For many students with a strong science background and a desire for a career that is both personally fulfilling and financially rewarding Medicine is the obvious choice of degree.  The chance to train within the NHS, the world’s largest publicly funded health service, and the opportunity to specialise in medicine straight away attracts many international students to study Medicine in the UK.  The demand for places makes this one of the most competitive subjects in the country.  To get a place you’ll need fantastic grades and an excellent application.

Experience, Experience, Experience

As well as exceptional grades in Chemistry and Biology UK medical schools are looking for evidence that you have gained voluntary caring work experience.

Shadowing doctors in a hospital may also be a useful addition, giving you insight in to the role of a doctor, but most UK medical schools are more interested in you having made a caring contribution to the local community

Contacting clinics or hospitals in your home country is normally the best way to arrange this experience.

Universities are looking for evidence that you are dedicated and passionate about forging a career in this sector and will want to hear about the skills you have gained through your experience.  Quality is better than quantity – Mary Platt, a University Medical School Director, explains that when listing work experience placements on a personal statement: “It’s not about listing the 53 bits of work experience you’ve done.

“What we want is somebody who has thought about what a future doctor needs and can demonstrate that they’ve got the attitudes and beliefs and values that are going to make them the doctor that you and I want to look after us in old age.”

Understanding the Application Process

Applications for Medical Schools in the UK are made through UCAS.  The deadline in mid-October, almost a year before you will start the course the following September so you need to start planning your application well in advance.  You can apply for up to four medicine courses plus one additional course in another subject.

Depending on which universities you apply for you may need to take the UK Clinical Aptitude Test, known as UKCAT before you make your application.  Designed to filter the thousands of highly-qualified applicants in order to find the most suitable, the test assesses a range of mental abilities identified by university medical and dental schools as important.  Practice tests are available on the UKCAT website.

Meeting the Academic Entry Requirements – International Qualifications

The vast majority of British student s who study medicine at university will have taken A Levels.  If you studied outside of the UK and therefore took a different qualification at school you will need to check each university’s entry requirements for your country.  This information is often available on their website, if it’s not clear their international office should be able to advise you.

If your qualifications do not meet the entry requirements because they are considered to be a slightly lower level than A Levels there are a few institutions in the UK that offer pre-medical programmes.

The Manchester College’s Access to Medicine course is a one year pre-university programme designed to bridge the gap between students’ current qualifications and the entry requirements of British universities for degrees in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy or medical science.

The course is based at The Manchester College’s Centre of Excellence for Medical Sciences.  This brand new campus is based at the Citylabs complex close to several of the city’s hospitals. The campus’s cutting edge technology provides students with a unique and highly focussed learning experience, which includes live video links to operations as well as direct access to industry specialists based at the hospitals on site.

Students study units in biology, physics, chemistry and maths; they gain an Access to Higher Education Diploma, a nationally recognised qualification.  The course has been developed with the support of the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences at the University of Manchester.

If you would like more information about studying Access to Medicine at The Manchester College as an international student please contact the international office. Details of how to apply are available on the college website.