Published on September 15, 2023

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University of St Andrews Medical School Guide

Overview of St. Andrews Medical School

The University of St Andrews in Scotland was founded in 1413. It is Scotland’s first university and the third oldest in the English-speaking world. St Andrews has a strong academic history and sits in the beautiful East Neuk of Fife. St Andrews is celebrated for its coastal location, the wide range of courses it offers and centuries of student traditions. The town has significant cultural and historical value, including beautiful landscapes and a world-famous golf course. Students at St Andrews complete their clinical training at one of their partner medical schools, in the UK.

There are three different application routes for UK students on the Medicine A100 BSc (Hons) course. This depends on the preferred location for the final three years of clinical training at the partner medical school;

  • Scotland route (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow)
  • England route (Manchester, London)
  • No Preference route

St Andrews Medical School Entry Requirements

The selection process for applicants to A100 BSc Medicine includes an assessment of all information on the application form including:

  • academic performance
  • personal statement and reference
  • UCAT scores.

Additionally, there are some important non-academic requirements to meet. This includes demonstrating experience in a caring or healthy environment, and this includes familiarising yourself with the School’s fitness to practice criteria and undertaking a criminal record screening and an immunisation screening.

Academic Requirements

SubjectGradeOther
GCSEFive A/7 grades at GCSEMust include HL in Chemistry and HL in one of Biology, Mathematics or Physics. If not passed at HL, applicants must have SL in Biology, Mathematics, and English.
A LevelAAAMust include Chemistry and one of Biology, Mathematics, or Physics. If not passed at AS or A-Level applicants must have GCSE grade 5 or B  in Biology, Mathematics, and English.
Scottish (SQA) HighersAAAABHighers must include Chemistry and one of Biology (or Human Biology), Mathematics, or Physics. If not passed at Higher, applicants must also have National 5 grade B in Biology (or Human Biology), Mathematics, and English.
Scottish (SQA) Advanced HighersPredicted to achieve at least BBB Highers or Advanced Highers in S6 studies. 
IB38 points
(HL 6,6,6 plus SL 6,6,6)
Must include HL in Chemistry and HL in one of Biology, Mathematics or Physics. If not passed at HL, applicants must have SL in Biology, Mathematics and English.
Cambridge Pre-UD3 in three subjects including Chemistry and one other from Biology, Mathematics or Physics.A mixture of Pre-U and A-Levels will be considered.
If not passed at AS or A-Level or Pre-U, applicants must have GCSE 5 in Biology, Mathematics, and English.
The above information is for applicants with Standard Entry requirements. St Andrews Medical School also offers Minimum Entry requirements and Gateway to Medicine requirements. Different applicant requirements will have different entry requirements. Please see St Andrews Medical School website to determine which entry requirements are appropriate and for further guidance


Admissions Test

St Andrews Medical School requires all applicants to sit the UCAT. This helps to inform short-listing for interview.

St Andrews ranks applicants who meet all other requirements on their UCAT global score. Generally, applicants who rank in the top 500, will receive an interview. Decisions to make offers will be based on the interview score. Where applicants have the same interview score, St Andrews uses the global UCAT score to differentiate between them.

The lowest score for an interview in the past few years has been around 2650. For the next admissions cycle, the School won’t know the likely UCAT scores for those to be called for the interview until they have assessed all applications.

‘Widening participation applicants’ who meet their required academic grades are given a 10% increase in their UCAT score for ranking before the interview. See St Andrews School of Medicine website for further information about ‘Widening participation applicants’.

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Work Experience

The St Andrews School of Medicine website states that applicants must have work or shadowing experience in a caring or health environment. This may occur hospitals, GP surgeries, nursing homes or local hospices, or by working with people who have ill health or a disability.

St Andrews also emphasises that Medicine is a profession that requires commitment. Hence that the choice to enter this career requires insight into where it might lead, the role of life-long learning, and with the awareness that the course is a training for professional practice.

Personal Statement

St Andrews uses the personal statement to determine why the applicant wants to study medicine, and why the applicant believes that they will make a good doctor. St Andrews expects that the applicants have an insight into medicine and healthcare gained from relevant medically related work experience, general reading, attending medical careers conferences, or talking to doctors or medical students. The personal statement is a good opportunity to demonstrate these experiences.

Interview

St Andrews has approximately 500 interview places. In order to receive an interview, applicants must demonstrate:

  • a strong academic record
  • a positive reference
  • relevant, medically related work experience

Applicants meeting these requirements will be ranked on the basis of their UCAT global score, and those ranked in the top 500 are invited to interview. Decisions to make offers will be based on the interview score and the ‘route’ to which applicants have applied. Where applicants have the same interview score, the global UCAT score is used to differentiate between them. See St Andrews School of Medicine website for further information.

Invitations to attend an interview are sent to applicants from November up to April. Interviews usually take place on dates in late November and early December, until March. For 2024 entry, interviews may happen online using Microsoft Teams and in person in St Andrews. Overseas applicants and RUK for fee purposes will attend an online interview, and all other applicants will attend an in-person interview where possible.

St Andrews uses multiple mini-interviews.

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Graduate Entry at St Andrews Medical School

St Andrews offers a 4-year graduate entry program (A101 Scottish Graduate Entry Medicine (ScotGEM) MBChB). The course aims to develop doctors interested in a career as a medical generalist within NHS Scotland. 

Teaching occurs as a partnership between the Universities of St Andrews and Dundee in collaboration with NHS Fife, NHS Tayside, NHS Highland, NHS Dumfries and Galloway, and the University of the Highlands and Islands.

The first and second year are led by the University of St Andrews whilst the third and fourth year are led by the University of Dundee.

This program is only open to applicants who are classed as Home or RUK (rest of UK) for fee purposes. Students who are ‘overseas’ for fee purposes are not eligible to apply for this course. There are 55 to 70 places available for this course. 

The requirements for this course are at least a 2.1 or equivalent in your previous degree. Further requirements include;

  • Chemistry Higher Level or A-Level (grade A or B) or equivalent
  • Mathematics at Standard Grade (Credit 1 or 2), Intermediate 2 (grade A or B), National 5 (grade A or B), or GCSE (grade B), or equivalent.

Please see St Andrews School of Medicine for further information about the graduate entry Medicine course, entry requirements, tuition fees and funding options.

International Students Entry

Canadian citizens or those legally entitled to reside in Canada are eligible for the St Andrews A990 Medicine BSc (Hons) program.

International students are eligible to apply for the St Andrews A100 Medicine BSc (Hons) programme, and will complete training at their partner school – the University of Manchester.

International students who are applying for an undergraduate Medicine program at St Andrews must satisfy the academic requirements for their country. Please see the St Andrews School of Medicine for a full list of qualifications and different home countries. Applicants will also need to satisfy the English language requirements.

Applicants who are overseas for fee purposes, who have not had the opportunity to study the appropriate qualifications for acceptance into the A100 Medicine program, may apply for a place on the International Foundation for Medicine course at St Andrews, which aims to prepare students to enter the A100 Medicine BSc (Hons) program.

The application requirements for international students are otherwise similar to home students. Please see the website for further details.

How many places are there for home and international students at St Andrews Medical School?

St Andrews classes its students as Home (Scottish), Rest of the UK (RUK) and overseas/international for fee purposes.

In 2022/2023 for the A100 programme, there were 438 offers. See below for the fee status of the applicants.

  • 306/661 Scottish applicants received offers
  • 95/562 Rest of UK applicants received offers
  • 37/260 Overseas applicants received offers

St Andrews Medical School Ranking

Currently, the University of St Andrews’s is the UK’s Top University, according to the Guardian, and the 5th Medical School in the UK. The Complete University Guide ranks St Andrews as the 14th Medical School. 

University rankings are subjective and may be based on different criteria. Rankings can be a factor when deciding which medical schools you apply to, but ensure to have a holistic approach when making decisions.

St Andrews Medical School Fees

  • The Home (Scottish) student fee is £1,820 per academic year.
  • The RUK fee is £9,250 per academic year (England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man)
  • The EU and overseas students fee is £36,990 per academic year.

St Andrews Medical School Acceptance Rate

There are approximately 500 applicants called to interview

In 2021/2022, 421 offers were made, with 1263 applications made.

St Andrews Medicine Programmes

Medicine A100 BSc (Hons)

Three years full-time, plus three years training with a partner medical school. Students who complete the program successfully will graduate with a BSc (Hons) and complete medical training at their allocated partner school.

Medicine A990 BSc (Hons) – Canada Route

The A990 is a six-year medicine degree course for Canadians only (or those who have Canadian residency rights) considered ‘overseas’ for fee purposes. The program is designed for applicants who wish to return to Canada for postgraduate training. The first three years are at St Andrews where successful students graduate with a BSc Honours degree in Medicine and progress to the University of Edinburgh to complete their medical training.

ScotGEM A101 (graduate entry) MBChB

Four-year full-time program. In the first year, students are based at the University of St Andrews and within Fife. From the second year onwards, the program includes periods of living and studying in rural areas of the Highlands and Dumfries and Galloway.

Medicine, A10C MBChB Scottish Community Orientated Medicine (ScotCOM) (Entry – 2025)

This course is available for entry beginning September 2025. The full degree is completed via the University of St Andrews, School of Medicine. This course is unique and equips aspiring students with innovative skills required for a modern career in Medicine. In addition to providing the appropriate foundations of medical knowledge, this course focuses on community-based clinical teaching and primary care, whilst securing knowledge of hospital-based care. This program will help prepare graduates to embark upon careers in high-demand specialties and address complex, regional healthcare needs.

Gateway to Medicine LQV9

The Gateway to Medicine is a one-year program to promote the uptake of higher education, specifically the study of medicine, among under-represented groups at university. The Gateway provides the opportunity for students resident in Scotland who have completed S5 or S6 at school to study at the first-year undergraduate level. Those who complete the course successfully and meet the other requirements for progression will enter the A100 Medicine course at St Andrews. 

Medical Sciences (International Pre-Med)

This is the University’s own pre-degree program which prepares international students who have not had the opportunity to gain the correct qualifications, for undergraduate study at the University of St Andrews and admission to the School of Medicine.

St Andrews Medicine Course Structure

The A100 curriculum at St Andrews is integrated. Students graduate with a BSc (Hons) in Medicine after three years of study, upon successful completion of their degree.

In the first year, there is an emphasis on the interrelationships between the pre-clinical sciences. St Andrews teaches an overview of the structure and functions of the body at a microscopic and macroscopic level. This includes microbiology, public health, and health psychology. Additionally, you will study the principle of disease mechanisms and therapy and the development of communication skills.

The Honours runs through both the second and third years. The two modules in the second year build upon the content taught in the first year. The structure and function of the cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, gastrointestinal, and reproductive systems are all covered.

In the third year, you explore more complex integrative physiological systems in the first Semester. In the second Semester, you complete a Student-Selected Component, where you choose a topic to research in more detail, and also clinical skills. 

The other three years of the course will involve placements in various clinical settings to prepare you to become a foundation doctor.

St Andrews Medical School Teaching Style

St Andrews follows an integrated teaching style, with a focus on a secure academic foundation of medical sciences. Regular clinical experience is an important feature of the program, in addition to workshops and an opportunity to undertake a student-selected project in the final semester. The school refers to its curriculum as a ‘spiral curriculum’ in which students build and integrate their knowledge.

St Andrews Medical School Term Dates

St Andrews has two semesters each year: the Martinmas semester from September to December and the Candlemas semester from January to May. Each semester usually comprises an Independent Learning Week.

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St Andrews Medical School Hospitals

Students who complete the degree successfully will graduate from St Andrews Medical School with a BSc (Hons) in Medicine. A large part of the program covers the scientific foundations of anatomy, physiology, pathology and pharmacology. The partner medical school will facilitate appropriate clinical experience. However, there is significant clinical teaching and exposure at St Andrews, especially compared to peers at a similar stage at other medical schools. There will be some placements in 1st and 2nd year, with regular fortnightly placements, lasting half a day, in 3rd year to GPs across Fife, and also community-based and specialty hospital placements. These may take place at the Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy or Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline.

St Andrews Medical School Elective

St Andrews Medical School does not offer electives during the three-year BSc (Hons). Medical students complete three years at St Andrews and then progress to a partner medical school to complete their final three years of clinical training. Please refer to the relevant Partner Medical School website to determine the availability of electives.

St Andrews Medical School Interview Format

St Andrews uses multiple mini-interviews. Decisions to make offers will be based on performance at the interview. Interviews usually consist of four mini-interviews held at stations which last about six minutes each.

St Andrews Medical School Interview Questions

At the interview, you will be expected to demonstrate that you have an understanding of medicine as a career and appreciate the realities of working in a caring profession. The stations will assess communication and interpersonal skills and at least one station will involve role-play and interaction with an actor. Critical thinking, reflection and your ability to discuss ethical issues may also be assessed.

  • What would you do if colleague was not contributing equally to a project?
  • Tell me about a time you demonstrated resilience. What did you learn from the experience?
  • What have you done to find out about what being a Doctor is like?
  • Why do you want to study at St Andrews University?
  • How important do you think negotiation is in a team-based scenario?
  • What are the benefits of working in a medical environment? How would you be well suited to this?
  • How would you cope with a high stress/demanding environment?

There are various role play and practical scenarios which may include

  • Helping an elderly patient prepare for a hospital stay
  • Helping somebody to pack their luggage
  • Following a set of instructions for a practical task

It is important that candidates are able to demonstrate awareness into their thought process and reflect on their performance,

St Andrews Medical School Summer School

St Andrews Medical School offers a Summer School program designed to give prospective medical students an insight into what it’s like to study Medicine at the University. This initiative is part of their outreach to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to consider a career in medicine. See the St Andrews School of Medicine website for further information about the program details and application process.

Life as a Medical Student at St Andrews

St Andrews is a busy town with the town population consisting of both residents and half University students. There is a large variety of clubs and societies. There is a significant sports scene in St Andrews, with varying levels of ability. All sports are only a 15-20 walk from student accommodation. The music and performing arts scene in St Andrews is flourishing. The University was founded in 1413 and has a wealth of centuries-old student traditions such as Raisin Weekend, May Dip, Academic Families, and Pier Walk. With so many students in this town, there is always be something to get up to.

During the week a day may range from half a day to a day of contact hours. The Medical School has a friendly and familiar feel to it, with staff teaching regularly throughout the 3 year BSc course, fostering good relations throughout a student’s time. The academic and pastoral support available is great, with staff working closely alongside students to enhance the experience.

Established in 1915, the Bute Medical Society is one of St Andrews’ oldest, largest and most active student societies. With regular events throughout the year, and regular socials, the Bute Medical Society is a great way to enhance the experience as a Medical Student at St Andrews.

Whilst Medicine is intense, St Andrews is a brilliant place to throw yourself into lots of activities, meet people within and outside your course, and enjoy three years in a historic and beautiful town.

Social life at St Andrews

Everything in St Andrews is very close together which is convenient and makes socialising very easy for students. This leads to bumping into people frequently in town and the University buildings – making this town seem like a home from home, especially at the beginning of your journey at Medical School. St Andrews ranks very highly in terms of its student satisfaction. The small nature of the town and large student population means there are always plenty of things to do. From strong student traditions to plenty of restaurants, cafés, and pubs throughout the town, and the many student accommodations and beautiful outside surroundings, there is truly something for everyone. For students who may fancy nipping out of this scenic town and visiting a bigger city, Dundee and Edinburgh are only bus rides away.

Societies and Clubs at St Andrews

The University of St Andrews is home to over 150 different societies, which the Students’ Association runs. The range of societies covers nearly every possible interest, from food and drink, arts, media and music, charitable, ‘fan and geek’, political, as well as academic and educational. St Andrews has many sports available for students, both in a competitive and recreational capacity, in addition to many musical ensembles and theatrical productions.

The Bute Medical Society is one of the oldest societies at St Andrews, welcoming medics and non-medics alike. There are also many medical societies, focussing on a range of specialties and experiences within Medicine, such as the BMA, GP, oncology, surgery, psychiatry, blood donation, MSF, UNICEF, Students for Global Health, etc.

Please see the university website for the full list of societies and clubs which are available at the University of St Andrews.

There is also a range of centuries-old student traditions that enrich the student experience at St Andrews such as ‘Raisin Weekend’, Academic Families, the Pier Walk, and May Dip – to name a few!

Intercalated Degree at St Andrews

Students will graduate with a BSc (Hons) in Medicine after successful completion of the course. They will then progress to their partner medical school for completion of the MBChB. Therefore students who graduate from St Andrews and go on to complete their medical degree will hold an intercalated medical degree. In the final semester in St Andrews, during the 3rd year, students will undertake a student-selected project, allowing the student to explore an area of interest and gain experience in research / critical appraisal.

FAQs

Does St Andrews Offer a Bachelor of Science (BSc) Degree?

Yes – students will graduate from St Andrews Medical School with a BSc (Hons) in Medicine after successful completion of the program.

How Much of the St Andrews Medicine Course is Clinical vs Preclinical?

St Andrews offers a 3-year BSc (Hons) in Medicine course, in which students will progress to their partner medical school to complete their medical training. There is early clinical teaching and exposure embedded into a strongly academic curriculum, often more than peers at similar stages of their medical education at other institutions, however, the majority of clinical training will be undertaken at a partner medical school, upon graduation from the University of St Andrews.

Does St Andrews Offer Medicine Scholarships?

St Andrews states it is committed to attracting the very best students, regardless of financial circumstances. Scholarships reward academic excellence and are designed to assist students to support themselves during their time at university.

Applicants with refugee status, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave, and asylum seeker status are encouraged to apply for financial support scholarships. The tuition fee status will determine which scholarships are available to you.

Please consult the university website (scholarships and funding catalog) for the full list of available funding options offered by the University towards fees, living expenses, travel, and initiatives

Is St Andrews a Good Medical School?

St Andrews is a very well-regarded academic institution, extending to the School of Medicine. Students are well equipped with a secure foundation in Medical Science, built on throughout the spiral curriculum, with early clinical teaching and exposure. The School of Medicine is a tight-knit community with great pastoral support and relations between staff and students. The university is situated in a beautiful and historic town. There is much to get involved with, both within and outside of Medicine. Some particularly impressive aspects of St Andrews Medical School include

  • regular full body dissection
  • readily available pastoral and academic support
  • strong academic foundations
  • early clinical exposure
  • opportunity to complete student selected research project
  • beautiful and safe environment in which to live and study

Support with Getting Into St Andrews Medical School

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St Andrews carefully consider the personal statement of their applicants. It is an important opportunity to detail any medical experience undertaken and an applicant’s insight into a career in Medicine. MedicHut are able to support candidate’s with their personal statements, see for more details.

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St Andrews uses multiple mini interviews, which is a common style of interview for medical school. MedicHut have experience tutoring candidates for these types of interviews, and are able to prepare applicants well.

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