Undergraduate study - 2021 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 six year Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) degree will equip you with the knowledge, understanding and skills required to become a Foundation Year 1 doctor.

Medicine at Edinburgh offers a modern, innovative curriculum designed to prepare you for contemporary medical practice. Our aim is for you to graduate as a competent, ethical and reflective doctor, with the care of patients as your first concern.

You will graduate as an excellent communicator and team player, prepared for complex and uncertain situations. You will be equipped for ongoing personal development, and trained for high professional achievement and leadership.

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 paramount.


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
  • Research and evidence-based medicine

Year 2

You will develop your practical, research and clinical skills, including history-taking, and examination.

You will also 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.

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.

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.

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 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, or clinical placement provider internationally. 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. Research components of the programme offer flexibility and choice throughout the curriculum.

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 2023. 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:

  • A knowledge test, set and run by the GMC; and
  • An assessment, delivered by the Medical School

This will evaluate your clinical and professional skills. You must also demonstrate your fitness to practise.

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 happens when you complete your MBChB?

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 Primary Medical Qualification and a Medical Licensing Assessment entitles you to provisional registration with the General Medical Council, if there are no Fitness to Practise concerns.

Foundation Year 1 posts

Once you are a provisionally registered doctor, you 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 programme. You must apply 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.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAAB by end of S5 and BB at Advanced Higher.
  • A Levels: AAA.
  • IB: 37 points with 766 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: AAABB by end of S5 and 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 B. Offers are conditional on S6 performance.
  • A Levels: Chemistry and one of Biology/Human Biology, Mathematics or Physics at A. Only one of Mathematics or Further Mathematics will be considered. GCSEs: Biology, Chemistry, English and Mathematics at B or 6 . Double Award combined sciences, or equivalent, at BB or 66 may replace GCSE grades in sciences. Additional Applied Science and Applied Science are not accepted.
  • IB: HL: Chemistry and one other science subject. SL: Mathematics and English at 5 and Biology at 5 (if not at HL). From 2021, both the Mathematics Analysis & approaches and Applications & interpretation pathways will be accepted. If Mathematics and English Language do not form part of your IB diploma we will also accept GCSE, or equivalent, at B.

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. We require a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, or Physics based subject. We will also consider applicants with a UK 2:1 honours degree in other subjects who have an SQA Higher, A Level, or equivalent, in Chemistry at B.

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 academic requirements as school-leaving applicants within the three-year period prior to the programme start date*. Mature non-graduate applicants are able to send one additional reference by the application deadline, should they wish to.

*(Revised 10 September 2020 to correct information on recent study requirements.)

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) in 2020 before submitting a UCAS application. We accept all 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

If invited for interview you will be required to make a written declaration of any matter that might reasonably be considered to have implications for your fitness to practise. This might include (but is not restricted to) previous or current civil or criminal legal proceedings; if you are or have been subject to disciplinary procedures connected to prior academic studies or employment; if you have previously been the subject of Fitness to Practise procedures in any context and any such disclosure may lead to appropriate investigation processes. If you are unsure about whether or not you should make a declaration then you should contact the medical admissions team. If you do not disclose a matter that could reasonably be considered to be of relevance to your future fitness to practise at the time of admission, this may be detrimental and in itself impact on your Fitness to Practise.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that students enrolled on a degree 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.

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 degrees 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 at B
  • SQA Standard Grade at 2
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at B
  • GCSE at B or 6
  • Level 2 Certificate at B
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

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 (including Special Home Edition) 110 or above with 25 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced & Proficiency overall 191 with 191 in each component.

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 degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

*(Revised 27 April 2020 to include TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition.) **(Revised 15 September 2020 to update the National 5, Standard Grade and GCSE requirements.)


Meeting the 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.

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.

Application guide

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

Medicine (6-year programme)

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

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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 Scotland which does incur travel costs.

An annual student Ridacard from Lothian Buses costs £560. We provide a travel subsidy of more than £900 per student over the course of the programme.

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

You will require a smart phone for the duration of your studies*.

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.

*(Revised 13 August 2020 to include smart phone requirement.)


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