Different Routes into Medicine

Last updated: 15/03/2024

There are several ways to pursue a career in medicine and this page serves as a brief overview of these options. They are then explored in more detail in other parts of the Admissions Guide.

Standard Entry

Students who are sure that they would like to become doctors can apply to enter medical school on completion of A levels.

If you do not meet the A-level grades that each university offer stipulates, you may have another opportunity through Clearing in some years.

Foundation Year Entry

Students who miss their university offers due to lower A-level grades or have had barriers in education can consider a number of Foundation, Widening Access and Transfer courses.

Gap Year

Taking a gap year and resitting A levels or admissions tests (UCAT/BMAT) is a great way to improve your application and mature as a person.

Find out about how other students spent their gap years.

Applicant on a gap year

Graduate Entry

Not everyone’s first degree is a medical degree. Graduates who have completed previous university degrees can apply to medical school, with the option of either joining an undergraduate programme that lasts 5 years or a graduate entry programme lasting 4 years.

Studying Overseas

Studying medicine overseas is another option. Some students choose to study medicine in Eastern European countries, the Republic of Ireland, and Australia & New Zealand.


With the spectrum of routes that are available, there is no reason why you should not consider applying to medicine if you are genuinely interested and believe that it is the right career choice for you.

Are you an international student planning to study medicine in the UK? Read our guide for international students to find out all you need to know about applying to UK medical school.
Not entirely sure if medicine is for you? You can also explore other roles in healthcare.

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