Photo of Queen's University Belfast Medical School

This profile of Queen’s Belfast highlights this medical school's entry requirements, typical offers, student numbers, competition ratios, teaching and learning methods, course structure, demographics and history.

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Summary overview: 

The only medical school in Northern Ireland, Queen's Belfast offers an integrated five-year curriculum. Case-based learning is used to integrate theory with clinical practice, complemented by very early patient contact. Course highlights include full-body cadaveric dissection, student selected components, and a world-class interprofessional simulation centre. As explained on the university website, "Queen’s is the only medical school in Northern Ireland and students are welcomed in all of the hospitals within the region and in over 150 general practices."


Key information dashboard

For convenience, here is an at-a-glance summary of key information related to Queen’s Belfast medical school.

Links in this dashboard can help you check which other UK medical schools are similar to Queen’s Belfast with regard to points listed here.

Be sure to check our notes in sections below for more details about each of these points.

Queen’s Belfast medical school establishment date:

Years of course:

Total medical students:

Average year cohort:

Northern Ireland

Subject prerequisites:

Biology (strictly required)
Chemistry (strictly required)
Maths (acceptable option)
Physics (acceptable option)

Interview format:

Admissions test:

A Level typical offer:

Advanced Higher typical offer:

IB typical offer:
36 points

General teaching method:
CBL, Integrated

Anatomy teaching:

Intercalation mode:
Optional intercalation

Entry requirements

Work experience expectations:

No specific requirements.
Experience encouraged in healthcare-related environments and volunteering.

Admissions test: UCAT

Scored and used in conjunction with the GCSE score to rank for interview.
12.5% weight to UCAT, 87.5% weight to top 9 GCSEs.
4 points awarded for a grade 9, 3 points for a grade 7/8, 2 points for a grade 6 and 1 point for grades 4/5.

Personal statement usage:

Personal Statements are not scored.
Personal statement should indicate commitment and motivation, explicitly to Medicine as career choice.

Interview type: MMI

Candidates are assessed on: Empathy, problem-solving, moral reasoning, and communication skills.
Candidates rotate through nine five minute stations, with a one minute break between each station.

Coursework subjects expected: Biology (strictly required), Chemistry (strictly required), Maths (acceptable option), Physics (acceptable option)

For more details about subjects expected by this medical school, see the notes below regarding typical offers.

Typical offers

A Level typical offer: A*AA-AAA

A Level results must include AAA and A in a fourth AS level subject including Chemistry, plus at least one other from Biology, Maths or Physics.
Alternatively: A*AA at A Level including Chemistry and Biology / Human Biology.
Alternatively: A*AA at A Level including Chemistry and either Maths or Physics and AS level Biology grade B.

GCSE requirements:

GCSE results must include Maths and either Physics or Double Award Science.
Minimum grades C/4 and CC/44 are required if subjects are not offered at AS-level or A-level.

Advanced Higher typical offer: AAA-AA

Advanced Higher results must include Chemistry plus a grade A in at least one from Physics, Biology and Maths.

Scottish Higher typical offer: Not specified
Scottish subjects not specified
National 5 requirements:

National 5 subjects not specified

International Baccalaureate typical offer: 36 points

IB applicants must achieve 6,6,6 at Higher level. Higher Level Chemistry and Biology required.
If Physics is not offered as part of the IB then a pass in GCSE Physics or Double Award Science, or equivalent, is required.

Notes about Widening Access:

As explained on the website, this medical school "has in place various pathways for those candidates who have taken their GCSEs at certain secondary schools in Northern Ireland." Applicants educated at a secondary school in Northern Ireland to at least Year 12 will be short-listed on the basis of AS level grades, UCAT and A level predictions, rather than GCSE performance.

Total students and cohort sizes at UK medical schools

For uniform comparison of medical student admissions each year across all UK medical schools, we rely on annual reports from the Office for Students (OfS) entitled 'Medical and dental intakes'.

Total medical students: 1360 Total years of course: 5 Years data reports available: 5 Average cohort per year: 272.0 Percentage of Home students in latest cohort: 89.7% Percentage of International students in latest cohort: 10.3%
Recent cohort admissions data: 
Admission year Total students admitted this year Home places International places
290 students in this cohort 260 Home students 30 International students
270 students in this cohort 235 Home students 35 International students
265 students in this cohort 230 Home students 35 International students
265 students in this cohort 230 Home students 35 International students
270 students in this cohort 235 Home students 35 International students
275 students in this cohort 235 Home students 40 International students

Competition data

Competition ratio data reported here is from the 2019-20 admissions cycle, as confirmed by MedSchoolGenie Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from this period.

Please note: Due to ongoing impact of Covid-19 since March 2020, UK medical schools have not yet released competition ratio data for the 2020-21 admissions cycle. Applicants should keep in mind that coronavirus-related lockdowns and other restrictions affected the entire UK education sector, so competition ratios were most likely distorted during 2020-21. MedSchoolGenie will update here when further competition data becomes available.

Ratio of Home applicants per interview: 
Ratio of Home applicant interviews per place: 
Ratio of Home applicants per place: 
Ratio of International applicants per interview: 
Ratio of International applicant interviews per place: 
Ratio of International applicants per place: 

Applicant percentages of success

From reported competition ratios, it's possible to calculate percentages of success at various stages of the application process.

Numbers of applicants competing in latest admissions cycle

Based on reported numbers of applicants securing places, we can use competition ratios to estimate how many applicants have been competing at each stage of the most recent admissions cycle.

Please note: Estimates of competition factors from 2020 onwards may be less reliable than in previous years because UK medical schools have not yet reported competition ratios for the 2020-21 admissions cycle. MedSchoolGenie will update here when more recent data on competition ratios becomes available.

Total number of all applicants in latest admissions cycle: 1305
Number of Home applicants in latest admissions cycle: 
Number of Home applicant interviews in latest admissions cycle: 
Number of Home applicants securing places: 
Number of International applicants in latest admissions cycle: 
Number of International applicant interviews in latest admissions cycle: 
Number of International applicants securing places in latest admissions cycle: 

Teaching and learning

Predominant teaching style: CBL, Integrated

Integrated curriculum, with early clinical contact.
Case-based learning.
Whole body dissection in state-of-the-art facilities.
As explained in its overview of teaching, this medical school "Early clinical contact with patients in first year; whole body dissection in state of the art facilities; student selected components with a wide range of choices throughout the medical curriculum; Case-based learning in years 1-4 that integrates clinical, biomedical and behavioural science ; excellent clinical contact in primary and secondary care settings at all levels of the course"

Anatomy teaching method: Dissection Intercalation mode: Optional intercalation

As explained in discussion of intercalation on this medical school's website, "An intercalated degree is a degree taken between two years of a medical ... course. The year is equivalent to the final year of a degree in science or biomedical subjects and the degree awarded is a Bachelor of Science (Honours). ... Intercalated degrees are usually taken after the end of 2nd or 3rd year of the medical ... curriculum. Students are recommended not to do an intercalated degree between the fourth and fifth years, as this would break up the flow of the main clinical teaching."

Overview of course structure

Years one and two:
Years one and two at Queen's Belfast are entitled ‘Foundations for Practice'. They use a systems based approach to introduce students to biomedical science. Students learn clinical skills alongside the scientific curriculum, complemented by simulation exercises and early patient exposure. Disciplines of pathology, microbiology, and genetics are also taught.
Years three and four:
Teaching becomes more clinically oriented from year three onwards, taking place in medical and surgical specialties all over Northern Ireland. Students integrate clinical teaching with scientific study from the first two years of the course. After second or third year, students can undertake a research focused intercalation at the BSc or MSc level.
Year five:
Year five introduces students to more specialised clinical practice. Placements include child health, women's health, medicine of the elderly, and mental health. Students undertake assistantships before graduation, honing skills necessary for work as an FY1.

Reported demographics

This chart highlights gender and disability data reported by Queen’s Belfast to the General Medical Council (GMC), which has compiled this information into spreadsheets as part of its medical school annual return (MSAR) data sets.

Please note this data is retrospective, and that future numbers can vary from preceding years.

Demographic data collection: 

For comparison, we also include below all demographic data reported by this medical school to General Medical Council.

Reporting year Female students Male students Students with declared disability Students without declared disability
2017-18 60.8% female students 39.2% male students 6.2% students with disability 93.8% students without disability
2016-17 58.6% female students 41.4% male students 5.5% students with disability 94.5% students without disability

Medical school history

As explained in University of Belfast websie,  although the first medical student was admitted as a pupil to a Belfast Hospital in 1821,  the Board of the Faculty of Medicine did not meet until  October 1835 when the medical school was offically established.

Medical school location

School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences
Whitla Medical Building
97 Lisburn Road
United Kingdom
Geographic region: