Master of Family Medicine

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the questions we're receiving from potential applicants.

Is the programme accredited / recognised by other countries?

The Master of Family Medicine is not accredited. It is purely an academic masters. All degrees from the University of Edinburgh are recognised by national governments. Each country/national College has its own accreditation system. In the future, we will be working towards formal accreditation of the programme with respected national institutions.

Can I practice in another country after completing the programme?

Completion of this degree does not qualify you to practice in other countries. However this qualification would be a great asset to any clinician in developing their own clinical practice.

Can I study intermittently and start whenever I'm ready?

Students can study the ICL (Invoiced at Course Level) route, but the programme is designed to be studied in order as each course connects to the next and builds skills and competencies.  So we wouldn’t advise a student to start with, say, Course 2 in Semester 2.  They should start in September at the beginning of the academic year, with Course 1. Some students have started in the second year and missed the first year as they were given Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for first-year courses. So this is an option if an applicant has studied before and achieved competencies for the first year courses.

Is the Master of Family Medicine considered a clinical master degree?

The Master of Family Medicine is an academic degree. We teach the principles and practice of family medicine with the primary aim of promoting quality in clinical practice and developing skilled and compassionate family doctors that can become leaders within our profession. The degree can also be utilised to develop a career in academia (as a stepping stone to PhD) or in education.  

The degree is delivered remotely online. When we teach we do refer to real clinic scenarios, so the teaching is relevant to daily clinical practice, but there is no direct teaching or assessment of clinical skills. There is also no vocational (on the job) training. Therefore it would not be considered a vocational training programme required to demonstrate competency to work as a family doctor in many countries.

Is the programme currently considering allied health applicants?

The programme does encourage applications from allied health professionals as we appreciate that family medicine is a team-based speciality and in some situations is delivered entirely by allied health professionals. Any applicant will need to have demonstrated a certain level of academic achievement in their field. A Master of Nursing, for example, would easily qualify. Another key component of the application is the ability to demonstrate clinical experience in a primary care setting.

What if I cannot afford to pay for the tuition?

Scholarships are available for those who meet a list of criteria set by the University.

Please see our Fees and Scholarships page for more information about eligibility and how to apply:

Do I need to produce an English language certificate in my specific situation?

There are guidelines outlining when an English language certificate will be needed for an application:

What IELTS score do I need to have to apply?

We accept an IELTS Academic score of 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component as evidence of English language qualifications. Your English language qualification must be no more than two years old from the start date of the programme.

More information can be found here

If you are unsure whether you need to produce an English language certificate in your specific circumstances, please email for help understanding our entry requirements.

Do I need clinical experience?

If you don't have extensive experience in a primary health care setting, you can still apply, but you will need to write a very strong personal statement to justify your inclusion in the programme. The key is that an applicant should be regularly exposed to patients during the programme in order to bring clinical experience from primary care to the discussion and assessments.  

Recognition of Prior Learning

The team consider related, credit-bearing qualifications for Recognised Prior Learning (RPL). You’ll need to apply to the programme first and then share evidence of your prior learning so they can assess your application for RPL. In some cases, students have started in the second year and missed the first year as they were given recognition of prior learning for first year courses, so this is a potential option.

Primary medical degrees

Both MBBS and MBChB are primary medical degrees, so if you have achieved either of these, you are eligible to apply.

Do transcripts mention I studied online?

Your final certificate will not mention whether or not you studied online, but your transcripts would mention this, particularly because 'online'.

Benefits of online learning

Online learning is a way for you to study an internationally recognised qualification without needing to attend classes on campus. This is an ideal option if you wish to study for a postgraduate qualification alongside work or other commitments.

Online programmes are of equal value to on-campus programmes. The only difference is that the programme is delivered online, rather than on campus.

As an online student you have access to the University's excellent resources. We use the latest in educational technology tools and systems.

Our online learning platform enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or workplace, making this an ideal option for our many international students.

The platform has a modern, intuitive, fully accessible and responsive interface. It delivers a powerful teaching and learning experience on any device with an internet connection, anytime, anywhere.

Where can I read news and learn about upcoming events?

The Usher Institute's monthly newsletter is called Illuminate, and features news and future events. You can also read past issues to decide if this subscription is right for you.

Link to read more about Illuminate

What is the Usher Institute?

Our Master of Family Medicine programme sits in the Deanery of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences, which sits within the Edinburgh Medical School in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. The Usher Institute also sits within the Deanery and focuses on transforming health in society by working with people, populations and data. Many of our colleagues who work with health-related research are based in the Usher Institute.

Link to the Usher Institute

Further questions and information

If you have further questions, please contact the programme team at