Choosing a Medical School: Introduction

Last updated: 10/04/2019

Does it matter where I go to study?

The application process can be a stressful, nerve-wracking time so make sure you have thought clearly about your decision and which schools you are most suited to.

There are 33 medical schools in the UK, and they are fairly evenly spread throughout the country. They vary considerably in their approach to teaching medicine over the course of the 5 years, but each will award you with an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) upon successfully passing all years. Many offer an extra year of intercalation too which provides a Bachelor of Science (BSc) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) upon completion. It is worth noting that for Oxford and Cambridge, University College London and Imperial College London, this BSc/BA year is compulsory.

Choosing the right medical school is an important decision, it is where you will spend the next 5 or 6 years of your life and gain the skills needed to be a successful young doctor.

All medical schools offer high-quality teaching and produce excellent doctors. All medical schools teach slightly differently, but all must adhere to standards set by the General Medical Council (GMC), so that you meet minimum requirements when you graduate. Getting into a well-known university certainly gives you more resources and opportunities. However, wherever you study, whether you take opportunities that are offered is your choice. So while the medical school you choose may help your career, the most important factor in determining what you do as a doctor is you.

Does my medical school/degree determine my future medical career?

Where you go to medical school will not affect your application for a junior doctor’s post when you finish your degree. The application for your first job as a doctor will be an online process and depend upon four factors.

The Four Factors are:

  1. Your ranking within your medical school (classified in deciles among your peers).
  2. Your academic achievements, which include points for additional degrees or publications.
  3. A reference from a tutor at your medical school.
  4. The scores of a situational judgement test (SJT).

Therefore, focus on applying to medical schools that you love and hope to thrive at, rather than making a selection based on how good you think one medical school is compared to another.

Because of the ranking system, at an academically rigorous university you would need better grades to get a good ranking than at a less academically rigorous institution.

The different degree classifications from medical school (i.e. MB BChir/MBBS/MB ChB) are all equivalent.

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