medical schools council

Making an application

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Making an application to study medicine can be daunting. This section aims to make the process easy to understand. It lays out the initial parts of an application in the order that you need to consider them, taking you from qualifications while at school or college to writing a personal statement. The second part of the application stage will require attending interviews at a medical school for shortlisted candidates. More information can be found on the interviews section.

The application procedures for international students are the same as those for home students, however, international students will have additional things to consider. To find out more, please see our international applicants page. For applications in 2021, EU students will no longer be considered 'home students' and subject to international student fees.

It is important to note that the information below is for guidance purposes only and should be confirmed with medical schools or the relevant listed organisation, directly.

How to apply

Applications to study medicine are handled through UCAS. Applicants are able to apply to up to four medical courses. If you are in college or sixth-form then you should be guided through the process by teachers.

There is a very high number of applications to medicine each year and the process takes longer than for most other courses. For this reason, application must be made just under one year in advance. The deadline this year is 16 October, to begin the course in September of the following year. 

Applicants to University of Buckingham or University of Central Lancashire

While much of the above information is relevant, applicants to University of Buckingham or University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) should note the following points:

University of Buckingham

  • The University of Buckingham is a not-for-profit educational charity that receives no government subsidies. The fees for home and overseas students are therefore the same. Read more about their fees here.
  • Home students are eligible for support from Student Finance England towards their studies: an annual repayable tuition fee loan of £6,165 and separate maintenance loan to help with living costs, the amount based on household income (September 2017). Students are responsible for paying the remaining balance to the university for each term’s fees.
  • The University of Buckingham does not use admission tests as part of its selection process.
  • The course is 4.5 years, starting in January. The final application deadline for January 2020 is 31 August 2020.

University of Central Lancashire

  • Home applicants to MBBS at UCLan must be resident in the North West of England.
  • UCLan does not use admission tests as part of its selection process.
  • The application deadline for international students is 26 April 2019. Home students must submit their application by 15 October, the national UCAS deadline for medicine.

What makes a good doctor?

Medical schools want students who have commitment, perseverance, initiative, concern for others and the ability to communicate. There is a list of core values and attributes needed to study medicine, and this list has been endorsed by all medical schools. It sets out what medical schools are looking for so they can recruit and train students to make good doctors.

Entry requirements 

Medical schools are able to set their own entry requirements. Generally, the minimum entry requirements to standard entry medicine are three As at A level or equivalent qualifications. One subject, sometimes two, must be in a lab-based science (this means chemistry or biology) and some medical schools also require maths or physics at A level. Grades at GCSE or equivalent are usually considered as part of the application, but medical schools place varying emphasis on them.

The UCAS website has a list of all medical degrees available in the UK, along with minimum entry requirements. More detailed information can be found on our Entry requirements comparison tool. A PDF version is also available: in Entry requirements for UK medical schools: 2024 entry. To understand more about the different types of medicine courses available, visit our course types page.

Remember that admissions criteria for medical schools can change every year, so always check the websites of the medical schools you are interested in before you make your application. These websites will have the most up-to-date information and you will learn more about the medical schools themselves. A list of UK medical schools, with links to their websites, can be found on our medical schools page.

Contextual admissions           

Many medical schools use contextual information to understand an applicant’s academic potential by placing their qualifications in the context of their socioeconomic and/or educational background. This is called 'contextual admissions'. Contextual information can be used by medical schools in different ways. For example, it may be used to: 

  • Consider if an applicant should be invited to interview
  • Consider the applicant's admissions test or interview scores within their educational or social context
  • Provide an offer for an access route or alternative pathway to medicine
  • Give further consideration to the application if the student just misses the grades they were predicted

To find out if a course offers this, and whether you qualify, see the entry requirements section on the course’s webpage. Look for information relating to ‘widening participation’, ‘widening access’ or 'contextual admissions'.

The fifth choice subject

Applicants will also have the option to add a fifth choice subject on their UCAS application that is separate to Medicine. Universities and medical schools will only see the courses a student applies to at that institution. Admissions staff will not see the applications to other medical schools or universities. Watch our interview with medical school admission staff to find out more detail. 

Differences between medical schools 

There is significant competition for places and medical schools differ in many ways. It is therefore important you choose a medical school which suits your academic profile, skills and attributes. Make sure you research the differences and find somewhere that suits you. 

Additional reading