Published on September 15, 2023

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Queen’s University Belfast Medical School Guide

Overview of Queen’s University Belfast Medical School

Belfast is the capital city and the largest city in Northern Ireland. It is the 10th largest primary urban area in the United Kingdom and the second largest city in Ireland. It is a city known for its historical significance, industrial roots, and contributions towards peace and reconciliation.

On this five-year course, students from Belfast experience clinical practice in a number of different settings throughout Northern Ireland from their first year onwards.

Academic Requirements

GCSEGCSE Mathematics minimum grade C/4 and either GCSE Physics minimum grade C/4 or GCSE. Double Award Science minimum grades CC/44 are required if these subjects are not offered at AS-level or A-level.GCSE performance in the best 9 subjects are scored using a points based system.   If GCSE’s or equivalent qualifications weren’t undertaken then an academic score is calculated based on school reports    
A LevelA*AAChemistry plus at least one other A-level from Biology/Human Biology, Mathematics or Physics. If not offered at A-level, then Biology/Human Biology grade A as a 4th AS-level or grade B as a 5th AS-level.
Scottish HigherABBBB 
Scottish Advanced HighersAAAA in Chemistry plus A in at least one from Biology, Mathematics and Physics. Three Advanced Highers are necessary unless applicants achieved five A grades in their Highers
IB36 pointsMust include Chemistry and Biology at Higher Level

UCAT or BMAT for Queen’s University Belfast?

Queen’s University requires that all applicants sit the UCAT exam. They use the UCAT in combination with GCSE scores to rank participants for interviews. AS level grades and additional GCSE A grades are often used in borderline cases. The average UCAT scores for the past few years are below.

2019/20 – 2553.9

2020/21 – 2544.9

2021/22 – 2602.0

Life as a medical student at Queen’s University Belfast

Your timetable will usually be half a day with some days being slightly longer. This therefore gives you plenty of time to review content and get up to activities outside of Medicine. Northern Ireland may not have been where you previously lived, so considering it could involve moving to another country. Northern Ireland has a lot to offer including sensational scenery, good nightlife and good food spots – what more could you want! It is also a small country meaning that you aren’t far from a beach, forest, or mountain. 

Cadaveric dissectionA plethora of medical societies
Unique nature of Northern IrelandThere are lots of contact hours which can be intense
Plethora of medical societies 

Queen’s University Belfast Medical School Ranking

The Complete University Guide ranks Queen’s Belfast as the 7th Medical School in the country whilst the Guardian ranks them as the 21st Medical School in the country.

It’s essential to keep in mind that university rankings are subjective and can be based on different criteria. Rankings can be a factor when deciding which medical schools you apply to, but make sure to have a holistic approach when making your decisions and consider which universities you would thrive in the most.


For home students, it is £9,250 per year,

Those in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland paying £4,710 per year

International students pay £34,450 per year as well as a clinical placement fee of £10,000 a year. 

Course Structure

Queen’s Medical School has a five-year degree. It is one of the few medical schools that still offers cadaveric dissection. Clinical placements start from 1st year and most clinical teaching is then done in clinical environments from the third year.

In Years 1 and 2 the scientific grounding of medical practice is covered. Teaching of basic science subjects is integrated with clinical skills training which is taught through clinical simulation and practice with patients.

In Year 3 there is more clinical focus with students having an option at the end of this year to take a year out to study for an intercalated degree.

In Years 4 and 5 there is more immersion into practice and preparation for clinical practice. There is more experience in child health, reproductive health, mental health, cancer, general practice, and Ageing and Health. There is a chance to undertake an assistantship in the fifth year where you can complete tasks done by a Foundation Doctor.

Interview Process

Queen’s Belfast uses the MMI style of interview. This is aimed to test non-cognitive competencies for Medicine:

  • Empathy
  • Problem-solving
  • Moral Reasoning
  • Communication Skills

Offers are made to applicants who rank highest after the interview process.

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