Photo of Birmingham Medical School, by Elliot Brown CC attribution

This profile of Birmingham 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: 

Birmingham offers a five-year integrated programme, taught via lectures, seminars, tutorials, and PBL. With a population of 5 million patients and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, an internationally acclaimed tertiary care centre, Birmingham offers a diverse environment for students to learn Medicine, with exposure to a variety of ethnic backgrounds, genders, sexualities, and socio-economic statuses. Students are taught by clinicians, researchers, and academics throughout the course, though the majority of learning occurs on clinical attachment from year three onwards. Anatomy is taught by prosection in small groups, rather than full body dissection.

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Key information dashboard

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

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

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

Birmingham medical school establishment date:
1825

Years of course:
5

Total medical students:
1935

Average year cohort:
387.0

Region:
West Midlands

Subject prerequisites:

Biology (strictly required)
Chemistry (strictly required)

Interview format:
MMI

Admissions test:
UCAT

A Level typical offer:
AAA

Advanced Higher typical offer:
AA

IB typical offer:
32 points

General teaching method:
EBL, Integrated, PBL

Anatomy teaching:
Prosection

Intercalation mode:
Optional intercalation

Entry requirements

Work experience expectations:

Work experience does not factor into the process of selection for interview. Understanding gained from work experience will be invaluable in enabling applicants to address the issues presented to them at interview.

Admissions test: UCAT

Home applicants: Score allocated based on ranking the total of the scores for the four UCAT subtests. No cutoff. Scores are ranked into deciles.
International applicants: Total score ranked in order to define a threshold. The result for the Situational Judgement Test contributes to the scoring at the interview stage.

Personal statement usage:

Personal statement is not scored. It is expected that the statement provides evidence of commitment to study medicine.

Interview type: MMI

Candidates are assessed on dealing with personal and ethical challenges, role play, calculations, critical thinking, and motivation and insight into Medicine. As explained on this medical school’s website: "for the 2021/22 application cycle we are likely to interview all candidates online. We modified our Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format to accommodate this change in the 2020/21 application cycle. Details can be found below in our 'Interview Format and Stations' section."

Coursework subjects expected: Biology (strictly required), Chemistry (strictly required)

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 Biology and Chemistry.

GCSE requirements:

GCSE results must include a minimum of grade B/6 in science, English and Maths

Note for Home applicants: An application score is calculated based on GCSE and UCAT results as well as contextual factors. A total of seven GCSE results are scored, including English, Maths and science. Birmingham's calculator gives prospective applicants feedback on the likelihood of success based on the academic factors used in selection.

Advanced Higher typical offer: AA

Advanced Highers must include Biology and Chemistry.

Scottish Higher typical offer: Not specified

Scottish Highers subjects not specified

National 5 requirements: National 5 subjects not specified
International Baccalaureate typical offer: 32 points

IB applicants must achieve 6,6,6 at Higher Level, including Biology and Chemistry

Notes about Widening Access:

Medicine students can be recruited via a number of outreach schemes; for more information, see Pathways to Birmingham.
As explained in discussion of outreach and 'Widening participation' on the website, this medical school has a range of resources and activities to "encourage school and college pupils to discover more about research and education in biomedical science and healthcare. We are committed to supporting all pupils, irrespective of their backgrounds and with the academic potential to achieve success on our degree programmes, to access and engage with an excellent higher education experience."

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: 1935 Total years of course: 5 Years data reports available: 5 Average cohort per year: 387.0 Percentage of Home students in latest cohort: 90.7% Percentage of International students in latest cohort: 9.3%
Recent cohort admissions data: 
Admission year Total students admitted this year Home places International places
2020-21
430 students in this cohort 390 Home students 40 International students
2019-20
400 students in this cohort 370 Home students 30 International students
2018-19
380 students in this cohort 355 Home students 25 International students
2017-18
370 students in this cohort 340 Home students 30 International students
2016-17
355 students in this cohort 335 Home students 20 International students
2015-16
355 students in this cohort 330 Home students 25 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: 
2.2
Ratio of Home applicant interviews per place: 
3.8
Ratio of Home applicants per place: 
8.3
Ratio of International applicants per interview: 
4.5
Ratio of International applicant interviews per place: 
4.0
Ratio of International applicants per place: 
18.1

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: 3961
Number of Home applicants in latest admissions cycle: 
3237
Number of Home applicant interviews in latest admissions cycle: 
1471
Number of Home applicants securing places: 
390
Number of International applicants in latest admissions cycle: 
724
Number of International applicant interviews in latest admissions cycle: 
161
Number of International applicants securing places in latest admissions cycle: 
40

Teaching and learning

Predominant teaching style: EBL, Integrated, PBL

Diverse teaching style, involving lectures, seminars, and PBL.
Early patient contact, starting from week two.
First two years involve learning structure and function of the body.
Prosection used to aid learning of anatomy.
Years 3-5 take place in teaching hospitals, involving clinical attachments in different specialties.
As explained on the website overview of learning, "At Birmingham Medical School your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials to self-study and peer group learning. Throughout your time on the MBChB your learning opportunities will expand and you will be introduced to laboratory work, practical sessions, bedside teaching, clinical experience and problem based learning (PBL)."
As explained on the university website, Birmingham supports "Enquiry-based learning [as] ... an approach in which learning is driven by a process of enquiry shared with the student. Depending upon the level and the discipline, it can encompass problem-based learning, evidence-based learning, small scale investigations, field work, projects and research. Enquiry-based learning enables students to take control of their learning as they progress through their degree programme...."

Anatomy teaching method: Prosection Intercalation mode: Optional intercalation

Intercalated BSc degrees are available for students that meet minimum academic criteria in medical exams. As explained in discussion of intercalation on this medical school's website: "At the Birmingham Medical School intercalation is optional. For some students the opportunity to study an area in depth and undertake research is extremely attractive. Other students are keen to qualify and work as a doctor as soon as possible. Both paths are encouraged at BMS. In order to intercalate, student will need to meet certain academic criteria which indicate that they are performing well on the medical degree programme."

Overview of course structure

Years one and two:
The first two years are systems based, teaching structure and function of the human body. Patient contact is a major source of learning in years one and two, beginning in the second week of the course. Student selected components are undertaken by students each year.
Year three:
From year three onwards, teaching occurs almost exclusively in Teaching Hospital Trusts, encompassing primary and secondary care. Medical students are mentored by junior doctors, ensuring high quality clinical training. Intercalated BSc degrees are available for students that meet minimum academic criteria in medical exams.
Years four and five:
Years four and five provide training in specialties such as cardiology, neurology, surgery, and anaesthetics, with emphasis on preparing for FY1. A one month clinical elective occurs in year four, giving students the opportunity to observe the practice of Medicine anywhere in the world.

Reported demographics

This chart highlights gender and disability data reported by Birmingham 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 62.9% female students 37.1% male students 0.0% students with disability 100.0% students without disability
2016-17 62.3% female students 37.7% male students 0.4% students with disability 99.6% students without disability

Medical school history

Formal medical education began at Birmingham in 1825, and it merged with Mason Science College in 1900.

Medical school location

Medical School, College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
United Kingdom
Geographic region: