Entry Requirements MBChB (five-year)

Entry requirements

The entry requirements listed on this page are applicable to 2021 entry.

All applicants must:

  • Apply through UCAS
  • Offer acceptable academic qualifications
  • Sit the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) in year of application
  • Attend an interview if invited

A complete application must be submitted to UCAS by the deadline. We will not consider supplementary information received by the university after this deadline.

All applicants who meet the academic and non-academic conditions of an offer will be offered a place on the course.

For an applicant who meets our academic requirements following the release of A Level results as a result of a re-mark, we will offer a place if one is available. If not, we will amend the offer to deferred entry.

Guidance

Before you apply and to help you make an informed decision, we have created a simple, downloadable calculator tool. By advising us if you attended a contextual school, by entering your home postcode as well as your GCSEs and UCAT score, the tool provides an estimation of whether you are likely or unlikely to be offered an interview. The guidance is based on data from previous admissions cycles and also the projected impact of changes to the process. Please note that this tool is a guide only and does not guarantee either an invitation to interview or an offer to study at the University of Birmingham. To find out more, please download the tool here.

Please note that the guidance provided by this Excel tool is applicable only for the 5-year MBChB programme (A100) and does not apply to the following categories of applicant:

  • Graduate applicant for five-year course
  • International
  • Widening Participation

Please see the relevant sections for a full description of the requirements for these categories of applicant.

A levels

For 2021 entry:

  • The standard offer is AAA, including Biology/Human Biology and Chemistry
  • For applicants who attend a contextual school (see: 'Use of Contextual Data'), the offer is AAB
  • Applicants must be predicted AAB
  • Three A level subjects must be taken in the final year of secondary school
  • General Studies, Critical Thinking and EPQ are not accepted as a third A level. Other such subjects may not be accepted. Please contact us for advice
  • AS grades will not be used for selection
  • Calculated grades: If these grades meet our offer requirement we will not require examination results. If our offer requirement is not met, we will consider an application without bias on the basis of expected (predicted) examination grades. We will accept a mix of calculated and examination grades when we evaluate the final profile
  • Special note: For applicants who applied in 2019 and received a medicine offer from the University of Birmingham but were unsuccessful because of the results from the calculated grades: We will need to review a new application but we expect to make you an identical offer based on results from examinations in subjects taken either in autumn 2020 or summer 2021 (not both). In these circumstances, we will not require a UCAT result, nor will we need to re-interview you. We will accept a combination of calculated and examination grades

GCSEs

All Home/EU applicants must offer a qualification that is equivalent in standard and type to GCSEs. International applicants (non-EU) please see the ‘International applicants’ section.

A total of seven GCSEs must be offered, which will be scored (see 'Selection for Interview').  The required subjects are:

  • English Language at grade 6/B or higher. English Literature is not required but is one of the identified subjects that we will score
  • Mathematics (or one, but not both, of Methods in Mathematics and Applications of Mathematics) at grade 6/B or higher
  • Biology and Chemistry or dual award science at grade 6/B or higher

UCAT

All applicants must sit the UCAT test in their year of application. For selection for interview, we will assign a score to the total of the four subtests (see ‘Selection for Interview’). The result from the Situational Judgment Test will be used at the interview stage (see ‘Medicine Interviews’). Please visit the UCAT website www.ucat.ac.uk for all information about the test, including test delivery, important dates, information on bursaries available and policies on exemptions and extenuating circumstances. We advise strongly that you undertake the practice tests available on their website. 

If you are granted an exemption from the test or UCAT are unable to make adjustments to the test, you must contact our medicine admissions office to explain your circumstances. We will advise you if we will accept an application without a UCAT result. Please note that you must inform us well in advance of the UCAS application deadline because we will not extend it for any reason.

Use of Contextual Data

We incorporate contextual information into our calculation of an application score. This replaces a process where we assigned 20% of interview places to applicants allocated to a contextual category.

Applicants who attend a state (not independent) school that meets our threshold for either GCSE or A Level (see below) will receive a contextual score. The score we allocate is based on the POLAR4 quintile determined by your home postcode.

Our offer for a contextual applicant (irrespective of POLAR4 quintile) is AAB.

How we identify a contextual school

We use published school performance data to identify contextual schools. It is important to note that about 90% of state schools are included.

Contextual thresholds

GCSEs 

  • Contextual measure: Attainment 8 (average score per pupil)
  • Score for inclusion: <54.8

A Levels 

  • Contextual measure: QCA points per A level subject
  • Score for inclusion: <34.65 points

View the list of schools that meet our contextual criteria. If you studied at one of these schools, even if it was only for GCSEs or A Levels and not both, you will receive a score for the contextual element. Applicants from state (non-independent) schools in Wales will receive a contextual score.

POLAR4 data

POLAR (Participation of Local Area) represents the rates of participation in higher education (HE) in a local area (defined by postcode). All areas are ranked according to this rate and segregated into quintiles. If your area is in quintile 1, this means you live in the lowest 20% of local areas in terms of rates of entry to HE.  

You can look up your POLAR4 quintile from the Office for Students website: OFS Postcode Lookup.

We will use your home postcode on your UCAS application to identify the quintile. If you have moved recently, we will accept, with evidence, the previous postcode. Otherwise, we will ask to see evidence of your home postcode (where you live normally) at interview. The postcode information is not relevant for applicants who do not/have not attended a contextual school.

Alternate Academic Qualifications

Cambridge Pre-University Diploma

D3, D3, D3 from three subjects, including Biology and Chemistry

Scottish Certificate of Education

  • Highers: Five subjects at grade A including, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and English
  • Advanced Highers: Two subjects (Chemistry and Biology) must be offered (grade requirements: AA) 

International Baccalaureate

  • Higher level: 6,6,6 from Chemistry and Biology and one other approved subject. 
  • Standard level: The subjects must include English and Mathematics if not offered at the higher level (Maths Studies is acceptable)
  • Minimum of 32 points must be attained
  • You must provide results either from the Middle Years' Programme or an acceptable GCSE-equivalent qualification. MYP results will be scored according to the following equivalencies to GCSEs: 7 (IB) = 8/8 (GCSE); 6 (IB) = 7 (GCSE); 5 (IB) = 6 (GCSE). A minimum of 5 must have been achieved in Science, English and Mathematics

Graduates 

  • The course is designed for school leavers but in previous years we have accepted about 5-10 graduates on to the programme. Please note international graduates will be considered according to the mechanism described for international applicants
  • Degree: Achieved or predicted first or upper second class degree in any subject from a recognised institution. Please contact us if you are unsure if we will consider your non-UK institution
  • School qualifications: GCSE – minimum of grade A/B in Science, English and Mathematics; A Levels – minimum of ABB, including, normally, both Biology and Chemistry. If you offer a degree with biomedical science content at a level greater than 50% we will require only one of Biology or Chemistry
  • You must offer a relevant qualification (i.e. of minimum A Level standard relating to biology and chemistry) that is no more than 5 years old by the start date of the programme
  • Academic results will not be scored. Applicants who meet the threshold academic requirements described above will be ranked according to UCAT score. For 2020 entry, the minimum UCAT score among the graduates accepted for interview was 2660
  • The personal statement must describe evidence of a high level of commitment to medicine (particularly through voluntary experiences) and strong personal qualities, evidenced by significant and substantial extracurricular involvement. We recognise that face-to-face experiences may not be offered subsequent to the impact of COVID-19
  • Life Science graduates may be eligible for our graduate-entry course (see 'Entry Requirements MBChB Graduate-Entry'). Qualified dentists who have completed MJDF/MFDS and who wish to pursue a career in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery may be admitted to the second year of this course if spaces are available

BTEC, Access Courses and Foundation Programmes

We do not consider any of these qualifications.

International Applicants and Home Applicants with non-UK Qualifications

International Applicants (defined by fee status)

The following principles apply and all applicants must:

  • Provide a strong personal statement
  • Offer acceptable academic qualifications
  • Sit the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) in year of application
  • Attend an interview if invited

All applicants must have excellent written and spoken English. The university’s standard English requirements are minimum standards, which may be raised through competition. As a minimum the English language IELTS must be 7.0 in each component.

We have up to 28 places available for students who are assessed as international for fee-paying purposes. For more information on fee status, please visit www.ukcisa.org.uk

Please note that where there is doubt over your fee status (for example, you are a UK national living outside the EU), the university will investigate your fee status before your application for medicine is considered. If your fee status cannot be defined in time you may lose out on the opportunity for an interview.

The school-leaving qualification must be equivalent to A Levels. We are flexible for those international applicants studying in an educational system with no qualification equivalent to GCSE. But, it must be recognised that it is difficult to make an effective judgment of academic potential based on predicted grades alone. School results must be provided as an absolute minimum.

Selection process for international applicants:

 Please note that we do not calculate an application score for international applicants.

i) Academic

  • Academic results will be studied to ensure minimum academic standards are met (see below for specified qualifications). Graduates must offer a 2:1 (equivalent) degree. These minimum standards may be raised through competition.
  • All applicants who meet the threshold academic standards will go forward to the next stage of selection

ii) UCAT

  • Applicants will be ranked according to total UCAT score from the four subtests. For entry in 2020, the threshold total score for selection for interview was 2640. 

iii) Non-academic

  • The final stage of selection for interview is an assessment of your non-academic qualities, which will be made based on the evidence provided in your personal statement (see 'Preparing to Apply for Medicine')

International Baccalaureate:

  • Higher level: 6,6,6 from Chemistry and Biology and one other approved subject. 
  • Standard level: The subjects must include English and Mathematics if not offered at the higher level (Maths Studies is acceptable)
  • Minimum of 32 points must be attained
  • If you have studied the Middle Years' Programme, please provide these results

Accepted qualifications:

  • United Kingdom: Many applicants offer UK qualifications. Our standard A-Level/IB requirements will apply. For GCSE/IGCSEs, a minimum of grade A must be offered in Science, English and Maths
  • Australia. Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER), or equivalent: An overall score of 96. Relevant subjects must be offered at excellent grades
  • Canada. Grade 12 High School Diploma: The exact requirement depends on the Province/Territory. For Ontario, for example, a minimum of 90% in each of six Grade 12 subjects, including Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and English, to include a minimum of 90% in Biology and Chemistry. We will expect that the same performance has been achieved in Year 11
  • Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination CAPE): Grade 1 in three subjects, including Chemistry and Biology. Top grades in Secondary School Certificate must have been achieved also
  • Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education: The grade requirements are: 5, 5 in Chemistry and Biology; 5 in Mathematics and English; Minimum of 4 in all other subjects (except Chinese)
  • India*: Standard XII: Overall score 85%, including Biology and Chemistry with 85% in one of these (minimum requirements). Standard X: 85% in Biology, Chemistry, English and Mathematics (minimum requirements). (*ISC, CBSE, Maharashtra Boards)
  • Malaysia: SPM (GCSE-equivalent) – minimum of A/A+ in Science, English and Maths. STPM (A Level-equivalent) – grade A in each subject, including Biology and Chemistry
  • Mauritius: Both O and A Levels are equivalent to UK qualifications. We will expect a minimum of grade A in Science, English and Maths
  • Singapore: NUS High School Diploma – 3.8/5.0, with minimum of 3.8 in Biology and Chemistry; Polytechnic Diploma – 3.4/4.0, to include Biology and Chemistry
  • United States: Combined SAT1 score of 1380 or ACT score of 29. Three AP subjects at grade 5, including Biology and Chemistry or three SAT subject test scores of 700, 700 and 700, including Biology and Chemistry. We will also accept appropriate combinations of SAT and AP scores
  • West Africa Examinations Council: Senior School Certificate – Min of B2 in Science, English and Maths. A Levels or the IB must also be offered

Please note that the following qualifications are not accepted: Iran – Pre-University Certificate or Kuncur; Kuwait – Al Thanawaya; Pakistan - Higher Secondary Certificate; Saudi Arabia – Thanawiyan.

More information about international entry requirements are provided here. Please be aware that the academic qualifications described within these pages may not be acceptable for medicine entry. You must contact the Admissions Tutor by email to ask about qualifications not listed above.

European Union (EU) applicants/Home applicants who offer non-UK qualifications

There are a number of factors that determine fee status but EU Nationals may be considered as ‘home’ students for fee-paying purposes. If your fee status is in doubt we will need to resolve this before we can consider an application further. UK-based applicants are selected on the basis of results in the UCAT and in each of two national qualifications (for example, A levels and GCSEs). Therefore, home/EU applicants with non-UK qualifications must offer results that are or will be achieved following national examinations that are equivalent to both of these. You must also offer UCAT. Some examples are below:

Irish Leaving Certificate

Minimum of grade H1 in four subjects including Biology and Chemistry. For the Junior Certificate, Grade A must be achieved in six subjects including Biology, Chemistry, English and Mathematics.

European Baccalaureate

Overall score of 85%, with a minimum of 85% in the sciences, to include Chemistry and Biology as full options. Evidence of meeting this standard must be provided for interim results.

Additional guidance

We require that both GCSE and A Level equivalent qualifications are not broad-based and are obtained through assessment of performance in formal, national examinations. The following qualifications are not acceptable on their own without, for example, A-levels. These include: 

Austrian Matura; Bulgarian Diploma; French Baccalaureate (including OIB); German Abitur; Greek (including Cypriot) Apolytirion; Italian Esame Di Stato; Lithuanian Brandos Atestats; Netherlands "Voorbereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs" (VWO) Diploma; Norway “Vitnemål for Videregående Opplæring “; Polish Matura; Portugese Diploma de Ensino Secundario; Romanian Baccalaureate; Spanish Título de Graduado en Educación Secundaria Obligatoria (ESO) and Título de Bachiller; Swedish Slutbetyg från Gymnasieskolan (School Leaving Certificate).

Widening Participation and Pathways to Birmingham

The Medical Schools Council Selecting for Excellence report identified the need for Medical Schools to introduce and enhance schemes to improve social mobility into the medical profession. In fact, two of the activities run by the University of Birmingham are featured in this report as examples of good practice. The University of Birmingham has launched a new and exciting scheme to support Year 12 and 13 students in their progression to university and beyond. For further information, please visit our Pathways to Birmingham website.

Students who successfully complete a Pathways to Birmingham programme and apply to the University of Birmingham will receive special consideration. If your application is successful, you will receive two offers from the University of Birmingham, the standard offer and an alternative offer. The alternative offer is two grades below the standard offer, as advertised in the prospectus. Students may also be eligible to receive the Pathways to Birmingham Scholarship and Bursary.

Opportunities for candidates with disabilities

We take a positive view of what candidates with disabilities can achieve as future medical professionals and take seriously our obligation to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that all students with disabilities can successfully complete their studies. All applicants will be assessed up to and including the interview on the basis of the criteria outlined here regardless of any disability. We address the issue of disability with all applicants who are invited for interview. You must contact us if you are in doubt about how we will take your disability into account. All students, including those with disabilities, have to be able to meet the outcomes for graduates defined by the GMC. If you declare a disability we will invite you to work with us to explore how best we can support your studies.

Further information

Mature Candidates 

The School welcomes applications from mature candidates, but will take account of the length of undergraduate and postgraduate training which has to be undertaken. In addition, we expect that no more than five years will elapse between the most significant and relevant qualification and the start date of the course. 

Extenuating circumstances 

We may be flexible over the route to achieve our academic requirements but we will not reduce the thresholds. We will consider only very serious life events occurring at an important stage in education; such as, absence from education for a significant period of time through illness or unexpected death of a close family member.  Following discussion and receipt of independent evidence, we may, for example, consider applicants who study A Levels over 3 years.

Please note that extenuating circumstances affecting examination performance should be presented to the relevant examination board(s) for consideration. We will not consider further mitigation regarding exam results beyond that which the examination board has deemed as appropriate. For all other situations you are advised strongly to discuss your circumstances with the medicine admissions team in good time and you should not apply until a decision has been made. We will not consider evidence submitted after the UCAS deadline.

Taking a year off 

Approximately 5-10% of our students have taken a gap year. You will not be at a disadvantage if you apply for deferred entry or after you have completed your school qualifications. If you intend to do this, however, we expect that the year is used to broaden your experience either by working, travelling, voluntary service or some other activity. We do not expect all of your experiences to be directly related to medicine but your healthcare involvement must be on-going. Your personal statement must leave us in no doubt that you will be engaged fully in significant activity. 

Repeat medicine application 

We will not consider anyone whose application to Birmingham medical school has been rejected previously following interview. Otherwise, we will consider those applying for medicine for a second time (see: Taking a year off). This policy may be waived for those who offer evidence of significant and sustained activity since the last application. This may include completing an undergraduate degree or undertaking two to three years of full-time work.

We do not consider applicants who have studied medicine previously.  

Resit grades 

These are not considered (except, see extenuating circumstances). 

Transfer from another degree programme 

We do not consider applicants who are currently studying medicine. If you are studying another degree course, this must be completed within the application cycle. If you withdraw from another course before applying, you must discuss the circumstances with us before you apply and one of the factors we will take into consideration is academic performance on the degree course. As indicated above, we will consider applicants who wish to study medicine following graduation.

Data from previous application cycles

To find out information from previous application cycles, please download our application statistics document.