Queen’s University Belfast
Queen’s University Belfast

What is now Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) School of Medicine was originally established in 1835, pre-dating the university itself, which opened in 1849. Interestingly their first female medical graduate became a student in 1889 (19 years before women had the right to vote in the UK). Being a medical student in Belfast opens up many unique opportunities to get involved with university life. The Belfast Medical Student Association is the oldest student society in the university and is renowned for its excellent social calendar. There are also charitable societies run locally by the medical students, such as Marrow (who work with the Anthony Nolan Trust) and the Students Working Overseas Trust (SWOT), which is run exclusively by 4th year medical students to raise money to buy equipment for hospitals in underdeveloped countries, where they spend their elective placements. There is one medical course for graduates and undergraduates alike, lasting 5 years, with the option of an intercalated degree following the 2nd or 3rd year of study. Teaching is integrated, initially systems-based, with early patient contact in the 1st year and even greater clinical focus in years 3-5. Dissection is used in the teaching of human anatomy. There is an 11 week ‘FY0’ assistantship for students in the final year of the degree to help them to prepare for clinical practice as a Foundation doctor. The School of Medicine is developing its research focus, with £85 million investment into infrastructure for research in the next 5 years. The ratio of applicants to offers was 2:1 for UK students commencing study in 2015/16 and 4:1 for international students in the same year, which compares favourably to other medical schools.

Queen’s University Belfast

Undergraduate Applicants

  • Minimum Admission Criteria
  • A levels
  • GCSE
  • Degree
  • Admissions Test
  • Interview
  • Work experience
  • Undergraduate Applicants
  • AAA and A at AS
  • 9 A*/A
  • N/A
  • UKCAT
  • MMI
  • desirable

Graduate Applicants

  • Minimum Admission Criteria
  • A levels
  • GCSE
  • Degree
  • Admissions Test
  • Interview
  • Work experience
  • Graduate Applicants
  • ABB (or BBB*)
  • Must show relevant science background at GCSE
  • Minimum 2:1
  • UKCAT
  • MMI
  • desirable
*for candidates with a First Class Honours or PhD

Undergraduates can apply to a 5 year medical degree course, which is based on an integrated teaching model with early patient contact in the first year. Intercalated bachelor’s degrees can be taken at the end of the 2nd or 3rd year of studies and there is also a new range of intercalated master’s degree options, which are available to take after the 3rd year of study. It also remains as one of the few medical schools left in the country which teaches students anatomy via dissection.

A/AS level and GCSEs

Offers will be conditional on obtaining at least AAA at A level plus A at AS level. A levels must include Chemistry + at least one of Biology, Mathematics or Physics, and Biology must be taken to at least AS level (grade B and up required). A maximum of one VCE/Applied subject at either A level or AS level (not both) will be counted.

Students yet to sit A levels/repeating an A level at the time of application to Medicine at QUB will be scored on the basis of their 9 best GCSEs. 4 points are awarded for each A* and 3 points for each A grade (GCSE short courses are awarded half these values), to a maximum of 36 points which will be combined with a set number of points awarded for their UKCAT score (see selection process and interview). As part of the Widening Participation Initiative, students from secondary schools who have either not performed well at GCSE or have taken fewer than 9 GCSE subjects will be considered on the basis of AS level results and UKCAT scores alone. GCSE Mathematics, English and Physics (or Double Award Science) are required if not offered at AS or A level.

IB

An overall score of 36 points is required with 6,6,6 to include Chemistry and Biology at Higher Level.

Admissions Exam

The UKCAT is required for all applicants. The test is only valid for one year.

Access to Medicine courses

Not accepted

Widening Participation

The medical school recognises that applicants from secondary schools in Northern Ireland may not have performed to their full potential at GCSE level, or may not have had the opportunity to sit 9 GCSEs. To enable students from these backgrounds, with the academic potential for Medicine, to apply, the university will consider them on the basis of their AS grades, their predicted A level grades and their UKCAT results, as these have been shown to more accurately reflect the academic potential of these candidates.

International Students

Quota of 26 places for non-EU students (comprising graduates and undergraduates). Where offers are made to non-EU students, the A level requirements are currently AAA (including Chemistry and Biology) or A(Chemistry)AB + A in a fourth AS level or equivalent in terms of other qualifications.

Note that international applications are not scored but applicants’ previous academic achievements and UKCAT scores as well as predicted grades will be reviewed.

They must also provide evidence of adequate proficiency in English. Applicants must achieve an IELTS score of 7.5 overall with a minimum of 7.0 in Speaking and Listening and 6.5 in Reading and Writing. Details of equivalent qualifications can be found at:
www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/Applying/English-language-requirements/#English

Interviews for international applicants may occur in either South East Asia or at Queen’s.

If you are applying as an overseas student and have not taken the IB or A levels, please contact us by email (admin@themsag.com) if you would like more information on the minimum grades needed to be considered for a place in QUB Medicine.

Policy on re-applicants

Maximum of 3 attempts to apply (no more than 2 attempts at undergraduate or graduate stage). Additionally, candidates applying to medical school for the second time should have applied to QUB on their first attempt. The offer for these candidates is AAA + A at AS level. They must have achieved AAB + A at the first attempt and must repeat all written components of the A level being repeated.

Policy on deferrals

Candidates wishing to defer taking up their place at QUB medical school should email admissions@qub.ac.uk or speak to the medical school directly on: +44 (0)28 9097 2450.

APPLICATION DEADLINES

Applications via UCAS for 2018/19 entry are open from 6thSeptember 2017 and close on 15th October 2017.

APPLICATION DOCUMENTS

  • Completed UCAS application form
  • Secondary education certificates may be requested

SELECTION PROCESS

To get through to interview stage, candidates are awarded points, based on their GCSEs (see above) and UKCAT scores (up to 6 points awarded for UKCAT score). The UKCAT is scored as follows:

Total ScorePoints
2200 + 6
2040-2190 5
1880-2030 4
1720-1870 3
1560-1710 2
1400-1550 1
1390 and below 0

The maximum number of points achievable is 42 and each year roughly the top 700 applicants (including both graduate and undergraduate applicants) are invited for interview. Once a candidate is through to interview stage, offers will be made on interview scores only, not previous academic performance.

QUB have chosen to use the mini multiple interview (MMI) style with 9 stations aiming to assess non-cognitive ability in the following areas:

  • Empathy
  • Problem solving
  • Moral reasoning
  • Communication skills

Example of a sample station: “You the candidate are asked to assume you are a first year medical student and that on your way home from class you reach a bus stop. At the bus stop a class mate is sitting there looking glum, obviously upset. You don’t know their name. Demonstrate how you would approach this situation. Your classmate will be waiting at the bus stop when you enter the station”.

For further examples of MMI stations, please see this web link to the university’s own site: http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/mdbs/medicine/Prospectivestudents/MultipleMiniInterviews/

In the 2015-2016 application cycle, there were approximately 977 UK/EU applicants, of whom 677 were interviewed and 375 offers were made for the 236 places available. There were 231 non-EU applicants of whom 135 were interviewed and 55 offers made for the 26 places available.

QUB Medicine is ranked 27th in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2018.

It is ranked 26th in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2018.

It is ranked within the top 151-200 medical schools by the QS World University Rankings in 2017.

Both graduates and undergraduates can apply to a 5 year medical degree course, which is based on an integrated teaching model with early patient contact in the first year. Intercalated bachelor’s degrees can be taken at the end of the 2nd or 3rd year of studies and a range of intercalated master’s degree options are available to take after the 3rd year of study. QUB also remains one of the few medical schools which teach anatomy through dissection.

Degree and A levels

The minimum requirement is a 2:1 honours degree in any discipline. Applicants should also have A level Chemistry and at least one of A level Biology/Human Biology, Mathematics or Physics. Additionally, if not offered at A Level, Biology or Human Biology must be taken to AS Level (or equivalent). Applicants who hold a 2:1 degree must have at least ABB at A level (averaging of grades is not acceptable), whereas applicants with a First Class Honours degree or PhD have a lower A level requirement (BBB) and the flexibility of averaging their grades (e.g. AAC acceptable).

Applicants from a non-science background but who meet the relevant degree classification and A level grades threshold, will be considered if they undertake the appropriate science qualifications on completion of their degree. Such applicants are advised to contact the university admissions department for guidance.

GCSEs

Students also need GCSE Mathematics and either Physics or Double Award Science if not taken beyond this level.

Admissions Exam

The UKCAT is required for all applicants. The test is only valid for one year.

Access to Medicine courses

Not accepted

International students

Quota of 26 places for non-EU students (comprising graduates and undergraduates).

Note that international applications are not scored but applicants’ previous academic achievements and UKCAT scores as well as predicted grades will be reviewed.

They must also provide evidence of adequate proficiency in English. Applicants must achieve an IELTS score of 7.5 overall with a minimum of 7.0 in Speaking and Listening and 6.5 in Reading and Writing. Details of equivalent qualifications can be found at:
www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/Applying/English-language-requirements/#English

Interviews for international applicants may occur in either South East Asia or at Queen’s.

If you are applying as an overseas student and have not taken the IB or A levels, please contact us by email (admin@themsag.com) if you would like more information on the minimum grades needed to be considered for a place in QUB Medicine.

Policy on re-applicants

Maximum of 3 attempts to apply (no more than 2 attempts at undergraduate or graduate stage). Additionally candidates applying to medical school for the second time should have applied to QUB on their first attempt.

Policy on deferrals

Candidates wishing to defer taking up their place at QUB medical school should email admissions@qub.ac.uk or speak to the medical school directly on: +44 (0)28 9097 2450.

APPLICATION DEADLINES

Applications via UCAS for 2018/19 entry are open from 6thSeptember 2016 and close on 15th October 2017.

Application Documents

  • Completed UCAS application form
  • Degree transcripts and secondary education certificates may be requested

SELECTION PROCESS

Candidates with the highest number of points from the combination of their academic exams/degrees and UKCAT score will be invited for interview. The university awards 36 points on the basis of academic qualifications to all graduates who meet their criteria for entry to the course. This puts graduate applicants on an equivalent basis with those undergraduates who score the maximum points on the basis of GCSE results/equivalent. The UKCAT scores are then considered and can score the applicant a maximum of 6 points, meaning that the maximum points an applicant can score is 42.

The UKCAT is scored as follows:

Total ScorePoints
2200 + 6
2040-2190 5
1880-2030 4
1720-1870 3
1560-1710 2
1400-1550 1
1390 and below 0

Each year the top 700 applicants (including both graduates and undergraduates), ranked using this scoring system will be invited to interview. Once a candidate is through to interview stage, offers will be made on interview scores only, not previous academic performance.

QUB have chosen to use the mini multiple interview (MMI) style with 9 stations aiming to assess non-cognitive ability in the following areas:

  • Empathy
  • Problem solving
  • Moral reasoning
  • Communication skills

Example of a sample station: “You the candidate are asked to assume you are a first year medical student and that on your way home from class you reach a bus stop. At the bus stop a class mate is sitting there looking glum, obviously upset. You don’t know their name. Demonstrate how you would approach this situation. Your classmate will be waiting at the bus stop when you enter the station”.

For further examples of MMI stations, please see this web link to the university’s own site: http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/mdbs/medicine/Prospectivestudents/MultipleMiniInterviews/

In the 2015-2016 application cycle, there were approximately 977 UK/EU applicants, of whom 677 were interviewed and 375 offers were made for the 236 places available. There were 231 non-EU applicants of whom 135 were interviewed and 55 offers made for the 26 places available.

QUB Medicine is ranked 27th in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2018.

It is ranked 26th in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2018.

It is ranked within the top 151-200 medical schools by the QS World University Rankings in 2017.

  1. 1. What are the good things about studying Medicine at this university?

    I studied Medicine at Queen’s for 6 years (during the period 2004-2012). As one of only two universities in Northern Ireland, and the only medical school in the country, it is very popular amongst Northern Irish applicants. I liked many things about studying in Queen’s. The first thing that springs to mind, now that I am working in London, is how accessible everything is to the university. The campus is only 15 minutes’ walk from the centre of town and the student area is quite vibrant with plenty of cafes, pubs and a variety of cultural events. Belfast doesn’t have very good late night public transport but for most students it is just a short (and relatively cheap!) taxi ride home after a night out. In terms of medical education, the course at Queen’s is initially lecture-based for the first two years with some tutorials, physiology practical classes and 2 hours a week in the dissection room for anatomy. The academic staff are really friendly and helpful and I recommend taking opportunities for summer studentships and extra-curricular research projects, as it is a great way to develop relationships with staff (on a general note, there are some lovely staff! And on a more cynical note, it is nice to have a referee or two who can actually remember you standing out from the crowd) and gain great e-Portfolio experience. One afternoon a week is dedicated to bedside teaching in a hospital or GP practice, and this teaching is really well-arranged and usually involves senior and experienced doctors. Years 3, 4 and 5 are spent mainly in the hospitals on various clinical attachments and these hospitals can be anywhere in Northern Ireland. The university lets the students rank which hospitals they would like to go to, but inevitably at some stage most students are placed outside of Belfast. Accommodation is provided and for me, I think I learned the most clinically in some of the peripheral hospitals, as they have fewer students compared to the more central teaching hospitals, and as a result, more time for teaching the medical students who are allocated there. There is also an opportunity to do intercalated degrees at Queen’s, and this is becoming increasingly popular, particularly since Master’s courses have been added to the available subjects. I intercalated in Pharmacology and really enjoyed it. The teaching was excellent and my honours project supervisor was wonderful. All in all, I did have a great experience studying at Queen’s and if I could recommend hospitals for clinical attachments, I would suggest the Causeway hospital in Coleraine (great teaching and near the beach!) and Craigavon (brilliant for its teaching and its yummy canteen, but mostly surrounded by fields – commutable from Belfast by car).

  2. 2. What is not so good about studying Medicine there?

    In my experience Queen’s did not have a terribly good pastoral care system. I met my personal tutor on maximum of 3 occasions during my whole time at Queen’s and during a point where I needed personal support, the traditional channels through the medical school did not really provide much guidance. However, there are many wonderful academic and clinical staff that I met during my different modules and attachments and who I felt comfortable approaching for support. The only other downside I can think of was probably outside the control of the university to some extent. Often on attachment, clinical teaching depends on the goodwill and time available of the doctors on the ward, and in some wards very little interest was taken in student teaching. However, I think this issue is probably common to all medical schools, and it usually evens out over time spent in different hospitals and wards.

  3. 3. What advice do you have for someone thinking of studying Medicine there?

    I think Queen’s is a good university to study in and the student area in Belfast is really nice. My only other experience as a student has been a year spent in London, and Belfast is definitely a lot cheaper by comparison, rent is probably about half what you spend in London, a definite upside for minimising on the student loan expenditure! Sometimes the medical school at Queen’s can feel a bit isolated compared to other medical schools, which usually have neighbouring schools not so far away, e.g. medical schools in London. There are plenty of ways to meet and interact with medical students from other universities however, including getting involved with the BMA, and with medical student charities such as Marrow, which has medical school branches in loads of universities throughout the UK. Attending national conferences is also a good way to meet students at other universities and ensure that you have access to the great variety of opportunities that are available for medical students. Also don’t be afraid to take the initiative to set up a conference or scheme of your own – big bonus for your e-Portfolio and your own personal development. You might surprise yourself with what you can achieve!

  4. 4. Do you have any tips on how to get in?

    When I applied to Queen’s they didn’t interview applicants and getting in was pretty much solely dependent on grades at A-level and GCSE. Now I know from my cousin that they interview candidates in MMI stations, using both direct interview questions and scenarios which explore candidates’ communication skills and ability to deal with challenging ethical situations. I think if I was applying now, using the tips from this website would be a massive help. The other thing I would recommend is doing your research – have good reasons why you would like to attend Queen’s University, other than just the location. Attend an open day at the university; find out what specialist fields of research are investigated in the medical school; talk to current students and find out about their experiences. As for all medical schools, really think and reflect on your experiences, about why Medicine is the career for you, and what that career will entail on a day-to-day basis, as this is something that will likely come up in your interview (I know that it certainly matters when it comes to specialty interviews later on in your career).