medical schools council

A list of commonly asked questions can be found below. For more information on applying to medical school, please see our applications page. For information on training after graduation, please see the after medical school section.


How do I make an application to study medicine in the UK?

Applications are made through UCAS. More detail can be found on our applications page. International applicants should also read our international applicants page.

When is the deadline for completing a medical school application?

Applications for medicine close on 15 October every year. No applications are accepted after this deadline.  

Fee status and funding

I am based in the EU. Will I have to pay international student fees?

If your course starts on or after the 1 August 2021 you will no longer be eligible for home fee status, undergraduate, postgraduate and further education financial support from Student Finance England unless you meet one of the following criteria:

  • you are able to benefit from the citizens rights agreements
  • you are an Irish national living in the UK or Republic of Ireland - benefits of Irish nationals under the Common Travel Area arrangement will continue

You should ask the relevant student funding body if you’re eligible for any support if you’re studying in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

For more detail, please see the UK government website.

I am a British citizen but live outside of the UK. Am I guaranteed 'Home' fee status?

No. Citizenship does not automatically guarantee Home fee status. Normally, to be considered a Home student, applicants will need to fulfil the following:

  • Be a citizen (so be able to live in the UK unrestricted by visas)
  • Be ordinarily resident in the UK (you must currently live in the UK, and be living here for at least the last three years)
  • The reason you have lived in the UK has not been for education (for example you cannot be on a student visa)

There are other exceptions for being considered as a Home student, however for more detail you should contact the medical school you are interested in applying to and the UK Council for International Student Affairs

What are the fees for international students?

Overseas fees for medicine vary depending on the school. To find out what these are, you should visit medical schools' websites or contact the universities directly. 

I am an international applicant and would like to study medicine in the UK. Are there any scholarships or funding available?

The Medical Schools Council is not a funding agency and does not award scholarships or grants.

Information on general scholarships can be found at the nearest British Council office. You may also wish to contact your local Ministry of Education.

Scholarships or bursaries available can vary between different medical schools, and they will post information on any funding they offer on their websites. 

The British Council can help you find funding for a chosen course through its scholarship schemes and links with other websites. Many of the scholarships available are only applicable to postgraduate degrees, but some do provide funding to help cover fees for specific subjects, and scholarships may be available for specific institutions. For help with identifying the funding available, visit the British Council website.

The education departments within the UK Government, the Scottish Executive, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly decide on who is eligible for student loans and grants. The regulations on the different categories for eligible students can be complicated. To help, the UK Council for International Student Affairs has produced a summary for international students and also publishes some general information about fees, funding and student support which is available on its website.  

Non-UK qualifications 

I have international qualifications from my home country. Can I use these to apply to a UK medical school?

Most medical schools will list the entry requirements for qualifications such as A levels and the International Baccalaureate (IB). They may also list what the requirements are for other qualifications from outside of the UK.

To find out whether a medical school accepts your qualification, and what the requirements are, you should see individual school websites or contact them directly. 

Age limits for studying medicine

Is there a lower age limit to study medicine?

Before sending applications, we would advise checking how the medical schools you are interested in will consider an applicant who is not 18 at the start of the course. 

Medical schools need to consider the age of applicants carefully, but would not make a decision purely on age alone. Age needs to be considered because medical courses often involve placements in NHS Trusts early on in the medical degree and legally it can be difficult for these Trusts to accommodate students who are under 18 years of age. When dealing with such restrictions the medical school would need to consider with the placement provider (the NHS Trust) any reasonable adjustments to how the requirements of the course might be met. If the adjustments that need to be made are not considered to be reasonable then it may be that entry to the course would be deferred.

Is there an upper age limit to study medicine?

There is no upper age limit for applications to study medicine in the UK. 


I am a medical student from outside of the UK. Can I transfer to a UK medical school?

UK medical schools do not accept transfers of students from a medical school outside of the UK. This is because each medical school follows a different course structure and there are no realistic means of verifying the quality and grades received at a university outside of the UK medical education system.

I am studying a science degree at a UK university. Can I transfer onto a medicine course?

In most cases, medical schools do not accept transfers from other degree subjects especially from a different university.

In some cases, medical schools may have processes in place to allow a transfer to medicine from specific subjects at the parent university. Spaces via this route are limited and there are specific requirements that must be met. You should ask your department if this is an option available to your current course. 

New medical schools

Which medical schools can award UK medical degrees?

The General Medical Council decides which organisations can award UK primary medical qualifications. In most cases, a medical school is part of a single university which awards degrees to medical graduates. In some cases, universities come together to run a single medical school. These combinations of universities form a single body for the purposes of holding examinations for and awarding primary medical qualifications.

You can find a full list of bodies awarding UK medical degrees on the General Medical Council's website. 

Why do new medical schools need to seek accreditation?

A UK medical degree is recognised throughout the world because of its high standards of education and training. The General Medical Council plays a vital role in ensuring that all UK medical schools continuously meet these excellent standards by carrying out rigorous quality assurance. All new medical schools must successfully progress through a number of rigorous quality assurance stages before they are finally approved to award a Primary Medical Qualification.

Which new medical schools and programmes are being reviewed to award UK medical degrees?

The full list of new medical schools and programmes which are being reviewed to award UK medical degrees can be found on the General Medical Council's website. 

Placements and electives

I am a non-UK medical student and I would like to complete a hospital placement in the UK

Due to visa requirements in the UK, electives in hospitals tend to require the sponsorship of a ‘Highly Trusted Sponsor’ which is very difficult to get on a student visa and more suited to graduated doctors. This means that a university/medical school elective may instead be a more appropriate destination for an elective.

I am a non-UK medical student. How can I apply for an elective placement at a medical school?

Medical schools vary as to whether they host electives for visiting students, including international students. The arrangement of an elective is handled directly by the individual medical school. Costs and entry requirements can be found on medical school websites

International students will also need to apply for a visa, often a Short Term Study Visa and would be expected to return to the country of their study upon completion of the elective. Find out which type of visa you need here. You may also be asked to provide evidence of an acceptable level of English qualification. 

Access courses

Can I apply to medical school with an Access to Medicine course?

What is an Access course and who are they for?

Access courses provide a route for mature learners wishing to study medicine who do not have formal qualifications in A-level Biology and Chemistry. They are delivered in further education colleges. An Access course is an alternative to a level 3 qualification (e.g. AS/A Levels, NVQ Level 3 etc. more information here), rather than a supplement for poor performance. This means that if you have recently been unable to meet the academic requirements for entry to medicine, an Access course would not be seen as an immediate alternative.

Before selecting an Access course

Different medical schools have different rules about accepting applicants from Access courses and about which Access courses they accept. Before you enrol on an Access course you are advised to consider the following:

  • Find out which medical schools accept the Access course you are interested in. It may also be worth asking how many Access course students have gone on to further study and at which institutions.
  • Prior qualifications are still relevant. Many medical schools have GCSE/O-Level requirements, for example minimal attainment requirements in Maths and English. You are advised to check what other qualifications (beyond an Access course) are required by those medical schools you may wish to apply to in the future. Some medical schools issue written statements of what they require prospective applicants to achieve through an Access course. 
  • Medical schools require applicants to demonstrate some understanding of what a career in medicine involves. Applicants may draw on relevant work experience, either paid or voluntary in health or related areas, to demonstrate this understanding. Access courses are likely to request this of applicants too. This may mean practical experience in hospices and residential homes, domestic caring responsibilities, reflection on experiences of a healthcare setting or work in a conventional healthcare setting such as a hospital or GP surgery. More important than the experience itself, is the ability to demonstrate an understanding of the relevant skills and attributes the profession requires by reflecting upon and drawing on any experience. Where this experience is limited, it may be necessary to conduct further work experience or shadowing prior to application to medical school.
  • Medical schools generally expect ‘distinction’ grades from Access course applicants and usually require 60 credits, with at least 45 being at level 3, the rest being at level 2, though this may differ.

What do Access courses teach?

The core content of Access courses tends to be biology, chemistry and physics modules. The level of these core modules should be the equivalent of A-Level standard, although the breadth of coverage may not be exactly the same. Modules on health issues and other medicine specific topics may also be covered. The content of courses should require significant commitment, as this will help to prepare you for a standard medicine course.

For further information, read our guidance on Access to Medicine courses and find this information summarised in our Access courses infosheet. You can search to see which Access courses medical schools accept using our entry requirements search tool.