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Guide to studying Medicine

If you want a job where you never stop learning and new discoveries are constantly being made, then Medicine could be for you.

Medical doctors at work


  1. What's Medicine?

  2. Why study Medicine?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Medicine graduate?

  4. What qualifications do you need?

  5. What degrees can you study?

  6. How will you be assessed?

  7. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Medicine?

Medical practice is generally defined as being the science and practice of the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. Today, it's carried out by doctors, nurses, surgeons and physicians.

Medicine is a broad term of a variety of practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness, including pharmaceuticals, psychotherapy and surgery.

Similar courses for Medicine include: 

  • Pre-clinical medicine
  • Clinical medicine

Why study Medicine?

Most doctors agree there is no greater joy than curing a patient, or for a medical researcher than when discovering a new treatment for a certain disease. 

Universities aim to equip medical students with the skills required to become practitioners, so it makes sense the course involves a large proportion of practical work. You spend most of your time on placements in teaching campus hospitals. Placements are designed to expose you to a variety of medical specialities and give you the opportunity to interact with patients.

As a student, and later in your career, you’ll be having a direct impact on people's lives. If you’re a conscientious person, a career in medicine will certainly satisfy your sense of duty. Most doctors will cite this as being a major reason for choosing a career in medicine.

All UK Medicine courses comprise a 6-12 week elective period, which is a chance for you to study away from their home medical school. Most use this opportunity for travel, experiencing a different culture, partaking in relief work and seeing how medicine is practised in another country.

I knew I wanted a career in a field that is dynamic: constantly changing and evolving in terms of its knowledge and capabilities, seeking to question more, discover more, and deliver more, one which requires you to think, be active and on your feet, and to solve problems.
Nick, University of Birmingham

Doctor examining x-ray in hospital

What jobs can you get as a Medicine graduate?

Medicine degrees teach transferable skills, such as presentation, research and communication, as well as healthcare information, and all the tools needed to work in a difficult and highly pressured environment.

Particular job areas, aside from GP or hospital doctor, include genetic scientist, health service management, international aid, scientific research, teaching and lecturing, consultancy, journalism and solicitor.

Numerous companies offer graduate schemes in this subject, such as the NHS.

Professional job: Usually needs a degree
Non-professional job: Doesn't usually need a degree

What qualifications do you need? 

Specific requirements depend on the university, and you'll likely need top grades. A Levels (or equivalent) in Biology and Chemistry are usually essential.

You may also need to sit the UKCAT or BMAT tests, and have extra activity to support your application, for example work experience or volunteering.

Always confirm the entry requirements for the particular university and course you're interested in.

What degrees can you study?

  • BSc Microbiology with Immunology
  • MSc Dermatology
  • MSc Surgical Practice
  • BSc Cancer Studies

How will you be assessed?

Courses are assessed via a wide range of means across the many years of study. Formative assessments – such as online tests and anatomy practicals – are accompanied by written assignments like reflective essays and verbal presentations, as well as a practical portfolio and simulation exercises where emergencies are played out.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level include Advanced Audiology, Clinical Practice and Cardiac Care, Neonatal Nursing, Orthopaedics, Applied Epidemiology, Aquatic Pathobiology, Blood Science and Cancer Studies.

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