Edinburgh Medical School

Why study at Edinburgh?

Consistently ranked one of the top 50 universities in the world, the University of Edinburgh has been making its mark on the world for more than 400 years.

Three students walking outside the Old Medical School

By choosing to study with the Edinburgh Medical School you’ll be joining one of the oldest and most prestigious schools of its kind in Scotland.

In 2019, Medicine was ranked second-highest in the Sunday Times "Good University Guide" ranking of the UK's 34 medical schools.


A six year degree

Our Medical degree (MBChB) spans six years, including an academic year of full-time, research-based study in Year 3. Six year medicine programmes are offered by a number of medical schools in England but, to date, Edinburgh is the only Scottish school to do so.

This additional year provides a type of experience that is becoming increasingly important for the top rank doctors of the future. Most students achieve at least one academic publication and/or presentation which is beneficial to their future career during their research year. 


Anatomical Museum skull room

Research pulling power

Our international reputation in research is also first-class, with the University of Edinburgh rated fourth in the UK for Research Power in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).  

In the College’s submissions to the same framework in 2014, Medicine (MBChB) was ranked in the top five and Neuroscience was ranked third.

We are 20th in the Times Higher World University Rankings for clinical, pre-clinical and health subjects (2016/17).

At Edinburgh Medical School, research is an important component of the life of every student as a means of understanding a way of thinking that will equip them to deliver positive change for humanity. 

The College has five major research institutes, each with more than 500 staff and postgraduates. Each institute is home to inter-related centres, led by internationally-renowned scientists.


A heritage to be proud of

Edinburgh Medical School has been influencing the world of medicine for centuries. And with a history spanning nearly 300 years, Edinburgh Medical School has had many famous alumni. 

Familiar names include Joseph Black, considered to be the father of modern chemistry; James Young-Simpson, credited with developing modern anaesthesia with chloroform;  and Charles Darwin, whose Edinburgh education unquestionably contributed to the development of his theory of evolution by natural selection.

The writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is another famous graduate -  he based his most famous character, Sherlock Holmes, on his old mentor Joseph Bell, who was a Scottish surgeon and lecturer at the Medical School  in the 19th century.

Remarkable women at the Medical School also overcame considerable adversity to become drivers of equality and medical excellence. Notable figures include Elsie Inglis, James Barry and Sophia Jex-Blake. You can read more about the history of these eccentric, brilliant, and ground-breaking individuals at the link below. 


A great student city

Edinburgh is a picturesque, historic city, which is consistently voted one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Large enough to offer something for everyone, but small enough to feel like home, Edinburgh is modern and sophisticated, with a diverse, multicultural community.

It’s also exceptionally student-friendly. With four universities and numerous colleges, approximately 100,000 students (including 35,000 from the University of Edinburgh) call the city their home, giving Edinburgh a unique buzz and ensuring you’ll be in good company. 



Offer holders for 2021

If you  hold an offer to begin your studies in 2021 but were not able to join us for either of our Q&As on the 21 and 23 April, you can watch a recording of one of the sessions below.



Related links

A history of medicine at the University of Edinburgh

Why choose Edinburgh?

Student life

Our institutes and centres

Edinburgh Medical School Facebook page

Edinburgh MBChB Admissions Facebook page

Edinburgh University Students' Association