How difficult is Graduate Entry Medicine?

Medicine is widely considered one of the hardest degrees you can do, therefore, completing it in a shorter time of course is going to be very demanding, but how hard is it really?

One of the first things to consider when thinking of applying the graduate entry medicine, is would you be best to apply for graduate entry or undergraduate entry? As graduate entry is not just difficult as a course, but also competitive to get into. So competitive that many graduates are taking to applying to undergraduate courses.

Along with this, universities are taking more and more graduate students onto undergraduate courses. Take King’s for example, nearly a 1/3rd or their undergraduate cohort are graduate students who entered on the undergraduate programme. So start thinking about which course you are better suited to. 

Going back to the original question of “how difficult is graduate entry medicine?”. It is a very university dependant answer that relates to the structure of the course, as each university has a slightly different course and way of integrating graduate students into the undergraduate cohort. 

For example, Barts run year 1 integrated into year 2 for graduate entry students, so you are effectively completing 2 years in 1. Whereas, at King’s as a graduate entry entry student you will effectively skip the first year, but you will complete a crash course of first year content in August before year 2 starts in September.

As you can tell these are quite different integrations and therefore have their own difficulties. King’s students say that 1 month before the start of 2nd year is particularly hard, however then you are with the undergraduate cohort in year 2 so the course calms down to the same as the undergraduate course.

Whereas Barts students have said that the first year for them is particularly challenging as you are doing double the work for the whole of the first year. For more information on the different courses check out the comparison table below

Comparison Table

UniversityNumber of PlacesIntegration with undergraduate courseWhat Aptitude Test is Required?Do They Accept Non-Science Degrees?
Barts and the London (QMUL)40Years 1 and 2 of undergraduate course completed in 1yearUCATYes
Birmingham60Years 1 and 2 of undergraduate course completed in 1yearNoneNo
Cambridge41Very different to the undergraduate course, which has 3 pre-clinical years, where graduate entry doesn’t have this. More of an integrated course structurenoneYes
CardiffN/A – Places are only available for those currently on a Feeder Stream course.Phase 1 completed in 1 year as opposed to 2 years on undergraduate courseGAMSATNo
Dundee / St Andrews55Unique Scotgem course focused on training general practitioners in NHS ScotlandUCAT – Situational Judgement Test and GAMSATYes
Imperial (temporarily suspended for 2019 entry)45Suspended to update courseBMATNo
King’s College London28Start in phase 2, year 2 of undergraduate degree, once completed a 4 week overview of year 1UCATNo
Liverpool29Integration over a few years with some variation between graduate and undergraduate courses. Little information available online.GAMSATNo
Newcastle25Extended year 1 for graduate entry students to cover content for year 1 and 2 of the undergraduate course.UCATYes
Nottingham93First 18months located in Derby. Intercalating year removedGAMSATYes
Oxford30Integrated course of pre-clinical and clinical medicine, in comparison to the traditional undergraduate course.BMATNo
Southampton48Years 1 and 2 taught separately to undergraduate course. Years 3 and 4 (or 5 and 6 on undergraduate course) are taught together. UCATYes
St George’s50 – 70Year 1 taught separately to years 1 and 2 of undergraduate course. From year 2 (or 3 on undergraduate course) the transition year to clinical years onwards are taught togetherGAMSATYes
Swansea90Graduate entry onlyGAMSAT (all applicants); MCAT (international only)Yes
Warwick193Graduate entry onlyUCATYes

*based on number of places available in 2018

It is key to remember that medicine is a difficult degree anyway, and as a graduate applicant you have studied for at least 3 years and will have a strong base level of science knowledge. Therefore, it isn’t going to be much harder than the undergraduate entry to medicine.

When applying do think about competition ratios, and about applying strategically based on your entrance exam scores, academic performance and other factors such as amount of work experience.

If you have any questions about graduate entry medicine do get in touch, many of our tutors are graduates studying medicine as a second degree who are happy to help you with your application. 

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