What qualifications do I need to become a doctor?


Medical schools set their own selection criteria. Details of the entry requirements at each university in the United Kingdom (UK) are published annually on the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website www.ucas.com.  The various routes into medicine and their likelihood of acceptance depends on the medical school concerned, the right grades, attaining the UKCAT cut-off point of each uni one applies to, the right work experience and the ability to impress at the interviews.

For students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, all UK medical schools accept applications that demonstrate a combination of GCSEs, AS levels and A levels. The majority will require good grades in science subjects as these form the foundation of the medical curriculum. Generally, medical schools seek a good grade in chemistry at A level and often require A level biology. One other science subject is often required, eg physics (or physical science), or mathematics. A good A level grade in an arts subject such as history or a modern language will usually be accepted as a third A level. All applicants will be expected to have good GCSE passes in English and mathematics. Students with mainly non-science A levels are normally required to study a foundation course (see How can I study medicine if I do not have a science background?), which is an extra year in addition to the standard five years.

The majority of medical schools will not accept A level general studies and an increasing number of medical schools are notaccepting A level critical thinking as relevant qualifications. In addition, most medical schools will not give an advantage to applicants who have a qualification in Key Skills. A small number of medical schools will accept a vocational A level (AVCE) but only when combined with a traditional A Level (GCE) and only in a limited number of subjects (typically health and social care, and information and communication technology). Requirements vary between schools so it is important to check with the individual medical schools, and have your reply in writing.

Scottish students who apply to medical schools both within Scotland and the rest of the UK will be accepted on their results in Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers. The majority of medical schools will accept a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers and generally look for high grades in science subjects such as chemistry and biology.

Applicants with other qualifications, eg international baccalaureate, should contact the individual medical schools or UCAS for details on equivalent entry requirements.

A number of medical schools are now accepting access to medicine courses for entry into medical schools. These courses are designed to encourage a more diverse range of students into the medical profession by supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds, mature students, students from ethnic and cultural groups, and disabled students.

Source: British Medical Association. Becoming a doctor: entry in 2011

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