A Guide to Graduate Entry Medicine and Dentistry- UK

Last updated: 29/08/2021

Graduate-entry courses are for students who already have an undergraduate degree. 

They are usually 4 years long and once you graduate, you can start your foundation training. 

Many graduates are attracted to graduate entry medicine (GEM) and graduate entry dentistry (GED) courses as they allow study with a mature cohort. Your classmates usually have a range of skills and experiences from their past studies and careers, which really enriches the learning experience.

In this article, you'll find information about:

Graduate Entry Medicine / Dentistry

Who should consider Graduate Entry Medicine/Dentistry?

If you are a high-school student who is not 100% sure you want to become a doctor or dentist or don’t feel ready, you should consider graduate entry. Doing another degree will give you the chance to thoroughly research medical and dental careers and find your interests, as well as to develop maturity and confidence.

If you didn't get the A-Level grades you'd hoped for, graduate entry could also be for you. Usually universities have lower A-Level requirements for Graduate Entry Medicine. People tend to mature later on in life and universities recognise that your previous academic achievements aren’t a reflection of your current ability.

It is also a good option if your UCAT or BMAT scores weren’t competitive.

What test do you need to sit: UCAT, BMAT or GAMSAT?

There are 3 possible tests you could sit, depending on the university you choose:

University Clinical Admissions Test (UCAT)

  • Length: 2 hours (computer based).
  • Questions: 233 multiple choice questions spread over 5 sections.
  • Challenges: The time limit. For some sections you’ll have as little as 14 seconds per question! Our UCAT timing article covers some hacks to save time in the exam.

Ready to dive in? Check out the world’s most popular UCAT course

BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)

  • Length: 2-hours (pen and paper).
  • Questions: 59 questions in two multiple choice sections and a short writing task. Read BMAT specification for more details.
  • Challenges: It tests scientific and mathematical knowledge as well as aptitude. Used by prestigious and competitive universities such as Oxford.

Find other BMAT universities or take Medify’s BMAT course

Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT)

  • Length: 4 hour and 45 minute exam (computer based).
  • Questions: 124 questions.
  • Challenges: It’s long and arduous. Similar to the BMAT, but the questions are university level.
Medical student standing with peers in the background

Which universities offer Graduate Entry Medicine?

There are 15 universities that offer Graduate Entry Medicine. You can find more detailed requirements for the subjects through the Medical Schools Council and on their respective university websites.

University of Birmingham

  • Degree: 2:1 in a life science subject
  • A Levels: Either Biology or Chemistry 
  • GCSE: English or Maths at grade 7 (A)
  • Personal statement: Required but not scored
  • Admissions test: UCAT
  • Interview: Multiple mini-interviews
  • Work experience: Not required due to COVID-19

University of Cambridge

  • Degree: 2:1 degree or above in any discipline
  • A Levels: AAA including Chemistry and 2 of Physics, Biology and Maths
  • GCSE: No specific requirements
  • Personal statement: Required but not scored
  • Admissions test: None
  • Interview: Multiple mini-interviews
  • Work experience: Required

Cardiff University

  • Degree: 2:1 degree from recognised feeder stream
  • A Levels: BBB/ABC and pass in the science practical
  • GCSE: 9 GCSEs and 6(B) in Maths, English Language, Biology and Chemistry or 66(BB) in Double Science.
  • Personal statement: Required
  • Admissions test: GAMSAT
  • Interview: Multiple mini-interviews
  • Work experience: Not required

King’s College London

  • Degree: At least a 2:1 undergraduate degree  in a biosciences subject
  • A Levels: None
  • GCSE: None
  • Personal statement: Required
  • Admissions test: UCAT
  • Interview: Multiple mini-interviews
  • Work experience: Expected

Newcastle University

  • Degree: 2:1 degree in any subject
  • A Levels: None
  • GCSE: None
  • Personal statement: Required but not scored
  • Admissions test: UCAT
  • Interview: Multiple mini-interviews
  • Work experience: Required

University of Nottingham

  • Degree: At least a 2:2 degree in any subject
  • A Levels: None
  • GCSE: None
  • Personal statement: Required but not scored
  • Admissions test: GAMSAT
  • Interview: Multiple mini-interviews
  • Work experience: Usually required (but COVID-19 context taken into account)

University of Oxford

  • Degree: At least 2:1 degree in applied or experimental science
  • A Levels: At least AAB with A/A* Chemistry
  • GCSE: Must have GCSE in Biology
  • Personal statement: Required
  • Admissions test: BMAT
  • Interview: Panel interviews
  • Work experience: Required

Queen Mary University of London

  • Degree: 2:1 degree in any subject
  • A Levels: If non-science degree, then B in Chemistry and one other science subject
  • GCSE: None
  • Personal statement: Required
  • Admissions test: UCAT
  • Interview: Panel interviews
  • Work experience: Strongly recommended

University of Sheffield

  • Degree: 2:1 or above in a life sciences subject
  • A Levels: BBB, one subject must be either Chemistry or Biology
  • GCSE: At least 4/C in English Language
  • Personal statement: Required
  • Admissions test: UCAT
  • Interview: Multiple mini-interviews
  • Work experience: Required

* Note: only open to home students with widening participation background

University of Southampton

  • Degree: 2:1 degree in any subject 
  • A Levels: None
  • GCSE: Minimum of C/4 in Maths, English Language and either Chemistry and Biology
  • Personal statement: Required
  • Admissions test: UCAT
  • Interview: Selection day
  • Work experience: Not required

ScotGEM

  • Degree: At least 2:1 degree in any subject
  • A Levels: B or above in Chemistry
  • GCSE: B or above in Maths
  • Personal statement: Required but not scored
  • Admissions test: GAMSAT
  • Interview: Multiple mini-interviews
  • Work experience: Usually required (but COVID-19 context taken into account)

St George’s, University of London

  • Degree: At least 2:1 deg
  • A Levels: None
  • GCSE: None
  • Personal statement: Required but not scored
  • Admissions test: GAMSAT
  • Interview: Multiple mini-interviews
  • Work experience: Not required

Swansea University

  • Degree: At least a 2:1 in any subject 
  • A Levels: None
  • GCSE: None
  • Personal statement: Required but not scored
  • Admissions test: GAMSAT
  • Interview: Written test and panel Interview
  • Work experience: Required

Ulster University 

  • Degree: At least a 2:1 degree in any subject
  • A Levels: None
  • GCSE: At least C in English Language
  • Personal statement: Required but not scored
  • Admissions test: GAMSAT
  • Interview: Multiple mini-interviews
  • Work experience: Not required

University of Warwick

  • Degree: Minimum of 2:1 in any subject
  • A Levels: None
  • GCSE: None
  • Personal statement: Required but not scored
  • Admissions test: UCAT
  • Interview: Multiple mini-interviews
  • Work experience: Required
Student practicing in dental activity with mannequin.

Which universities offer Graduate Entry Dentistry?

There are five universities that offer Graduate Entry Dentistry. You can find more specific requirements on the Dental School Council’s site. Newcastle University allows graduates onto its 5-year undergraduate course.

University of Aberdeen

  • Degree: Minimum of 2:1 in any applied health sciences or relevant biomedical sciences from the UK or EU
  • A Levels: None
  • GCSE: None
  • Personal statement: Required
  • Admissions test: UCAT
  • Interview: Multiple mini-interviews
  • Work experience: Required

University of Central Lancashire

  • Degree: Minimum of 2:1 in a biomedical subject
  • A Levels: CCC with 2 subjects from Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physics
  • GCSE: At least 5/B in English Language and Maths
  • Personal statement: Required but not scored
  • Admissions test: UCLan School of Dentistry entrance exam
  • Interview: Multiple mini-interviews and manual dexterity test
  • Work experience: Required

King’s College London (4 years)

  • Degree: Minimum of 2:1 in a biosciences subject
  • A Levels: None
  • GCSE: None
  • Personal statement: Required but not scored
  • Admissions test: UCAT
  • Interview: To be confirmed
  • Work experience: Not specified

King's College London (3 years)

  • Degree: Qualified doctors who have completed FY1 and FY2
  • A Levels: None
  • GCSE: None
  • Personal statement: Required but not scored
  • Admissions test: None
  • Interview: To be confirmed
  • Work experience: Not specified 

University of Leeds

  • Degree: 2:1 in BSc Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy from the University of Leeds
  • A Levels: None
  • GCSE: None
  • Personal statement: Required and scored
  • Admissions test: None
  • Interview: Panel
  • Work experience: Not specified
Person in a library sudying with a book sat at a computer desk

How can you increase your chance of getting into Graduate Entry Medicine/Dentistry ?

1. Stay focused

Keep your goal in mind from day 1 of your undergraduate degree. Take up every opportunity that could boost your application.

2. Work hard on your degree

Once you’ve started your degree, stay on top of all your work and give every assessment your best. 

It’s crucial to do well in your undergraduate degree as you need to have at least 2:1 qualification to meet the entry requirements for most medical or dental schools. 

Choose an undergraduate degree that you'll enjoy. You’re more likely to do well!

3. Do work experience

Medical and dental schools will also expect you to have real work experience. Get a job or some work experience in a hospital or dental setting, if possible. 

Keeping a reflective diary throughout your studies will help you recognise the skills you’ve developed. 

4. Show your motivation

You’ll need to show your motivation for medicine and dentistry. It’s likely you’ll be asked questions along the lines of ‘why medicine/dentistry?’ and ‘why now?’. 

Having already done an undergraduate degree, medical and dental schools will expect higher levels of maturity in your application. Avoid using phrases like ‘I’ve always wanted to be a doctor’, which could make you sound naive.

5. Prepare for the admissions tests

Start preparing for your admissions test early. You have three years before you begin applying so make the most of it. Research universities and choose which admissions test(s) you want to do.

6. Apply strategically 

Unless you’ve always had a dream university, apply strategically. As a graduate-entry applicant, you’ll have to apply via UCAS, which means there are only a limited number of applications you can make. 

All medical and dental schools have the same core curriculum, so the quality of your education won’t be compromised based on where you’re studying. 

Apply to universities that have the most places and the fewest applicants to increase your chances. 

If you have a high score in your admissions test, apply to places that put greater weighting on your admissions test.

Graduate Entry Medicine / Dentistry FAQs

FAQs

How can I arrange funding for Graduate Entry Medicine/Dentistry?

You can apply for an NHS bursary from your second year, this would cover part of your tuition fees and the remaining amount can be covered by a student loan. Your first year study can partially be covered by a student finance loan.

Is it competitive?

Graduate Entry Medicine and Dentistry courses are becoming increasingly competitive, although it partly depends on which university you wish to apply to. 

For example, for graduate entry medicine, the University of Warwick has a ratio of 8.4:1 and Swansea University has a 9.5:1 ratio, whereas Queen Mary University of London has a ratio of 34:1.

My degree is non-science related. Will this affect my chances?

Some universities don’t accept non-science related degrees. 

This means that you have fewer options, but if you’ve done well in your degree there are opportunities at certain schools. Look into medical and dental schools that are open to all degrees and think carefully about showing your ability and motivation. 

What are the key differences between a Graduate Entry Medicine/Dentistry application and an undergraduate application?

The key differences are your assumed maturity and a requirement for stronger reflections. The application process is very similar, but you will have access to work experience and other opportunities that a 17 or 18 year old wouldn’t. 

What are the alternatives to GEM?

There are a range of options and routes into medicine and dentistry:

  • Take a gap year and reapply for undergraduate medicine or dentistry
  • Try going through clearing 

This is a great option and you’ll have a high chance of getting in as medical and dental schools like to have students that are more experienced. However you’d have to fund your studies almost entirely yourself as you won’t be eligible for a loan.

Will I be too old to study medicine or dentistry?

There is no set upper age limit to commence a medical degree although most universities state that they will take the length of time that a graduate would be employable in the NHS into account. There are many students commencing both GEM or GED and standard courses who are in their thirties and forties, and a few students who are in their fifties.

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