Known for competitive entry requirements and respected curricular standing, securing a UK medical degree can help you build the foundations of a fantastic medical career.
With a world-renowned healthcare system and access to some of the best research facilities in the world, studying medicine in the UK builds the foundations of an esteemed medical career with longevity and opportunity. With very high demand and competitive acceptance rates for UK and international students alike, it is often advised to start preparations as early as possible.
This guide provides expert advice on the steps you can take prior to your university application. This can give you the best possible chance of success in achieving your dream of becoming a doctor in the UK.
How long does it take to become a doctor in the UK?
Becoming a fully registered doctor in the UK takes a minimum of seven years. Due to the breadth of knowledge required and the various fields that medical students can study, a typical undergraduate medical degree in the UK lasts five years. An additional foundational programme of two years will enable you to secure a licence to practice, before becoming a fully registered doctor after seven years of study. Typically, medical students will become junior doctors upon leaving university while learning their specialism. Some training routes can take up to and over a ten-year period.
UK doctors can continue to develop their careers throughout their life. This is an appealing aspect of studying medicine in the UK, due to the numerous medical training pathways available, including PhDs and specialist training routes
Can international students study medicine in the UK?
Yes, it is possible for you to study medicine in the UK as an international student. It’s important to understand that getting into a UK medical school can be fiercely competitive. The acceptance rate for university applications is less than 10%, with a 7.5% cap for international students. This is set by the UK Government, with medicine and dentistry being the two most competitive fields.
Entry requirements for UK medicine
The entry requirements for UK medicine at top universities generally range from A*A*A* – AAA at A Level or equivalent for the top UK universities. Entry requirements for UK medicine are incredibly competitive, and usually require at least a grade A in Chemistry, as well as two additional top grades for Biology, Physics or Maths. For international students, it’s vital to check your qualifications are compatible with UK universities. Having compatible qualifications can give you the edge over other international students, as it demonstrates a commitment to your academic efforts.
How hard is it to study medicine in the UK?
Becoming a doctor in the UK requires dedication and discipline. First and foremost, prospective doctors need to take the necessary steps to ensure they are prepared for the application process. An application process usually involves a personal statement as well as an interview.
Studying medicine in the UK
If you are considering studying medicine in the UK, it’s best to understand your options and research your options for study. Some of the best universities to study medicine in the UK include the following:
– Oxford University
– Cambridge University
– ICL (Imperial College London)
– UCL (University College London)
– University of Edinburgh
– University of St Andrews
In total there are 37 UK medical schools. University is where most future doctors will train as an undergraduate to secure their doctor’s licence.
How to write an international application to medical school UK
Your university application is the most important step in helping you secure a place to study medicine in the UK. The application process can differ amongst the top universities. Some will require an interview as well as a written personal statement. Your personal statement provides the opportunity to demonstrate your academic results and provide evidence to support the fact that you are a suitable candidate to study medicine. With such fine margins and an incredibly competitive acceptance rate, it’s advised to dedicate as much time and effort to your application as possible.
Top tip: Understand the needs of the admissions criteria. Research the individual admissions criteria of your chosen universities. Look into application statistics to gauge an idea of how many people are applying, and where they are applying from. This will enable you to personalise your application approach depending on their specific requirements. Admission criteria differs between universities and researching specific criteria can prepare you for what to expect.
How to stand out in your university application
A successful university application to a UK medical school requires perseverance and dedication. Aim to demonstrate your genuine passion, commitment and dedication to studying medicine and becoming a doctor. In addition to your qualifications, you will need to demonstrate a commitment to super-curricular studies.
Evidence required for overseas students
English speaking skills
Applicants from overseas need to demonstrate good working proficiency of the English language. This includes reading, speaking and writing, as this is vital to ensuring no patient is at risk due to poor communication. Studying medicine in the UK will also require a comprehensive understanding of the written English language as all modules are delivered in English.
Yazmin Sarwar, Chief Education Officer of Oxford International College, shares her thoughts below.
Yasmin Sarwar has helped over 400 students to be admitted into Oxford, Cambridge, London School of Economics, and Imperial College London, as well as over 500 students admitted into medical schools, with 100% of her students to receive offers to Russell Group Universities in the UK.
“The three core components of a successful uni application are passion, evidence and strategy. Preparation is key, as this will ensure your personal statement gives you the edge over other international students. Aim to demonstrate your passion
for medicine through evidence. Show how you have gone above and beyond. Wider reading, super-curricular activities such as internship programmes, projects, competitions and voluntary work are all examples of showing your dedication to studying medicine. Going beyond the curriculum shows evidence that you have given thought to your university subject and pursued it with dedication and consideration”.
The benefits of internship programmes for medical students
Below we highlight some of the key reasons why a summer internship can be a vital stepping stone to studying medicine.
It demonstrates your commitment and passion for becoming a doctor
With bespoke training courses and experience in a professional medical setting, medical work experience programmes provide evidence that you have researched into studying medicine with fervency. This can give you the edge over other applicants, as you will be able to demonstrate your dedication beyond your academic results. Internship programmes can also ensure you have a deeper understanding of what is expected of students providing you with knowledge that will only strengthen and support your application.
Internships will provide unique access and insight into the UK medical system
Beyond your wider reading and research, the best way to immerse yourself in the world of UK medicine is through real-life experiences. This can be difficult to achieve before attending university; however, internship programmes provide access to hands-on experience that goes beyond a traditional university study programme.
Immersive internships give overseas students the edge over other international students
If you are an international student studying in the UK you need to understand how the NHS works, and how it operates. This understanding gives you an edge over other International students, in particular, and will enable you to take your uni application further by demonstrating a coherent understanding of how Western countries, particularly the UK, study medicine.
Internship programmes enable prospective students to familiarise themselves with university life
Our residential courses are held at Imperial College, London, enabling students to feel fully immersed in University city life. This can give students the confidence to pursue a career in medicine and give a glimpse into what to expect from university life in the UK. Additionally, it can be the perfect opportunity to work and study alongside like-minded individuals at a world top 10 university, famous for its specialty in science.and confirm that you are taking the best course of action for your academic career.
Internship programmes can validate that a medical degree is the best option for you
Unlike vocational courses, a medical degree builds the foundations for multiple career paths thanks to the various fields of study. A medical work experience programme will provide an excellent studying environment. From tailored workshops to hands-on experience in a working London hospital, internships help students to make a fully informed decision about a career in medicine.
Does it matter which medical school I go to?
The top UK universities for studying medicine offer not only the best in tutoring and opportunities but also can ensure further opportunities beyond university study. The best UK universities for medicine will also have fantastic research facilities and tutelage from some of the best lecturers in their given medical field. Once you have secured your doctor’s licence, you are able to pursue your options regardless of where you have studied medicine, however, generally speaking, the top medical unis have the highest statistics for graduate prospects.
Residential summer internships in the UK offer a comprehensive approach with bespoke training modules and an immersive learning experience.
Why are internships important for medical students in the UK?
Memorable university applications show genuine evidence of your hard work and passion for your chosen subject. Internship programmes in particular are growing in popularity due to their unique approach to hands-on learning. A fantastic way to bolster your university application, summer internships can provide the opportunity to work with industry experts and professionals, and provide invaluable insight into UK university study
Our internship programmes can provide a vital component of your university application, but can also solidify your choice in ensuring that medicine is right for you. With ProEd you cannot only gain access to unparalleled industry knowledge, but real-life experience alongside medical professionals, You can not only discover your passion but gain incredibly valuable information for your application to medical school. Our partners and academic staff collectively have decades of experience in their educational fields, with a proven track record in assisting previous students with university applications.
Receive bespoke and expert guidance for applying to medical school
Our ProEd courses offer professional guidance for preparing a UK university application through UCAS. Access to this expertise ensures your application is compelling and reflects your capabilities, capacity to learn and suitability for your chosen courses.
ProEd offers bespoke medical internships that can give you the edge over international students, offering a hands-on look at the world of UK medicine. From access to some of the best professors and lecturers the UK has to offer, to real-life work experience in an NHS facility, the team at ProEd have designed a bespoke medical work experience programme to suitably prepare you for university study.
Explore our medical work experience programmes below.
Location: On campus
Course length: Two weeks
Our Future Doctor summer programme has been curated for 13-15-year-olds considering a career in medicine. Our bespoke course provides immersive insight into both physiology and clinical medicine. Located on the stunning campus grounds of Imperial College London, students can immerse themselves in university life while gaining invaluable experience in studying medicine and what to expect.
Course length: One week
Location: Imperial College London
Our Back to School medical programme is specifically curated for prospective university students. Taking place just before the academic year begins, this programme provides in-depth knowledge, insight and experience before students applying to university. Developed for students who are considering a medical career with confidence, this programme includes a full day at a working London hospital working alongside medical professionals.
Our summer programme for prospective doctors enables students to experience life at a prestigious UK university while studying a two-week course. The course covers a broad range of medical fields, with a focus on respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological systems. Students can gain invaluable insight and understanding ahead of their peers at a leading UK university with unparalleled tutelage.
Online medical work experience and internships with ProEd
Internship programmes do not have to be limited to hands-on study. If you want to become a doctor but cannot travel and stay in the UK, then online internship courses offer bespoke training courses that can be completed remotely. You will be able to demonstrate what you have learnt after your course thanks to our specially developed online course.
Studying medicine in the UK: FAQs
How long does it take to study medicine in the UK?
Foundational study to earn a medical degree takes a minimum of seven years. Depending on the field of medicine you wish to specialise in, you may find that you are studying for up to ten years or more.
How much does it cost to study medicine in the UK?
The cost to study medicine in the UK varies on a number of factors. This includes tuition fees, living costs as well as accommodation fees. International students will also need to consider admission fees, as well as student loans and funding options depending on their country of residence. The cost of a university degree for
international students can start from £11,400 per year. Feed can be as high as £38,000 for international students. Typical fees for UK residents start at £9,250 per year.
How to choose the best university to study medicine
Conduct your own research to determine the best university to apply to. Research prospective career paths and study university league tables, as this can help determine the best universities to apply to. Prospective international medical students should also consider statistics such as student satisfaction, graduate prospects and typical entry requirements.
Why study medicine in the UK?
The sheer scope of a medical degree career options means you never stop learning; with over 60 areas of study to specialise in, medical students can develop a long-standing career in one of the most prestigious healthcare systems in the world. The National Health Service presents endless opportunities for growth while working alongside like-minded professionals and world-class researchers in a profession that is respected, ever-evolving and incredibly rewarding.
What is the highest-paid medical speciality in the UK?
Some of the most well-paid medical specialities include; Plastic surgery, Trauma and orthopaedic surgery. Neurosurgery. Otolaryngology and Cardiology.
What is the typical salary for a UK doctor?
A junior doctor’s salary can start from £29,000, increasing to £60,000 once fully qualified. Top salaries can reach up to £282,000 depending on experience and speciality. Many consultants undertake private work where they can earn significantly more, alongside working for the NHS.
What are the most popular medical specialities in the UK?
Some of the most popular medical specialities include Oncology (Cancer), Child psychiatry, Ophthalmology (Eyes and vision), Radiology (Organ illness and diseases) and Haematology (Blood).