Studying medicine as a graduate

Advice, information and resources to help you progress your career in medicine

Graduate Entry to Medicine (GEM) in the UK is an accelerated medical training pathway for those with a first degree.

The GEM route is a 4 year programme that builds on students' academic foundation, allowing them to enter the medical profession faster.

Key aspects of GEM include:

  • Medical science and clinical teaching integrated in close contact with patients.
  • Clinical placements with students gaining experience in various healthcare settings, including hospitals and general practices.

GEM graduates have the same career opportunities as those who enter medical school at undergraduate level. 

A career in medicine is rewarding yet highly challenging. It’s also important to note that entry into these programs is very competitive so it's essential to do your research when deciding your next steps.



Work Experience in Healthcare

Before considering a career in medicine you should build your work experience in a caring or service role, either paid or voluntarily. As well as being a requirement for all UK medical schools, this experience will also provide you with an insight into a medical career.

The British Medical Association provides guidance on getting medical work experience. You can also visit MyCareer to explore current healthcare opportunities.


Finding the Right Medical School

You can find the full list of Graduate Entry Medicine courses through UCAS.

The table below provides information about the types of tests required for entry and the degrees accepted.

University What aptitude test is required? Do they accept non-science degrees?
Cambridge UCAT Yes
Chester UCAT Yes
Cumbria in partnership with Imperial College London GAMSAT No
King's College London UCAT No
King's College London in partnership with University of Portsmouth UCAT No
Liverpool GAMSAT No
Newcastle UCAT Yes
Nottingham GAMSAT Yes
Sheffield UCAT No
Southampton UCAT Yes
St George's GAMSAT Yes
Surrey UCAT or GAMSAT Yes
Swansea GAMSAT Yes
Ulster in partnership with St George's GAMSAT Yes
Warwick UCAT Yes
Worcester UCAT or GAMSAT Yes


Do your research

Medical schools vary in their ethos, atmosphere and course structure. Don't be afraid to contact admissions teams and visit open days where available. Ensure you have checked entry requirements too as these vary from course to course.

For more information to help decide which course is best for you, check out the "Which is the Best Medical School for Me? 17 Factors to Consider" article.


Application Process

There are several steps involved in the application process before you receive a decision. Here is what you can expect.

1. Writing your personal statement

Your personal statement needs to be 4,000 characters (around 500 words). You should include the following components:

  • Motivation — Why do you want to study Medicine?
  • Exploration — What have you done to learn about it? This could include any wider reading, study or networking you have conducted.
  • Suitability — Why are you an excellent fit for medicine? This would include talking about any work experience, volunteering or extra-curricular activities you have been involved in that would demonstrate your suitability.

You can get help writing your personal statement online or book an appointment with our team.

2. Submitting your application

Almost all UK medical schools require graduates to apply through UCAS by 15 October each year, for courses beginning in the following autumn.

You should apply through UCAS as an "individual" and allow at least 2 weeks for your references to be submitted by the deadline.

We recommend having your application checked by a Careers Adviser before you submit anything.

  • Show that you understand what it would be like to work as a doctor through your experience in a healthcare setting – this doesn't have to be in a hospital working with doctors as medical schools recognise that this may not be available to all applicants
  • Show an insight into medicine and healthcare gained from general reading and be aware of current issues related to medicine – it might be useful to attend medical careers conferences or to talk to doctors or current medical students
  • You must demonstrate good communication skills and the ability to explain complex information simply and coherently
  • You'll need a logical mind to formulate questions and solve problems
  • You'll need to be self-motivated and able to set your own goals and show independence of thought – you'll also need to work well in a team
  • Show a strong interest in human affairs and a concern for others' welfare - can you reassure people, to put them at ease?
  • Be prepared to share what you do in your spare time – not as a list but as a way of highlighting your relevant skills and attributes.
  • You need to communicate, empathise and work well with others – having interests that help you wind down can demonstrate resilience.
  • Doctors must demonstrate a high standard of professional responsibility – you should show that you are reliable and conscientious.


3. Admission tests

In addition to UCAS applications, most graduate medical schools use standard tests in their application process. These tests measure aptitude rather than educational achievement.

There are two types of test you can expect:

The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) requires no prior knowledge beyond basic mathematics skills and is an extremely time-pressured multiple-choice exam.

UCAT also offers various bursaries for those that require financial support to pay for the test, with applications open from May to September every year.

Read more about UCAT.

The General Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) is a day-long test divided into three sections:

  • Reasoning in the humanities and social sciences
  • Written communication
  • Reasoning in biological and physical sciences

Registration for sitting the GAMSAT is between June and August, and the test takes place once a year in mid-September. At the moment, the GAMSAT test does not offer concessions.

Find more information about GAMSAT.

4. Attending an interview

Attending a face-to-face interview is an integral part of the application process for some medical schools. Medical schools want to understand who you are academically and as a person. There are 2 types of interviews you may be invited to:

Panel Interview

A panel of academics, clinicians and professional service staff. These vary in length from 20 minutes to an hour.

Multi-mini interviews (MMI)

This involves a series of short interviews where you are assessed on a particular characteristic. Interviews last for around five minutes. You'll be expected to demonstrate your:

  • Motivation for medicine
  • Commitment
  • Previous caring experience
  • Ability to reason around an ethical/social issue

You can get help preparing for interviews online or by booking a mock interview with our team.


Funding for Graduate Entry Programmes

UK graduate students are eligible for more financial support if they enter a specific graduate entry programme rather than an undergraduate programme.

  • In year one, graduate entry students have to self-fund the first third of their tuition costs and apply to Student Finance England for a loan to cover the remaining costs to a maximum charge of £9,250 (based on 2024 figures).
  • In years 2 to 4, the NHS Bursary pays the first third of tuition costs and a loan from Student Finance England bridges the remaining costs.

Below are some further resources with funding advice: 

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