Medicine and allied subjects

This subject area is extremely broad, with many courses providing the professional pathway to careers in medicine, dentistry, nursing, and other allied fields.

Graduate destinations

89.7% of graduates went directly into employment.

Top five graduate destinations:

  1. Health and social work
  2. Wholesale and retail trade
  3. Education
  4. Public administration and defence industries
  5. Professional, scientific, and technical

What courses are available?

Universities and colleges in the UK are offering courses in the following subject areas:

Subject combinations and available course options include:

  • mainly single courses, with a few joint subject combinations
  • full-time and part-time – flexible study options are available in some fields and a few areas offer courses with a placement (sandwich courses)
  • qualifications ranging from BSc (Hons) degrees, through to MB degrees (Medicine), BDS degrees (dentistry), HND, HNC, and Foundation Certificates

Are you considering an accelerated degree? Click here to read more about the possibility of completing your undergraduate course on a shorter timescale. 

Finance and bursaries

A new grant has been announced for nursing, midwifery, and some allied health professional students from August 2020 – offering students between £5,000 and £8,000, and which doesn’t need to be paid back.

All new and continuing degree-level students enrolled on a course in September 2020 will receive at least £5,000 a year. 

Some students will be eligible for an additional £3,000, creating a total grant of £8,000 per year. Further details of eligibility will be confirmed by the government in early 2020.

Students will still be able to access funding for tuition and maintenance loans from the Student Loans Company.

Find out more about the new grant here.

Entry requirements

A levels – To get on to a medical and dentistry degree, you will require three A levels and A grades. Typically chemistry and biology A level are required, with some schools preferring a third related science subject. It is important to check individual requirements with each university.

Pharmacology related degrees generally require A level chemistry and normally one other subject from biology, physics or maths. In other allied medical professionals (i.e. physiotherapy, radiology, speech therapy and nursing) you will generally need at least one science A level. Depending on the field biology may be preferred, again check individual course requirements.

Entry requirements generally range from CCC to AAB, with the universities and colleges most commonly asking for BBB.

In addition to the different A level requirements above you will also need at least five GCSEs (A-C) including science, English, and maths.

A few universities offer a foundation year (known as a 'gateway year') for medicine and dentistry. These are for applicants who don’t achieve the grades required or hold the appropriate A level subjects. These courses are generally aimed at those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and or from families that do not have a tradition of entering higher education.

Scottish Highers – Entry requirements for Highers (the most common qualification) range from BBBB to AAAAB, with universities or colleges most frequently requiring AABBB. Occasionally, universities ask for Advanced Highers to supplement Highers. If Advanced Highers are requested, universities or colleges typically ask for BBB.


This is a highly competitive field, with courses such as medicine and dentistry in particular receiving some of the highest number of applications per place. Applicants meeting the academic and personal statement criteria will be interviewed for most subject areas. Other selection tests may also be used, for example, the majority of medical and dentistry schools will expect you to take either the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) or the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT).

Personal statement

Given the level of competition, personal statements form a significant part of the selection process. Admissions tutors are looking for:

  • evidence that you are well informed/motivated about your subject and that you have a realistic understanding of your future career interests, which could be demonstrated by:
    • relevant work experience and shadowing (this is a requirement or a strong recommendation for many degrees – minimum levels of time may apply )
    • additional reading around key issues, topics and the latest research
    • membership of relevant societies/clubs
  • a range of interests outside of academic study i.e. sport, music, voluntary work
  • a well written statement that demonstrates your analytical and critical thinking skills
  • an ability to work individually and in teams
  • the personal qualities required for careers within the medical and allied professions

How to write your personal statement


If you want to combine work and study while earning a salary, you could consider an apprenticeship. Which apprenticeships are available, and how you apply, depends on where you live.

Find out more about apprenticeships across the UK.

There are over 60 apprenticeships in the health and science sector available in England, with more in development.

Each apprenticeship sets out occupational standards for specific job roles, designed by employers. The standards outline the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required to demonstrate that an apprentice is fully competent in the job role.

Higher apprenticeships (Level 4)

Degree apprenticeships (Levels 5 – 7)

Discover more about apprenticeships in medicine, dentistry and nursing

Our guide has all the info you need to know about doing an apprenticeship in this industry. Find out what it's really like from current apprentices and decide if it's the right route for you.

Medicine, dentistry and nursing industry guide

Key areas of employment

This subject area is highly vocational and therefore links particularly to the following career sectors:

  • healthcare – public and private
  • clinical research
  • pharmaceutics and biotechnology

Other employment areas where a science related degree may be particularly relevant include:

  • environment and agriculture
  • education
  • scientific sales and marketing
  • technical media and journalism

Related careers


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Occupational therapist

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Physiotherapists help people regain their independence by relieving physical difficulties and improving mobility with exercise and other techniques


Podiatrists help people live more comfortably by providing treatment and care for foot and leg problems.

Prosthetist and orthotist

Prosthetists and orthotists use the latest technology to transform the lives of patients who need prosthetics or aids. They empower people to move, run, walk or simply stand independently.

Speech and language therapist

Speech and language therapists play a crucial role in enabling people to communicate – enhancing people's lives and transforming their relationships.

Therapeutic radiographer

Therapeutic radiographers play a crucial part in fighting cancer and supporting patients on their road to recovery.

Diagnostic radiographer

Diagnostic radiographers use state-of-the-art technology to diagnose patients and make sure they receive the right treatment to help them on their road to recovery.


You’ll help improve the quality of people’s lives by treating eye disorders and spotting serious neurological conditions

Other careers

There are other careers in this field such as...

Where can I find out more?

Visit the websites of the following professional bodies to find out more about courses and careers in medicine and allied subjects.

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