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Study Medicine/MBBS in the United Kingdom

May 19, 2023

Study Medicine in the UK: Fees, Universities, and Eligibility for International Students

Explore MBBS and Medicine courses in the UK.

The United Kingdom (UK) is home to some of the oldest educational institutions globally. Moreover, it is the second-best country for medical research and has received the highest share of Nobel prizes for medicine. Securing admissions into UK’s top medical universities like Oxford and Cambridge is challenging. 

In addition, international students often find studying in the UK expensive and costlier than in other European countries. But international experience, top medical education of the highest caliber, and hands-on exposure to the world’s most advanced medical technology make the UK an undeniable choice for individuals to study Medicine/MBBS in Europe. This article outlines crucial information, such as the top medical universities, the admission process, and the fee structure, for those who wish to study medicine/MBBS in the UK

Medical studies in the UK: Highlights

Programs Offered MBBS, MBChB, BMBS
Program Duration 5 (graduate entry) to 6 (undergraduate entry) years
Average Annual Tuition Cost USD 47,000
Basic Eligibility Criteria 10+2 with chemistry, mathematics, biology, and physics
Entrance Exams UCAT/BMAT
IELTS/TOEFL Requirement Required
NEET-UG Requirement Required for Indian students
Application Deadline October
Application Fees USD 25-32

Why study Medicine/MBBS in the UK?

  • Studying MBBS in the UK gives students access to excellent medical education that is recognized worldwide.
  • Medical Universities in the UK are among the highest-ranking universities globally. The University of Oxford ranks second in the world (QS Ranking, Medicine).
  • More than 40 medical universities rank within the first 1,000 universities by the QS Ranking.
  • International employment opportunities as an MBBS from the UK is accepted worldwide.
  • Studying in the UK promotes cross-cultural interaction, as the country accommodates more than 600,000 international students.
  • GMC-accredited MBBS programs allow students to practice in the UK. According to NHS, general practitioners in the UK can earn between £62,000 and £94,000 annually.

Best universities in the UK for MBBS

In the UK, medicine is taught as an MBBS, MBChB, or BMBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery) degree. These courses might last anywhere from 5 to 6 years. The following is a list of the top GMC (General Medical Council) approved medical universities in the UK, as well as their global rankings.

University QS Ranking 2022* US News Ranking 2022*
University of Oxford 2 8
University of Cambridge 4 25
University College London 7 15
Imperial College London 8 14
King’s College London 16 32
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine 25 67
The University of Edinburgh 25 55
The University of Manchester 38 57
University of Glasgow 54 50
Queen Mary University of London 62 76
Newcastle University 64 122
University of Birmingham 64 65
University of Bristol 69 143
University of Southampton 71 119
University of Liverpool 79 115
University of Nottingham 96 137
University of Leeds 101 129
Cardiff University 110 179
The University of Sheffield 116 175
University of Aberdeen 138 392

*Ranking by subject (Medicine).

Medicine/MBBS  admissions in the UK

Candidates looking to enroll in an MBBS program in the UK need to clear the entrance test. Universities may require scores from the BMAT (Biomedical Admission Test) or UCAT (University Admission Test). Each university specifies its preferred entrance test scores. Admissions to the best medical universities are dependent on a candidate’s academics. For admission into Cambridge, students should have secured an A1 grade (or more than 90%) in their high school.

General admission requirements

  • Higher secondary school certificate with subjects chemistry, mathematics, biology, and physics
  • UCAT/BMAT scores
  • Proof of English proficiency of at least IELTS 7.0/GCSE English Language grade B or 6
  • Academic transcripts
  • Recommendation letters
  • Personal statement
  • Interview (MMI or multiple mini interviews)

A UCAT score of 2600 secures admission into most medical universities. Scores above 2700 are considered excellent and helpful for admission into top universities. Similarly, for BMAT, a score of 5.0 is average, 6.0 is satisfactory, and anything above 7.0 is exceptional.

How to apply?

Students can apply through the University and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS). A UCAS application generally includes

  • Academic records
  • Personal statements
  • References

Students can choose up to four medical universities. Registration for the entrance test is not included in the UCAS application and must be done separately. UCAS incurs an application fee of USD 25-30. Students can also apply via Gyanberry to ensure a timely application process. Through Gyanberry, students can gain admission into universities like Brunel University London, Anglia Ruskin, and Queen’s Belfast.

Cost of Medicine/MBBS in the UK

MBBS is more expensive the in the UK than in other European countries, such as Ireland, Poland, or the Czech Republic. The annual tuition costs at a few medical universities are listed below.

University Annual Tuition Fee in GBP (£)  Annual Tuition Fee in USD*
The University of Oxford 39,740 47,277
The University of Cambridge 63,990 76,127
University College London 47,000 55,914
Imperial College London 50,400 59,959
King’s College London 45,420 54,035
The University of Edinburgh 32,100  38,188
Brunel University London 44,905  53,422

Cost of living in the UK

Living costs depend significantly on one’s lifestyle and personal circumstances. According to the University of Oxford, living costs for an international student in the UK can range from GBP (£) 14,300 to 24,400.

Particulars Annual Cost in GBP Annual Cost in USD*
Food 3,480-4,920 4,140-5,853
Accommodation 8,160-9,720 9,707-11,563
Study Costs 540-1,200 642-1,427
Other Expenses 2,160-4,560 2,569-5,424
Total 14,340-20,400 17,058-24,267

*Costs are converted to USD at the exchange rate of 1 GBP = 1.19 USD. Exchange rates are subject to change from time to time.

Cost of Medicine/MBBS for Indian students

  • The annual tuition cost for Indian students can range between INR 25,13,600-57,64,380*
  • The annual cost of attendance is estimated at INR 38,70,000-76,90,000*

Cost of Medicine/MBBS for UAE students

  • Tuition costs for one academic year roughly range from AED 119,000-272,900*
  • The total annual attendance cost estimate for UAE students is AED 183,200-364,100*

*Costs have been converted to INR and AED from USD at the exchange rates of 81.63 INR/USD and 3.67 AED/USD respectively. Please note that exchange rates are subject to periodic change.

Scholarships for international students

There are several scholarship opportunities for international students willing to study in the UK. But, most government-funded scholarships are aimed at graduate-level students who wish to pursue a master’s or doctoral program.

GREAT Scholarships 

Students who wish to pursue a one-year postgraduate course in any discipline are eligible. GREAT scholarship awards GBP 10,000 towards tuition fees.

Commonwealth Scholarships

Citizens of Commonwealth countries are eligible to apply. These scholarships are given to students planning to do their master’s in the UK. The value covers airfare and tuition costs. An additional stipend of GBP 1,113-1,390 per month.

At the undergraduate level, many universities may have scholarships for international students. Students should visit the university website to check currently available scholarships and eligibility criteria.

Career prospects after MBBS in the UK

After an MBBS degree, international students can work in the UK, work abroad, or study further (specialty). 

Practice in the UK

MBBS graduates must participate in the UK Foundation Program (UKFP) to practice medicine in the UK. UKFP is a training program aimed at preparing students for the medical profession. The program lasts two years and equips students with the necessary skills according to the GMC guidelines. During the program, students can earn between GBP 29,384 and 34,012.

After the Foundation Program, students can register with GMC for professional practice. Doctors in the UK can work for the NHS or private hospitals. The average annual salary of general practitioners in the UK is GBP 62,268 to 93,965.

Practice in countries other than the UK

For working in regions other than the UK, MBBS graduates must clear country-specific examinations. MBBS graduates from the UK are exempt from giving the FMGE examination in India.

Postgraduate study

Most MBBS graduates in the UK go for specialization studies (3 to 8 years). GMC has approved 65 specialties and 31 sub-specialties. Some commonly preferred specialties include general practice, anesthesiology, dermatology, general surgery, obstetrics, gynecology, and more.

Some super-specialty subjects need additional three to four years of further studies. Graduates can consider continuing their postgraduate education in the UK, provided they can fund it. Government and organization-funded scholarships are available for international students to lessen the cost burden.

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There are two entrance exams at the undergraduate level: UCAT and BMAT. The choice of the exam depends on the university requirement. UCAT is held from July until October. BMAT takes place in September and November.

Multiple-mini interviews are quick-series interviews. The panel consists of several faculty members, each asking questions in quick succession. Such interviews are designed to test candidates’ adaptability and problem-solving skills. The interviews can be two hours long.

Candidates must have completed 10+2. Subjects in the previous two years of study must include biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. English fluency is a must. Candidates should score at least 7.0 in IELTS or equal scores in other exams. UCAT/BMAT scores must be submitted.

Candidates should apply for MBBS through UCAS (University and College Admission Service). Students can choose up to four medical universities. The application fee ranges from USD 25 to 30.

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