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.

Our MBChB programme was  ranked first in the UK for medicine by Guardian University Guide 2022.  The guide ranks universities and programmes on the areas that are most important to young people, such as how much they will benefit from teaching, the opinion of current students and their chances in the job market after graduation.  

The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022 ranked Edinburgh Medical School third in the UK.


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 first-class. The University of Edinburgh is fourth in the UK based on the quality and breadth of its research – known as research power – and is Scotland’s top ranked institution, according to Times Higher Education’s Research Excellence Framework 2021 power ratings.

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. 



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 Medical School on Instagram

Edinburgh University Students' Association