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10 Medical Schools With High GCSE Requirements

10 Medical Schools With High GCSE Requirements

Updated on: December 3, 2023
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Written By Dr Ollie

Every article is fact-checked by a medical professional. However, inaccuracies may still persist.

This is a list of medical schools that all have high GCSE requirements- making them potentially good universities to apply to if you have good GCSEs.

In order to maximise your chances of getting an offer for medicine, it’s all about applying tactically.

This means if you have a strong selection of high GCSE grades, you might want to consider applying to one of these medical schools that have high GCSE requirements- in order to really play to your strengths as an applicant.

Alternatively, you can find a list of medical schools with low GCSE requirements here.

University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham was established in 1900 and was one of the first English civic or ‘red brick’ universities.

Birmingham has a tradition of innovation and research, with a green and spacious campus located just minutes from the city centre.

As a result of its research excellence, Birmingham has made significant contributions to various fields, including cancer research, energy, and environmental sciences.

It also has an incredibly diverse student community with over 10,000 students from more than 150 countries, in part translating to a high-quality academic experience with a focus on independent thinking.

GCSE Requirements

7 GCSEs including a minimum of grade 6 in English Language, Maths, Biology and Chemistry or dual award science.

Birmingham score seven of your GCSEs, including English (both English Language and English Literature), Mathematics, Biology and Chemistry (or dual award science), plus two additional GCSEs in any subject.

You get 4 points for an 8 or a 9/A*, 2 points for a 7/A, and 1 point for a 6/B.

For each of the two unspecified subjects, a score of 2 is allocated for an 8 or 9/A*, but lower grades don’t get any points.

This total GCSE score is then scaled to a maximum of 4.5, which is fed into a calculation for every applicant’s overall score.

The overall scores are weighted as 45% for academics, 40% for the UCAT and 15% for contextual circumstances.

University of East Anglia

The University of East Anglia (UEA) is a highly-ranked campus university set in acres of beautiful parkland on the outskirts of Norwich city.

The university is known for its innovative approach to teaching, research excellence, and commitment to sustainability.

Norwich Cathedral: If you have good GCSEs you may want to apply to UEA

It has won numerous awards for its green initiatives, including the prestigious Green Flag Award for its beautiful campus.

The university has produced several notable alumni, including Booker Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro, actress Olivia Colman, and actor Matt Smith.

GCSE Requirements

6 GCSEs at grade 7 or above, including Mathematics and two science subjects or (double science). GCSE English Language grade 6.

As medical schools go, UEA has relatively high GCSE requirements.

If you’re not able to meet the required standard at the time of your application, you have to be able to show that you’re actively resitting them and are predicted to achieve the required grades.

Once you’ve met the GCSE benchmark for UEA however, they don’t play a massive part in the selection process for interviews.

Instead, candidates are ranked in order of their overall UCAT scores and a top portion invited to interview.

This overall score is then used alongside a candidate’s interview score to rank and select applicants to whom an offer is made.

Keele University

Keele University is located in Staffordshire and was established in 1949. It was the first ‘new’ university of the 20th century and remains true to its original mission today.

The university occupies a 620-acre rural campus close to the village of Keele and comprises extensive woodland, lakes, and parkland.

It has a vibrant student life, with over 150 student societies and a thriving sports scene- so you should always be able to find like-minded students.

Keele University also offers a wide range of accommodation options, including on-campus and off-campus housing, to suit the needs of its diverse student population.

GCSE Requirements

Minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade 7 or higher; at least 6s in English Language, Maths and sciences.

For Keele, you need to meet all the GCSE (or equivalent) prerequisites prior to submitting your application.

The sole exemption to this is for Access to HE candidates, who have the option to fulfil GCSE English Language and Maths requirements within the same academic year of their application.

For home applicants (I.e. not internationals), shortlisting for interview is based on a combination of UCAT scores and the UCAS personal statement.

This means as long as you reach the GCSE minimum requirements, they don’t directly influence whether or not you’re invited to interview.

Lancaster University

Established in 1964, Lancaster University is one of the newer universities in the UK but has quickly gained a reputation for academic excellence and research innovation.

The university has a strong focus on interdisciplinary research and collaboration, with several research centres and institutes dedicated to addressing global challenges.

Lancaster’s commitment to providing a supportive and inclusive environment is evident through its student-focused approach and numerous support services.

The university’s engagement with local communities and global partnerships further enrich the educational experience, fostering a sense of global citizenship among its students.

GCSE Requirements

Minimum of 8 GCSEs, including English language, Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Lancaster actually uses a scoring system for your GCSEs where A*-A or 7-9 = 2 points; B or 6 = 1 point.

From 8 of your GCSEs, you need to score at least 13 points to progress in the application process.

In a similar vein to Keele University, once you’ve met Lancaster’s minimum GCSE requirements, your application progresses to the next stages without further consideration of them.

For Lancaster, this means being ranked by your BMAT score and then being invited to interview according to how well you do compared to all the other applicants.

University of Lincoln

Lincoln Medical School is a partnership between the University of Nottingham and the University of Lincoln, offering undergraduate medical education in Lincolnshire, England.

Established in 2019, the medical school aims to train more UK doctors and improve healthcare in the region.

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The curriculum and the structure of the course are equivalent to the Nottingham Medical School ones, and students gain a BMedSci degree in their third year at Lincoln.

The course is predominantly taught at the University of Lincoln’s Brayford Pool campus, which offers new medical school buildings equipped with lecture theatres, laboratories, simulation facilities, and a prosection anatomy suite.

GCSE Requirements

6 GCSEs at grade 7 or above including Chemistry and Biology plus a minimum of 6 in English Language and Maths.

If you’re applying to Lincoln with a degree, you additionally need to have achieved at least a level 4 (C) in maths and English language.

Lincoln actually uses the same selection process as Nottingham, due to the fact that their medical school is an offshoot of Nottingham’s curriculum.

They score your highest eight GCSEs, awarding 4 points for a 9/A, 3 points for an 8, 2 for a 7/A and 1 point for a 6/B.

This GCSE score is then combined with a scoring system used to evaluate your UCAT score, with this overall score used to rank and select candidates for interview.

University of Liverpool

Established in 1881, Liverpool is one of the original ‘red brick’ universities and has a long tradition of academic excellence and research innovation.

It has produced nine Nobel Prize winners in the fields of science, medicine, economics, and peace. 

The medical school is known for its innovative approach to teaching, with a strong emphasis on problem-solving and practical skills.

GCSE Requirements

A minimum of 9 GCSEs.

Liverpool requires a minimum score of 15 points from your 9 best GCSEs or equivalents (where A*/A/7/8/9 = 2 points; B/6 = 1 point).

Candidates are first ranked by order of their admission test results (which will be the UCAT for non-graduate applicants), with a top portion invited to interview.

However, Liverpool does explicitly state that “for non-graduate applicants applying to the A100 programme, preference may be given to applicants offering higher GCSE scores if borderline decisions need to be made.”

Not only this, but when deciding who to give offers to Liverpool look at a combination of academic achievement (which will include your GCSEs), admissions tests, interview scores and contextual data.

University of Manchester

Established in 1824, Manchester is one of the largest and most prestigious universities in the UK.

Manchester Medical School is also home to the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, which is a partnership between the university and six NHS organisations.

The school’s affiliations with the big teaching hospitals and clinics in the area provide students with invaluable clinical exposure and hands-on training, fostering their growth as future junior doctors.

GCSE Requirements

7 GCSEs at grade 7+. English Language, Maths and at least two science subjects required at grade 6+.

Manchester’s main selection method for interview is based on applicants’ UCAT scores.

However, in order to get to the stage of having your UCAT score ranked you need to have met Manchester’s minimum academic requirements.

For GCSEs, this is a relatively high bar compared to some of the other medical schools in the UK.

The University of Manchester do accept resits, but if you’re resitting any GCSEs at the point of your application, you have to list it as a pending qualification on your UCAS form.

University of Nottingham

Nottingham is a vibrant and multicultural city, with a rich history, excellent shopping, dining, and entertainment options, and good transport links to other parts of the UK.

The inventor of the MRI scanner, physicist Sir Peter Mansfield, was actually a professor at the University of Nottingham at the time of his seminal work.

If you’re a sportsperson, Nottingham would be an excellent pick as they have state-of-the-art facilities along with a strong reputation for producing successful teams.

GCSE Requirements

6 GCSEs at grade 7 or above including Chemistry and Biology plus a minimum of 6 in English Language and Maths.

As I mentioned above, Nottingham and Lincoln medical schools use the same score system for GCSEs.

That is, a score calculated from your 8 highest GCSEs, awarding 4 points for a 9/A, 3 points for an 8, 2 for a 7/A and 1 point for a 6/B.

This GCSE score is then combined with a score calculated from your UCAT score, the specifics of which you can find on the University of Nottingham’s website.

Nottingham add your calculated GCSE and UCAT scores together in order to rank applicants for interview (there is no fixed threshold).

Queen Mary University

Barts Medical School is a part of Queen Mary University of London and has a rich history dating back to its founding in 1123, making it one of the oldest medical schools in the world.

Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry holds a prestigious place in the history of medical education and continues to be a respected institution, producing highly respected medical professionals.

Queen Mary University is also home to the Barts Cancer Institute and the William Harvey Research Institute, which are internationally renowned research centres in the field of cancer and cardiovascular research, respectively.

GCSE Requirements

777666 required in any order including the following subjects: Biology, Chemistry, English.

Interestingly, at Barts GCSEs are not required for graduates. However, for undergraduates, the bar is set relatively high.

If you meet their minimum requirements, selection for interview is based on a candidate’s UCAT score and UCAS tariff of predicted and achieved grades.

Equally, selection after interviews (i.e. who to give offers to) can take into account every aspect of the application process- UCAT tariff, UCAT score and interview performance.

Therefore, as an applicant, your GCSEs can play a role in your selection at every step of the process at Queen Mary University.

University of Southampton

Southampton is a port city located on the south coast of England, in the county of Hampshire. It has a rich history, having been an important port since Roman times.

The university was a founding member of the Russell Group and has a reputation for research excellence in areas as diverse as public health, allergy, cancer, genomics, osteoporosis and nutrition.

Southampton Medical School is also home to several research centres, including the Cancer Research UK Centre and the Institute for Life Sciences, which are internationally renowned research centres in the field of cancer and biomedical research.

GCSE Requirements

7 GCSEs at grade 6+, including English Language, Maths and either Biology and Chemistry or combined science.

Applicants who satisfy the entry criteria based on attained or projected grades during the application stage are evaluated according to their UCAT scores.

Those with the highest scores are selected for interviews.

While GCSEs don’t play a huge part in the process unlike Barts above, needing to attain 7 subject grades at 6 or above can pose a challenge for a fair chunk of applicants.

Offers are then distributed solely on a candidate’s interview performance.

Final Thoughts

While GCSEs generally are an important part of any medicine application, they’re by no means the whole story.

You’ve also got to consider any entrance exams a university requires, their A-level demands, views on extracurricular activities and the interview process. 

While you should seek to play to your strengths and apply to universities that have high GCSE requirements if you have good GCSEs, it shouldn’t be your only consideration when selecting medical schools.

About the author
After studying medicine at the University of Leicester, Dr Ollie now works as a junior doctor in London. His interests include medical education and expedition medicine, as well as having a strong belief in the importance of widening access to medicine.