a registered doctor that can practice there. These elements include completing:

  • A five-year degree in Medicine. This has official recognition by the General Medical Council.
  • A two-year foundation course of general training in a clinical environment.
  • Two to three years of core medical training (CMT) or Acute Common Care Stem (ACCS) program. This forms the first stage of specialty training.
  • Four to seven years of specialist training. This depends on whether you want to pursue a chosen area of medicine to work in.

You should note that although this is the most chosen route for many aspiring medical doctors, it is not the only way to become a qualified medical doctor in the UK. 

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