The practice of Medicine offers a breadth of experiences that it is impossible to find in any other subject. Every day brings different patients with different needs. It’s a great choice for scientists who strive to understand and apply research findings to improve the lives of the patients in their care. It offers a meaningful career that is prestigious, secure and relatively well paid. However, practising Medicine can be arduous, stressful, frustrating and bureaucratic and it’s not suited to everyone. You need to be sure that Medicine is the right choice for you. These pages will help you work that out, but there’s no better way to find out for sure than by gaining insight of medical practice by seeing it in action and talking to those who provide healthcare. Studying Medicine because that is what is expected of you is never a good idea: make sure that your motives for choosing to do so are well reasoned.
The Medicine course at Oxford provides a well-rounded intellectual training with particular emphasis on the basic science research that underpins medicine. We have retained a distinct three-year pre-clinical stage that includes studying towards a BA Honours degree in Medical Sciences, followed by a three-year clinical stage.
The Medical School at Oxford is relatively small, allowing students and staff to get to know one another and benefit from a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
A vast array of speciality training pathways is available after obtaining a medical qualification: ranging from General Practice or emergency medicine through obstetrics or ophthalmology to paediatrics or psychiatry.
Of course, you need not remain confined to the clinic, ward or the operating theatre: the lecture theatre or the laboratory could also beckon. Some of our graduates end up leading the education of the next generation of doctors or directing biomedical research. You don’t need to know right now what you want to do when you qualify: the Medical School organises careers sessions for final-year clinical students and helps students learn about and apply for foundation house officer posts.
BM BCh graduates are entitled to provisional registration with the General Medical Council (GMC) with a licence to practise, subject to demonstrating to the GMC that their fitness to practise is not impaired.
Tzveta is currently training to be an oncologist. She says: ‘Many universities can teach you how to be a foundation doctor. Oxford taught me how to work through problems carefully and logically from first principles, and gave me the theoretical grounding to be able to do so. I had the opportunity to read key papers in my subject, then discuss them with the academics who had published them. Most importantly, Oxford taught me that I was capable of much more than I imagined or believed. Though I have gone from essay crises to night shifts, from finals to Royal College exams, the focused determination it instilled within me remains, driving me through any challenges faced along the way.’
Kanmin graduated from pre-clinical medicine in 2003. He is now a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Academic Clinical Lecturer in ophthalmology at the University of Oxford, undergoing 50:50 surgical retina fellowship training and translational research into gene therapy for inherited retinal diseases. Kanmin says: ‘The weekly essays and tutorials with world-leading academics in the colleges were an invaluable experience. In those intimate ‘mind sparring’ exercises, you go beyond the standard curriculum and probe the boundaries of the fundamental science behind modern medicine. In this way, Oxford nurtures not only sound medical practitioners but also future explorers and leaders in medicine… Of course, studying medicine at Oxford involves a lot of hard work. But the opportunities are also there to take part in the most vibrant student society/club life, whatever your hobby or background.’
The pre-clinical stage
Applicants are initially admitted to the pre-clinical stage of the course.
The first five terms of this course are devoted to the First BM. This addresses not only much of the science that underpins Medicine, but also the clinical problems that arise when systems fail. Students are introduced to the major systems of the body and study all aspects of their structure and function in health and also the principles of disease processes. Students are encouraged to develop an enquiring approach and to consider the experimental basis of the science in the course. Matters of clinical relevance are illustrated from the outset with students making regular visits to GP tutors.
The First BM is followed by a four-term BA Honours course (the Final Honour School) in Medical Sciences. Students specialise in an area of biomedical science selected from a range of options. They will become adept at working from primary research literature, and will be encouraged to think both critically and creatively. Students will gain in-depth knowledge of their chosen option, as well as advanced technical skills at the laboratory bench and in scientific data handling and presentation.
The Principles of Clinical Anatomy course, delivered at the end of the third year, is designed to teach students clinically relevant aspects of anatomy that will be of immediate use in their clinical years.
Teaching methods and study support
During the pre-clinical stage of the course, the college tutorial system is a central feature: students see their tutors and are taught weekly in groups often as small as two. This teaching can be tailored to individuals’ needs and interests. Most University lectures, seminars and practical classes take place in the Medical Sciences Teaching Centre in the Science Area. Lecturers are drawn from Oxford’s extensive preclinical and clinical departments, all of which have international reputations for excellence in research, and the courses are organised on an interdisciplinary basis so as to emphasise the interrelatedness of all aspects of the curriculum.
In addition to taking written and computer-based examinations, and submitting practical reports and an extended essay, students undertake a research project as part of their BA course. This will be in a field of interest to the student, and will offer valuable first-hand experience of scientific research. Students have the opportunity to undertake research in a laboratory from a wide range of departments within the Medical Sciences Division.
Please note that the number of international fee status medical students at each medical school in the UK is subject to a government quota: currently this is 14.
A typical weekly timetable
During the First BM, lectures and practicals occupy about half of the time, and the remainder is free for tutorial work, self-directed study and extracurricular activities. During the BA course, formal lecturing is kept to a minimum, and students are mostly free to pursue their research and to prepare for tutorials and seminars. Strong academic support ensures that students manage their time effectively.
|First BM Part 1: Terms 1–3|
|First BM Part 2: Terms 4–5|
|Final Honour School in Medical Sciences: Terms 6–9|
The content and format of this course may change in some circumstances. Read further information about potential course changes.
Progress to clinical training
At the start of the third year students can apply to the Oxford Clinical School or one of the London Medical Schools to undertake their clinical training.
The standard course (A100)
- A-levels: A*AA in three A-levels (excluding Critical Thinking and General Studies) taken in one academic year. Candidates are required to achieve at least a grade A in both Chemistry and at least one of Biology, Physics or Mathematics.
- Advanced Highers: AA (taken in one academic year and to include Chemistry, plus Biology or Mathematics or Physics). Highers: AAAAA (taken in one academic year).
- IB: 39 (including core points) with 766 at HL. Candidates are required to take Chemistry and a second science (Biology or Physics) and/or Mathematics to Higher Level.
- Other qualifications: Other national and international qualifications are also acceptable. Please see our website for further guidance. Any candidate in doubt as to their academic eligibility for this course is strongly encouraged to seek advice by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that we have no preference for whether the third or fourth A-level subject (or further subject in equivalent qualifications) is a science or not. We expect you to have taken and passed any practical component in your chosen science subjects.
Level of attainment in Science and Mathematics
There are no formal GCSE requirements for Medicine. However, in order to be adequately equipped for the BMAT (see www.bmat.org.uk) and for the academic demands of the course, and if Biology, Physics or Mathematics have not been taken to A-level (or equivalent), applicants will need to have received a basic education in those subjects (for example at least a grade C/4 at GCSE, Intermediate 2 or Standard grade (Credit) or equivalent; the GCSE Dual Award Combined Sciences is also appropriate).
Students with degrees may apply for the standard course. There are no places specifically reserved for graduates, and there is no separate application process. Graduates are in open competition with school-leavers, and need to fulfil the same entrance requirements.
The accelerated (graduate entry) course (A101)
The course is open only to graduates in applied and experimental science, including bioscience, chemistry, experimental physics and engineering. See further details.
All candidates must also take the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) as part of their application. Please see how to apply for further details. No student is admitted without interview. Any shortlisted candidate, including those from overseas, will be expected to come to Oxford for interview in December.
Successful candidates must meet our requirements for health and fitness to practise.
Oxford University is committed to recruiting the best and brightest students from all backgrounds. We offer a generous package of financial support to Home/EU students from lower-income households. (UK nationals living in the UK are usually Home students.) Fees and living costs information for 2018 entrants will be published on this page from September 2017.
These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2017.
|Fee status||Pre-clinical tuition fee||College fee||Total annual fees|
(Channel Islands and Isle of Man)
Pre-clinical fees are charged in years 1, 2 and 3 of the standard course (A100) and in year 1 of the Accelerated (Graduate Entry) course (A101), although there are clinical elements of study throughout the Accelerated course.
Fees for the later years have not yet been confirmed but please note that these may be different from the pre-clinical fees. Clinical fees are charged in years 4 to 6 of the standard course (A100) and years 2 to 4 of the Accelerated (Graduate Entry) course (A101). As a guide, these are the annual fees for students who will complete the pre-clinical stage of their course and progress to the clinical years in 2017:
|Fee status||Clinical tuition fee||College fee||Total annual fees|
(Channel Islands and Isle of Man)
(Figure still an estimate, to be confirmed by the Islands governments.)
EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.
Living costs for the academic year starting in 2017 are estimated to be between £1,002 and £1,471 for each month you are in Oxford. Our academic year is made up of three eight-week terms, so you would not usually need to be in Oxford for much more than six months of the year but may wish to budget over a nine-month period to ensure you also have sufficient funds during the holidays to meet essential costs. For further details please visit our living costs webpage.
A full loan is available from the UK government to cover tuition fees for Home (UK)/EU students undertaking their first undergraduate degree*, so you don’t need to pay your tuition fees up front.
In 2017 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to those on a family income of £42,875 or less, with additional opportunities available to those from households with incomes of £16,000 or less. This support is available in addition to the government living costs support. See further details.
Islands students are entitled to different support to that of students from the rest of the UK.
Please refer the links below for information on the support to you available from your funding agency:
Please refer to the "Other Scholarships" section of our Oxford support page.
*If you have studied at undergraduate level before and completed your course, you will be classed as an Equivalent or Lower Qualification student (ELQ) and won’t be eligible to receive government or Oxford funding
Additional Fees and Charges Information for Medicine
In the third term of year 2 students who undertake a research project may wish to remain in Oxford after the end of full term to facilitate completion of their project. However, this extended residence in Oxford is not a requirement. Students should be aware that no financial support is available to help with any additional living costs during this time.
Students in the Clinical School study for extended terms. You will need to budget for higher living costs in these three years, as you will be required to be in Oxford for longer than the standard terms. (See the likely range of living costs for an additional month in Oxford.)
- Year 1 – 40 weeks
- Year 2 – 48 weeks
- Year 3 – 48 weeks, including 10 weeks elective study (see below)
For more information about fees and funding for this course, please see Funding for UK/EU Medical Students.
Graduate Entry Medicine (A101)
Graduate Entry Medicine students study for extended terms. You will therefore need to budget for higher living costs, as you will be required to be in Oxford for longer than the standard terms. (See the likely range of living costs for an additional month in Oxford.)
- Year 1 – 30 weeks
- Year 2 – 40 weeks
- Year 3 – 48 weeks
- Year 4 – 48 weeks, including 10 weeks elective study (see below)
For more information about fees and funding for this course, please see http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/fees-and-funding/oxford-support/funding-for-medical-students
Each final year student has a period of 10 weeks for elective study within the overall 48 weeks of the course. (This is year 6 for A100 students, and year 4 for A101 students.) Your elective study may be conducted Oxford, elsewhere in the UK, or anywhere in the world provided the content of the placement is appropriate experience for medicine. Approval must be granted by the Director of Clinical Studies. A student who stays in Oxford for their elective would be expected to incur no additional costs apart from their living costs. Many students opt to travel outside the UK in which case the additional cost is on average around £3,000, but may be lower or higher depending on location (very occasionally a student has spent up to £9,000.) Students who have not completed the core training in clinical medicine may be required to follow a prescribed course of study in Oxford for all or part of their 10 week elective instead of arranging a placement. There are opportunities to apply for additional financial support which varies depending on the destination proposed. This support is usually around £300 to £500 towards travel costs.
All candidates must follow the application procedure as shown in applying to Oxford. The information below gives specific details for students applying for this course. Please note the closing date for applications for all Medicine courses is 15 October 2017.
All candidates must take the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) in their own school or college or other approved test centre on Thursday 2 November 2017. Please note, the University of Oxford will not accept BMAT results from the September sitting for A100 Medicine. Candidates must make sure they are available to take the test on 2 November. Separate registration for this test is required. The standard deadline for registration is Sunday 1 October 2017. Late registrations are accepted up until Sunday 15 October 2017 but there is an additional fee for this. It is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they are registered for this test. We strongly recommend making the arrangements in plenty of time before the deadline. Further information about all our written tests can be found on our tests page and details about the BMAT can be found on the Biomedical Admissions Test website.
Candidates may choose either the September or November sitting of the BMAT. Test-takers must not take the test twice in one application round. Further information about all our written tests can be found on our tests page and details about the BMAT can be found on the Biomedical Admissions Test website.
You do not need to submit any written work when you apply for this course.
Please note that competition to study Medicine at Oxford is particularly strong and only around 425 applicants are shortlisted for interview each year. Applicants are shortlisted for interview on the basis of BMAT performance, GCSE performance (if applicable) and other information on their application.
Students are selected for their scientific ability and for their aptitude for Medicine. Applicants are expected to show that they have a realistic understanding of what a medical career will involve, and that they have the potential to become effective and caring doctors. All colleges use a common set of selection criteria that relate to academic potential and suitability for Medicine. For further information about selection criteria, please see the Medical School website.
Applicants are free to make reference to skills or experience acquired in any context to illustrate how they might fulfil the selection criteria; sometimes candidates refer to voluntary work and other extra-curricular activities, but many forms of evidence can help demonstrate to tutors that a candidate has made an informed decision regarding their own suitability to study Medicine.
No student is admitted without interview. Any shortlisted candidate, including those from overseas, will be expected to come to Oxford for interview in December.
All colleges use a common set of selection criteria that relate to academic potential and suitability for medicine.
Oxford conforms to the UK Department of Health’s requirements regarding immunisation status (hepatitis, BCG and rubella) and the GMC’s conditions on Fitness to Practise, and a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service check. Students may be refused entry to, or be removed from, the University’s Register of Medical Students on grounds that may be either academic or non-academic (for instance health or conduct). Applicants should be aware that some practical studies involving living animal tissue are an obligatory component of the course.
Students must be 18 years of age at the time they start this degree course. The clinical contact in our programme starts in the first term and means that younger students would not be able to take part in required elements of the course. Your application will not be shortlisted unless you will be at least 18 years old by 1 November in your first term.
Watch a series of short videos of students talking about some aspect of their time at Oxford.
'I was attracted to the strong scientific grounding of the Oxford medical course. The Pre-clinical course enables you to gain in-depth knowledge of the science behind clinical practice while experiencing the primary scientific research that fuels medical progression. The first year encompasses organisation of the body and so includes dissection – an incredibly useful tool in learning anatomy! Being lectured by people who are world leaders in their field is awe-inspiring and gives an edge to my learning. I’m currently in my third year and love the freedom and self-direction of my research project. I am developing skills as a scientist which will be useful in clinical practice, while also getting to grips with topics that fascinate me. I’m doing an option called ‘Infection and immunity’, and love being able to trace current developments in the field and apply them to potential future therapeutic applications. There is also a clinical aspect provided by the doctor-patient course. I found this valuable in helping me to develop good communication skills, as I learnt how to take patient histories and interact with patients under the guidance of a practising GP.'
He now works in the field of biotechnology. He says:
‘Although I studied medicine as an undergraduate and qualified as a doctor in 2004, I have not remained working in clinical medicine in the NHS, instead building my career in small high-growth biotechnology companies in the UK, California, and France. My time as an undergraduate at Oxford was hugely influential in seizing interesting scientific and business opportunities well outside the boundaries of a typical medical career in the NHS.’
The most unexpected thing about my course:
'Writing essays. I wasn't expecting to be writing as many as I did (two or three a week) but find them a good way to solidify my knowledge.'
I wish they'd told me when I was applying to university...
'That tutorials are by far the most helpful thing and they are rare in universities around the country. Also, the number of opportunities that are available to you at Oxford.'
The best thing that Oxford did for me:
'Friends - the people here are amazing and you can have fascinating chats with them. Events are really fun in Oxford and they are often in venues that you know have so much history.'
My favourite Oxford memory is...
'Doing the charity Jailbreak event, when me and my friend hitchhiked from Oxford to Dover, Brighton and then back again.'
The most unexpected thing about my course:
'I was surprised by how relaxed the tutors were. I was expecting tutorials to be official, scary and have a general feeling of impending doom about them! But practically straight away I found that my tutors were people I could easily talk to about anything at all, and they had absolutely no problem with me saying outright that I was clueless about certain topics. I've even had chocolates, cakes and wine during tutorials - supplied by my very tutors themselves!'
I wish they'd told me when I was applying to university...
'Well, in terms of Oxford I wish that I'd been told about how varied the people really are. Open days and interviews don't give an accurate representation, as the other students who are attending are always a bit more reserved than they would usually be. I was actually tempted to choose to go to UCL because I was extremely concerned that I would be too different to everyone at Oxford in terms of my sense of humour and general whimsicality to make any friends at all. Luckily, I chose Oxford and am so glad that I did because I couldn't imagine having better friends!'
The best thing that Oxford did for me:
'I'm a Moritz-Heyman Scholar, so probably that. Money has always been an ongoing problem throughout my life and no one really wants to ask when they need help. It's meant that I can afford to do everything that my peers are doing and experience Oxford to the fullest. Also, the scholarship requires me to undertake a level of voluntary work, which is great because it's forced me to look into the Oxford Hub, through which I've made more friends and had some really fun experiences.'
My favourite Oxford memory is...
'Oh gosh, there are so many... I would say nights out because I love experiencing the nightlife. But Medics' Dinner was amazing: a completely free, three-course meal with wine with all the other medics at my college and tutors.'
The Key Information Sets provide a lot of numbers about the Oxford experience – but there is so much about what you get here that numbers can’t convey. It’s not just the quantity of the Oxford education that you need to consider, there is also the quality – let us tell you more.
Oxford’s tutorial system
Regular tutorials, which are the responsibility of the colleges, are the focal point of teaching and learning at Oxford. The tutorial system is one of the most distinctive features of an Oxford education: it ensures that students work closely with tutors throughout their undergraduate careers, and offers a learning experience which is second to none.
A typical tutorial is a one-hour meeting between a tutor and one, two, or three students to discuss reading and written work that the students have prepared in advance. It gives students the chance to interact directly with tutors, to engage with them in debate, to exchange ideas and argue, to ask questions, and of course to learn through the discussion of the prepared work. Many tutors are world-leaders in their fields of research, and Oxford undergraduates frequently learn of new discoveries before they are published.
Each student also receives teaching in a variety of other ways, depending on the course. This will include lectures and classes, and may include laboratory work and fieldwork. But the tutorial is the place where all the elements of the course come together and make sense. Meeting regularly with the same tutor – often weekly throughout the term – ensures a high level of individual attention and enables the process of learning and teaching to take place in the context of a student’s individual needs.
The tutorial system also offers the sustained commitment of one or more senior academics – as college tutors – to each student’s progress. It helps students to grow in confidence, to develop their skills in analysis and persuasive argument, and to flourish as independent learners and thinkers.
The benefits of the college system
- Every Oxford student is a member of a college. The college system is at the heart of the Oxford experience, giving students the benefits of belonging to both a large and internationally renowned university and a much smaller, interdisciplinary, college community.
- Each college brings together academics, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and college staff. The college gives its members the chance to be part of a close and friendly community made up of both leading academics and students from different subjects, year groups, cultures and countries. The relatively small size of each college means that it is easy to make friends and contribute to college life. There is a sense of belonging, which can be harder to achieve in a larger setting, and a supportive environment for study and all sorts of other activities.
- Colleges organise tutorial teaching for their undergraduates, and one or more college tutors will oversee and guide each student’s progress throughout his or her career at Oxford. The college system fosters a sense of community between tutors and students, and among students themselves, allowing for close and supportive personal attention to each student’s academic development.
It is the norm that undergraduates live in college accommodation in their first year, and in many cases they will continue to be accommodated by their college for the majority or the entire duration of their course. Colleges invest heavily in providing an extensive range of services for their students, and as well as accommodation colleges provide food, library and IT resources, sports facilities and clubs, drama and music, social spaces and societies, access to travel or project grants, and extensive welfare support. For students the college often becomes the hub of their social, sporting and cultural life.