Medicine and Surgery MBChB

The University of Birmingham gives you the first-class opportunity you need to develop the skills to become a medical practitioner. 

Academically able with a natural aptitude for science, you’ll have a strong interest in human affairs, a concern for the welfare of others, a flair for communication and the desire to make a real difference. You’ll also need a lot of drive to complete this demanding degree course. Throughout your time with us, you’ll be treated as an individual and we’ll encourage you to develop and explore your own professional interests. 

With five-and-a-half million people in the West Midlands area, you’ll be studying in the country’s largest healthcare region, offering a variety of clinical placements. One of these is the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, located next door to the Medical School, which opened in 2010 and has state-of-the-art healthcare facilities. This means you will have plenty of opportunities to gain experience in the diversity of medical disciplines, learning how to manage a wide range of patients from different backgrounds and cultures. Right from the start, you’ll experience the practice of healthcare in the community with a fortnightly attachment to a general practice, allowing you to see how your studies translate into clinical practice. 

Your training in hospitals and general practices takes place within a highly organised academy structure. Heads of Academies are senior consultants and GPs who are responsible to the Medical School for ensuring that you receive high-quality training in each speciality. 

You will also have the option to choose from several optional intercalating programmes, which you would take after your second, third or fourth year of study. These allow you to engage in novel laboratory- or community-based research work in either basic or applied medical research. 

The Birmingham Medicine and Surgery course is an integrated modular based programme designed to give you the essential knowledge and background to begin to work towards your own career goals.

Outcome of the course

Postgraduate foundation training and beyond 

At the end of the undergraduate programme you will receive your MBBS (or equivalent) degree, which is a primary medical qualification (PMQ). Holding a PMQ entitles you to provisional registration with the General Medical Council, subject to its acceptance that there are no Fitness to Practise concerns that need consideration. 

The GMC has decided to introduce a Medical Licensing Assessment – the MLA - from 2022 to demonstrate that those who obtain registration with a licence to practise medicine in the UK meet a common threshold for safe practice.  Applicants should be aware that to obtain registration with a licence to practise, medical students will need to pass both parts of the MLA, pass university finals and demonstrate their fitness to practise. 

The MLA will be in two parts: there will be a knowledge test, which will be set and run by the GMC, and an assessment, delivered by medical schools, that will evaluate students’ clinical and professional skills.

Provisional registration is time limited to a maximum of three years and 30 days (1125 days in total). After this time period your provisional registration will normally expire. 

Provisionally registered doctors can only practise in approved Foundation Year 1 posts: the law does not allow provisionally registered doctors to undertake any other type of work. To obtain a Foundation Year 1 post you will need to apply during the final year of your undergraduate programme through the UK Foundation Programme Office selection scheme, which allocates these posts to graduates on a competitive basis. All suitably qualified UK graduates have found a place on the Foundation Year 1 programme, but this cannot be guaranteed, for instance if there were to be an increased number of competitive applications from non-UK graduates. 

Successful completion of the Foundation Year 1 programme is normally achieved within 12 months and is marked by the award of a Certificate of Experience. You will then be eligible to apply for full registration with the General Medical Council. You need full registration with a licence to practise for unsupervised medical practice in the NHS or private practice in the UK. 

Although this information is currently correct, students need to be aware that regulations in this area may change from time to time. 

There is some discussion about whether to remove provisional registration for newly qualified doctors. If this happens then UK graduates will receive full registration as soon as they have successfully completed an MBBS (or equivalent) degree. It should be noted that it is very likely that UK graduates will still need to apply for a training programme similar to the current Foundation Programme and that places on this programme may not be guaranteed for every UK graduate. 

First and second years

Your first two years are largely taken up with modules on the structure and function of the human body. You will learn how each system is controlled and is able to respond to the demands of everyday life and how they are affected by disease and medical treatments. Much of the anatomy is learned in small-group sessions, including substantial experience of prosection.

You will learn about the psychology and sociology of health and illness and how the health of whole populations, as well as of individual patients, is assessed. You will also be introduced to some of the key issues in biomedical ethics, for example genetic engineering.

In each year, you will spend ten days in the community with GPs and patients, linking biological and behavioural theoretical learning to clinical situations with real patients. Plus, you will have the opportunity to select areas of study for yourself so that you can pursue topics that interest you.  

Third year

You will be based in our partner Teaching Hospital Trusts to further develop your basic clinical skills in taking a good clinical history and examining patients, as well as studying the communication skills needed for effective patient-doctor relations. You'll also learn about common diseases and how to diagnose and manage them, and continue your theoretical work on pathology, pharmacology, public health and epidemiology. Our excellent Community-Based Medicine strand continues and you will increase your understanding of how patients are managed in General Practice.

Fourth and fifth years

You will now move onto clinical attachments in medical, surgical and other specialities such as Cardiology, Neurology, Psychiatry, Bone and Joint Disease, Oncology, Ear, Nose and Throat and Peri-Operative Care. You will also do further attachments in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Paediatrics and General Practice. During the Final year, you will be able to bring all of your learning and skills together through the Acutely Ill Patient attachment, as you prepare to become a medical practitioner. 

Elective studies: Two months in the spring of the fourth year are allotted to full-time studies of your own choice, either in a department of the Medical School or at another centre in Britain or, as the majority of students choose to do, abroad. You may choose to consolidate your knowledge in a subject you’ve already studied, gain further experience of clinical practice or perhaps undertake your own clinical research project. 

These are a selection of the various locations that our students have visited as part of their electives. 

Training in Research

As a doctor you will be expected to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in medicine but we need clinicians to take a lead role in bringing these about. This course gives you the opportunity to learn research skills that you can use in your career to enhance and develop clinical practice. You can develop these skills in substantial depth during an intercalated programme.   

Intercalated Programmes

If you attain a good standard in examinations you may wish to take advantage of the excellent breadth of internationally competitive research within the Medical School through an in-depth study of chosen topics for one year. Several different intercalating programmes provide the opportunity for engaging in novel research work in either basic or applied medical research. This can happen after your second, third or fourth year of study. Programmes available involve either laboratory- or community-based research. You will learn to analyse and interpret medical research data and, importantly, undertake your own novel and substantial research project. The skills that you will acquire will allow you to contribute to the development of evidence-based clinical practice. You then return to complete the MBChB programme.   

View information about the intercalating programmes. 

Admissions Process

Dr Austen Spruce, Medicine Admissions Tutor, discusses the entry requirements and admissions process for the MBChB Medicine and Surgery programme at Birmingham Medical School.

Preparing to Apply for Medicine

Academic excellence is not the only criteria for a successful application. It is important for you to demonstrate your motivation towards a career in medicine and show evidence that you will be able to acquire the values of the NHS (including: working together for patients, respect and dignity, compassion, commitment to quality of care, resilience). You will begin to acquire these values, in part, through people-focused work experience or volunteering. 

It is essential that you develop an understanding of working in a healthcare environment and have commitment and passion towards studying and practising medicine. The types of experience that we advise you to undertake include voluntary work in a nursing home, care home, hospice or hospital volunteer. We cannot advise on the amount of experience that is needed to develop your knowledge of healthcare practice. At interview, though, we will expect a sophisticated level of understanding of how personal qualities relate to the provision of effective care and support. This must be evidenced, in part, through your own experiences. Shadowing of doctors is not required and, though it has its benefits, we advise that you should participate actively in a healthcare setting.

We recognise that extracurricular activity in areas outside of healthcare can supplement the development of the broader qualities required of a potential doctor. These aspects (e.g. an ability to make rational decisions and to communicate these with compassion) will also be relevant to successful performance at interview. The types of non-academic experiences that may assist in your personal development include a job in a customer-focused role or a voluntary role giving you responsibility for a group of individuals (such as a leader for one of the youth organisations like the scouts or guides or a sports coaching role). In general, these activities should be long-term, on-going and involve significant interactions with a broad range of people in a responsible capacity.

In summary, all of these non-academic aspects are important for preparation to study medicine and many will be considered at interview. The personal statement will not normally be used to select for interview, though we will be concerned if there is little evidence of engagement with healthcare practice and other extra-curricular activities.

The Medical Schools Council has produced guidance on work experience and the development of attitudes and behaviours:

If invited for interview, candidates may be asked to provide details of their work experience placements.

Preparation for interview and indeed for study on a medicine programme is aided by engaging in frequent discussions with friends and family about medical issues appearing in the news and media. You should also use your time on work experience effectively by gaining insight into the demands placed on staff, the problems they encounter and the strategies that they employ to handle difficult situations as well as the benefits they obtain from caring for people and working in teams. Again, opportunities to engage in discussion of these issues must be taken.

Core Values and Attributes

The Medical Schools Council has produced a statement on the core values and attributes needed to study medicine:

Some of these are assessed in the mechanisms used to identify applicants for interview (described below). Our interview process will address many more of these, including: self-insight, reflection, problem-solving, dealing with uncertainty, communication, teamwork, resilience, empathy and honesty. In common with all organisations selecting people to work in the NHS, our recruitment is values-based.

Widening Participation

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 activities run by the University of Birmingham and aimed at addressing this issue are featured in this report as examples of good practice. We recruit medicine students via the following programmes (the first two are for students from the Greater West Midlands area):

The Interview

We interview approximately 1200 candidates from those who apply. MMIs are made up of 7 mini interviews lasting 6 minutes each, allowing you to demonstrate the skills you have which are relevant to studying medicine such as: motivation for medicine, communication; empathy, self-insight, ethical reasoning, data interpretation and ability to evaluate information. You will be interviewed by one person at each station and you will be given 2 minutes to prepare for each interview.

The interview process is designed to help assess your suitability for a career in medicine aside from academic excellence so that we can train students to become doctors who will embrace the values of the NHS including respect, compassion, resilience and commitment to quality of care.

Whilst it’s not possible to ‘revise’ for MMIs, preparation for interview should include keeping abreast of medical issues appearing in the news and media and discussing and debating them with friends and family. Relevant work experience can also offer great insight into the demands placed on staff, the strategies staff employ to handle difficult situations and the benefits they obtain from caring for people and working in teams.

Our interviews start in late November and end in February.

To find out more about each stage of the interview process, download our MBChB interview information document.

Outcome of Interview and offers

We make offers based, mostly, on your interview performance:

  • The arithmetic mean of the scores from each interview station is used to calculate the overall score, which is used to rank all applicants.
  • We expect to make approximately 850 offers and these applicants will be identified, initially, according to the rank order of the overall interview score.
  • If your interview score is within 5% of the cut-off score, we will review your Band score for the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) component of the UKCAT. You will receive an offer if you achieve a Band score above 4 (minimum) as well as an interview score above the cut-off.
  • It is likely that we will continue to set a minimum performance standard for each station (which is well below the threshold overall interview score for receiving an offer). An applicant who does not reach this standard for one station and who achieves a SJT Band score of 4 may not receive an offer irrespective of the overall interview score.
  • If you achieve an overall interview score 5% or more above the cut-off and no station score below the minimum, we will not consider your UKCAT SJT Banding.
  • We will not look again at your academic information in making the decision unless absolutely necessary (e.g. if there are a number of applicants on the same interview score).

Please note that there is no advantage to attending an interview early.

We will analyse the interview scores soon after the first set of interviews in the autumn term. Applicants with a mean score in the top 50% (approximately) will receive an offer. Those with mean scores in the bottom 20% (approximately) will be advised that their applications are unsuccessful. The remainder of the interview candidates will be informed of our decision in mid to late March following analysis of all interview data when the precise threshold overall score can be defined.

Visiting the Medical School

Candidates who are interviewed are offered a conducted tour of the Medical School by current medical students. If you can, it is a good idea to visit the University prior to application on one of the University Open Days held each June, September and October. Details are given in the University prospectus. Please note that we can not make arrangements to meet with prospective applicants on an individual basis.

Review of Admissions Decisions

If you wish to question the decision that has been made, please refer to Section 6 of the Code of Practice for Admission of Students to the University of Birmingham.    

Why study this course

Largest healthcare region in the UK covered by one medical school: With five-and-a-half million people in the West Midlands area, you’ll be studying in the country’s largest health region, next door to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, which means you will have plenty of opportunity to gain experience in a variety of medical disciplines and of treating a wide range of patients from different backgrounds and cultures.

Early clinical and patient contact: In each of the first two years of the course you will spend 10 days in the community with GPs and patients, linking biological and behavioural theoretical learning to clinical situations with real patients. This increases in the final three years when you will spend extensive periods on clinical placements in our partner hospitals.

Optional intercalation: You will have the opportunity to choose from several optional intercalating programmes during your studies. These provide the opportunity for you to engage in novel research work in either basic or applied medical research, which can happen after your second, third or fourth year of study. Programmes available involve either laboratory- or community-based research.

Preparing for clinical practice: Your training in hospitals and general practices takes place within a highly organised academy structure. Heads of Academies are senior consultants and GPs who are responsible to the Medical School for ensuring that all students receive excellent training in each different specialty.

Outstanding Alumni: Many MBChB Medicine and Surgery graduates have gone on to be leaders in their respective fields. We are proud to say that our distinguished and notable alumni include:

  • Charles George (MBChB, 1965) Chairman, The Stroke Association
  • Jane Collins (MBChB, 1978; MD 1988) Chief Executive, Marie Curie Cancer Care
  • Richard Horton (MBChB, 1986; BSc, 1983; MD, 2008), Editor, The Lancet
  • Rowan Hillson (MBChB, 1974) National Clinical Director for Diabetes, Department for Health
  • Steve Field (MBChB, 1982) President, Royal College of General Practitioners
  • Peter Weissberg (MBChB, 1976), Medical Director, British Heart Foundation
  • David Haslam (MBChB, 1972) President of the British Medical Association

Active MedSoc: At the University of Birmingham we believe that student life shouldn't be all work and there is plenty for you to get involved with both within the College and the University outside of your studies. The College has its own Society known as MedSoc. MedSoc is an umbrella organisation for a wide range of activities including sporting, social, musical and charitable – there’s something for everyone.


Modules in the first year - Stage I

First and second years: your first two years are largely taken up with modules on the structure and function of the human body. You will learn how each system is controlled and is able to respond to the demands of everyday life and how they are affected by disease and medical treatments. Much of the anatomy is learned in small-group sessions, including substantial experience of prosection.

  • Basic Life Support
  • Community Based Medicine I
  • Foundations of Medical Science and Practice 1:
  • Foundations of Medical Science and Practice 2:
  • Professional and Academic Skills 1
  • Regional Anatomy 1
  • Group Poster Project
  • Research Taster

Modules in the second year - Stage II 

  • Community Based Medicine 2
  • Year 2 Hospital Preparation Course
  • Foundations of Medical Science and Practice 3:
  • Foundations of Medical Science and Practice 4:
  • Professional and Academic Skills 2
  • Regional Anatomy 2 
  • Hospital Preparation Course

Modules in the third year - Stage III

You will be based in our partner Teaching Hospital Trusts to further develop your basic clinical skills in taking a good clinical history and examining patients, as well as studying the communication skills needed for effective patient-doctor relations. 

  • Health Improvements Evidence Review Project
  • LH Clinical Core 2 
  • Evidence Based Medicine
  • Professional Development Activities
  • Clinical Procedural Skills
  • Professional Development Activities

Modules in the fourth year - Stage IV

Fourth and fifth years: you will now move onto clinical attachments in medical, surgical and other specialities such as Cardiology, Neurology, Psychiatry, Bone and Joint Disease, Oncology, Ear, Nose and Throat and Peri-Operative Care. You will also do further attachments in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Paediatrics and General Practice.

  • Clinical Core 3 
  • Conference Poster Presentation 
  • LH Elective Preparation 
  • Learning and Teaching
  • Clinical Procedural Skills

Modules in the fifth year - Stage V

During the Final year, you will be able to bring all of your learning and skills together through the Acutely Ill Patient attachment, as you prepare to become a medical practitioner. 

  • Clinical Procedural Skills
  • Ethical and Law in Clinical Practice 
  • Immediate Life Support 
  • LH Clinical Core 4 
  • LH Elective & Report 
  • Year 5 Selected Career Experience
  • Year 5 Student Assistantship
  • Written Professional Communication
  • Prescribing Safety Assessment

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2019. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2019/20 are as follows:

  • Home/EU: £9,250
  • International: Pre-clinical years 1 and 2: £22,500
  • International: Clinical years 3, 4 and 5: £38,100

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2019, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

The Department of Health is currently reviewing the funding arrangements for international students. They have decided, however, that funding arrangements will not change for students starting in September 2018. 

Additional costs

When you apply for the course, it is important that you also take into account living costs and that you will have sufficient funds to finance the full duration of your studies. Please also note that during the last three years of the programme you will be required to be in attendance for most of each year and the costs of subsistence and travel will accordingly be much greater.

Average additional course costs (approximate costs by car): 

  • Travel for Years 1 & 2: £50 per year
  • Travel for Year 3: £352
  • Travel for Year 4: £621
  • Travel for Year 5: £550
  • Text books and equipment: £510
  • Average total cost of an overseas elective (not inc cost of living): £1,590 (UK placement costs will be lower).

A number of vaccinations are required prior to admission. Your GP is best placed to advise on the cost of the vaccinations, any outstanding vaccinations at the time of admission may incur a higher charge. A DBS check is also required prior to admission the cost of this is currently £48.00. 


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University or other sources. The MBChB programme does not offer any additional scholarships.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
A*AA. Candidates should have predicted AAA including Biology and Chemistry (NB. Human Biology is acceptable as an alternative to Biology).
General Studies:
not accepted. Critical Thinking is also not accepted. Other non-standard subjects may not be accepted. Please contact us for advice.

All applicants must:

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

Information for International (including EU) applicants is provided in the international section.

The Admissions Process

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.

Selection for interview

The principles described here apply to standard, home applicants. The following categories of applicant each have amended processes, which are described elsewhere:

  • Graduate
  • International
  • Contextual (identified according to school attended)
  • Widening Participation

Selection for interview is based on the total application score (combination of GCSE and UCAT scores, with a maximum of 10). We have amended the scoring formula from previous years, though only slightly. We expect to interview about 1200 home/EU applicants who will be identified by ranking applicants according to their score.

Please note that it is not possible to advise on the threshold score because this will vary each year according to the number and quality of applications we receive.  To find out if you are likely or unlikely to be offered an interview, please use our offer calculator tool. The guidance you receive is based on data from previous admissions cycles and also the projected impact of changes to the process.  It is important to 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 but is accurate in the majority of instances.To find out more, please visit your personal undergraduate page.

Once you have submitted an application we will apply the following selection process to each application.

Applications will receive an overall score, which is the sum of weighted scores for each of the academic and UKCAT components. The weightings will be:  60% academic and 40% UCAT

The academic score is calculated from GCSE results, not predicted or achieved A level grades. The UCAT score component is based on the total score from the four subtests.

Applications from graduates and those classified as international for fees will not be scored. Further information can be found below in the relevant sections.

Academic Requirements

A Levels

Required/Acceptable subjects:

All A2 modules of three subjects must be undertaken in Year 13. 

  • Chemistry and Biology (or Human Biology) required
  • Candidates studying four A Levels:
    • If all A Level subjects are examined for first time in Year 13, the offer will be AAAB (Biology and Chemistry must be at grade A)
    • If an A Level is completed in Year 12 at grade A or above, the offer for the remaining subjects studied in Year 13 will be AAA
    • The adjustments for four A Levels will not apply to those taking Mathematics and Further Mathematics
    • Selection for interview will neither be influenced by taking more than three subjects nor by achieved AS or A Level grades.
  • General Studies and Critical Thinking and EPQ are not accepted. Other such subjects may not be accepted. Please contact us for advice.

AS Levels:

  • AS grades (if they are available) will not be used for selection for interview.


  • All Home/EU applicants must offer a qualification that is equivalent in standard and type to GCSEs. International (non-EU) applicants, please see below.
  • An application will receive a score for academic achievement based on GCSE (or equivalent) results.
  • The subjects that will be scored are: English (both English Language and English Literature), Mathematics (or one, but not both, of Methods in Mathematics and Applications of Mathematics), Biology and Chemistry (or dual award science), plus two additional GCSEs (any subject). All of the named subjects except English Literature are required and must be offered at a minimum grade of B/6.
  • For the subjects specified above, the scores allocated to the different grades will be in the ratio of 4:2:1 (for A*, A, B/9 or 8,7,6, respectively). For each of the two unspecified subjects, a score of 2 will be allocated when an A*/9 or 8 grade has been obtained (lower grades will not receive a score).
  • The total GCSE score will be scaled to a maximum of 6.0. Therefore, when this is combined with a score for the UKCAT result (see below), the combined maximum score is 10.0. Note that GCSE grades are weighted much more (60%) in this scoring mechanism.
  • We cannot define accurately a GCSE grade profile that will be acceptable.


We will calculate the score we attribute to your UCAT result based on the combined score from all four subtests. 

All applicants must sit the UCAT test in their year of application. Candidates living in a country where the test is not offered will normally be expected to travel to take the test. Please visit the UCAT website for information about the test, including important dates and information about bursaries available. You can also access practice tests.  

If you have taken the UCATSEN, you must provide us with the evidence for eligibility when you attend for interview. The evidence we will accept is:

  • For applicants in education: An official letter from school, college or university that states that on the basis of a diagnosis from a qualified medical practitioner, educational psychologist or specialist teacher you are currently entitled to additional time in public examinations (or have had additional time in public examinations within the last two years).
  • For applicants no longer in education: A post-16 year’s diagnosis or report from a qualified medical practitioner or educational psychologist that explicitly recommends additional time in public examinations.

Use of UCAT data: 

There is no minimum UCAT cut-off score. Your UCAT results, excluding the band result for the Situational Judgment Test (SJT) component, will be separated into deciles and scored. For example the top 10% of applicants’ scores will be in the top decile and will receive a maximum score of 4.0 in our process. For guidance, the score conversion we used in 2017-18 is as follows (converted to a 0 – 4 scale):


Please note: The profile of 2018 UCAT scores has just been published ( This shows an overall reduction in total scores compared to last year, which means that the threshold for each decile is achieved at a lower score. We have found that the profile of scores of our applicants closely relates to the national score profile and therefore the impact on our scoring system is that the UCAT score you have achieved is very likely to place you one decile higher than would have been the case last year. Clearly, this will lead to a higher total application score (and may also impact on the outcome of our offer calculator).


 Total UKCAT score Decile Converted score
 2950 and above  10th  4.000
 2860 "  9th  3.556
 2790 "  8th  3.111
 2730 "  7th  2.667
 2680 "  6th  2.222
 2630 "  5th  1.778
 2580 "  4th  1.333
 2510 "  3rd  0.889
 2400 "  2nd  0.444
 2390 and below  1st  0.000


It is important to note that the thresholds for each decile will be different for a new set of applicants. Therefore, the UCAT score applied to your application may differ from the above table but the difference is expected to be marginal. Your UCAT score is unlikely to move by more than one decile.


The band score for the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) component of UCAT will be used at the interview stage.

Alternative Academic Qualifications 

Cambridge Pre-University Diploma

  • D3, D3, D2 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: Three subjects including Chemistry and Biology must be offered (grade requirements: AAB) 


  • The course is designed for school leavers but we will accept 5-10 graduates on to the programme each year.
  • Achieved or predicted first or upper second class degree from a UK-based institution (normally).
  • School qualifications: GCSE – minimum of grade A/B in Science, English and Mathematics; A Levels – minimum of AAB (including, normally, Biology and Chemistry).
  • Academic results will not be scored. Applicants who meet the threshold academic requirements described above will be ranked according to UCAT score. For 2018 entry, the minimum UCAT score among the graduates accepted for interview was 2640.
  • 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.
  • Life Science graduates may be eligible for our graduate-entry course. 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.

International Baccalaureate

  • Higher level: 766 from Chemistry and Biology and one other approved subject (in any order)
  • 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 = A*; 6 = A; 5 = B. A minimum of 5 must have been achieved in Science, English and Mathematics

BTEC, Access Courses and Foundation Programmes

We do not consider any of these qualifications. 

Additional information:

Use of School Contextual Data

Up to 20% of interview places are available to applicants who are allocated to a contextual category. Contextual applicants are identified using school performance data. Please note that about 90% of state schools are included in this category.

Applicants who attend a state (not independent) school that meets our threshold for either GCSE or A Level (see below) should take note of the following:

  • The process is designed to ensure that the threshold application score for selection for interview will be lower than for non-contextual applicants. It is not possible to predict where the cut-off score will lie, though past data indicates that the score is 1-2 points lower.
  •  If you use our offer calculator it is important to recognise that the guidance about the likelihood of receiving an invitation for interview relates to applicants who are not part of the contextual scheme.
  • If an contextual applicant is made an offer it will be AAA
  • Selection via the contextual mechanism is competitive.

Contextual thresholds


  • 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 be included in our contextual category if you apply. 

Non-academic offer requirements

All accepted candidates will be required to complete health declaration and immunisation forms, and some will be contacted by an Occupational Health Physician where appropriate.

The UK Government Health Authorities advise that all medical students are screened to ensure that they are not carriers of the hepatitis B virus. All applicants who accept an offer are advised to:

  • undertake a screening blood test for Hepatitis B
  • if negative, start a course of immunisation
  • thereafter provide certified evidence of these

The UK Government Health Authorities recommend that all medical students should be offered screening for a number of blood-borne viruses (Hepatitis C and Human Immunodeficiency Virus as well as Hepatitis B). You should be advised that any health care worker who is infected with any of these viruses (or who cannot prove that they are not infected) is not able to undertake exposure prone procedures when qualified (which are defined as ‘those invasive procedures where there is a risk that injury to the worker may result in the exposure of the patient’s open tissues to the blood of the worker.’). The MBChB Course at Birmingham is a non-Exposure-Prone Procedure course, so students with Hep C and/or HIV will not reflect any risk to patients during the course. Therefore, students who are positive or decline the offer of a blood test will still be permitted to continue on the programme. Medical students may, however, engage in exposure-prone procedures on a voluntary basis (for example, during their elective). If this is the case, students are required to be screened.

For further information about these requirements, please see: Medical and Dental Students: Health and Immunisation Forms.

The College of Medical and Dental Sciences will reimburse students with financial hardship for up to £200 of the cost of their vaccinations. If you meet the eligibility criteria for a Chamberlain Award from the University of Birmingham, you are advised to obtain receipts for any health checks that you have had to pay for. Once you commence the MBChB programme at the University of Birmingham, you may then apply for reimbursement from the College, up to the cost of £200.

All students are required to sign the Fitness to Practise Code of Conduct prior to entry, details of which will be forwarded with an offer letter.

Medical students are expected to attend the entire course, which includes some evening, night and weekend work.  

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check and the Excluded Students Database (ESD)

Students will be required to complete a successful Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before admission to the programme.

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 above 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 competency thresholds set 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.

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 four years has elapsed since the most significant and relevant qualification.

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 during exam periods 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 suitable.

Taking a year off

Approximately 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. For example, 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 or any other degree programme. As indicated above, we will consider applicants who wish to study medicine following graduation.

International students:

English Language requirements

Applicants must have excellent written and spoken English. Please note that the university’s standard English language requirements are minimum standards, which may be raised through competition. As a minimum, the English language IELTS, for example, must be 7.0 in each component.

European Union applicants

There are a number of factors that determine fee status but EU Nationals may be considered as ‘home’ students for fee-paying purposes (see below). Because 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), home/EU applicants from outside the UK must offer examination-based qualifications that are equivalent to these as well as 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.

We require that qualifications are not broad-based and are obtained through assessment of performance in formal, national examinations. For guidance, 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).

International Baccalaureate

  • Higher level: 766 from Chemistry and Biology and one other approved subject (in any order)
  • 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.  A minimum of 5 must have been achieved in Science, English and Mathematics

International applicants

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 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 will try to be 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:

i) Academic

  • Academic results will be studied to ensure minimum academic standards are met (see below for specified qualifications). 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 2018, the threshold total score for selection for interview was 2620.


iii) Non-academic

  • The final stage of selection 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” above)

Accepted qualifications include:

  • United Kingdom: Many applicants offer UK qualifications, GCSE/IGCSE: 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 99.6. Relevant subjects must be offered at excellent grades.
  • Canada. Grade 12 High School Diploma: A minimum of 90% in each of six Grade 12 subjects, including Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and English, to include a minimum of 93% in Biology and Chemistry. We will expect that the same performance has been achieved in Year11.
  • 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 (any order); 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 90% in one of these (minimum requirements). Standard X: 85% in Biology, Chemistry, English and Mathematics, with preference to applicants with 90% in Biology and Chemistry (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/A* in Science, English and Maths.
  • Singapore: NUS High School Diploma – 4.0/5.0, with minimum of 4.1 in Biology and Chemistry; Polytechnic Diploma – 3.9/4.0, to include Biology and Chemistry
  • United States: Combined SAT1 score of 1380. Three AP subjects at grade 5, including Biology and Chemistry or three SAT subject test scores of 720, 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.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at  
Learn more about applying

Each year we receive many applications for every place available and it takes a long time to study these applications carefully. You should not be concerned if you do not hear a final decision until some months after you have submitted your UCAS form.

Applicants should enter details of all their qualifications on the relevant section of the UCAS form. Incomplete applications (including a missing reference) will not be considered. A decision will be based solely on the UCAS application and information provided separately or after the deadline will not be considered.

All applicants must sit the UCAT test in their year of application. Candidates living in a country where the test is not offered will normally be expected to travel to take the test. Please visit the UCAT website for information about the test, including important dates and information about bursaries available. You can also access practice tests. 

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. At Birmingham we advocate an enquiry based learning approach, from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself. So in your first semester, you’ll spend time learning how to access for yourself the considerable learning resources of the Medical School, including our extensive library and information technology-based material.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).

Much of the student selected component uses enquiry based learning , a form of active, student led, learning which asks students to find answers to problems through their own research rather than simply being given information and memorising facts. This learning style is supported by a personal mentoring system and is beneficial because it develops team work and also provides vital skills required to practice as a doctor in a lifelong learning environment.

Throughout your five years, your learning opportunities will take a variety of forms: lectures, seminars, tutorials, laboratory work, practicals, bedside demonstrations, clinical experience and a small component of problem based learning (PBL). We always take care to adapt our methods to the subject matter, offering, for example, role-play and video feedback on patient–doctor communication.

To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we’ll enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues. If there are particular areas where you need support you will be able to address this with your tutors.

A significant part of your learning experience will take place during clinical placements; these are structured to allow you the maximum number of contact hours with patients as this experience is vital to your learning. You will also have regular time with your clinical tutors as part of your placement experience where feedback on the development of your clinical skills and knowledge base is given in small groups. This form of learning is in addition to your formal structured teaching sessions (i.e. lectures, bed-side teaching etc).

Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre’s aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions with support with mathematics and statistics based problems provided by experienced mathematicians, to workshops on a range of topics including note talking, reading, writing and presentation skills. 

Teaching staff for this course

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, doctors and postgraduates, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

For more information about staff in the school, their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest, visit the Medical School staff profile page

Learning settings

Laboratory-based practical work is an integral part of our Medical and Surgery programme, delivering important transferable skills and giving you the experience of practical work that is essential for your future career.

Lectures take place in our theatres which, as well as the traditional whiteboard and pen, are equipped with the latest technology, including facilities to show movies, animations and graphics, to record lectures and to interact with ‘ask the audience’ style electronic voting systems.

Seminars and small-group tutorials run alongside the lecture course, addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate scientific and professional lecture material.

Problem-based learning sessions encourage you to discuss and analyse clinical scenarios and learn to define and understand the physical, psychological and social components of medical problems.

Self-directed study is an essential part of the programme and demonstrates your commitment to, and enthusiasm for, your subject and for the learning that will continue throughout your professional career.

E-learning mechanisms include Canvas, Wiki podcasts and our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE); an excellent tool for supporting our academic courses, allowing you to share thoughts on assignments with other students via the discussion group facilities, giving access to learning materials 24 hours a day and allowing you to submit your work electronically.

From Year 3 onwards, students also have access to SCRIPT, an innovative eLearning programme on prescribing and therapeutics. SCRIPT is used by all Foundation Schools in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, so having access at undergraduate level gives students a head start in preparing for their subsequent training.

Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) is a group activity which requires you to work in a team, with a variety of assessment methods; in either a group or individually, by written reports and sometimes as a presentation. Based on techniques used in research-led organisations like the University of Birmingham, EBL gives you a research-orientated approach to a problem and helps you to gain essential skills that are highly valued by employers.

Contact hours

Throughout the first year of your MBChB degree you can expect approximately 10.5 hours of scheduled teaching, 23 hours of independent study and 4 hours of placement per week. 

Throughout the second year of your MBChB degree you can expect approximately 13 hours of scheduled teaching, 21 hours of independent study and 4 hours of placement per week. 

Throughout the third year of your MBChB degree you can expect approximately 4 hours of scheduled teaching, 12 hours of independent study and 20 hours of placement per week. 

Throughout the fourth year of your MBChB degree you can expect approximately 2 hours of scheduled teaching, 12 hours of independent study and 24 hours of placement per week. 

Throughout the fifth year of your MBChB degree you can expect approximately 3 hours of scheduled teaching, 9 hours of independent study and 25 hours of placement per week.

"The Journey of an Exam Paper"

Our Programme Director is regularly asked by students to describe what goes into the process of exams and exam papers, so we decided to produce a film that was transparent about the process. 

Assessment methods

Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.

Throughout the programme there will be opportunities to meet with your personal tutor to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. The personal tutor who is based in your school or department can help with any academic issues you encounter. 

As a Medicine student you will be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. These assessment methods may include:

  • Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)
  • Short Answer Questions (SAQ)
  • Anatomy True/False plus statements
  • Written Examinations
  • Oral Examination
  • Clinical Competency Examinations 
  • Appraisal of Professional Behaviour and Attitudes
  • Essay
  • Presentations
  • Conference Poster presentation
  • Teaching session and report
  • Reports

At the beginning of each module, you’ll be given information on how and when you’ll be assessed for that particular programme of study. You’ll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done. You’ll be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

I certainly didn’t foresee myself pursuing a career involving both clinical and basic science and can honestly say that if I hadn’t had the opportunity to try laboratory work at university I would never have considered it."
Helen Marie Parry, MBChB, 2006

To find out more about our graduate employability, view our Career Profiles.

When you have graduated with your MBChB and completed your two foundation years, you’ll be in a position to apply for posts in your own chosen specialisation. For most of our graduates, these are hospital and primary care posts in the NHS, but there are also opportunities in laboratory-based disciplines such as pathology, or in research. Some doctors move into more commercial fields such as the pharmaceutical industry, politics, or medical journalism and the media. Whichever direction you choose to go in, your training here gives you a first-class springboard.

View a video of Helen Parry, MBChB Graduate and Core Medical Trainee Level 2, talking about her time studying at the University of Birmingham and how the skills she gained helped her build a career in medicine. Also have a look at our alumni profile page to see what some of our students have gone on to do after completing their programme.

Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Another advantage you will have as a Birmingham student is access to our unique careers guidance service where, if you make the most of the wide range of services, we will be able to help you develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV’s and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you gain practical experiences in occupational settings while contributing back to society. This can bring new skills that will be useful throughout your future and can make a positive impact on your learning whilst at university. Volunteering enables you to develop skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-confidence and self-discipline all of which can be transferred into your studies.

Find out more about Careers Network.

Professional accreditation

Our graduates are entitled to provisional registration with the General Medical Council, with a licence to practise, subject to demonstrating to the GMC that their fitness to practise is not impaired.

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

The Medical School has societies specifically for students based here - MedSoc, an overarching society open to all Medicine, Nursing and Biomedical Science students, and PharmSoc, which is open to Pharmacy students. Both are student-run societies that offer a wide range of activities to get involved in from sports, amateur dramatics and music to charities, volunteering and academic support.

The City of Birmingham

You will be based on a leafy campus in the suburbs of a vibrant, modern city. With over a million residents, Birmingham is home to the UK's largest financial and creative centres outside London and it has a thriving business community. After London, Birmingham is the highest ranking city for quality of life in the UK (Mercer's Quality of Living Survey 2012). There is something for everyone in Birmingham and you are sure to receive a warm welcome in one of the most culturally diverse cities in Britain.


Whether you are looking for university accommodation or a rented property in the private sector, our accommodation services team, 'Living', can help you find the right place.

University accommodation for undergraduates is located across the University's three student villages, all of which are within walking distance of the main campus. We have a range of accommodation types, including flats with study bedrooms, sharing bathroom and kitchen facilities; flats with ensuite study bedrooms; and studio apartments where you have exclusive use of both kitchen and bathroom facilities.