Return to blog

Gaining admission to medical school is a challenging endeavor for any student, but international students face additional hurdles when applying to medical schools in the United Kingdom. Application ratios become far more competitive, and an international applicant has a just under 6% chance of getting in to medical school. Check here for some guidance on how to navigate the medical school application process as an international applicant. Here are some of the main challenges and considerations for international students aspiring to study medicine in the UK:

1. Academic Requirements

UK medical schools have stringent academic requirements. International students need to ensure their qualifications are equivalent to the UK's A-levels. This often means obtaining high grades in science subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, and sometimes Mathematics or Physics.

2. English Language Proficiency

Proficiency in English is crucial. International students must usually provide proof of their English language skills through exams like the IELTS or TOEFL. High scores are typically required to ensure that students can cope with the rigorous demands of medical education.

3. Entrance Exams

Most UK medical schools require students to take entrance exams such as the UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test). These exams assess a range of skills including logical reasoning, problem-solving, and scientific knowledge. Preparation for these exams can be intensive and challenging.

4. Competition

Competition for places at UK medical schools is exceptionally high. Many more students apply than there are places available. International students often face even stiffer competition due to limited places allocated specifically for them.

5. Financial Considerations

Studying medicine in the UK is expensive. International students are usually required to pay higher tuition fees than domestic students. Additionally, they need to consider living expenses, which can be substantial. Scholarships and financial aid options may be limited for international students.

6. Visa and Immigration

Securing a student visa is a crucial step for international applicants. The visa process can be complicated and requires careful planning. Students must demonstrate they have sufficient funds to cover their tuition fees and living costs for the duration of their studies.

7. Adapting to a New Environment

Moving to a new country involves significant cultural and social adjustments. International students must adapt to a new education system, a different way of life, and possibly a different climate. This can be challenging and requires resilience and support.

8. Support Systems

While many UK universities offer support services for international students, it is essential for students to actively seek out and utilize these resources. Support may include language assistance, academic advising, and mental health services.


Despite these challenges, many international students successfully gain admission to UK medical schools each year. Thorough preparation, a strong academic record, and a proactive approach to overcoming obstacles can greatly enhance an international student's chances of success. With determination and the right support, international students can pursue and achieve their dream of studying medicine in the UK. Future Doc’s 1 ON 1 coaching program can help make sure you’re as prepared as can be for your application as an international applicant.

Written by Hiba Al-Bahrani