Photo of University of St Andrews Medical School

This profile of St Andrews 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: 

St Andrews' six-year degree in Medicine is unique in the UK, with students studying for three years in St Andrews to earn a BSc in Medicine, before automatic progression to a partner university for the final three years of clinical study (partner institutions are Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Barts, and Manchester).. Course highlights include learning anatomy through full-body dissection in a state of the art anatomy suite, small group tutorials, and modern facilities in the purpose-built School of Medicine. St Andrews prides itself on its evidence-based spiral curriculum, in which core themes are revisited in increasing clinical detail each year.


Key information dashboard

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

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

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

St Andrews 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:
38 points

General teaching method:

Anatomy teaching:

Intercalation mode:
Not specified

Entry requirements

Work experience expectations:

Work experience in a health/care environment required, though this is not limited hospitals or GP surgeries.
General experience with those with disabilities or ill health accepted.
Limited opportunities for work experience during COVID pandemic are taken into account.

Admissions test: UCAT

Applicants ranked by UCAT score & top 400 applicants invited to interview.
Score of ~2400 usually required for interview.
UCAT score used to differentiate between borderline interview scores.

Personal statement usage:

Not scored, but applicants must have health-related work experience to be considered for interview.

Interview type: MMI

Candidates are assessed on: understanding of the realities of a career in Medicine, communication and interpersonal skills, role-play and interaction with an actor, critical thinking, reflection, and ethical reasoning.
Candidates rotate through six stations, lasting six minutes each.
SJT is considered in the interview, incorporated into the overall interview score.
According to the medical school’s website: “For 2021 entry, all interviews will be conducted online using Microsoft Teams. Further information will be provided to applicants who are invited to interview”.

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 other of Biology, Maths or Physics.

GCSE requirements:

If Biology, Maths or English are not offered at A level, then each must be offered at GCSE grade B (grade 5).
Generally five A grades (numerical grade 7) in GCSE are required at one sitting to be considered for interview.

Advanced Higher typical offer: BBB

Advanced Higher results must be achieved in S6.

Scottish Higher typical offer: AAAAB

Scottish Highers results at S5 must include grade A in Chemistry and one other of Biology / Human Biology, Maths or Physics, to be taken in the same sitting.

National 5 requirements: If Biology, Maths or English are not offered at Higher / Advanced Higher, then each must be offered at National 5 grade B.
International Baccalaureate typical offer: 38 points

IB applicants must achieve Higher level grades 6,6,6, including Chemistry and one of Biology, Maths or Physics.
Standard level grades: 6,6,6, including Maths, Biology, and English if not offered at Higher level.

Notes about Widening Access:

As explained on the website, St Andrews is committed to reducing and eliminating barriers to entry for students with the potential to succeed. Based on contextual admissions policy, some applicants may be given lower offers. St Andrews is involved in the Reach scheme.For more information, see notes about contextual requirements.

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: 620 Total years of course: 3 Years data reports available: 3 Average cohort per year: 206.7 Percentage of Home students in latest cohort: 81.8% Percentage of International students in latest cohort: 18.2%
Recent cohort admissions data: 
Admission year Total students admitted this year Home places International places
220 students in this cohort 180 Home students 40 International students
195 students in this cohort 165 Home students 30 International students
205 students in this cohort 175 Home students 30 International students
125 students in this cohort 105 Home students 20 International students
145 students in this cohort 60 Home students 85 International students
160 students in this cohort 60 Home students 100 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: 1736
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

First three years at St Andrews, automatic progression onto partner school (assuming assessments are passed).
Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, Manchester, & Barts formal pathways.
Spiral curriculum, full body dissection, clinical placements in GP and hospital setting.
Emphasis on anatomy.
BSc (Hons) in Medicine achieved after three years.
As explained in its overview of teaching formats, "Modules are taught through a combination of: lectures, laboratory-based practicals, small group tutorials, clinical placements, audio-visual capture system for training and feedback on clinical skills, computer-based resources, research project."

Anatomy teaching method: Dissection

St Andrews medical school students do not have intercalation options for students during their first three years at St Andrews.  Students can have subsequent opportunities for intercalation at partner medical schools: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Barts, Manchester (see those partner schools for intercalation options).

Overview of course structure

Year One:
Year one at St Andrews introduces students to Medicine with an general overview of structure and function of each body system, followed by a semester centred detailing the musculoskeletal system. Students learn clinical skills and history taking from the offset, aided by workshops with volunteer patients and a single general practice placement at the end of the year.
Year Two:
The second year at St Andrews covers the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary systems. In light of the spiral curriculum, students revisit themes from the first year of the course, such as acute care and holistic medicine. In year two students indicate their preference for partner institutions, with allocations based on ranking and academic performance.
Year Three:
Year three begins with teaching on the nervous and endocrine systems in the first semester, before progressing to a dissertation in the second semester. Students have one day clinical placements in a variety of hospital specialties each week. Dissertations can take the form of laboratory research or literature review, and run in tandem with clinical skills teaching to prepare students for progression to partner universities. Provided that all modules have been passed, this progression is automatic and does not require an additional application.

Reported demographics

This chart highlights gender and disability data reported by St Andrews 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 63.8% female students 36.2% male students 10.3% students with disability 89.7% students without disability
2016-17 61.7% female students 38.3% male students 9.6% students with disability 90.4% students without disability

Medical school history

Although medicine was taught at St Andrews from 1450, the current medical school at St Andrews was etablished in 1897, with teaching undertaken at University College, Dundee until 1967.  The medical school teaches medical students for the first three years of their training, with students completing this training at different partner medical schools in the UK (including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, and Barts).

Medical school location

School of Medicine
University of St Andrews
North Haugh
St Andrews
KY16 9TF
United Kingdom
Geographic region: