Photo of University of Aberdeen Medical School campus

This profile of Aberdeen 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: 

Aberdeen’s five-year medical programme is consistently ranked as one of the best in the UK, achieving 1st in Scotland and 2nd in the UK for Medicine in the 2020 Guardian League Tables. Teaching is delivered via lectures, seminars, tutorials, clinical placements, and group projects. Aberdeen’s medical curriculum is clinically focussed from year 1, with patient contact via clinical attachments from year one. With an integrated, systems-based course structure, students learn anatomy at a state of the art facility with 3D learning and prosected cadaveric specimens.


Key information dashboard

For convenience, here is an at-a-glance summary of key information related to Aberdeen medical school.

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

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

Aberdeen medical school establishment date:

Years of course:

Total medical students:

Average year cohort:


Subject prerequisites:

Biology (acceptable option)
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:

Expectations for work experience include: a range of experience in primary care or a hospital; voluntary work in care homes hospices or special schools; work experience form completed and returned at interview.

Admissions test: UCAT

UCAT scores are considered in our selection for interview alongside actual and predicted academic achievement.
A minimum UCAT cut-off score is NOT used.
For more details, see the medical school's explanation of UCAT usage

Personal statement usage:

Personal statement is reviewed prior to interview for evidence of preparation for medicine.
The personal statement is not scored but is assessed at interview.

Interview type: MMI

According to this medical school's website: "Interviews are conducted between November until the end of March using the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format.  For 2021 entry, interviews will be conducted online. Candidates rotate around a number of different question stations each in turn. At each station, a selector will explore one question area/domain for 7 minutes and score the candidate's performance against pre-determined criteria. Communication and interpersonal skills are also scored at each station. The MMI experience will last approximately 1 hour for each candidate."
For more details, see Aberdeen medical school's guidance on preparation, example questions, and MMI scoring.

Coursework subjects expected: Biology (acceptable option), 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: AAA

A Levels must include Chemistry and one from Biology / Human Biology, Maths or Physics achieved at the same time.

GCSE requirements:

GCSE results must include at least grade 5 (C) in English and Maths and combination of grades 6–9, especially in science subjects.

Advanced Higher typical offer: BBB

Advanced Higher coursework must include three full academic courses in Advanced Highers, or a mix of two Advanced Highers and one new Higher: Chemistry, with one subject from Biology / Human Biology, Physics or Mathematics.

Scottish Higher typical offer: AAAAB

SQA Higher level to include Chemistry and two from Human Biology/Biology, Maths or Physics and two further Highers in most subjects.

National 5 requirements:

National 5 English and Maths at grade B and a combination of grades A and B passes, especially in science subjects.

International Baccalaureate typical offer: 36 points

IB applicants must complete three subjects at Higher level at grade 6 or higher including Chemistry and one of either Biology, Physics or Maths. 
Three appropriate subjects at standard level with average grade 6 including one science if three not offered at Higher level.

Notes about Widening Access:

Criteria for widening participation: SIMD20 postcode or attends a Reach school or is care experienced.
As explained in discussion of 'Widening access' on its website, this medical school makes lower special offers to applicants who meet criteria: "SIMD20 and care experienced applicants will recieve a 10% uplift on their UCAT score. Scottish domcilied applicants are guaranteed an interview if they have achieved the minimum academic requirements and UCAT score within the top 75% of scores of all applicants to Aberdeen."

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: 1055 Total years of course: 5 Years data reports available: 5 Average cohort per year: 211.0 Percentage of Home students in latest cohort: 79.6% Percentage of International students in latest cohort: 20.4%
Recent cohort admissions data: 
Admission year Total students admitted this year Home places International places
245 students in this cohort 195 Home students 50 International students
240 students in this cohort 200 Home students 40 International students
195 students in this cohort 165 Home students 30 International students
190 students in this cohort 160 Home students 30 International students
185 students in this cohort 160 Home students 25 International students
180 students in this cohort 150 Home students 30 International students
185 students in this cohort 115 Home students 70 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: 2767
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, systems-based approach. 
Clinical cases introduced from term two of first year.
As explained in its overview of teaching styles, Aberdeen medical school uses "a variety of methods and styles, continually seeking to make the teaching engaging, exciting and and responsive to the latest research in that subject area.... [Lectures are] standard University teaching format, this is where academic staff deliver the majority of their research-led teaching. Within this format, innovative use is made of educational voting handsets, to build a two-way communication between lecturer and student."
As explained in its course overview, from the first year "a series of clinical cases will be introduced. These will consist of a trigger - usually a clinical scenario with supplementary information - and a series of related questions. The aim of these is to supplement the formal teaching of the curriculum with “real-life” examples to encourage integration of traditional pre-clinical and clinical material, and of material taught in other sections of the MBChB programme."

Anatomy teaching method: Prosection Intercalation mode: Optional intercalation

As explained in discussion of intercalation on this medical school's website: "Undertaking an intercalated degree programme gives you the chance to study a particular area in depth whilst studying for a further qualification at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Students usually take the degree at the end of Year 3, leaving to go into the BSc at the start of Year 4. However intercalating after Year 4 is also an option."

Overview of course structure

Years one and two:
With an integrated, systems-based course structure, students learn anatomy at a state of the art facility with 3D learning and prosected cadaveric specimens.  Aberdeen medical students experience early patient contact, with clinical attachments in year one of the course. These attachments become more frequent in year two. Clinical attachments take place at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and Royal Cornhill Hospital, with a number of sessions with clinical nurse specialists, radiographers and physiotherapists.
Years three, four, and five:
Clinical attachments become more frequent in the last three years at Aberdeen, with each rotation lasting between six and nine weeks. Themes include diagnostics, end of life care, health data science, and safe clinical practice. Final year students undertake an assistantship in preparation for foundation training.

Reported demographics

This chart highlights gender and disability data reported by Aberdeen 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 56.0% female students 44.0% male students 5.0% students with disability 95.0% students without disability
2016-17 57.6% female students 42.4% male students 5.4% students with disability 94.6% students without disability

Medical school history

The formal medical school at Aberdeen was established in 1786, with a series of lectures offered by Dr George French and Dr Livingston.

Medical school location

The School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition
Polwarth Building
AB25 2ZD
United Kingdom
Geographic region: