Published on September 26, 2023

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University of Cardiff Medical School Guide

Academic Requirements

A Levels:

AAA. Must include Biology and Chemistry with a pass in the practical elements of the science A-Levels.


36 overall (excluding Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay) including 19 at HL. Must include grade 6 in Biology and Chemistry. They will accept a Grade 7 in SL Biology or Chemistry in place of HL Biology or Chemistry if you also have grade 6 in HL Maths, Physics, or Statistics.


English language or Welsh language at GCSE grade B/6 or an equivalent (if you require a Student visa, you must ensure your language qualification complies with UKVI requirements), and

GCSE Double Science at grades BB/66 (or grade B/6 in Biology and Chemistry separately), and

GCSE Maths grade B/6, and

five other GCSEs at grade B/6, or equivalent qualifications (level, subjects, and grade).

UCAT or BMAT for Cardiff Medical School?

UCAT is the admissions exam choice of Cardiff. Applicants must complete it before submitting their application. Currently, there is no minimum threshold, and your score may be a factor in the application process.

Graduate Entry

This course is only for those who have graduated with the following degrees:

  • BSc (Hons) Medical Pharmacology Degree School of Medicine Cardiff University (B210)
  • BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences Degree School of Biosciences Cardiff University (BC97)
  • BMedSci Degree from the University of Bangor (B100)
  • BSc (Hons) Medical Sciences Degree from the University of South Wales (B901)

These applicants need the following:

  • UCAT
  • At least 2:1 In their undergraduate degree
  • BBB/ABC at A-level or equivalent including Biology and Chemistry
  • language or Welsh language at GCSE grade B/6 or an equivalent. If you require a Student visa, you must ensure your language qualification complies with UKVI requirements
  • 8 GCSEs including grade B/6 in GCSE Maths, Biology, and Chemistry, or equivalent qualifications (level, subjects, and grade).
  • show an awareness of the healthcare system in the UK and the nature of the medical training in your personal statement.

Widening Participation

Cardiff use contextual admissions, which involves considering additional information about applicants’ performance and achievements to understand their potential to study an undergraduate degree program. Contextual information used includes household earnings, deprivation indexes, school performance data, free school meal rates, and more.

A weighted score is assigned to each indicator, creating an overall contextual score for applicants. Scores of 0-99 indicate no disadvantage, while scores of 100 or above suggest indicators of deprivation that may affect attainment and access. Based on these scores, different actions are taken during the admissions process, such as offering lower-grade offers or guaranteeing interviews for certain programs.

For Medicine (MBBCh) and Dentistry (BDS) programs, applicants with scores of 100 or above receive additional points in the scoring and selection process, influencing interview invitations and offers.

International Requirements

Ratio of home applicants per interview1.9
Ratio of home applicant interviews per place4.7
Ratio of home applicants per place9
Ratio of international applicants per interview4.1
Ratio of international applicant interviews per place4.2
Ratio of international applicants per place17.3

Course Structure

Throughout the course, you spend time with patients in clinical settings to provide context to what you are learning. As you progress, your exposure to patients increases along with the complexity of your clinical cases and your responsibilities for patients’ care.

Clinical placement teaching takes place at hospitals, community medical centres, and over 200 general practices across Wales. You develop skills and professional behaviours throughout the curriculum so that you are fully prepared for your Foundation Programme and postgraduate medical training when you graduate.

Years 1 and 2

In Years 1 and 2 you will meet patients with clinical problems you have been learning about. You will learn in hospitals and community settings across south-east Wales.

Years 3 and 4

During Years 3 and 4 you will spend time on extended clinical placements, all around Wales. Each Clinical Placement Block is eight weeks and will consist of bookend weeks led by Cardiff University. Teaching is delivered from either Heath Park Campus (UHW) or University Hospital Llandough (UHL).

Year 3 Placement:

  • Oncology and Surgical Practice
  • Hospital Front Door
  • Chronic Disease 1, (includes Primary Care)

During Chronic Disease 1, you will spend dedicated time in a General Practice.

There is a CARER stream in Year 3, with a year-long placement in a GP surgery in West or North Wales. As well as learning from GP practice patients, you will spend time at your local hospital. Learning outcomes for the year are identical to students on the main program, but you will also have had a year as an important part of a valued primary care team.

Year 4 Placements:

  • Clinical Neuroscience, Psychiatry, and Ophthalmology.
  • Women, Children and Family. Under the European Exchange Scheme, you may have the opportunity to do this placement at a partner university.
  • Chronic Disease 2 (Geriatrics, Musculoskeletal and Dermatology).

C21 culminates in your final year, preparing you for your work in the NHS. The “Harmonisation” years (final year of C21 and first year of your Foundation Programme) will allow you to take your developed knowledge and skill and apply it in the clinical environment, under close supervision.

Final Year

Final year placements:

  • Junior Student Assistantship
  • Primary Care Attachment
  • Senior Student Assistantship


Intercalation is not compulsory at Cardiff University but there is an option to do so between 3rd and 4th year or between 4th and 5th year. There is an opportunity to intercalate at an external university but this requires permission.

Cardiff offers a multitude of BSc choices including EPIC; emergency, primary and immediate care (only available to those who have completed 4th year), pharmacology, sports science, and psychology.

Selection Process

Cardiff have a selection process that allows people to be selected for interview. Your Academics in A levels and GCSEs play a role in this selection process.

GCSE Points:

The first set of points is awarded based on your performance in nine GCSE subjects, with specific emphasis on Biology, Chemistry, English (First) Language, and Mathematics or Numeracy. Here’s a breakdown of the points assigned for different grades:

9, 8, A*: 3 points

7, A: 2 points

6, B: 1 point

A-level Points:

Moving on to the A-level qualifications, additional points are allocated based on your grades. The points awarded for A-level grades are as follows:

A*: 3 points

A: 2 points

To be considered for admission, a minimum total of 27 points is typically required. This encompasses the points obtained from both GCSEs and A-levels. Achieving a higher score indicates a stronger academic background and may improve your chances of progressing to the next stage of the application process.

A degree gives 27 points in total.

Interview Process

It is important to note that the cut-off score for interview varies each year, contingent upon the competitiveness of all the applications received. This means that meeting the minimum 27-point requirement does not guarantee an interview invitation. The cut-off score acts as a benchmark, separating candidates who have met the initial criteria from those who have not. Therefore, striving to achieve a score above the cut-off will enhance your chances of securing an interview opportunity.

Scoring your application based on qualifications such as GCSEs and A-levels provides a structured evaluation process for educational programs. By understanding the point system and its associated requirements, you can gauge your eligibility for interview consideration. Remember, while a high score can increase your chances of success, it is also crucial to showcase your skills, experience, and personal qualities through other application components.

Qualities to Display at Interview

  • Familiarity with the Welsh NHS: Demonstrate knowledge of the organization’s structure and current issues it faces.
  • Understanding of the doctor’s role: Explain your perception of the responsibilities and duties associated with being a doctor.
  • Time management, problem-solving, and empathy: Share an experience from your work, volunteering, or extracurricular activities where empathy played a valuable role, emphasizing your ability to manage time effectively and solve problems.
  • Knowledge of Cardiff University’s course structure and unique teaching aspects: Discuss the benefits of full body dissection, case-based learning (CBL), early patient contact, spiral curriculum, and placements across Wales. Explain how these elements align with your learning style and contribute to your growth as a future doctor.
  • Drive for self-directed learning: Highlight any additional readings or courses you have pursued outside of your regular studies to showcase your motivation and commitment to expanding your knowledge.
  • A balanced approach to life: Mention hobbies or activities you engage in beyond your academic pursuits and emphasize the personal benefits they bring. Include both academic and non-academic extracurricular interests.

Common Interview Topics

  • Understanding of Cardiff University and the course structure.
  • Insight into the pros and cons of a career in medicine.
  • Stress management techniques, such as involvement in extracurricular activities and maintaining a balanced approach to life.
  • Demonstration of key qualities expected of a doctor, such as empathy, teamwork, following instincts, prioritization, and more.
  • Additionally, be prepared for a math-related station that may involve dosage calculations, mole calculations, and similar mathematical concepts.


11th – complete university guide

17th – the guardian


  • Cardiff Medical School gradually increases clinical exposure during the initial two years, which prepares students for placement blocks starting in Year 3. This approach facilitates the steady development of professionalism, history-taking skills, examination skills, and practical abilities.

  • In the first year, anatomy learning involves both dissection and prosections. Dissection allows students to actively explore the human body, while prosections preserve crucial elements for effective learning.

  • The curriculum employs a spiral approach, revisiting and building upon previous topics throughout the years. This cyclical method reinforces comprehension, making it particularly beneficial for those who may have initially struggled with certain concepts.

  • Cardiff University offers the Jobshop, which provides well-paid work opportunities such as assisting on open days. This is especially advantageous for busy medical students seeking additional income without committing to a part-time job.


  • First-year PCS: This is a demanding aspect during the first term, often disliked by most medical students. Many students do not know its intensity beforehand, but it’s relatively short-lived.
  • Campus atmosphere: Medical and healthcare courses are primarily situated at the Heath campus, which is approximately a 30-minute walk from the Cathays campus. Heath campus has a more “professional” atmosphere, as it houses the main hospital and dental hospital, serving the general public.

  • Inter-campus distance: During Years 1 and 2, you may frequently need to commute between campuses, as anatomy and lab-based practicals are held in Cathays. This could mean attending a lecture in Heath in the morning and then traveling to Cathays for an afternoon practical session, resulting in a time-consuming schedule.

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