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6 top UK universities to study medicine

Talya Honebeek
Last Updated: 2 August 2021 • 5 min read

Do you want a challenging but rewarding career that allows you to make a positive impact on the world? Do you like the thrill of not knowing what to expect day-to-day, and the excitement of having clear opportunities to climb up the career ladder?

Maybe you’ve always dreamt of being a doctor, or maybe you’ve only recently discovered a passion for the profession. Either way, medicine is one of the most valuable and highest paying degrees you can study at university, opening up many exciting doors for your post-academic life.

But even if you know you want to embark upon a degree in medicine, choosing the right university for you can sometimes be easier said than done.

Luckily, we’ve done all the hard work for you.

From Glasgow to Plymouth, we’ve picked out some of the UK’s best universities, each with state-of-the-art facilities, world-leading research and an international outlook towards teaching and research.

Without further ado, here are six of the best universities for medicine in the UK.

6 top UK universities to study medicine

  1. University of Dundee
  2. University of Glasgow
  3. University of Bristol
  4. Plymouth University
  5. University of Exeter
  6. University of Cardiff

1. University of Dundee

Initially founded in 1881 as part of the University of St Andrews, the University of Dundee takes the top spot in the 2021 Guardian University Guide rankings for medicine.

And with a campus full of specialist laboratories and state-of-the-art facilities, and an innovative, practical medicine course designed to help you prepare for anything and everything a career in medicine will throw at you, it’s not hard to see why.

You’ll study on the university’s Ninewells campus, home to Ninewells Hospital, one of the largest teaching hospitals in the UK, where you’ll get straight down to meeting patients and putting all your medical theory into practice.

Away from your studies, Dundee is also a great place to live and study, and was even named the best place to live in Scotland by The Sunday Times in 2019. Plus, with a wide array of societies and over 50 sports clubs on offer, you’ll never be short of things to do on campus.

2. University of Glasgow

More than 550 years of history make the University of Glasgow the fourth-oldest college in the English-speaking world.

Its world-leading reputation for teaching in medicine dates back to 1751, and with a pioneering School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing, it remains one of the best UK universities to study medicine today. 

The university’s Undergraduate Medical School is one of the largest in the UK, aiming to provide students with a holistic mix of knowledge and skills as well as all the necessary qualities — including resilience, compassion and flexibility — a medical professional needs to excel in their field.

Students also benefit from practical learning in Glasgow’s world class clinical teaching facilities at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

3. University of Bristol

With fantastic study and teaching spaces, nine libraries containing over 1.4 million books and journals and excellent sport facilities and extracurricular offerings, the University of Bristol really does have it all.

Ranked fifth in the UK for medicine in the Times Good University Guide 2021, Bristol Medical School is renowned for training and developing world-leading clinicians and scientists.

What makes Bristol one of the best medical universities in the UK is the specialist facilities and integrated style of teaching, giving students the chance to learn in a classroom and hospital environment simultaneously.

Better yet, studying at Bristol will mean you graduate with a degree in medicine that’s also accredited by the General Medical Council (GMC), giving you an invaluable extra edge when it comes to looking for employment.

4. Plymouth University

Located on England’s south coast, Plymouth University is one of the largest higher education institutions in the South West of England, and is well-known for its top-class facilities, including a specialist marine research lab and state-of-the-art navigation centre.

The university’s Medical School is one of England’s top four, using a very hands-on approach to provide students with all the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to become an outstanding medical practitioner.

Students at Plymouth also benefit from the university’s Clinical Skills Resource Centre (CSRC), a safe learning space featuring specially designed replicas of emergency rooms and hospital wards, as well as close relationships with NHS hospital partners.

If you want a very practical way of learning from day one, then this is the medicine degree for you.

5. University of Exeter

The University of Exeter is internationally renowned for its academic excellence, ranking within the Top 150 universities worldwide and sitting comfortably among the Top 20 UK universities in all major UK league tables since 2011.

This Russell Group university is also an exciting place to study a medicine degree in the UK, thanks to its prestigious College of Medicine and Health.

The college is on a mission to improve the health and wellbeing of the people across the world, discover new treatments and therapies and turn students into critical thinkers and problem solvers.

In order to achieve this goal, the Medical School works closely with the NHS and local healthcare providers to ensure all teaching and research is inline with current global healthcare needs. 

Whether your interest lies in neuroscience, medical sciences or medicine, this is the place to study if you want to really make a difference.

6. University of Cardiff

Ideally located in Wales’ vibrant capital, the University of Cardiff is the only Russell Group university in Wales, and is the place to go if you want academic excellence, innovative research and a strong international outlook.

Cardiff’s School of Medicine is a major international centre for teaching and research, with the goal of improving human health at its core.

As a medical student at Cardiff, you can expect outstanding teaching facilities and progressive healthcare and patient care education driven by the latest world-class research. 

Plus, considering over 95% of Cardiff graduates go into further study or employment shortly after finishing their course, it bodes well for your future endeavours.

Interested in studying at one of the best universities for medicine in the UK? Learn more about them all on our website and let us help you find your perfect course and university today!

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Talya Honebeek
Written By
Talya Honebeek

Talya is a part-time journalism master's student living in North Yorkshire.

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