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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 do graduates do and earn?
  5. What qualifications do you need?

  6. What degrees can you study?

  7. How will you be assessed?

  8. 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. 

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.

Read our seven reasons to study Medicine for more information on why you might choose this subject area.

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.

What do graduates do and earn?

In the infographic below, the first table shows what graduates of Medicine have gone on to do in the months after their graduation.

The second table shows the average salaries of undergraduate Medicine students entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively.

Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

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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