Subject Guide

Medicine Degree

Uni Compare  · Nov 30th 2021

Medicine, in simple terms, is concerned with knowing how to heal the sick.


When you complete a degree in medicine, there are a number of career routes you can follow and routes towards studying, such as a distance learning medicine degree or a foundation degree in medicine; you might even study an undergraduate degree with a medicine degree with foundation year. The most popular path, by far, is to go on to further study in order to specialise in a specific role (such as a GP or radiologist), though there are alternative options for jobs involving a medicine degree university.

Medicine degree

What to do with a medicine degree

While most medical graduates take up a job in the NHS and remain in the NHS until retirement, this may not suit everyone or all degree types, like a fast track medicine degree. Alternatives include using your knowledge of treatments and pharmaceuticals to become a medical sales representative, which would provide variety and travel rather than a fixed workplace.

Additionally, that medical expertise could come in very helpful if you take on a year’s legal training to become a legal advisor for medicine (or if you took medicine as a second degree and already have a law qualification). Similarly, if you have writing experience, you might consider becoming a health writer.

Perhaps the idea of lab work is more appealing than treating patients, in which case you could take up the reins investigating diseases and exploring new treatments as a healthcare scientist or genetic scientist. Finally, the skills you have developed on your medicine degree UK, such as compassion, medical knowledge, communication skills and team work, could be an excellent starting point for a career in politics or in international aid.

What can you do with a medicine degree?

Is there a doctor in the house? For those of you determined to become a doctor (after conquering the medicine degree entry requirements, knuckling down for 4-8 years (longer if it’s also including a foundation medicine degree) and setting your heart on healing people), there are numerous different roles available in NHS or private practice.

First, think about the type of setting that appeals to you for day-to-day work. Would you work best in a fixed environment, building relationships with the same patients over a number of years? A GP practice is ideal for this. Do you love the hustle and bustle of an ever-changing environment, and want to help patients experiencing more serious illnesses or injuries? A hospital setting ticks this box. Do you thrive under high pressure environments and want to save lives on a daily basis? An A&E department awaits.

After your first degree in medicine, you’ll go on to specialise so that you can work in the field of your interest: neurology (the brain), psychiatry (mental health), surgery, paediatrics (children’s health), cardiology (the heart), oncology (cancer), gynaecology (reproductive health), radiology (x rays), anaesthetics, infectious diseases, haematology (blood), ophthalmology (eyes) as well as a herbal medicine degree (or a herbal medicine degree online), alternative medicine degree, sports medicine degree or a intercalated degree medicine… the list goes on and they all have different medicine degree requirements. Doctors have a critical role in society, so the training is complex.

A degree in medicine is an essential path to becoming a doctor, from working at a local surgery or practice, or completing complex operations and becoming a notorious name within your field. Medicine involves the study of human anatomy to the application of treatments, and everything in between. It is responsible for amazing scientific discoveries, the advancement of treatment and research as well as curing those who are ill.

Medicine is only suited for those who have a strong desire career path to become a doctor, physician or to work within medical research.

What A Levels do I need?

Medicine is a tough course to gain admission onto, and most universities require prospective candidates to have science subjects, such as chemistry, biology, physics or mathematics as their prerequisites. Each institution will ask for a variety of grades for entry onto their degree courses, asking for either AAA or A*AA, especially institutions that are part of the Russell Group Universities, where the medicine degree entry requirements UK will change every year. Students are advised to check with their chosen institutions and degree programmes to understand what they need to successfully receive an offer from a university, in terms of UCAS entry points and relevant A-levels.

You can also see our Medicine personal statement examples; these will help you to gain an insight into what you need for your personal statement.

How long is a medicine degree?

As with most degrees, a Medicine degree depends on the type of course you're doing.

For those studying at a postgraduate level, it will take much longer than those studying an undergraduate Medicine degree.

For an undergraduate degree, a medicine degree length usually takes around four years, however, that figure can rise to seven years if the degree is studied further at a postgraduate level.

Medicine degree

What are my study options?

Usually, a degree in medicine will last for five years – which is longer than other standard degrees – and a degree at the University of Oxford will take six years to complete. Contact hours are much higher than other degrees too and can be up to thirty hours per week, like a veterinary medicine degree. This may seem intense; however, lecturers are teaching individuals to become well-trained, knowledgeable and capable assets in the healthcare system.

Programmes usually involve a mixture of theoretical and lab-based learning, including lectures and clinical placements. Students tend to study for the first two years and then move onto shadowing doctors and conducting placements in the second half of the degree.

What should I expect from studying Medicine?

Students may also be able to explore into extra units within health sciences and learn all aspects of the human body and organ systems. Candidates will study core modules from biological molecules, metabolism, genetics and the mechanisms of disease. Modules will cover cellular biology, pathology, biochemistry, epidemiology, public health, statistics, histology physiology and anatomy.

Candidates can choose to specialise their studies and study a Bachelor’s of Science (BSc) (known in this instance as bachelor degree in medicine) degree in cancer studies, and microbiology with immunology, or study an integrated course which includes a Bachelor (undergraduate) and Masters (postgraduate) degree together, for example, in Surgical practice, or dermatology. Students should research the variety of courses at different universities to ensure they choose the right university and course, that suits their needs best. It’s highly recommended that students should visit university open days to get a feel for surroundings.

How will I be assessed?

Students will be assessed via a range of means across the years of study, from practical anatomy assessments, online tests, written assignments, presentations, simulation exercises and a practical portfolio.

What skills will I learn from studying Medicine?

Individuals who study medicine will learn many practical skills in treating illnesses, diseases and conditions that are concerned with the human body, as well as understanding drugs and medicines and how they interact with the body as well as each other.

While most medical graduates take up a job in the NHS and remain in the NHS until retirement, this may not suit everyone or all degree types, like a fast track medicine degree.

Why study Medicine?

Medicine is only suited for those who have a strong desire career path to become a doctor, physician or to work within medical research. It isn’t suited for someone who is squeamish or who don’t like the sight of blood. Studying this area will be incredibly tough, but also rewarding and satisfying.

Medicine degree funding (and funding medicine as a second degree) is also made easier with the help of things like the NHS bursary which will help you a lot, there is also funding for medicine as a second degree, although there are not many ways to get a complementary medicine degree.

What happens after I graduate?

Graduates tend to end up working for the National Health Service (NHS) in junior doctor roles, and then after experience and training can specialise in specific areas, such as radiology. Other options include starting a career in psychiatry or to continue studying at university and join the field of biomedical research.

Will it help me get a job?

The skills gained from studying Medicine at university allows students to carry them through employment and other areas of their life, from research, communication, and presentation to practical skills and the ability to work under pressure. These skills are highly sought after in any employment sector, especially in healthcare.

What types of jobs can I get from studying Medicine?

Specific jobs include hospital Doctor, General Practitioner (GP), health service management, a genetic scientist, consultancy, scientific research, teaching and lecturing, journalism and solicitor.

What can I study after Medicine?

Masters programmes are available for candidates who wish to continue their studies after graduating, including clinical practice, neonatal nursing, blood science, advanced audiology, cardiac care and cancer studies.

Famous Medicine studies alumni

Actor Ken Jeong, known for his role in The Hangover and the TV show Community completed his Doctor of Medicine degree (a little bit different from a degree in medicine UK) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill prior to his claim to fame and the comedy genre.

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