FAQs for UK medical students

What do I have to do to become a doctor?

Before you become a UK doctor you first have to obtain a degree in medicine from a medical school whose primary medical qualifications are accepted by the GMC. Courses last five years normally (or four years for a graduate entry programme, see question five below) and involve basic medical sciences as well as clinical training on the wards.

Following graduation, a trainee doctor enters the two-year Foundation Programme. You will be provisionally registered with a licence to practise with the GMC while completing the first year. Full registration is awarded upon completion of year one.

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What are the criteria for admissions?

The GMC does not represent medical schools but regulates the teaching and the examinations that they provide. As such, the GMC does not keep systematic information on the admission criteria of individual medical schools.

The Council has statutory responsibility for the content and standards of the undergraduate medical curriculum and for the pre-registration year. Our requirements with respect to the undergraduate curriculum are described in our guidance Tomorrow’s Doctors.

We do not issue detailed guidance about education or experience that should have been completed by candidates seeking admission to medical school. It is up to the universities to satisfy themselves that each entrant has the academic attainment and abilities necessary to benefit from the course. Information about the courses offered by medical schools and about entry requirements is available from the Medical Schools Council website. Alternatively, contact the medical school directly.

Please note that the GMC has no remit to get involved with application appeals for entry to medical schools. Appeals should be made to the school concerned.

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Does it matter what medical school I go to?

A list of schools offering medical degrees leading to a UK primary medical qualification can be found on our website. For a UK medical school to be able to issue a medical degree in the UK, they must be listed in the Medical Act 1983. The structure of courses and how they are delivered vary from school to school. Applicants seeking information about the differences between the medical courses should contact the schools directly.

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How can I gain relevant work experience?

The GMC does not offer work experience advice. However work observation is one practical way for students to get information about a medical career and students seeking work experience should see:

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I have a degree already - are there any graduate entry programmes available?

Yes. Graduate entry programmes (usually four year medical courses) are offered by some UK medical schools and universities.

The graduate entry courses offered by recognised UK medical schools are approved by the Council of the GMC. The degree awarded at the end of the course will be the same as all other primary medical qualifications leading to GMC registration and the licence to practise, granted in the UK. To achieve this, students will have to demonstrate they meet the same curricular outcomes, to the same standards as students completing more traditional degree courses. As the holders of a UK primary medical qualification, these doctors would have the same career prospects as other UK medical graduates.

For details of these courses and entry requirements please contact the medical schools or university directly, or see the Medical Schools Council website.

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Which are the best medical schools in the UK?

The GMC does not create league tables of medical schools. In legal terms every primary UK qualification is equal, in that all allow graduates to apply for provisional registration with a licence to practise with the GMC.

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Where can I get help with funding for my medical degree?

The GMC has no role to play in the provision of financial assistance to those involved in medical education. Some schools offer financial support schemes and information should be sought from the medical school directly. The following organisations may also be of help:

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Who sets the standards for medical education in the UK?

The GMC’s Council sets the standards and outcomes for medical education in the UK for undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and training.

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Are UK medical schools subject to quality assurance?

The GMC runs a quality assurance programme to ensure the standards and outcomes in undergraduate education are being delivered appropriately.

The process involves the analysis of all aspects of education provided by medical schools including curriculum content, structure and delivery, assessment, facilities and resources, and student support. Specialist teams of trained visitors verify information received through a series of focused visits to the medical schools and surrounding sites where training is delivered.

View further details on quality assurance activity.

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The following websites contain useful information for prospective medical students:












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