medical schools council


Statement on the adjustment of the cap on places for medicine courses in 2021


The Medical Schools Council (MSC) welcomes confirmation from the Government that the cap on medical school places has been temporarily adjusted in order to accommodate those applicants who have met the terms of their offers after achieving the required grades. The MSC is committed to working constructively with the Government and the GMC to try to create sufficient high quality capacity to accommodate these additional students.

Medical school admissions teams devote a great deal of time and attention to selecting candidates who have the potential to become good doctors. Medicine is a competitive course for which to gain entry and every year there is a surplus of qualified candidates who would be suitable for the course. Medical schools are conscious that this year’s cohort will have experienced disruption to their learning and as a result will require additional support in their transition to university. Due to the rigorous selection processes undertaken at all medical schools, the public should be reassured that all students who hold offers have been interviewed and deemed suitable for a career in medicine.

Medical education and training is delivered by medical schools and their clinical partners which provide placements to students throughout the course. Medical schools are committed to maintaining high standards of education for existing and new students and will therefore work with the Government to ensure that any additional places are appropriately funded and allocated. While some medical schools may be able to take a modest increase in numbers, their ability to do so will be limited by specialist facilities for subjects such as anatomy and clinical placement opportunities. With the physical constraints on placement capacity some students may choose to move to a different medical school or to defer their place until 2022, and medical schools will support them in these moves.


Notes to editors:

  1. The Medical Schools Council is the representative body for UK medical schools. The council is made of the heads of UK medical schools and meets in order to shape the future of medical education in the UK.
  2. Unlike the majority of university courses, medicine and dentistry have tightly restricted entry numbers, determined by Government. In response to this year’s unprecedented situation the Government has adjusted the cap on medicine places in England so that applicants which have met the terms of their offer after achieving the required grades can study medicine. For more information, see here.
  3. The total number of applications for medicine at UK universities for entry in 2021 is 28,690, an increase of 21% compared to applications for entry in 2020.
  4. For more information on this statement, please contact Lucy Chislett, Communications Officer, on 02074195427 or email
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