HOW TO BECOME A DOCTOR: AberDeen Medical School
The School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, Polwarth Building, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZD
0 1224 437923
Disclaimer: This is Medic Mentor’s Review of Aberdeen Medical School. The information below has been fact-checked via our medical student scholars, the university’s prospectus, website and speaking to the team on the phone. This has been updated to the best of our knowledge in April 2020. We always recommend that you double-check with the university too before applying because course structure and requirements are subject to change.
Considered to be the first medical school in Scotland, founded in 1495, the Aberdeen Medical School includes its very own anatomy museum. The medical curriculum was revised significantly in 2009 and now offers a fresh, innovative approach to studying with high-class facilities and choice of study throughout the programme. The university is set close to the seaside, with neighboring mountains so your extracurricular time can be spent in a multifold of ways! The medical school has an impressive list of famous alumni, including Sir Graeme Catto, GMC president between 2002 – 2009, John James Richard Macleod, one of the discoverers of Insulin and Nobel Prize winner, and Surgeon Major Peter Shepherd, the pioneer of First Aid, delivered to the general public. The MedSoc is the oldest society within the student union, with over 600 members currently, for peer support and a calendar of social events to meet other medical students.
The course style is a systems-based, integrated approach, with a mixture of small group teaching and lectures. Students are taught the human physiology, anatomy and disease process accordingly to build understanding and knowledge. CBL is introduced early on in the first year of study, and continued throughout. In the fourth year of study, students complete nine blocks of placements, each 5 weeks in length. Placements take place at Raigmore Hospital, but students can choose to complete 1 clinical block on the remote and rural pathway. If choosing this option, students will be completing this option, students can expect to accompany GP’s on home visit, skype consultations with patients and accompanying a doctor completing surgery as far north as Caithness, and have an opportunity to learn Winter Mountain Skills as part of this unique option.
Prosection with dissection opportunities offered in a minority of cases. However there is also a state of the art, 3D virtual anatomy resource to aid learning integrated into the timetabled anatomy lectures. In addition, prosected cadaveric specimens are used in teaching, for individual study, the university a large online anatomy resource for all medical school students.
This is optional. Students have until October of third year to decide whether to intercalate in year 4, choosing either of the following pathways;
- BSc (Hons) in Medical Sciences (Medical Humanities)
- BSc (Hons) in Medical Sciences (Honours year)
Students wishing to complete intercalation in year 5 (or in year 4 if you already have an undergraduate degree) have the option to complete a postgraduate Masters degree, choosing either of the following pathways;
- MSc Public Health
- MRes Psychology
- MRes Drug Discovery
- MSc Clinical Pharmacology
- MSc Drug Discovery and Development
- MSc Genetics
- MSc Global Health and Management
- MSc Health Psychology
- MSc Medical Imaging
- MSc Medical Physics
- MSc Human Nutrition
- Msc Stratified Medicine and Pharmacology Innovation
8 weeks in final year and completed at any time throughout the year. Students required to complete a project whilst on elective. The elective subject and location are down to individual choice and only restricted by imagination. Previous students’ electives have included completing a Malaria awareness to young people in Tanzania and a review a fertility treatment in Barbados.
A levels: AAA at first sitting over 2 years:  Chemistry compulsory,  then one of Biology/Human Biology, Maths or Physics,  plus another of choice, exceptions: General Studies/Global perspectives and research. Chemistry, Biology and a non-science subject are regarded the same as taking all sciences. AS levels grades are not looked at: scores are based on predicted/achieved A2 grades.
International Baccalaureate: 36 points or more required overall. At Higher Level Grade 6 or better: Chemistry, plus one of Biology/Maths/Physics, plus one other. Standard Level: 3 subjects at an average of Grade 6 (one must be a science if 3 sciences not taken at HL). Maths Studies are not considered as one of the sciences.
Scottish Highers: minimum AAAAB. National 5: English and Maths Grade B minimum, recommend Biology and Physics Grade B minimum. Highers: Chemistry Grade B minimum, two subjects from Biology/Human Biology/Maths/Physics, two further Highers in most other subjects (check with Medical Admissions office). Widening Access: minimum AAAB (contact Medical School for more information).
Welsh Baccalaureate: May be considered, we advise you to contact the admission office.
GCSEs: Minimum entrance requirements, must include a Grade 5 or above in English and Maths, biology and physics (or Science Dual Award) are recommended along with a combination of remaining GCSE’s achieved Grades 6-9.
UCAT, there is no minimum score cut-off, instead applicants are ranked relative to all applicants in that cycle, with scores varying from 1200-3600 from the four UCAT subsets. The SJT component is only used to make the decision of an offer when any two applicants score similarly.
For 2019 entry, the minimum score for Scottish students offer and interview for was 2360 and the maximum score for offer was 3280. For the rest of the UK, the minimum score was 2340 with the maximum score of 3230.
Accepted onto undergraduate programme. Require at least an upper 2:1 degree with honours classification at first sitting. Grade B at ‘A’ level or equivalent is required in Chemistry, although may not be necessary if chemistry undertaken as part of the previous degree or alternative study in chemistry has been undertaken; this will be assessed on a case by case basis. Graduates are also required to sit the UCAT. If the degree taken is not with honours, candidates can apply as a mature student, but must still have the Chemistry requirements. Mature students can extend their degree to include honours via other universities and this will be counted towards entrance citeria.
Access courses accepted, in particular, recognized Access to Medicine courses: Assessed on a case-by-case basis, advised to contact the admissions office.
A levels Resits
Modular resits accepted within the two year window, but whole ‘A’ level resits outside of the two years will only be considered in cases of mitigating circumstances, which has to have supporting statements from teachers, GP or other professionals that can provide a reference to support your extenuating circumstances of resits.
Can re-apply but recommended that you obtain feedback as to why your application was unsuccessful and demonstrate improvements in areas of weakness from the constructive feedback provided; no more than 3 attempts to apply, but each attempt up to a maximum of three will be considered. Admissions team considers earlier applications and interview outcomes when looking at second and third application.
Admissions Data for 2019
Number of applications: 1866
Number of interview places: 866
Total number on course: 214
Applicants require an excellent personal statement covering evidence of commitment to medicine – including an insight of the career, evidence of welfare to others, teamwork and how you display the ‘core qualities’ of a doctor. Attempts to experience, research and understand the role of a doctor are recommended; for example job shadowing with GPs or hospital doctors, talking to doctors, news and literature, and researching the university you are applying to. Applicants are also advised to undertake work of a caring nature (paid or unpaid), initiatives that help school colleagues and contribute to school life. Students need to also consider; the university are looking for students with busy lives whilst achieving academic success as this demonstrates excellent time management and decision making skills.
 academic score and  UCAT score are combined to select candidates for interview. Overall for offers, 30% comes from academic, 20% from UCAT and 50% from interview performance.
Multiple Mini Interviews, 7 stations in total for 7 minutes each and lasts for just over an hour. As well as each station having pre-determined criteria that the student will be assessed on, communication and interpersonal skills are also scored at every station. On interview day, all applicants will have a tour of the university, conducted by a medical student ambassador. It is important to remember, this can be part of the interview process, so remember to ask questions and be professional and polite throughout your tour.
End of March
Guarantee of halls: For first year, university owned accommodation or university preferred partner accommodation is guaranteed to all undergraduates, provided the accommodation submission deadline is reached. On application for university accommodation, students can preselect Keith House, which has designated alcohol free and quiet accommodation for those wishing to have a quieter living experience. It is advisable to research the terms and conditions of Keith House before submitting a preference for this accommodation. Student village is a 10-minute walk from the academic campus and a short bus journey to the Foresterhill campus where the medical school is located.
Unique selling points
- A modern, contemporary campus, that is close to the teaching hospital; overall this is one of the largest clinical teaching sites in Europe
- Study of medical humanities offered for 6 weeks and can be taken in languages, research, global health or public health and many more.
- Aberdeen offers a unique remote and rural placement, where students can undertake emergency medicine in the wilderness!
Things to consider
- Accommodation can be expensive
- Small city
- Seagulls can be a pest