UK Medical Schools with Low GCSE Requirements

Applying to Medical School  · June 24, 2019 Miss Giulia Bankov

Giulia is a graduate medical student at the University of Glasgow. She previously studied Neuroscience at King's College London and completed her Cognitive Neurobiology and Clinical Neurophysiology degree at the University of Amsterdam

So you have decided you want to study medicine, but you are worried that your GCSE grades might not be up to scratch for the strict requirements for medicine. You’re in luck, because we have compiled a table of all med schools across the UK and the GCSE grades they expect their candidates to have achieved, so we can help you navigate which schools might be better bets for you if your GCSE scores are not exactly stellar. 

medical-schools-with-low-gcse-requirements

Of course, if that’s the case, it would be a good idea to try and make up for that by boosting your application with a strong personal statement, high UCAT score (or alternative admission exam) and consider gaining some work experience. For more tips how to strengthen your medical school application, make sure you check out our guidebook "Get into medical school for Undergraduates UK 2019-20".

GCSE requirements

University of Aberdeen

Grade 5 passes in English and Maths are required.

  • Biology is recommended
  • Physics is recommended (or Dual Award Science)

A combination of Grade 6-9 passes at GCSE is expected, especially in science subjects.

Anglia Ruskin University

A minimum of 5 GCSE passes at grades A-C (9-4) required, including Maths, English Language and two science subjects.

Aston University

5 GCSEs at grades B/6 or above, must include English Language, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology or Double Science.

Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry

All eligible applicants must have the following subjects at GCSE level, at grades AAABBB (777666 for GCSEs taken from 2015) or above (in any order) to include Biology (or Human Biology), Chemistry, English Language, and Mathematics (or Additional Mathematics or Statistics). The Science Double Award may substitute all sciences at GCSE.

University of Birmingham

  • An application will receive a score for academic achievement based on GCSE (or equivalent) results.
  • The subjects that will be scored are: English (both English Language and English Literature), Mathematics (or one, but not both, of Methods in Mathematics and Application of Mathematics), Biology and Chemistry (or dual award science), plus two additional GCSEs (any subject). All of the named subjects except English Literature are required and must be offered at a minimum grade of B/6.
  • For the subjects specified above, the scores allocated to the different grades will be in the ratio f 4:2:1 (for A*, A, B/9 or 8, 7, 6, respectively). For each of the two unspecified subjects, a score of 2 will be allocated when an A*/9 or 8 grade has been obtained (lower grades will not receive a score).
  • The total GCSE score will be scaled to a maximum of 6.0. Therefore, when this is combined with a score for the UKCAT result, the combined maximum score is 10.0. Note that the GCSE grades are weighted much more (60%) in this scoring mechanism.
  • We cannot define accurately a GCSE grade profile that will be acceptable.

Brighton and Sussex Medical School

We require all applicants to have obtained grade B or above or grade 6 or above in Maths and English Language or English Literature.

University of Bristol

Advanced numeracy requirement (A in GCSE Maths or equivalent) and Standard literacy requirement (C in GCSE English or equivalent).

University of Buckingham

  • Demonstrate competence in English language by attainment of at least Grade C in English at GCSE
  • Demonstrate competence in Maths by attainment of at least Grade C in Maths at GCSE
  • In the case of applicants who do not have Biology at A-level, they should have studied the subject to GCSE level (or equivalent) and achieved at least a grade B.

University of Cambridge

There are no GCSE (or equivalent) requirements for entry to Cambridge. GCSE results are looked at as a performance indicator, but within the context of performance of the school/college where they were achieved.


Applicants have generally achieved high grades in subjects relevant to their chosen course, and most students who apply have at least four or five As or A* at GCSE (7 is considered equivalent to an A in the new grading structure; and 8 and 9 is considered equivalent to an A*). However, there are always exceptions and we don’t require a minimum number of As/A*s at GCSE.


Strong performance in Years 12 and 13 can make up for a less stellar performance at GCSE.

Cardiff University

All applicants must achieve the minimum requirements at GCSE. Applicants will receive a score based on their best nine GCSEs. This score will include the following subjects. Post A level applicants receive additional credit for achieved A level results.

  • English Language: 6 (B)
  • At least one of Mathematics or Numeracy: 6 (B)
  • Science: Either, 66 or BB in Science and Additional Science (formerly Double Award Science) or equivalent. Or, 66 (BB) in Chemistry and Biology. Or, 66 (BB) in Core Science and one of Additional Science or further Additional Science.
  • Other subjects: Other subjects not stated above, to make a total of nine, at a minimum of grade B.
    GCSE Welsh first language and second language is accepted and can be offered as one of the nine subjects as long as the English Language minimum above has been met.
    GCSE Human Biology will be considered but not in conjunction with standard GCSE Biology.
    Level 2 certificates such as the Certificate in Digital Application (CiDA), Applied Businesses, ICT (examining board) and the Diploma in Digital Applications (DiDA) will be considered as contributing one additional, separate subject in lieu of a GCSE during academic scoring.
  • Subjects NOT considered: Level 2 BTECs. NVQs.

University of Dundee

Biology, Mathematics and English at least to GCSE grade B/6, if not studied at A-level (A2). Achievement at GCSE and AS level will also be taken into account.

  • A good pass in Combined or Dual Science at GCSE may be accepted instead of a single GCSE pass in Biology.

Edge Hill University

This is a five year programme which will be available for application in September 2019, subject to University validation and GMC approval. Full course information is expected to be available by January 2019.

The University of Edinburgh

Grade B/6 in Biology, Chemistry, English, Mathematics. Double Award combined sciences or equivalent at Grade BB/66 may replace GCSE grades in sciences. Additional Applied Science and Applied Science will not be accepted. All examination grades must be obtained at the first attempt of each subject.

University of Exeter

GCSE requirements not listed.

University of Glasgow

GCSE English at Grade B (or Grade 6 or above).

Hull York Medical School

8 GCSEs at A*/9 - C/4 or equivalent.

Imperial College London

GCSE requirements not listed.

Keele University

A minimum of 5 GCSE subjects at grade A/7, not including short-courses GCSEs. Mathematics, English Language, Biology, Chemistry and Physics (or double science and additional science/triple-award science) must be passed at a minimum of grade B/6. Applied Science is not an acceptable GCSE.

King’s College London

GCSE grade 6/B in both English and Mathematics required.

Lancaster University

GCSEs in nine subjects attained by the end of year 11.

At least a score of 15 points from the nine.

A*-A or 7-9 = 2 points; B or 6 = 1 point

At least grade B or 6 in the following required subjects:

  • Biology, Chemistry, and Physics (or Core & Additional Science)
  • English Language and
  • Mathematics

All other subjects must be at least grade C or 4.

University of Leeds

6 A*-B, including chemistry and biology (or dual science/double science), English language and mathematics, dual/double science, or science and additional science, or chemistry and biology.

University of Leicester

English Language, Maths and either Double Science or Chemistry and Biology - all at Grade B or 6.

University of Liverpool

  • GCSEs in nine subjects attained by the end of year 11 and
  • At least a score of 15 points (where A*/A = 2; B = 1) from the nine and including: Core & Additional Science (or Biology, Chemistry, and Physics), English Language, and Mathematics (all at least grade B). Two points is the maximum score awarded in each subject area. (e.g. Only one of Maths and Further Maths will be considered and 2 points at most will be available for Dual Award GCSE except for Dual Science for which up to 4 points may be awarded). Note: For GCSEs awarded a score; 6 is equivalent to a B grade and 7 to an A grade.
  • Short course GCSEs will at most receive half the points of a full GCSE but two short courses can be offered in place of a full GCSE.

University of Manchester

At least five GCSEs at grade A or A*.


English Language, Mathematics and at least two science subjects are required at GCSE minimum grade B. If Dual Award Science or Core and Additional Science are offered, the minimum required is BB.


If you are resitting any GCSE subjects, you must explain the circumstances that prompted this. We do not currently accept short courses; however, Level 2 BTEC qualifications are acceptable (at distinction grade or above) in lieu of one GCSE.


Due to the phased introduction of GCSE reform in England, we will accept a mixture of GCSE grading scales. We can confirm our position in terms of equivalencies:

  • A* = 8
  • A = 7
  • B = 6
  • C = 4

Newcastle University

GCSE requirements not listed.

Norwich Medical School

All applicants must have a minimum of six GCSE passes at grade A/7 or above to include English, Mathematics and two Science subjects. GCSE short courses are not accepted. Repeat GCSEs are accepted. Our GCSE requirements apply to all applicants. If required, when considering your application, we will usually review your best 9 results. We will include only one maths, up to two English and up to three single science subjects or a double science award.

University of Nottingham School of Medicine

At least six GCSEs at grade 7 (A). If you are taking sciences as individual subjects then 7(A) is required in biology and chemistry, plus one of either physics or maths passed to grade 7 (A) with the other being grade 6 (B) and a minimum of grade 6 (B) in English language. If you are taking the Double Science, the requirement is 7,7 or if you are taking the Triple Science 7,7,7 is required, and maths and English language must both be passed at grade B (6).

University of Nottingham - Lincoln Medical School

At least six GCSEs at grade 7 (A). If you are taking sciences as individual subjects then 7(A) is required in biology and chemistry, plus one of either physics or maths passed to grade 7 (A) with the other being grade 6 (B) and a minimum of grade 6 (B) in English language. If you are taking the Double Science, the requirement is 7,7 or if you are taking the Triple Science 7,7,7 is required, and maths and English language must both be passed at grade B (6).

University of Oxford

GCSE requirements not listed.

Plymouth University

Applicants need to achieve 7 GCSE passes at grades A-C/9-4 which must include English language, mathematics and either GCSE double award science or two from single award chemistry, biology, or physics.

Queen’s University Belfast

GCSE Mathematics minimum grade C and either GCSE Physics minimum grade C or GCSE Double Award Science minimum grades CC are required if these subjects are not offered at AS-level or A-level.


In considering applications, GCSE performance in the best 9 subjects will be scored with 4 points awarded for an A* (grades 8 and 9 on the new 9-1 grading scale), 3 points for an A (grade 7), 2 points for a B (grade 6) and 1 point for a C (grades 4 and 5). From 2021 entry, in view of the re-alignment of the A* with a Grade 9, scoring will change to 4 points for a Grade 9 and 3 points for Grades 7 and 8.

University of Sheffield

  • You should have at least five grade A (grade 7) GCSE subjects;
  • GCSE passes at grade B (grade 6) or above in Mathematics, English and at least one science subject (which may be dual awards);
  • The five A grades may include Mathematics, English or a science subject;
  • Acceptable science GCSEs include: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Physics, Psychology, Sciences (dual awards).

Please note:

  • The GCSE requirements should have been met by the point of application;
  • The relevant GCSEs should have been studied for no longer than two years;
  • The levant GCSEs do not have to be obtained in the same sitting or year;
  • We accept GCSE resits. Any and all GCSE resits must be taken in the same sitting (unlike first sittings), and only one resit per GCSE is permitted. Only those GCSEs that do not meet the above entry requirements need to be retaken;
  • A combination of numerically and alphabetically graded GCSEs is acceptable;
  • Non-GCSE qualifications (such as Level 2 OCR qualifications) taken alongside GCSEs are not considered as equivalent and do not count towards meeting the GCSE requirement. If you have not studied GCSEs but have studied an equivalent international qualification, please contact the Medical Admissions Office for information about the acceptability of the qualifications and required levels of achievement. GCSE Short Courses are also not considered.

University of Southampton

Six GCSEs at grade A or above, including either maths, biology and chemistry, or maths, additional science and science. English language is required at a minimum of grade B.

University of St Andrews

Minimum of five A grades (grade 7 in numerical grading) at GCSE to be taken at one sitting (those with achieved Advanced Levels, may be considered with less than five A grades (grade 7 in numerical grading) at GCSE).

St George’s, University of London

Grades:

A minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade 6 (or grade B) or above


Subjects:

Must include: English Language, Maths and Science (Double or Triple Award Science).

University of Sunderland

GCSE requirements not listed.

Swansea University

This is a graduate entry programme only.

University of Central Lancashire

Students must be able to provide evidence of sustained academic achievement (GCSE or equivalent to include English Language B or higher) with a broad study of Science and Math up to the age of 15-16.

University College London

All UK candidates, or those who have received their secondary education in the UK, must offer GCSE (or IGCSE, O-level, IB or EB equivalent) at grade B or above in both English Language and Mathematics. For candidates taking the new style of GCSEs with numerical outcomes rather than letter grades, the requirement is for a score of 6 in both English Language and Mathematics.

University of Warwick

This is a graduate entry programme only.

As you can see, universities have a various range of GCSE grades they accept, with some having set the cut-off score at Grade C or above, whereas others have placed it even higher. Often, they want higher achievements in science and maths, with lower acceptable scores in the rest of your subjects. You need to make sure that your fall within the acceptable range of each subject required by the medical school when you decide where to apply.

uk-medical-school-requirements-gcse

For lower grades in sciences and maths, you will see from the table above that good places to look at might be Anglia Ruskin University, University of Buckingham, Hull York Medical School or Plymouth University among others. If you have scored a B or above in sciences and maths, but have lower grades in other GCSE subjects that expands your options even more, as those are the most important ones universities look at and many places can be lenient towards lower achievements in less relevant to the degree subjects.

It is always a good idea to get in touch with the university of interest itself and discuss their requirements, if information is missing or unclear. Some universities are open to applications with lower GCSE scores if mitigating circumstances are presented, as well as evidence of having that knowledge mastered in the form of another, equivalent qualification. These situations are all very unique both to the medical school and the applicant, so it is important that you check that with the particular admissions office of the university in question. Lastly, you can also have a look at the Medical Schools Council’s Entry requirements for UK medical schools to find out further details regarding the different universities’ academic requirements. 

We hope the above information has been helpful in navigating the application process for you and has given you some clarity on what options there are for you if your GCSE grades are on the lower end of the spectrum. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at hello@theMSAG.com.

Disclaimer: This blog post was written and checked with the corresponding medical schools’ websites in the 4th week of December. Please note that the information above may change and you are advised to confirm before applying or attending your interview.





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