There are various medical school rankings out there, and it isn't always obvious which ones to take into consideration.
The most popular league tables are:
The answer isn't always straightforward and very much depends on you. For many students, research is of little to no importance. However, to the select few who want to keep their options open for a career in academia, it may be a critical factor.
Prestige is another factor that isn’t equally relevant for everyone. While some students may want to go to a university with significant prestige, others care more about metrics like the student/staff ratio, which reflect how much attention you are likely to get.
Ultimately, when looking at how to get into medical school, deciding which factors are important for you depends on your values.
'Some metrics which might give you good information on the quality of a medical course could be: preparedness of graduates for the foundation programme, the SJT score, or the percentage of students successfully entering the academic foundation programme.'
Eilidh W. – Newcastle Graduate Entry Medicine – @thegraduatemedic
‘University Ranking Tables can be a bit hit and miss. At any medical school, the level of teaching will be high, so it doesn't have much of an effect on your prospects after graduation. I found the tables useful to look for schools that had a lower 'research intensity' score and incorporated some clinical exposure from early on. I knew that a more integrated course would be a better fit for me.’
Jacob R. – University of Dundee – @es_jacob
Find which other factors to consider when choosing a medical school.
This ranking is the more traditional view of the difference between universities. Like the Guardian, it considers entry standards (average UCAS score), as well as graduate prospects.
The difference is that it places much less emphasis on student satisfaction compared to the Guardian. Also, it values research quality, which may or may not be relevant for medical students, depending on their future aspirations.
Three of the Guardian’s metrics relate to student satisfaction, namely: ‘satisfied with course’, ‘satisfied with teaching’ and ‘satisfied with feedback’. These metrics show the rating for the overall quality in each of the respective areas.
The Guardian also looks at student to staff ratio. This may be helpful when deciding what kind of teaching experience you’re looking for, as a lower student to staff ratio is likely to be more personalised.
Some factors do not differ from the Complete University Guide, such as career prospects for graduates and entry tariff (UCAS points for entry).
Ultimately, the Guardian's rankings are an attempt to put the focus back on the student experience, and away from traditional academic considerations and prestige.
The most authoritative international medical school ranking is created by QS World University Rankings. The data is collated from various employers and relevant academics. Interpret this ranking with a note of caution as it does not consider student satisfaction at all.
Despite the large quantity of research into the best medical schools in the UK, there is no official ranking. There are many factors that can be considered subjective, and different rankings often do not agree with each other. Considerations such as ‘quality of research’ and ‘reputation’ do not have a clearly defined way of being measured, and this is probably not set to change.
Some ranking factors have no bearing on graduate entry medicine (GEM). If we take the Complete University Guide for example, the entry standards score is based on UCAS points, which is not relevant when entering based on your degree qualification.
Research, as we have mentioned, is also of little consequence for most students, and graduate prospects are similar for any medical student, making that data unhelpful. Graduates would therefore be well advised not to base their decision on the Complete University Guide.
The Guardian does offer more insights for graduates looking to get into medicine. Student satisfaction is their main focus, and is always important to consider, as is the amount of staff support and feedback you receive.
Based on our analysis, we think there are other more significant factors to base your decision on. Since the subject is so competitive, the major hurdle for most entrants will be getting into any medical school. This means: