Medicine (as a second degree)

Entry routes to undergraduate and postgraduate Medicine for graduates in the biological sciences and related biosciences

Entry routes

You'll need a recognised degree in Medicine. All UK programmes are full time: UK universities offering Medicine.

As a graduate in the biosciences, you can opt for:

  • Undergraduate programmes (five years).
  • Postgraduate programmes (four years), usually after you've gained some work experience.

There are also extended programmes, which are six years and include a foundation year.

Entry requirements

Medicine is about helping people. You need an enquiring mind, the capacity to acquire large amounts of detailed knowledge, and the ability to relate to people. Entry is highly competitive.

Academic history

A 2:1 or higher in your degree with a solid basis in the biosciences is generally required. Students with an MA or PhD will also be considered.

Aptitude tests

Most medical schools require an aptitude test, such as the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) or BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). (The University of Birmingham does not use the UKCAT.) If you have an undergraduate degree you can take the Graduate Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT), but only Peninsula, Nottingham, St George’s, Swansea and Keele accept it.

Evidence of commitment

Relevant experience (paid or voluntary) is vital! Experience in hospitals or GP surgeries is relevant but may not be feasible. Medical schools also recognise experience in related areas, including hospices, residential homes and domestic care. They are looking for commitment, initiative, originality, personal integrity, concern for others and the ability to communicate. You need to be able to show that they have reflected on the demands involved in a career in medicine.

The Student Room has a page on work experience for medicine, including a link to the Medicine Work Experience Directory.

Funding

You'll need to think about how to fund your studies. The NHS Careers site has information about financial support for students on degree courses in medicine in the UK.

Application process

  1. Be aware that UCAS deadlines for Medicine are before those for other degrees. There's also a deadline for taking the BMAT/UKCAT, and you need to take it in the year you apply.
  2. You can apply for up to four medical courses through UCAS, but requirements may vary so do the research before you apply. Some institutions allow you to apply for a postgraduate and an undergraduate one.
  3. Once you have decided where you would like to apply, and have your BMAT/UKCAT result, you will need to complete an application through UCAS: see the UCAS website for details. Remember that evidence of commitment to medicine and the reference will be key aspects.
  4. You may need health checks before you start. Get a list of your childhood immunisations from your GP. Some medical schools require immunisations against Hepatitis B and TB.
  5. Most medical schools carry out CRB checks on applicants who accept a place.

Undergraduate preparation

Research

Investigate medical schools and their requirements. Check the dates for the BMAT/UKCAT and for UCAS applications. Talk to your personal tutor about help with applying. Remember that he/she will probably have to act as a referee.

Evidence of commitment

Probably the most important thing to work on as an indergraduate. Quality is better than quantity. A long-term commitment reflects dedication, so once a week for months is better than a week of intensive experience. Keep a diary and reflect on your experiences. This will help with personal statements and interviews. It's not necessary to give the details of specific illnesses or procedures; instead, reflect on what you have learnt about patient care and a doctor’s responsibilities.

  • Contact your local NHS Trust. Many have departments that organise experience.
  • Speak to your GP. If nothing else, they may put you in touch with somebody. Use people you know in the profession, if any.
  • Contact the admissions department of your local medical school. They may have contacts.
  • See what your university offers, volunteer in a care home, work in a youth centre or provide vacation support for disabled children.

Ideas for voluntary work include: St John Ambulance Service, British Red Cross, Help the Hospice, Samaritans, Community Service Volunteering

Opportunities abroad include:Gap MedicsFrontierProjects Abroad

Awareness

Keep up-to-date through science/medicine supplements in broadsheet newspapers, medical journals and online articles. At an interview you may be asked to talk about current issues, including ethical issues (for example, informed consent). Give honest but balanced answers.

Our support

There's a limit to what the School can do to help with relevant experience, as it's important that you can demonstrate that you have arranged it yourself (this is where the 'commitment' comes in). However, Leicester's Hospitals offer a range of work experience placements and volunteering opportunities:

Transfer at the end of Year 1

Information about the option of transferring to the five year Medicine programme at the end of Year 1 can be found on Blackboard.

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School of Biological Sciences
University of Leicester
Maurice Shock Building
University Road
Leicester, LE1 7RH
T: +44 (0)116 252 2907
F: +44 (0)116 252 5659
E: bsadmin@le.ac.uk

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The GENIE Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning