Erudera's Complete Guide to Studying Medicine in The UK
Medicine is recognized in all societies. With Hippocrates, Imhotep, or Sushruta practicing medicine centuries ago, we know that not only is it recognized in the present, but it has been in the past as well. Studying medicine means that you will become part of a community that works towards one goal, and that is contributing to human health. So, if you want to be part of a community that contributes to the improvement of our lives, or if you have always had a curiosity about how the human body works and wish to learn as much as possible in order to contribute to human health, and not only, studying Medicine in the United Kingdom will shape and prepare you for what waits ahead.
Reasons to Study Medicine in the UK
There are more than 40 medical schools in the UK. Some of the best universities for studying medicine in the United Kingdom include the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, UCL, and King’s College London. These universities and many others are members of MSC (the Medical Schools Council) the representative body for medical schools in the UK. By studying in universities that lead the list of the best universities worldwide, you will receive an education of world-class quality.
Wide choice of career opportunities
Whether you wish to go back home and export the medical knowledge you have gained during your studies, or you wish to remain in the country, universities in the UK will teach you by using the latest tools and facilities and prepare you for the field in which you aim to create a career. In addition to this, you will also gain professional experience and qualifications that are recognized worldwide - hence increasing your chances of getting a good job position.
A continuous opportunity to learn and progress
During your studies, you will practice being the best doctor you can be. The field of medicine is one that is always evolving, and practice is one key factor that will impact your professional preparation. With this in mind, the MSC ensures that universities and the National Health Service maintain and build close relationships with one another. Due to this, students that study in the medical schools of the UK have the opportunity to practice what they learn in environments they will need to practice their knowledge and skills.
Doctors are always in demand
Regardless of the technology, or information people might have, medical personnel will always be in demand. Not only in the UK, but all around the world there is a huge demand for doctors. Considering that in some situations being a doctor means the difference between life or death, the importance of having doctors among us will never fade. Surely that after graduation you will have the privilege of identifying yourself as a doctor whenever an emergency arises.
Medical School Structure in the United Kingdom
Becoming a doctor in the United Kingdom takes between six to twelve years. The study of medicine in the UK starts at the undergraduate level where you spend four to six years studying core science subjects and learning clinical tasks. If you already have a degree in a science-related subject you have the opportunity to apply for a four-year accelerated medicine course. Once you earn your bachelor’s degree you are considered a junior doctor. After graduation, you undertake a two-year Foundation Program and then continue with specialty training that can take 5 to 8 years to complete.
It is a known fact that the admission requirements for any medical school are among the most strict and demanding. Normally, medical schools require students to submit their applications at least a year in advance. For international students, the competition becomes two times harder since there is a set number of international students that can be accepted by UK universities.
In order for you to be eligible for a medical school you should meet the following requirements:
- Academic Qualifications: High school diploma, excellent GPA, letters of recommendation, personal statement.
- Admission Test: one of the main criteria to be eligible for medical school in the UK is to pass one of the admission tests: UKCAT (the UK Universities Clinical Aptitudes Test), the BMAT(the BioMedical Admissions Test), the GAMSAT (Graduate Medical School Admissions Test). Note that some students choose to take more than one of the above-mentioned tests.
- Obtain a Visa: Obtaining a visa is one of the main requirements for students who come from a non-EU/EEA country. For the visa application procedure, you should check with the embassy in your country or the consulate that has jurisdiction over your home country.
- Language Requirements: If your native language is not English you must submit proof of English language proficiency. Usually, universities accept TOEFL and IELTS test scores. However, you can check with the university of your choice, and see which language test they prefer.
As medicine is one of the most competitive courses in the United Kingdom you will have to prove that your grades are of the highest standard and that you are determined to get through all the hard work that is required to graduate from medical school. If you manage to complete the course successfully, you will obtain one of the most prestigious degrees there is.
The application process for students pursuing higher education in the United Kingdom is more or less the same. Students must send their applications to medical schools through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) which is the centralized application portal in the UK. You are allowed to select up to four medical schools, the fifth should be in another field. Note that many universities will not allow you to write a different personal statement, so if you decide to apply to a fifth field you can choose something science-related. Your application will be sent to the schools you have selected through UCAS.
Note: Make sure that you send your application on time, otherwise your application will not be accepted.
Degree Duration: How Long Does It Take to Study Medicine in the United Kingdom?
In the United Kingdom, the duration of a degree in medicine depends on the level of study you plan to undertake. Undergraduate studies in Medicine usually take four to six years to complete.
After graduating you undertake the two-year UK Foundation Program, then a GP training which can take up to three years to complete. Afterward, depending on the field you wish to specialize in, the specialty training can take five to eight years to complete.
Note that this is not the only order in which you can complete your medical studies. This all depends on what you want from your job, and personal preferences like the location you would like to work in, or if you would prefer to do academic research, voluntary work, or pursue other interests.
Tuition Fees: How Much Does It Cost to Study Medicine in the United Kingdom?
Tuition fees make up a huge part of the expenses you will have while studying abroad. How much you pay for tuition fees will depend on your home country, the level of study you plan to pursue, and the school you plan to attend. As in many countries in the world, in the UK as well, tuition fees for medical degrees are some of the highest among all courses. International students can expect to pay an average of $53,548 (£38,000) per year for tuition fees. Note that tuition fees differ from one university to another, so you should check with your university about their fees.
Medical Jobs in the United Kingdom
Medicine is a field with a wide scope. Once you obtain your degree you can work as an anesthetist, cardiologist, neurologist, pathologist, psychiatrist, surgeon, ophthalmologist, general practice doctor, etc. Other industries where you can practice medicine include the Armed Forces, overseas aid agencies, university teaching, air ambulance service, prisons, clinical trial organizations, residential nursing homes, etc.
An overview of the salary of a medical graduate lists as follows:
- The average yearly salary of a junior medical graduate is around $42,700 (£30,280) per year.
- Doctors in Foundation training receive a basic salary of $40,883 to 47,322 (£28,808 to £33,345) per year.
- Doctors starting their specialist training receive a basic salary of $55,995 to $75,305 (£39,467 to £53,077) per year.
- The salary of specialty doctors is around $64,038 to $110,012 (£45,124 to £77,519) per year.
- The salary of a consultant is around $116,518 to $157,104 (£82,096 to £110,683) per year.
- General practitioners receive a basic salary of $85,811 to $129,491 (£60,455 to £91,228) per year.