Graduate Entry Medicine
🎓 4 year course.
❤️ Greater workload.
🩺 More independent.
Graduate Entry Medicine
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how”
- Friedrich Nietzsche
🧠 What is it?
Graduate entry medicine is a 4-year medical degree in the United Kingdom, which can only be studied by those with a prior degree.
❤️ Who is it for?
Anyone who holds at least a bachelor’s degree. Many even hold higher degrees or have had other careers before deciding to pursue medicine. A number of graduate entry medicine degrees are available to graduates of any subject, whether you’re a 21 year-old coming straight out of a biomedicine degree or quite a lot older than 21 with an established career in the artists. The diversity of graduate medicine cohorts is a particularly exciting and interesting aspect of it.
🩺How do you apply?
You apply through UCAS, as it is an undergraduate degree. You can only apply to four medical degree UCAS options, but you are able to apply for both 4-year graduate degrees and 5-year undergraduate medicine degrees in the same cycle.
🌈 Where can you apply?
So this will take a bit of research, since all medical schools have different application requirements. Some medical schools don’t offer a graduate entry course and some have different requirements for admissions tests, A levels, work experience, degree class, and degree subject.
If you’re planning to apply for graduate entry medicine after a non-sciences degree and no science A-Levels, you are eligible to apply for Warwick, Newcastle, Nottingham, Swansea, and St George’s. If you have certain science A-levels (varies between universities), you may also be able to apply to Barts, Southampton or Cambridge.
Other universities offering graduate entry medicine for sciences graduates include Birmingham, Dundee/St Andrew’s (ScotGEM), King’s College London, Liverpool, Oxford, and Sheffield. More information can be found on their websites.
🎓 What are the application requirements?
This varies enormously between universities – if you’re looking at applying, I would highly recommend that you take a look at different universities’ websites to see what fits your profile and learn about what the course specifically involves. That said, the majority of university courses require that you have at least a 2:1 in your first degree. Some will accept a 2:2 if you have an additional degree like a masters of PhD.
Many also require additional things such as a certain score at an admissions test, and even a certain number of hours of work experience (volunteering, shadowing, professional experience, etc.). You will also need to provide usual UCAS requirements, such as a reference (preferably academic) and a personal statement. I appreciate that this sounds like a lot and, in all honestly, the application process is very time-consuming and intense, but it is far from impossible; if you are able to fulfill the application requirements, you stand a good chance of getting an interview.
✍️ How does the application process work?
Generally, it’s worth beginning to get work experience as soon as you start considering putting in an application, given that it can be hard to organise. This could involve volunteer work, such as in a care home or working with people with disabilities, shadowing medical professions, or paid work such as a healthcare assistant job.
You will need to book whichever admissions tests you plan on taking too – this can be as early as the March before you submit your UCAS application if you are planning to sit the GAMSAT. Once you’ve booked your tests, you will need to make sure you also schedule time to study for them and to find (or purchase) resources and practice tests.
UCAS usually opens for beginning applications in May/June the year before you intend to start your course (e.g. May 2019 for September 2020 admission). On UCAS you’ll need to enter your details, your exam grades, upload your personal statement, and contact your referees. The deadline for medical school applications is always 15th October.
Universities may begin to contact you within a few weeks of the deadline, either to acknowledge your application, send forms for you to provide further information of work experience, or to invite you to interview. However, don’t be stressed if you don’t hear back soon after – some universities will contact you in October, but others may not even contact you until the following April.
The interview style may vary between universities. Some will involve a traditional interview panel style, whereas some will follow MMI format. They may ask about work experience, motivation for becoming a doctor, test that you are compatible with their values, and some include a roleplay.
💰How is it funded?
For graduate entry medicine, even if you have used government student loans for your undergraduate or other graduate degrees, you are still eligible for some loans. The information here is up to date for 2020 entry.
In your first year, you are expected to self fund £3,465 towards your tuition fees, and Student Finance will provide a loan of £5,785 to cover the remaining fees. You can also apply for a normal student maintenance loan, receiving £4,289 non-means tested, and up to £8,944. In 2-4th year, the NHS will pay £3,715 towards you tuition, and you can receive a student loan of £5,535 to cover the remaining tuition fees. You will only be eligible for £2,324 maximum in student maintenance loans (£1,811 in your fourth year). However, you can also apply to receive a £1,000 NHS non-means tested grant, and up to £4,491 means-tested NHS bursary for your maintenance costs.
If you intend to apply for a five or six year undergraduate degree as a graduate, you will not receive any assistance from Student Finance.
🏛️ What does the degree involve?
The graduate medical degree will cover, in four years, all the content required for you to qualify as a doctor in the UK according to GMC requirements. This includes academic teaching and clinical placements. However the teaching styles vary from university to university. Some things you might want to look for in particular include whether they use traditional lecture style teaching or include Case or Problem Based Learning techniques, whether they divide pre-clinical and clinical years or provide an integrated course, or whether they teacher anatomy via dissection or prosection
🛣️ I’m considering applying, how shall I begin preparing?
There is no one correct way to apply. However, it’s worth confirming with yourself that you know what medicine involves and whether it’s genuinely the path you want to pursue. Read around the subject (both medical memoirs and science articles) and try watching lectures on topics that interest you. It’s definitely important to get work experience too, so try to find opportunities to shadow medical professionals, volunteer, or do paid care roles. Once you have decided that you definitely want to apply, you can begin booking your admissions test and working on your UCAS application.
📚 If I am a humanities graduate, will I be at a disadvantage?
All medical schools that open the graduate entry medical course to humanities and arts graduates teach without the assumption of prior knowledge. There may be aspects of basic science at the beginning of the course that sciences graduates may be more familiar with but, in all reality, the medical degree is different from any other study and will be challenging for everyone. Humanities graduates are regularly some of the top performers in graduate medical cohorts though.
It can be easy to feel imposter syndrome if you’re coming to medicine after studying something very different, or after having spent years working in a different career or raising a family. However, medical schools will accept people they see with potential for a career in medicine beyond their previous academic experiences: patients are a diverse mix of people from all demographics and experiences, so it’s important that our doctors are varied and multifaceted people too.