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Easy GEM universities

Graduate entry medicine (GEM) is a route offered to applicants who want to apply to medical school in the UK and already hold a previous degree. Typically, GEM courses are accelerated and so are only 4 years rather than the undergraduate 5 or 6 year programs. The program is geared towards individuals who are mature and want to move into medicine for their career, and so the programs are usually open to applicants with any previous degrees with no pre-requisite requirements for courses, with the exception of a few medical schools outlined below. That means that you can apply to graduate medicine whether you studied biomedical sciences, music, or law in your undergraduate degree. The course will have a mixture of ages, with some students joining the program right after their undergrad, while others spent time in an alternative career not even related to medicine.

GEM programs are great for people who may not have gotten accepted into medical school their first try, or are determined to change careers later in life. The UK currently only has 16 graduate medicine programs, as not every medical school offers one. Because of this, graduate medicine can be more competitive than undergraduate programs are, as there are far fewer spaces available. Usually, GEM programs will ask their applicants for a previous degree and a specific entry exam (UCAT, BMAT, or GAMSAT). Different programs will have different requirements for the previous degree type, the grade achieved in that degree, the entry exam, and the score achieved in that exam, and relevant work experience.

When applying for GEM programs, it's crucial to be fully aware of all you need to increase your chances of receiving an offer, and then apply strategically. This article will answer the question, what are the easiest GEM universities to get into? To answer this question, we will be broadly looking at the entrance requirements as well as available statistics on competition ratios for each GEM school.

Medical schoolEntry requirementsCompetition
University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine2.1 degree in any disciplineAAA at a-levelC Maths & English GCSENo admissions testOn average, 15 applicants per place.In 2021:591 applicants46 offers
Cardiff University School of Medicine2.1 Honours degreeBBB/ABC at a-level9 GCSE's with 6/BUCAT (no minimum score)10 places per feeder programme.On average, 4 applicants per placeIn 2019:60 applicants18 interviews15 offers
University of Chester Medical School2.1 BSc or 2.2 Masters/PHDNo A-level or GCSE requirementsUCATNo data available
King's College London School of Medical Education2.1 in bioscience subjectNo a-level or GCSE requirementsUCATOn average, 193.4 applicants per placeIn 2021:1547 applicants9 offers8 acceptancesIn 2019:1404 applicants45 offers29 acceptances
Newcastle University Medical School2.1 Honours or masters or HCP with post-registration qualificationNo A-level or GCSE requirementsUCAT (average 3106)On average, 35 applicants per placeIn 2021:1034 applicants97 interview48 offers
University of Nottingham Medical School2.2 minimumNo A-level or GCSE requirementsGAMSATOn average, 7 applicants per placeIn 2021:
1061 applicants154 offers115 firm accepts
University of Oxford Medical School2.1 in applied/experimental science degreeAAB at A-levelBMATOn average, 6 applicants per placeIn 2021:230 applicants92 interviewed36 offers
Queen Mary University, Barts and the London School of Medicine2.1 Honours in any subject (previous year no one with 2.1 received offer, only 1st)A-level and GCSE requirements depend on degree subjectUCAT (2940 lowest previous year)On average, 21 applicants per placeIn 2022:1117 applicants112 interviewed52 offers39 places available in 2023
University of Sheffield Medical School2.1 Honours in life scienceBBB at A-level4/C at GCSEUCATOn average, 18 applicants per place250-350 applicants each year15 offers
University of Southampton Faculty of Medicine2.1 Honours degreeNo A-level requirements4/C at GCSEUCAT (average 3060)On average, 19 applicants per placeIn 2021:1575 applicants81 offers
ScotGEM (University of Dundee and University of St Andrews)2.1 Honours degreeB in A-level chemistry5/B in GCSE MathsGAMSAT (57 cut off)On average, 5.6 applicants per placeIn 2022:396 applicants182 interviews70 places
St George's, University of London2.1 Honours degree or post-graduate degree + 2.2 HonoursNo a-level or GCSE requirementsGAMSAT (56 cut off in 2023)On average, 12 applicants per placeIn 2022:1145 applicants274 interviews95 offers
Swansea University Medical School2.1 Bachelors or 2.2 Bachelors with higher degreeNo a-level requirementsC at GCSE Maths & EnglishGAMSATOn average, 8 applicants per placeIn 2019:961 applicants332 interviews136 offers
University of Warwick Medical School2.1 Honours degreeNo a-level or GCSE requirementsUCAT (2860 average)On average, 9 applicants per placeIn 2022:1758 applicants479 interviews248 offers
Three Counties Medical School, University of Worcester2.1 Honours or 2.2 with masters or PHDNo a-level requirementsC in GCSE Maths & EnglishUCAT (2500 average)CASPer if interviewedNo data, new medical school
Ulster University School of Medicine2.1 Honours or masters with 60% overall passNo a-level requirementsB/C in GCSE english/MathsGAMSAT (54 cutoff)In 2021:Number of applicants unavailable250 interviewed74 offers

We will look at the admissions statistics available. Most figures are from the 2021 or 2022 application cycle. Three medical schools did not have the sufficient data to calculate the number of applicants per place (Ulster, Chester, and Three counties), therefore they will be excluded from discussion. Sheffield, ScotGEM, and Oxford receive few applications between 250-400. Cardiff receives the fewest applications, at 60. However, it is important to note that applications to the Sheffield and Cardiff GEM courses are not open to everyone, only those within the criteria are able to apply, which explains the low numbers of applicants. Warwick, Nottingham, and Swansea send out the most offers at 248, 154, and 136 respectively.

Taking a look at the number of applicants per place, the five medical schools with the lowest competition ratios are:

  1. Cardiff - 4 applicants per place
  2. ScotGEM - 5.6 applicants per place
  3. Oxford - 6 applicants per place
  4. Nottingham - 7 applicants per place
  5. Swansea - 9 applicants per place

Answering which GEM course is easiest to get into is not as simple as looking at the competition ratios. We need to delve into the entry requirements for these five universities as receiving an offer does not automatically mean you are in, you must meet the criteria of your offer. As stated previously, Cardiff is only open to applicants fulfilling certain criteria and therefore may not be an option for many of you. The degree requirements for Nottingham are the lowest with a 2.2 Honours degree being the minimum accepted. The rest require a 2.1 Honours or 2.2 with Masters or PHD. Oxford has the highest A-level requirements of AAB, whereas Nottingham and Swansea have no A-level requirements. Cardiff has the highest GCSE requirements with 9 B's whereas Nottingham and Oxford have no GCSE requirements. Swansea, Nottingham and ScotGEM require the GAMSAT, whereas Oxford requires BMAT, and Cardiff requires UCAT.

Whilst some universities may be easier to get into than others, they are all nonetheless a great and difficult achievement. Overall, taking into account both the competitiveness and entrance criteria, we can conclude that GEM at Nottingham is perhaps the easiest course to get into due to its comparatively low competition ratio of 6 applicants per place, low entrance requirements of 2.2 Honours degree, no A-level or GCSE requirements, and attainable GAMSAT requirement. Following Nottingham are ScotGEM, Swansea, and Cardiff. Oxford, despite having a low competition ratio, is likely more difficult due to the higher academic requirements.

Written by Hiba Al-Bahrani