Photo of University o Edinburgh Medical School

This profile of Edinburgh 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: 

Edinburgh Medical School’s six-year programme aims to produce doctors that are equipped for careers in general practice, hospital medicine, and academia. Having been ranked fourth in the UK for research power in 2014, Edinburgh highlights its academic rigor as a key feature of its medical curriculum. According to the school's website, "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."


Key information dashboard

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

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

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

Edinburgh 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:
Assessment day

Admissions test:

A Level typical offer:

Advanced Higher typical offer:

IB typical offer:
37 points

General teaching method:
Integrated, PBL

Anatomy teaching:

Intercalation mode:
Required intercalation

Entry requirements

Work experience expectations:

Quality of work experience is more important than quantity.
Applicants should provide clear evidence of reflection on these experiences, showing what personal lessons they took from them and using these to demonstrate an aptitude for medicine.
Work experience to be discussed if invited to the Assessment Day.

Admissions test: UCAT

Accepts all UCAT scores and has no minimum requirement. Considers the Situational Judgement section of the UCAT test separately.
Applicants with Band 4 in the Situational Judgement Test will not be considered for entry.
Scores are ranked, students are divided into deciles and allocate a score (including for situational judgement banding).
The points are then added to your academic score to contribute towards your final ranking for shortlisting and possible invitation to one of our Assessment Days.  The total score an applicant achieved may be looked at again when final decisions are made and there are applicants with the same ranked score and limited places left to offer.

Personal statement usage:

As explained on the website (where there is very detailed guidance), the personal statement "provides the opportunity to tell us all about you! While it will not be formally assessed, your personal statement will be essential preperation for you if you are successful in being invited to one of our Assessment Days."  
Three main topics to be included in the personal statement: 
1) Personal qualities and skills; 
2) Evidence of career exploration prior to application; 
3) Non-academic achievements and interests

Interview type: Assessment day

Top-scoring applicants are invited to assessment half-days.
Interviewees should learn core attributes needed to study medicine + outcomes for medical school graduates. Applicants are assessed on the core attributes of medical doctors, as outlined by the Medical Schools’ Council.

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 of Biology/ Human Biology, Maths and Physics.
Only one of Mathematics or Further Mathematics will be considered.

GCSE requirements:

GCSE results must include Biology, Chemistry, English, Maths at grade 6 (B).
Double Award combined sciences or equivalent at grade 6,6 (BB) may replace GCSE grades in sciences.
Additional Applied Science and Applied Science are not accepted.

Advanced Higher typical offer: BB
Advanced Higher results must be achieved in S6
Scottish Higher typical offer: AAAAB

Scottish Higher results must be achieved in S5, and include Chemistry and two of Biology / Human Biology, Maths or Physics.

National 5 requirements:

National 5 results must include Biology, Chemistry, English and Maths at grade B/6.

International Baccalaureate typical offer: 37 points

IB applicants must achieve 7,6,6 at Higher Level, including Chemistry and at least one other science subject.
At Standard Level, Mathematics and English at 5 and Biology at 5 (if not at Higher level).
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 also accept GCSE, or equivalent, at B.

Notes about Widening Access:

As explained on the University website, Edinburgh considers the following factors when making widening access offers:
"Your home postcode: we look at whether or not you live in a geographical area of the UK that is defined by government data as being an area of deprivation.
Your school or college: we look at the academic attainment and, in some cases, the percentage of students from your school or college who progress to higher education.
Whether you are care experienced.
Whether you are a refugee or an asylum seeker
Whether you have completed a Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP) or University of Edinburgh Access Programme.
Whether you are eligible for support from Lothians Equal Access Programme for Schools (LEAPS)."
The minimum entry requirements for widening access applicants are: SQA Highers: AAABB by end of S5 and CC at Advanced Higher. A Levels: AAB. IB: 36 overall with 666 at HL.

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: 6 Years data reports available: 6 Average cohort per year: 226.7 Percentage of Home students in latest cohort: 86.3% Percentage of International students in latest cohort: 13.7%
Recent cohort admissions data: 
Admission year Total students admitted this year Home places International places
255 students in this cohort 220 Home students 35 International students
225 students in this cohort 180 Home students 45 International students
225 students in this cohort 200 Home students 25 International students
225 students in this cohort 195 Home students 30 International students
215 students in this cohort 195 Home students 20 International students
215 students in this cohort 190 Home students 25 International students
220 students in this cohort 190 Home students 30 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: 3073
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: Integrated, PBL

PBL used in years 1 & 2 for principles of practice, with early patient contact.
Year 3 involves research-based study to pursue a BSc.
Years 4-6 involve rotations through clinical attachments.
As explained in its overview of teaching styles, Edinburgh medical school "provides an introduction to the scientific, sociological and behavioural principles for the practice of medicine through a variety of teaching methods. Amongst these methods a problem based learning (PBL) approach is used to help integrate concepts; this reinforces the study of the fundamentals of medicine in context together with developing clinical reasoning and decision-making. PBL sessions are student directed and facilitated by members of staff."

Anatomy teaching method: Prosection Intercalation mode: Required intercalation

As explained in discussion of intercalation on this medical school's website: "In Year 3, you’ll take on a whole new challenge, beginning an academic year of full-time, research-based study, leading to a Bachelor of Medical Sciences Honours degree. This means, upon graduation, you will receive both a MBChB and your research-based BMedSci (Hons) degree. Known as an “intercalated” degree, the programmes on offer include biochemistry, neuroscience, pharmacology, psychology, sports science medicine, zoology and many more."

Overview of course structure

Years one and two:
The first two years at Edinburgh are spent learning anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and ethics. Clinical skills and clinical reasoning are developed through specialised workshops, general practice placements, and student selected components.
Year three:
The third year at Edinburgh Medical School students study for an intercalated BMedSci in an area of interest, such as neuroscience, psychology, or biochemistry.
Years four and five:
Year four marks the transition to clinical learning, in which most teaching occurs in hospital and community placements. Year five is similar, though students have the opportunity to undertake a research project with a clinical tutor.
Year six:
Year six at Edinburgh emphasises preparation for FY1, developing knowledge of acute medicine, surgery, anaesthetics and intensive care. Students have the opportunity to assist current FY1s, under supervision.

Reported demographics

This chart highlights gender and disability data reported by Edinburgh 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 57.4% female students 42.6% male students 6.9% students with disability 93.1% students without disability
2016-17 55.6% female students 44.4% male students 0.0% students with disability 100.0% students without disability

Medical school history

Established in 1726 to provide formal medical training, Edinburgh medical school is the oldest in the United Kingdom.

Medical school location

University of Edinburgh Medical School
Room SU219, 2nd Floor, The Chancellor’s Building
49 Little France Crescent
EH16 4SB
United Kingdom
Geographic region: