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.
Relevant to

BMA: Becoming a Doctor

Becoming a doctor | British Medical Association
Medical students discuss what is involved in studying medicine in the UK. What made them decide to study medicine? What is a typical day at medical school like? Video provided by the British Medical Association (BMA).
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Tips for first year medical students | British Medical Association

Tips for first year medical students | British Medical Association
Hear from fourth year medical student, and BMA member Twishaa, as she shares her tips for first year medical students. Video provided by the British Medical Association (BMA).
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This Is Nursing

This is nursing | Royal College of Nursing
It takes a remarkable person to be a nurse. This is a profession where joy meets sadness, where courage must outweigh fear. This is rewarding, this is challenging, this is nursing. Video provided by the Royal College of Nursing.
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Why I Nurse

Why I nurse | Royal College of Nursing
The Royal College of Nursing asked their members why they nurse. This is what they said. Video provided by the Royal College of Nursing.
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Ultrasound in Physiotherapy with Wolverhampton Wanderers

Ultrasound in physiotherapy with Wolverhampton Wanderers | Institute of Physics
These physiotherapists make expert use of advances in medical physics, specifically ultrasound, to monitor their players' physical wellbeing. Keeping players fit is key to getting results on the pitch. Video provided by the Institute of Physics.
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Key stats

258,385 were studying this subject in 2014/15.

  • 93% UK
  • 7% international
  • 73% full-time
  • 27% part-time
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

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are available in the following areas:

Higher apprenticeships:

  • Care leadership and management – Level 5 – e.g. residential care manager
  • Health – Level 5 – e.g. assistant practitioner
  • Dental health – e.g. dental technician, dental practice manager

Advanced apprenticeships:

  • Health care assistant
  • Dental nurse
  • Medical laboratory assistant
  • Pharmacy assistant
  • Paediatric support worker
  • Theatre support worker

Find out more about apprenticeships


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.

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.

Selection

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 UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) 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



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.