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Applying to university

Applying for Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Dentistry

To apply for Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Dentistry, you’ll have to contend with extra work, interviews and an earlier deadline.

Stethoscope and medical forms on table

CONTENTS

  1. How is applying for Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or Dentistry different from other courses?

  2. Applying for Medicine courses

  3. Applying for Veterinary Medicine courses

  4. Applying for Dentistry courses

How is applying for Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or Dentistry different from other courses?

The deadline for these courses is 6pm GMT, 15 October. There’s also some extra work/exams and interviews to complete before you can apply. 

Applying for Medicine courses

Medicine will involve extra tests such as BMATs, UCATs, GAMSATs and MMIs. Each university will prefer a different one, and applicants only need to pass one of these to apply.

Check our page on Medicine admissions tests for more information. 

You may also need to attend an interview, plus have some extra activities such as volunteering or relevant work experience. A Levels (or equivalent) in Biology and Chemistry are usually essential.

Once you’re studying, you can become a member of the British Medical Association (BMA). As a student, you’ll be eligible for reduced fees where the first year is free and the second and third year is £3.16 a month.

Things to do before you apply

Do your research

Before applying to medical school, find out as much information as possible about studying the subject area and what a career in medicine is like. Look into the entry requirements for courses you're interested in across different institutions.

This will help you get a full view of what to expect and what will be expected of you. The number of universities that offer clinical medicine courses (Medicine & Surgery, or MBBS, MBChB) is relatively small, so it’s fairly easy to find what’s available.

Be realistic

Medicine is a very competitive subject to get into, so consider your predicted grades and think carefully about your chances of success. There’s little point in applying to four Medicine courses if there’s a slim chance of getting in.

Applications per place are usually one in ten, with the vast majority of those applicants on track to achieve AAB and better in their A Levels or equivalent. A 40% chance of success is a reasonable approximation.

If you want to pursue Medicine, use your fifth choice wisely. Choose a healthcare-related course or biology subject. UCAS rules don’t let you apply to five Medicine & Surgery courses but see below for other options outside of the UCAS process.

Get experience

Practical experience is crucial. Make yourself as appealing to universities as possible by gaining as much as you can, from short placements to longer-term volunteering work. This will show your skills and demonstrate how dedicated you are.

You can find suitable work experience opportunities in places such as a local GP, hospice, nursing home, hospital or pharmacy. Look for placements on volunteer websites, talk to people who may know someone who works in the industry, and search online for work in your area. Be proactive, and if you can’t find something you want to do, find someone who can help you more.

Know what to expect

There are different admissions and testing processes across institutions offering Medicine courses. Increasingly, universities are using MMI (Multiple Mini Interviews) days as a way to objectively select students. University websites normally have brief explainers to give you an idea of what to expect.

Non-standard routes into Medicine

You may be able to transfer after the first year of a different degree to the first or second year of a medical course. This is unusual and should always be checked with the university.

One example of transfers is at the University of Bradford, which focuses on widening participation students by collaborating with Leeds Medical School. Another case is at Newcastle University, where you can transfer to a Medicine course from a programme in the School of Biomedical Sciences.

If you're considering this route into Medicine, be sure to research the funding position. You should consider contacting your funding body (SFE, SAAS) to check whether tuition fee loans are available for the whole course. Or you can ask the university you're applying to, as they should be able to advise you.

There are other options – spend time researching and asking questions, and you should find something that suits you.

Fees and funding

If you're entering medical school as a graduate, funding is slightly different than for undergraduates. You won't be able to get a loan for tuition fees or a maintenance grant, even if you didn’t get funding for your previous degree. In the fifth year of medical training, graduate-entry students will usually get the same funding as undergraduate students.

Get in contact with the medical schools you're applying to see if NHS financial support applies. You'll have to meet certain criteria.

You may be eligible to apply for extra support from your country’s funding authority. Visit their websites for more information.

Veterinary Medicine

Like Medicine degrees, Veterinary Medicine is a popular subject that requires discipline and academic excellence. A Levels (or equivalent) in Biology is usually essential.

Because of its competitive nature, students who want to apply for Veterinary Medicine should try to add something to their application other than grades. This can be in the form of an insightful personal statement or relevant work experience or volunteering. 

Tutors will be looking for evidence of passion for animals and care, as well as work experience with animals or in a veterinary practice. 

Once you’re studying, you can become a member of the British Veterinary Association (BVA). As a student, you’ll be eligible for reduced fees of £3.75 a month. However, check with your university as some will contribute to the cost of membership as part of your degree. 

Do you have what it takes to be a veterinarian?

The University of Edinburgh has a free online course designed to give A Level students an idea of what studying a veterinary course will be like. It’s designed to take 3–4 hours a week for five weeks and will give you a taster of the first year.

Dentistry

A lucrative and competitive course, Dentistry also has an early application deadline of 15 October. 

A Levels (or equivalent) in Biology and/or Chemistry are usually required by most universities. Physics and Mathematics are also considered complementary courses by tutors.

Extra tests aren’t usually necessary, but some universities will ask you to pass the UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test). 

Once you’re studying, you can become a member of the British Dental Association (BDA). As a student, you’ll be eligible for reduced fees of £2.50 a month. However, check with your university as some will contribute to the cost of membership as part of your degree. 

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