Edinburgh Medical School

Access Courses/Foundation Year Programmes

Please note that we strictly do not accept any Foundation Year Programmes for entry to our MBChB programme here. We recognise the Access courses detailed below as alternative routes to studying medicine.

Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP)Access to Medical Studies

SWAP offers an Access to Medical Studies programme which we accept for consideration for entry to year one of the MBChB from eligible applicants. We welcome applicants from this route, though it should be noted that undertaking the Access to Medical Studies SWAP course gives no guarantee of an offer to the MBChB.

Successful applicants to our MBChB degree from this route will be asked to achieve AAA in the three graded components of the Access course – Mathematics, Biology and Chemistry.   Applicants will be asked to achieve 80% or more in each subject component, as well as an overall pass of the entire Access programme. 

In order to check eligibility for a place on this SWAP programme, applicants should consult the link below.  If you have any prior university study experience then you must discuss this and your eligibility with SWAP using the contact details at the bottom of this page.  Furthermore, potential students need to fulfil either of the additional eligibility criteria:

  • have been out of full-time education for at least 3 years AND have no qualifications above SCQF level 5 (National 5, Intermediate 2, Standard Grade, GCSE or equivalent);  OR
  • have been out of full-time education for at least 5 years - if applicant already has qualifications at SCQF Level 6 or above (Highers, A Levels, HN).

Click here for more information about eligibility & the Access to Medical Studies programme

Note that students who have previously undertaken the SWAP Access to Life Sciences course may also be considered for entry into the SWAP Access to Medical Studies programme.

Potential SWAP students also need to be able to commit to college on a full-time basis (around 18-20 hours a week). They also need to have evidence of previous study of Biology, Chemistry and Maths at minimum level of National 5, Intermediate 2, Standard Grade, GCSE or equivalent, and will be expected to have recent experience of working or volunteering in a health care environment.

As with all MBChB applicants, UCAT and non-academic factors (e.g. interview) will be assessed when you apply through UCAS. You will find information on our selection process here

For full information about the content and assessment of the SWAP Access to Medical Studies programme - and how to apply - please follow the links to the SWAP East and SWAP West websites:

SWAP East link. https://www.scottishwideraccess.org/east-our-programmes

SWAP West link. http://www.scottishwideraccess.org/west-programmes-medical-studies


For 2025 academic entry to MBChB we will accept the new SWAP East programme offered by Dundee and Angus College.

For any further queries about the SWAP Access to Medical Studies programme, including eligibility criteria please contact SWAP directly.

Link to contact details on SWAP’s website. https://www.scottishwideraccess.org/national-contacts


Access courses from the rest of the UK

We also consider access courses from the rest of the UK which comply with the Quality Assurance Agency's (QAA) subject descriptor for medicine and have been validated as meeting their criteria.  These access courses are specifically entitled 'Access to HE Diploma (Medicine)' and must have been undertaken from the 2021-22 academic year onwards. 

You will find details of subject-descriptor compliant diplomas by undertaking a course search using the link below:

Access to Higher Education Diploma

To be considered, those who have undertaken access courses need to have achieved or be predicted to achieve distinction grades in all access course subjects.


Undergraduate Admissions

  • Undergraduate Admissions

Contact details



Room SU219, 2nd Floor
The Chancellor’s Building
Edinburgh BioQuarter
49 Little France Crescent

Post Code
EH16 4SB