Undergraduate study - 2019 entry

MBChB Medicine (6-year programme)

UCAS code: A100

Duration: 6 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh Medical School

College: Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

Study abroad

Introducing MBChB Medicine (6-year programme)

Our 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.

There is a long history of Edinburgh medical students taking a year out to undertake a period of intercalated, research-based study and it is a very successful aspect of our medical programme. Most intercalating students achieve at least one academic publication and/or presentation which is beneficial to their CV and future career.

You will choose from a wide range of disciplines and topics, including established areas such as neuroscience and new areas such as health sciences or medical humanities. Later in the curriculum, you will have opportunities to revisit and extend the research interests developed.

On graduation, you will leave with both a research-based Bachelor of Medical Sciences honours degree and an MBChB primary medical qualification. As such, you will have a deep understanding of medical research and evidence-based medicine, which will be useful whatever career path you follow.

You will be especially well equipped to pursue an academic career in medicine, where ongoing practical involvement in research, as a physician-scientist, is a feature. You may apply for direct progression from Years 2 to 4, but this will only be considered in special circumstances, such as graduate entrants with prior research experience.


The programme is accredited by the UK General Medical Council and recognised by overseas accrediting bodies in the US, Canada, Australia and elsewhere.

The MBChB curriculum content is designed around 12 major outcome themes:

  • biomedical sciences
  • psychological aspects of medicine
  • social sciences and public health
  • evidence-based medicine and research
  • the consultation
  • presentation
  • diagnosis and management
  • clinical communication
  • emergency care
  • clinical and resuscitation skills
  • clinical pharmacology and therapeutics
  • medical informatics
  • medical ethics, legal and professional responsibilities
  • personal professional development

The outcomes are achieved as you progress through a series of courses and attachments based on body systems (such as the cardiovascular system) and/or clinical disciplines (such as surgery).

Achievement of the outcomes is assessed by a range of methods, including clinical and computer-based examinations. For this reason, keyboard skills are important and we recommend applicants ensure these are adequate or make use of the wide range of online training resources.

You will be appointed a Personal Tutor who will mentor and guide you during the programme, meeting with you regularly to offer help and advice. In Years 4 to 6 you will also have your own Clinical Tutor Associate, a doctor in training who will offer monthly sessions of individual tuition tailored to your educational needs.

What will be the outcome of my studies?

At the end of the programme you will receive your Bachelor of Medical Sciences honours degree and MBChB (or equivalent) degree, which is a Primary Medical Qualification (PMQ). You will then be required to pass the General Medical Council’s Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA).

Holding a PMQ and an MLA entitles you to provisional registration with the General Medical Council, if there are no Fitness to Practise concerns. Provisionally registered doctors can only practise in approved Foundation Year 1 posts: the law does not allow provisionally registered doctors to undertake any other type of work..

To obtain a Foundation Year 1 post you will need to apply during the final year of your undergraduate course through the UK Foundation Programme Office selection scheme, which allocates these posts to graduates on a competitive basis. So far, all suitably qualified UK graduates from Edinburgh have found a place on the Foundation Year 1 programme, but this cannot be guaranteed, for instance if there were to be an increased number of competitive applications from non-UK graduates.

The Foundation Year 1 programme usually takes 12 months to complete and is marked by the award of a Certificate of Experience. You will then be eligible to apply for full registration with the General Medical Council. You need full registration with a licence to practise for unsupervised medical practice in the NHS or private practice in the UK.

Students need to be aware that regulations in this area may change from time to time.

Year 1

You take courses that introduce the scientific, sociological and behavioural principles of medicine and place them in the context of patient care. You will meet with patients and their families through the Talking with Families and Health Needs of Older People courses. Working in small groups, you will investigate a healthcare issue of your choice.

Year 2

You will develop your practical, research and clinical skills, including history-taking and examination. You will develop your skills in medical informatics. You will work in small groups, taking part in clinical projects and spending time in general practice.

Year 3

All students will enter an honours programme to obtain a Bachelor of Medical Sciences honours degree. Many students study a scientific discipline in depth, gaining research experience, and submit a dissertation. Recently established disciplines include health sciences and programmes in the medical humanities.

Year 4

You will study all aspects of clinical medicine and healthcare delivery as part of a team. Courses continue to cover biological and clinical sciences and you will develop your practical experience through placements in hospitals and general practice.

Year 5

You will move around a number of specialities, working on hospital wards as part of a team. In addition to further clinical placements in a range of disciplines, you will complete an individual research project in partnership with a clinical tutor.

Year 6

In your final year you consolidate your learning from previous years, working on an apprenticeship model to prepare for employment in the postgraduate Foundation Programme. There is an emphasis on developing practical skills and knowledge of general and acute medicine, emergency medicine, surgery, anaesthetics and intensive care. You will have the opportunity to assist a trainee doctor and, under supervision, undertake some of the duties of a Foundation Year 1 doctor. You also have an elective period which is usually undertaken overseas.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2018/19)

Our facilities

The majority of teaching in Years 1 and 2 takes place in the University's Central Area. In your clinical years, most teaching takes place in hospitals, general practices across the Lothians, Fife and Borders and occasionally further afield.

Study abroad

All students have the opportunity to study abroad during Year 6 of the programme.

Guaranteed study abroad funding for students required to complete a year abroad

How will I learn?

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, problem-based learning, laboratory and project work, clinical placements and computer-assisted learning. The Student-Selected Components (SSCs) offer flexibility and choice throughout the curriculum.

Edinburgh also runs a Personal Tutor system. You will be given a Personal Tutor at the start of your programme who will meet you regularly during your programme to offer help and advice. In Years 4 to 6 you will meet a Clinical Tutor Associate each month, a doctor in training, who offers individual tuition tailored to your educational needs.

You will also be able to access our virtual learning environment which offers a wide range of online course resources.

In addition to University libraries, you'll be able to use hospital libraries on most sites.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment methods include in-course assessment, exams, a portfolio of reports and case studies, and group projects.

Medical school assessments, in particular the knowledge tests, are increasingly computer-based. Keyboard skills are therefore hugely important and we recommend that you try to improve your keyboard skills before you start the medical programme.

Medical Licensing Assessment

The General Medical Council (GMC) will introduce a Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA) in 2022. This is intended to demonstrate that everyone who obtains registration with a licence to practise medicine in the UK has met a common threshold for safe practice. You should be aware that to obtain registration with a licence to practise, you will need to pass both parts of the MLA, as well as pass your university finals, and demonstrate your fitness to practise.

The MLA will consist of two parts. There will be a knowledge test, set and run by the GMC, and an assessment, delivered by your medical school, which will evaluate your clinical and professional skills.

We participate in the UK Foundation Programme Scheme, which places graduates in Foundation Doctor posts across the UK. Many graduates also go on to work with distinguished national and international research groups.

Outcome: what happens when you complete your MBChB

Typical offer

The typical offer is likely to be:

  • SQA Highers: AAAAB at Higher plus BB at Advanced Higher plus a B at Higher in S6, to include Chemistry and Biology.
  • A Levels: AAA. (Revised 22/2/2018: updated to correct a misprint in the 2019 prospectus that incorrectly stated the requirement as AAAb.)
  • IB: 37 points with 667 at HL.

Access threshold

We have an access threshold for applications to Medicine, you can find information on the Medicine website.

Medicine entry requirements

Detailed requirements for all applicants

To be considered for an offer of a place all applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • SQA Highers: AAAAB by the end of S5, to include Chemistry and two of Biology, Mathematics or Physics. For some applicants this subject combination at S5 Higher is neither possible nor appropriate. Students who meet the grade requirements in S5 but are missing one or more sciences may take the missing subject(s) in S6. Human Biology may replace Biology. National 5s: B grades in Biology, Chemistry, English and Mathematics. SQA Advanced Highers: We encourage the study of at least two subjects at Advanced Higher level in S6 and one further subject at Higher or above. The subjects of greatest relevance to a medical programme are Chemistry and Biology. Offers are usually conditional on S6 performance.
  • A Levels: AAA including Chemistry and one subject from Biology, Mathematics and Physics (Biology preferred). Only one of Mathematics or Further Mathematics will be considered. Human Biology may replace Biology but General Studies will not be considered. GCSEs: Grade B / 6 in Biology, Chemistry, English, Mathematics. Double Award combined sciences or equivalent at Grade BB / 66 may replace GCSE grades in sciences. Additional Applied Science and Applied Science will not be accepted. All examination grades must be obtained at the first attempt of each subject. Those applying with resit qualifications will not be entered into the selection system unless under very exceptional circumstances (for which verified evidence has been provided prior to UCAS application).
  • IB: Overall score of 37 points (including TOK and EE) including 667 at HL in Chemistry and at least one other science subject (Biology preferred). Biology should be taken to at least SL. You must also provide evidence of a qualification at minimum National 5 grade B or GCSE B or equivalent in Mathematics and English Language if these subjects do not form part of your IB diploma. If you are using English /English Language at SL as part of the English language requirement, you must obtain Grade 5.

Additional requirements

Graduate applicants

Applications for graduate entry to first year are welcomed. The minimum criteria to enter the selection system are normally a 1st or 2:1 honours degree, plus school-leaving qualifications with minimum academic requirements at one sitting, as follows:

  • SQA Highers: BBBB in S5.
  • GCE A Levels: BBB in upper sixth.
  • IB: 34 points including 556 at HL.

High-quality, relevant science qualifications (usually containing Chemistry and Biology) must be achieved, either in school or through a programme. Graduate applicants are able to send one additional reference by the application deadline, should they wish to.

Mature applicants

No special concessions are made for mature, non-graduate applicants. In view of the competition for places, all applications must have achieved the same minimum academic requirements as school-leaving applicants within the three-year period prior to the date of application. Mature non-graduate applicants are able to send one additional reference by the application deadline, should they wish to

Other entry qualifications

All International and EU applicants, whose first language is not English, must sit an English proficiency test prior to application.

UK Clinical Aptitude Test

All applicants need to sit the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) during the summer prior to application. We accept all UKCAT scores and have no minimum requirement. We also consider the Situational Judgement section of the UKCAT test separately.

UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT)

Fitness to practise

The University has a responsibility to ensure that students enrolled on a programme that involves practical training in a clinical environment, and that leads to a professional registerable qualification, are fit to practise. This is assessed according to the requirements and standards of the profession the student wishes to enter.

Students will be provided with further information on admission.

Health clearance checks

In accordance with Department of Health guidelines, students being admitted to the MBChB need to undergo viral screening for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C and be immunised against hepatitis B. This is part of the induction process for the MBChB.

Applicants holding places in these programmes will receive further information. A positive result in any test will not necessarily preclude entry to the MBChB.


All medical graduates must complete a period of further training, normally in a hospital environment. The Admissions Committee is required to ensure all applicants have the physical capability to fulfil the responsibilities of such posts effectively and safely. Applicants with disabilities or other health problems are encouraged to seek advice from the Undergraduate Admissions Office prior to application.

Further information about fitness to train is available on the Higher Education Occupational Physicians/Practitioners website.

Higher Education Occupational Physicians / Practitioners

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

You must provide evidence that your written and spoken English is at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 7.5 with 7.5 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT 110 or above with 25 in each section
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 191 with 191 in each component
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): Total 76 with at least 76 in each "Communicative Skills" section
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with merit in all four components

About English language requirements


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 Grade B
  • SQA Standard Grade 2
  • SQA Intermediate 2 Grade B
  • GCSE Grade B or 5
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade B
  • IB Standard Level Grade 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)


Meeting the minimum academic entry requirements does not guarantee the offer of a place. Entrance to the Medical School is extremely competitive and each application is assessed independently by two selectors against the academic and non-academic criteria. A weighting for the UKCAT is added and applications are placed in rank order. Offers are made to the highest scoring applicants. As a result of the level of competition for places, many high-quality applicants are unsuccessful.

There are usually 190 places for UK/EU applicants and 17 places for overseas applicants. A number of offers may be made to those with very high selection scores before late March 2018. Some unsuccessful applicants - those with low selection scores will be informed on an ongoing basis throughout the selection process. All other applications are scored and held until all applications have been reviewed and scored. Thereafter, final-offer decisions are made.

As we review the selection process regularly, please check online before you apply to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups

All successful applicants will be required to join Disclosure Scotland's Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme before starting the programme. In addition, all applicants who don't live in the UK, or who have spent more than a year abroad, will need to provide equivalent verification from the relevant national authority.

Fee deposits

All overseas students who accept an offer of a place will have to pay a fee deposit, which is a third of the year's fees.


We are currently considering changes to selection, which may include the introduction of interviews. Further information will be made available online if changes are made.

Application guide

You can find out more about the application process and other requirements on the College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine website.

Application guide for Medicine

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Unistats data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MBChB Medicine (6-year programme)

Additional costs

Our main teaching location is at Little France, linked to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. This is a 20-minute bus ride from central Edinburgh and will incur travel costs. There will also be costs associated with travel to your clinical placements.

An annual student Ridacard from Lothian Buses costs £525. We provide a travel subsidy for students up to £350. Support is available from Additional Cost of Teaching reimbursement and may also be available from students' funding bodies. You may also be eligible for additional hardship funding via the University.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding