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The path to becoming a doctor

This article briefly covers the route you will need to take if you want to train to become a doctor and go to medical school. Let's explore.
A group of three University of Leicester medical students wearing blue scrubs
© University of Leicester

Training to become a doctor

To become a doctor in the UK, you will have to go to university in the future and study for a degree in medicine. You choose your speciality (the type of doctor you want to be) after you finish your university degree and have worked for the NHS for a few years as a junior doctor (when you start getting paid).

So you have lots of time to decide the type of doctor you want to be! There’s a lot to learn at medical school, which is why most medicine degrees are between 5-6 years long.

Applying to study medicine

Applying to study medicine at a university in the UK is quite competitive, so it would be worth telling one of your teachers or careers advisers that you are interested in becoming a doctor, as they will often support you through the process.

GCSEs or equivalents

GCSEs (or equivalents) are really important when you apply to study medicine in the UK and universities will look for high grades.

Most medicine degrees will also ask students to study at least two science subjects at A-level or in the International Baccalaureate (IB), and not many medicine degrees accept BTECs or T-level qualifications.

So make sure you pick the right subjects and qualifications to allow you to study medicine in the future (if you want to be a doctor!).

Medicine with a foundation year

Some universities also now offer a medicine with a foundation year or gateway year as a route into becoming a doctor. This is an additional year at university where you learn lots of the skills to succeed on a medicine degree.

These degrees often have slightly lower requirements, for example, GCSE grades, which you may want to explore further.

If you want to find out more information about what you need to study medicine in the future, as well as the different routes into becoming a doctor, visit the Medical Schools’ Council website.

If you’d like to learn more about starting your career as a healthcare professional, check out the online course, from The University of Leeds, below.

© University of Leicester
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