Student Advice

What is it Like to Study Medicine at University?

Ben Maples  · Nov 29th 2021

Medicine is one of the most prestigious degrees in the UK and is also one of the most rewarding.


What are the usual pitfalls and clichés that you’re going to come across? Well, we’ve compiled a list of FAQ’s that students often have, check them out!

What do I need to study medicine?

Well, first of all, a passion for the subject is absolutely key, you certainly do not want to be studying a subject that you don’t love – especially one like medicine, where the intensity of the course starts from the very beginning.

With regards to the required A-Levels you need for the course, it can vary depending on the university that you happen to be studying at, however, the main consensus among universities or medical schools is that you will need essentially all A’s or A*’s at A-Level if you want to be in with a chance of a place. Although, Medical schools have seen a drop in application rates recently.

How much reading is involved?

According to students studying medicine, there isn’t a lot of reading that you need to do, but if we’re honest, we feel that you probably should be reading up if you want to do well in your degree.

Deciding not to read because previous students have suggested that there isn’t a lot is not a good idea, especially when you consider the difficulty of the degree.

What is it like to study Medicine at university.

How difficult is it to study medicine?

The degree is difficult no matter what aspect of medicine you happen to be studying. However, the degree itself has a far more rewarding outcome than a lot of other degrees as it is a vocational degree, rather than something like an English literature degree which can be interchangeable amongst various jobs.

As Medicine can sometimes be as long as 6 years, you will have a variety of different modules that you will cover over the course, including:

  • Acute care
  • Bioregulatory systems
  • Clinical science
  • Dealing with ageing patients
  • Elective care
  • Global health
  • Principles of medicine
  • Surgery

Different universities will also have other modules for you to study, but for the most part, these are the most common modules to study.

The amount of coursework is a little difficult to work out because the amount can vary depending on what area of medicine you are studying. Outside of that, the general view of the coursework that medicine offers is that it is tremendously difficult.

The coursework deadlines are apparently not very flexible either; we recommend that once you’re set an assignment that you crack on with that as soon as you possibly can! The coursework will link into the reading element. While there may not be a lot of reading set, it would be a good idea to do it anyway to help you with coursework and the like.

The coursework itself can be different depending on the university you go to and how long you study for, but one thing is known for sure, there will always be a hell of a lot of it!

How much does it cost to study medicine?

It’s almost impossible to get the exact costing of an undergraduate medicine degree as costings tend to vary depending on the university that you happen to be studying at, however, an estimated £8,500 – £36,000 (this is the really top-end price) tuition fee is a fair estimate although it can be different from a bachelor’s degree. Prices can be either side of those prices depending on the university and the tier of the degree that you do, so make sure that you have your student finance sorted!

What’s my job likelihood after studying medicine?

The likelihood of a job at the end of a degree is difficult for everyone, however with medicine degrees the jobs can be difficult to find. It all depends on what you’re goals are and what you want to do.

You can find a number of jobs related to your degree, including:

  • General practice doctor
  • Hospital doctor
  • Physician associate
  • Healthcare scientist, genetics
  • Health service manager
  • Health promotion specialist
  • International aid/development worker
  • Research scientist (life sciences)
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Management consultant
  • Science writer

In order to take these jobs, you will be required to do additional training as well as these jobs require a lot of preparation and specific skills that are not taught at an undergraduate level, which may mean you need to study a postgraduate course too.

For many of these careers, you will also be expected to do plenty of training as well. This means having to do work placements or having to work on a ward for a minimum of two years prior to becoming fully qualified in any of these jobs.

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