Which college offers the best Access to Medicine?

Access to Medicine courses are designed to suit the needs of mature students in lieu of A-levels.  They are not traditional way of getting into medicine, nor accepted nationwide. There are a couple of  such courses accepted by considerable universities and would be of great help if coupled with a good personal statement and work experience. But it is highly unlikely to read medicine without having pass grades in the basic GCSEs or standard grades, in particular grade ‘B’ in Math and English, before enrolling to an Access to Medicine. It is worth noting that these courses are neither back doors nor re-sit opportunities for applicants who failed to come up with the right grades to read medicine as most medical schools would not consider such applicants. I would recommend contacting the medical schools you aspire to join by disclosing the body that accredited the very Access to Medicine course, the awarding body of the HE Diploma and your previous qualifications. Most medical schools look for QAA recognised Access to Medicine course. I just mentioned here some of those that comply with this requirement. 

The most known by far is College of West Anglia (COWA) at Kings Lynn, Norfolk. It has a good reputation over the years and has stringent GCSE requirements to enrol in its Access to Medicine course.  They need five GCSEs as an entry requirement and for those with degree they stress on the classification favoured by medical schools unless backed up with extenuating circumstances.  They have a generous package of a grant of a minimum of £300 towards accommodation costs from the college’s Learner Support Fund for those who relocate from distant locations. But the trouble is they will not start paying before the course is well ahead (refund) that it might put people in financial distress. It is worth visiting their how to apply section however.

The other colleges that offer a similar course that is favoured by medical schools include Sussex Downs College and The Manchester College (MANCAT). The former has a respected number of medical schools under its belt that consider its students. Everything that you need to know about the course can be found here. MANCAT offers the desired course in a metropolitan environment in either  Nicholls or Northenden campuses with a decent reputation. The access course is also available part-time, though most medical schools have explicitly stated that they would not consider HE diplomas done that way. The admission at MANCAT stresses on having the basic GCSEs, especially B in GCSE English and Math, though everyone would sit an initial assessment and can take equivalent Level II, Math and English, alongside the access. But due to a lot of applicants nowadays they would screen those who fail to come up with the right application credentials to an internally existing Pre-Medicine program that lasts for a year and ends up with five GCSEs. Information about the Access to Medicine course and contact details are available in this link.

Lambeth College in London and Stow College in Glasgow do offer Access to Medicine course and are as well known to manage their students get into medical school. There are also numerous foundation programmes throughout the nation that have close collaboration with medical schools in their locality. This includes, for instance, Perth College’s HNC in Pathway to Medicine in Scotland with close ties with University of St Andrews. The top five applicants with the right grades are guaranteed progression to read the six-year MBBS medical course at Bute Medical School. This thread talks a lot about the programme. There might be funding issues and is worth contacting them. Bute Medical School only offers the first three years of the programme which you would finish with Bachelor of Medicine. The next three clinical years for the Bachelor of Surgery would be studied at its partner medical schools throughout Scotland or University of Manchester.

There are also similar course at City College Norwich (CCN), Access to HE Medicine, which they had withdrawn last year but reinstated this year, and other foundation programmes at Leeds, Liverpool, Bradford. Carmel College at Liverpool has a foundation year for Medicine and Dentistry which has guaranteed routes for University of Liverpool’s associated programmes. They do not accept people with science A levels or degrees but those with arts degree, or with good GCSEs and work experience in related area. The programme is inviting as students may also be entitled to student loans and bursaries. The module does not have Physics and Math and would stress on Biology and Chemistry. There is no need to sit UKCAT. The minimum entry requirement is 5 GCSEs at grade ‘B’ and above in Math, English and the sciences and associated work experience, provided passing the interview. It seems a more attractive option of reading medicine though you can’t apply to other medical schools using this qualification but who would worry about the rest if Liverpool medical school comes calling! You will apply straight to the institution instead of UCAS. About other access or foundation courses, the Access to Medicine websites link at New Media Medicine is really helpful. I have not included an information that shows the correlation between each medical school and the access courses they consider as I have put it in a previous post, ‘Where can I study Medicine‘ .

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