Application Guide 2023:
UK Foundation Medicine Courses
Dr. Akash Gandhi
Medicine Admissions Expert
One increasingly popular pathway to medicine is medicine with a foundation year, often known as UK Gateway to Medicine or UK Access to Medicine courses.
There are plenty of foundation courses in the UK. Some of these may also take the form of extended courses, which integrate simpler material with more complex material across the entire 6-year program.
Medicine with foundation year courses in the UK are generally only available to widening participation and international students.
A foundation year means a 1-year program designed to impart students with the background scientific knowledge that they may not have received at high school before they begin their medical education.
This can be a great option if you’re eligible for it but don’t have the grades to get into medicine right away.
What are foundation year entry requirements?
MBBS foundation courses can be competitive, just like any other medicine course. However, they tend to have much lower entry requirements and could be right for you even if you took one or no science subjects at A-level.
Indeed, some will deem you ineligible if you have taken multiple science subjects to this level. Rather, UK medicine degrees with foundation years seek out candidates without a traditional medical student background. You are likely to find access to medicine courses near you by looking and searching at medical schools near you.
You are more likely to be eligible as an international or widening participation student, but every foundation medicine program is different so you should follow the links provided below to find one that suits you and your specific application.
Are there any disadvantages of a foundation year?
Of course, the main disadvantage of a foundation year is that it’s an extra year of education that won’t give you any clinical contact.
However, as most applicants to a foundation year program won’t be eligible to study medicine right away this can still be better than not studying medicine at all for you!
If you are a widening participation student, then you should check to see if medical schools would consider making you a medicine contextual offer.
This is an offer for candidates with extenuating circumstances, such as disability or being a young carer, that gives them the opportunity to study medicine without needing to meet the same requirements as other students.
Applying for a medicine foundation year
You can apply for a medicine foundation course just as you would apply for any other subject at a university in the UK - through UCAS.
Check out our UCAS guide for more information on exactly how this works, including the Clearing process for medicine with a foundation year which can be a great pathway to getting a spot even if your applications are turned down initially.
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