Are you interested in studying medicine in the UK?  You’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we’ll learn about some of the best medical schools in the UK and what you need to apply. We’ll also explore tuition costs, visa requirements, and more. Ready? Let’s take a look:  


Why study medicine in the UK 

Medicine can be a competitive degree. But, studying it in the UK can prepare you to work and practice in one of the best healthcare systems in the world. According to a 2017 study by The Commonwealth Fund, the UK and its healthcare system ranked number one in overall performance, compared to 10 other high-income countries – including in things like care process and equity. The UK’s health service, called the NHS, is publicly funded.  

The UK also boasts world-class Research and Development (R&D), which the government actively invests in. For example, the UK hopes to raise funding for R&D to £22 billion a year by 2025. This means studying medicine in the UK can provide you with the opportunity to learn at state-of-the-art facilities, as well as help give you more access to research support and funding.   


Best medical schools in the UK  

The UK is home to some of the best universities in the world. In fact, according to the QS World University Rankins 2021, the UK boasts four of the top 10 best universities to study medicine worldwide – including University of Oxford (2), University of Cambridge (4), University College London (9) and Imperial College London (10).

There’s also University of Glasgow, University of Dundee, University of Edinburgh, and University of St Andrews in Scotland, as well as Queen Mary University of London in England, and Swansea University in Wales. All of these are listed within the top universities for medicine in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2021 rankings.

Of course, the best university for study will come down to one very important aspect: you. Be sure to do your research on each university, try to speak to current students, and discover what career options the choice will give you in the future. 

Types of medicine degrees 

Medicine degrees in the UK can take between 4-6 years to complete. Students applying to study medicine in the UK have four types of courses to choose from:  

  • Standard Entry Medicine – a bachelor’s degree in medicine 
  • Graduate Entry Medicine – a graduate degree in medicine
  • Medicine with a Preliminary Year – a bachelor’s degree in medicine that includes an extra first year, for students who didn’t take the necessary science courses in school
  • Medicine with a Gateway Year – similar to the course above, this is made for students who’ve had barriers to education and offers different entry requirements 

No matter which degree you choose, you’ll have to sit an admissions test. There are three different admissions tests in the UK, and which ones you take will depend on what institution you apply for. The tests are:   

  • The UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) 
  • The BMAT (BioMedical Admissions Test)
  • The GAMSAT (Graduate Medical School Admissions Test) 

In addition to these tests, you’ll need to look at the admission requirements for each medical school you intend to apply for. These might include mandatory school courses, personal statements, or an interview to talk about work experience.  

The Medical Schools Council of the UK has an excellent in-depth guide to entry requirements for dozens of universities across the UK, as well as more information on the courses and tests we list above. You can also learn more on their website. 



If you’re coming to the UK to study medicine, you’ll need a Student visa. To apply, you’ll need to be offered a spot at a university, have sufficient funds to support yourself, and prove you’re proficient in English. And, our computer-based English language test at PTE Academic is approved by the UK Home Office for all Student visas. You’ll have to demonstrate you’re at a B2 level or higher, depending on your university. 

After graduating, you might be able to apply for the Graduate route to stay in the UK to work (or look for work) for 2-3 years, depending on your degree.

Keep in mind: We aren’t immigration agents. For the latest information and official updates, please visit the GOV UK website. 



Studying medicine in the UK for international students can be expensive. According to Save the Student, medical degrees in the UK can cost up to £64,652 per year – which is a lot more expensive than other degrees. On average, students spend about £795 on living costs each month in the UK. However, the average salary for nurses in the UK is over £35,000 per year. Doctors who are general practitioners can make between £60,455 to £91,228 per year 

Learn more on our blog: Living expenses in the UK for international students 

Studying medicine in the UK can be incredibly rewarding. You’ll have the opportunity to learn at a world-class university, and perhaps even contribute to cutting-edge research. On top of this, you’ll get to explore the UK’s beautiful landscapes, history, culture – and immerse yourself in all the great things it has to offer.  

Want to learn more about PTE Academic UKVI, our English test recognized by the UK’s Home Office? Read about it here.  


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