Undergraduate study - 2020 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


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

Year 1

You take courses that introduce the scientific, sociological and behavioural principles of medicine and place them in the context of patient care. Areas covered will include anatomy, surgery, infection, safe prescribing, knowledge to clinical practice and research and evidence-based medicine.

Year 2

You will develop your practical, research and clinical skills, including history-taking and examination. You will develop your skills in homeostasis in the body, health promotion, global health and nutrition, statistical reasoning and 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

You will 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 (2019/20)

Our facilities

The majority of teaching in Years 1, 2 and 3 takes place in the University's Central Area. In your clinical years, most teaching takes place in hospitals, general practices in regions across south east Scotland and if requested, occasionally further afield (for example, we have very limited placements available in the Highlands and Islands).

Study abroad

In Year 6 you will have the opportunity to undertake a medical elective, a period of study at another medical school. This is usually taken abroad. All students have the opportunity to study abroad during Year 6 of the programme.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, laboratory and project work, clinical placements and computer-assisted learning. The student’s research components of the programme 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 be assigned a Clinical Tutor Associate, a doctor in training, who will offer you 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 online applied knowledge tests, clinical examinations (OSCE), written assessments, research projects and in course assessment of professionalism and engagement on the 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.

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.

Outcome: what happens when you complete your MBChB

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAAB at Higher by end of S5, plus BB at Advanced Higher.
  • A Levels: AAA.
  • IB: 37 points (including TOK and EE) with 766 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: AAABB at Higher by end of S5, plus CC at Advanced Higher.
  • A Levels: AAB.
  • IB: 36 overall with 666 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: Chemistry and two of Biology, Mathematics or Physics. For some applicants this subject combination is not possible at S5. 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: Biology, Chemistry, English and Mathematics at grade B. Offers are conditional on S6 performance. (Revised 10/04/2019 to remove the need for specific subjects at Advanced Higher.)
  • A Levels: Chemistry and one of Biology/Human Biology, Mathematics and Physics at grade A. Only one of Mathematics or Further Mathematics will be considered. GCSEs: Biology, Chemistry, English, Mathematics at grade B/6 . Double Award combined sciences or equivalent at Grade BB/66 may replace GCSE grades in sciences. Additional Applied Science and Applied Science are not accepted.
  • IB: 766 at HL: Chemistry and at least one other science subject. SL: Biology (if not at HL). 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. From 2021, only the Mathematics: Analysis and approaches pathway will be accepted where Mathematics is required.

Additional requirements


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).

Graduate applicants

We welcome applications for graduate entry to first year. The minimum criteria is a UK 1st or 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent, preferably in a science (BSc or equivalent). We will also consider applicants with a UK 1st or 2:1 honours degree in other subjects who also have Higher or A Level Chemistry, or equivalent, at grade B. (Revised 26/06/2019 to remove the school leaving requirements for science graduates).

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.

University Clinical Aptitude Test

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

University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT)

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 demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.


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 C
  • SQA Standard Grade 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 Grade A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 Grade C
  • GCSE Grade B
  • IB Standard Level Grade 4

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • 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 & Proficiency overall 191 with 191 in each component
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): Total 76 with at least 76 in each "Communicative Skills" section

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

(Revised 05/06/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)


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 members of admissions staff against the academic criteria, which is then added to the weightings applied to an applicant’s Situational Judgement Test and total UCAT score. Thereafter applications are placed in rank order. The top scoring 650 applicants will be invited to attend an assessment half-day at Edinburgh Medical School.

There are usually 190 places for UK/EU applicants and 17 places for overseas applicants. Offers will be made soon after the final assessment day. As a result of the level of competition for places, many high-quality applicants are unsuccessful. Some unsuccessful applicants, those with low selection scores, will be informed on an ongoing basis throughout the selection process of their status.

As we review the selection process regularly, please check online before you apply to ensure you have the most up-to-date information. (Revised 26/06/2019 with information on new selection procedures and assessment days.)

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.


The top scoring 650 applicants (approximately) will be invited to attend an assessment half-day at Edinburgh Medical School. The structure of the day is based on a consultation of clinicians and teachers in the medical school about the most important attributes we seek in our medical students. You will be provided with more information about the Assessment Day if you are invited to attend. (Revised 26/06/2019 with information on Assessment Days.)

Application guide

You can find out more about the application process and other requirements on the programme website.

Medicine (6-year programme)

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 Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MBChB Medicine (6-year programme)

Additional costs

Although our main teaching location is at the Edinburgh BioQuarter, linked to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, students are expected to attend regional placement across the south east Scotland which does incur travel costs.

An annual student Ridacard from Lothian Buses costs £525. We provide a travel subsidy of more than £900 per student over the course of the programme. Support is also 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.

You are also expected to purchase a stethoscope in Year 4 of the programme. Scrubs will be provided.


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