The application procedures for international students are the same as home students, however, international students will have additional things to consider. 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.
Non-UK entry requirements
Medical schools vary as to which non-UK qualifications they accept and what the requirements are. Normally this information will be listed on each individual university website but if you cannot see your qualifications you should contact the medical school directly. Most medical schools have a dedicated admissions email address or phone number to help with queries which can normally be found on their entry requirements pages. The UK National Recognition Information Centre (UKNARIC) can also help with comparing UK and international qualifications.
Publicly funded universities usually group the fee status of their students by two categories: ‘home’ and ‘overseas’. The fees for home students differ between universities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, therefore specific requirements should be checked with the universities you are interested in applying to. Usually, to qualify for home fee status, you will need to be settled and ordinarily resident in the UK for the last three years. The main reason for your being in the UK must not be to receive full-time education.
For the full criteria for home and international fee status, visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs website. If in doubt about your fee status, contact the universities you are thinking of applying to for help.
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
Student support and scholarships
If you do not meet the criteria for home fee status then overseas fees will apply. These fees vary between the different medical schools and can be found on their websites. The UK Council for International Student Affairs and the British Council offer support to help you work out how much money you will need. The UCAS website has some useful information on funding issues for overseas students.
Information on general scholarships can be found at the nearest British Council office. 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 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.
Visa and immigration
Gaining entry clearance is compulsory for everyone wishing to enter the UK as a student. Students require a Tier 4 visa. Information on applying for this on this can be found on UK Visas and Immigration website. For more information on visa and immigration issues, visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs.
If you are applying from outside the UK and you do not speak English as your first language then you are required to provide evidence of your English language proficiency. This requirement applies to both international and EU/EEA students.
Many medical schools will prefer, or expect you to take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). There are two versions of IELTS, the Academic test and the General Training test. You will need to complete the Academic test, which is for those who wish to study. Most medical schools will require a minimum score as part of their entry requirements. which will be listed on their websites.
The IELTS can be taken in over 500 locations worldwide and there is a set fee for sitting it. To find your nearest test centre, visit the IELTS website.