Best Medical School In The UK
Advice & Insight From Medicine Application Specialists
Winner: St Andrews
Runner Up: BSMS
St Andrews shares the top spot for student satisfaction according to the Complete University Guide. This is not surprising given the amount of support available to St Andrews students, who each benefit from their own assigned personal tutor from the teaching staff at the school, medical families that match first years to second or third year parents, a dedicated advice and support centre, and the camaraderie that comes with a small-town university. The Medical School has a Anatomy Resource Centre in which students can revise and find materials and resources – or students may wish to use the main library, which is a quarter of an hour’s walk from the medical school. St Andrews is a small town, dominated by the university. This makes it a truly unique student experience, with traditions that go back hundreds of years, like the raisin weekend and May dip. Students will move on from the university after three years to complete their clinical placements at Edinburgh or Manchester, and will often find themselves at the top of their new classes due to the great support that they had received so far. One note of caution is that rents in St Andrews can be comparatively higher than those of other universities.
Brighton & Sussex Medical School shares the top spot with St Andrews for student satisfaction. Similarly to St Andrews, it’s a small medical school with a close-knit feel – and of course it is also a seaside town (although rather warmer than St Andrews). Brighton is a small & buzzing city that is known for being progressive and liberal. Exams are always at the end of term in the pre-clinical years, meaning you never have to revise during your holidays, and you will find many opportunities to do research, take on student projects, and be able to intercalate after your third year of study. Rent is relatively low, especially compared to London medical schools, and you will find it easy to travel across the whole city of Brighton.
Runner Up: Edinburgh
Oxford is the UK’s top medical school, and has the highest requirements at entry. According to the World University rankings, it is the second best for Medicine in the world, behind Harvard. That prestige comes with truly elite academic ability and requirements of its students. The success rate is less than 9% on average, which becomes more impressive when you consider the ability of the applicant pool as a whole. For those shortlisted for interview, the mean adjusted BMAT score was 68%, and the mean number of GCSEs A*s was 10.6. The average offer holder had all A*s, with the mean proportion of A* GCSEs 0.96.
Those high entry standards are allied to success throughout one’s academic career and onward, with Oxford’s academic staff being some of the finest in the country, and the university continuing to put a huge emphasis on scientific knowledge over softer skills and patient contact in the early years.
Edinburgh is the oldest medical school in the UK, and with its age comes a continuing academic prestige. It continues to hold its applicants and its students to very high academic standards, and up until very recently chose not to interview, instead relying primarily on the UCAT and grades to select those that it saw as having the greatest potential.
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Runner Up: Cambridge
Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine is continuously pushing research forward, collaborating with Imperial’s leading faculties of Engineering and Natural Sciences, and working in conjunction with world-famous London teaching hospitals. The Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre is a partnership between Imperial College London, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and along with the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre it forms the backbone of the research performed at Imperial.
Cambridge’s research is fuelled by its own branch of the NIHR. The NIHR Cambridge BRC has established partnerships with Cambridge University Hospitals, and various Trusts, and a forthcoming new Heart and Lung Research Institute will create a place for globally inspiring cardio-respiratory research. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust, focused on mental health, provides an opportunity for research into mental health, dementia and neurodegenerative diseases.
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