APPLYING TO MEDICAL SCHOOL

Best Medical Schools UK

WRITTEN BY
Medistudents Team
September 28, 2022

What are the Best Medical Schools in the UK?

Understandably, the decision about which medical school to attend is a big one; if you’re beginning to think about your application and where to choose to study, you may want to start by comparing the best medical schools in the UK and consider which will be the right fit for you. Your choice of university will not only affect the teaching you’ll receive and the learning opportunities available, it’ll also dictate where you’ll live while you study and your experience as a whole.

League table rankings alone will not tell you everything you need to know about whether a medical school is right for you. However, it’s a useful way to narrow down your choices and identify potential universities that you may want to visit and learn more about.

The most important thing to bear in mind when comparing medical schools using league tables, is not which are ranked the highest, but which are the most suitable for you. Consider what’s important to you: is it the entry requirements, the student support available, student satisfaction with the course or is it something else? All of this information is available within medical school rankings, so look closely at areas which are meaningful to you, rather than just focusing on the overall ranking of the university.

Medicine League Tables

The other thing to be aware of when looking at medical school rankings, is that different league tables share different opinions about which are the best medical schools in the UK. This is simply a result of using different criteria to score medical schools, so again it’s worth considering the individual scoring for each university against criteria that is important to you, and not just looking at the overall ranking.

The different criteria used can affect the ranking dramatically in some cases, as you’ll see from the example below, of the top ten medical schools from two of the most popular leagues tables, The Guardian’s Best UK universities for medicine – league table and The Complete University Guide’s Medicine Subject League Table 2023.

Top 10 Medical Schools UK

Top 10 Medical Schools in the UK

The Guardian’s Best UK universities for medicine – league table and The Complete University Guide’s Medicine Subject League Table 2023 have the following as their top ten medical schools for 2023 entry:

Ranking The Guardian The Complete University Guide
1 Cambridge Cambridge
2 Aberdeen Oxford
3 Edinburgh Glasgow
4 Imperial College London Edinburgh
5 St Andrews Bristol
6 Oxford Imperial College London
7 Swansea Leicester
8 Brighton Sussex Medical School Dundee
9 Keele St Andrews
10 Glasgow Queen’s University Belfast

What Criteria is used for Medicine Rankings?

Both The Complete University Guide and The Guardian rank medical schools using an Overall Score / Guardian Score, which combines each university's scores across a range of criteria. The main difference between The Guardian’s and The Complete University Guide’s ranking is the criteria used to create their overall scores. Whilst both include entry criteria, student satisfaction and career opportunities following graduation, The Complete University Guide also focuses on research quality and intensity, while The Guardian includes information more directly linked to students, for example the percentage of students that progress from first to second year and the value added to their learning.

Below is a full breakdown of The Guardian’s criteria used to score medical schools and an explanation of what each area refers to:

Guardian Score/100 An overall rating based on all of the criteria presented.
Satisfied with Course* A rating for the overall quality of the course.
Satisfied with Teaching* A rating for the quality of teaching on the course.
Satisfied with Feedback* A rating for the quality of feedback and assessment.
Student to Staff Ratio The number of students per member of teaching staff.
Spend per Student/10 A rating out of ten for the money spent per student, excluding academic staff costs.
Average Entry Traffic The typical UCAS scores of young entrants (under 21) to the department.
Value Added Score/10** A comparison of students' degree scores with their entry qualifications, to show how effectively they’re taught.
Career after 15 Months The percentage of graduates who are in graduate-level jobs or further study at professional or HE level, within fifteen months.
Continuation The percentage of first year students who continue into their second year of study.

* The scores for Satisfied with Course, Satisfied with Teaching and Satisfied with Feedback are all taken from the latest National Student Survey (NSS), which is completed by final year students to provide an understanding of student experience at different institutions.

** For 2023, no details are provided in The Guardian’s breakdown for the ‘value added’, so we have omitted this from the table below.

Breakdown of Medical School Rankings

Below is the full list from The Guardian’s Best UK universities for medicine – league table.

This is also followed by a breakdown of the best medical schools based on individual criteria (for example student satisfaction) to help you make the right choice, based on what matters most to you.

2023 Ranking University Guardian Score /100 Satisfied with Course % Satisfied with Teaching % Satisfied with Feedback % Student to Staff Ratio Spend per Student /10 Average Entry Traffic Career after 15 months % Continuation %
1 Cambridge 100 n/a n/a n/a 7.9 10 212 100 98.9
2 Aberdeen 97.2 87.5 93.5 65.6 6.9 3 238 100 98
3 Edinburgh 97 78.6 88 54.2 6.3 10 227 100 99.2
4 Imperial College 96.6 88.4 89.7 64.1 6.8 10 187 100 98.1
5 St Andrews 94.2 95 95.3 74.6 11 4 209 97 100
6 Oxford 93 n/a n/a n/a 10.1 10 205 99 99.2
7 Swansea 92.2 77.5 88.9 71.9 8.4 9 n/a 100 99.5
8 Brighton Sussex Medical School 90.5 88 92.9 77 n/a 8 173 99 98.8
9 Keele 87.2 87.4 92.5 72.5 7.8 4 168 99 99.7
10 Glasgow 84.9 83.4 88.4 65.5 9.6 3 236 98 97.8
11 Dundee 83.1 85.6 88.7 56.5 9.8 5 248 100 98
12 Bristol 82.3 89.7 92.9 70.6 9.8 5 178 100 99.6
13 Liverpool 79.6 82.1 87.8 62.5 7.3 7 169 100 99.8
14 Hull York Medical School 76.5 74.6 84.4 63.6 6.1 4 166 100 99
15 Cardiff 76.2 82.9 88.1 64.4 9.9 7 188 99 99
16 Leicester 75.1 88.5 91.6 68.9 11.2 5 169 100 99.6
17 Newcastle 74.7 78.5 88.9 67.2 8.7 5 179 100 97.5
18 UCL 74.1 78.2 83.7 56.4 7.5 6 185 98 98
19 Leeds 73.7 81 87.6 61.6 8.5 4 176 100 99.4
20 Queen Mary 73.6 83.8 87.1 62.7 10.2 5 190 99 98.8
21 Queen’s, Belfast 73.2 83.4 90 68.8 11.4 4 191 100 99.1
22 UEA 71.5 86.8 89 58.1 8.6 3 183 99 98.9
23 Exeter 70.7 88.3 89.6 58.3 9.9 4 185 100 99.1
24 Lancaster 65.2 83.3 85.1 72.9 12.3 3 168 100 99.5
25 Plymouth 64.4 85.4 88.5 57 10.5 5 165 100 100
26 King’s College London 63.4 71.7 85 55.4 10.5 7 173 99 98.8
27 Birmingham 63.3 77 82.2 57 9.2 4 175 100 99.3
28 Southampton 63.1 71.8 81.6 56.6 8.3 4 169 100 98.1
29 Warwick 62.4 72.3 85.6 67 9 4 134 100 97.2
30 Manchester 61 62.5 76.9 58.9 9.4 6 177 99 99.2
31 Sheffield 60.5 77 85.9 63 11.1 3 167 100 99.6
32 Aston 54.2 n/a n/a n/a 12.1 6 158 n/a 99.2
33 Buckingham 49.1 72.9 84.1 55.1 n/a n/a 134 100 97.9
34 Nottingham 47.5 54.8 82.3 42.7 9.8 3 170 100 98.6
35 St George’s 38.1 58.3 77.7 43.6 12.9 4 173 99 99.1
36 Anglia Ruskin 37.8 n/a n/a n/a 14.1 2 155 n/a 100
37 Central Lancashire 36.5 62.4 72.7 56.5 12.8 4 135 n/a 97.9

The following universities also teach medicine but are not ranked within The Guardian’s league table:

  • Brunel
  • Chester
  • Edge Hill
  • Kent and Medway
  • Sunderland
  • Ulster

Best Universities for Medicine Based on Student Satisfaction

From the breakdown of the criteria you’ll notice that certain areas – for example the percentage of first year students who continue their study into second year and the percentage of graduates who are in graduate-level jobs or further study at professional or HE level, within fifteen months – have consistent high scores across all of the universities. However, areas such as the student satisfaction have a much wider range, and therefore there are clear distinctions between universities.

Using the latest National Student Survey (NSS) results, The Guardian’s league table breaks student satisfaction down into the following areas:

  1. Satisfied with Course
  2. Satisfied with Teaching
  3. Satisfied with Feedback

Below are details of the medical schools which students scored highest for the overall quality of the course, the teaching and the feedback provided.

The Highest Scoring Medical Schools for the Criteria: Satisfied with Course

Medical School Rating / Percentage How does it compare in other areas of student satisfaction?
St Andrews 94.2% Within the top 2 for all areas of student satisfaction
Bristol 89.7% Within the top 3 for satisfied with course and teaching and only slightly lower (6th) for feedback
Leicester 88.5% Scored slightly lower for satisfaction with teaching and feedback (6th and 7th place respectively)
Imperial College 88.4% Scored lower for satisfaction with teaching and feedback (8th and 14th place respectively)
Exeter 88.3% Scored lower for satisfaction with teaching and feedback (9th and 21st place respectively)

The Highest Scoring Medical Schools for the Criteria: Satisfied with Teaching

Medical School Rating / Percentage How does it compare in other areas of student satisfaction?
St Andrews 95.3% Within the top 2 for all areas of student satisfaction
Aberdeen 93.5% Scored lower for satisfaction with course and feedback (7th and 11th place respectively)
Bristol 92.9% Within the top 3 for satisfied with course and teaching and only slightly lower (6th) for feedback.
Brighton Sussex Medical School 92.9% Within the top 6 for all areas of student satisfaction
Keele 92.5% Within the top 5 for satisfied with teaching and feedback and only slightly lower (8th) for course

The Highest Scoring Medical Schools for the Criteria: Satisfied with Feedback

Medical School Rating / Percentage How does it compare in other areas of student satisfaction?
Brighton Sussex Medical School 77% Within the top 6 for all areas of student satisfaction
St Andrews 74.6% Within the top 2 for all areas of student satisfaction
Lancaster 72.9% Scored lower for satisfaction with course and teaching (15th and 23rd place respectively)
Keele 72.5% Within the top 5 for satisfied with teaching and feedback and only slightly lower (8th) for course
Swansea 71.9% Scored lower for satisfaction with course and teaching (22nd and 12th place respectively)

The Best for Value Added

Usually The Guardian’s league table ranks value added based on a comparison of students’ entry qualifications with their degree score to measure effectiveness of teaching. However, for 2022 and 2023 this information has not been included in their rankings.

The following medical schools were rated highly for the value added through effective teaching within the 2021 rankings:

  1. Swansea – rating 10/10
  2. Warwick – rating 10/10
  3. Brighton Sussex Medical School – rating 9/10
  4. Leeds – rating 9/10
  5. Queen's, Belfast – rating 8/10
  6. Keele – rating 8/10
  7. Lancaster – rating 8/10
  8. Hull York Medical School – rating 8/10

While league rankings are not everything, they can provide you with some useful information, alongside the entry requirements, the location and course specific information, to help you to make a decision on what the best medical school for you will be.

You can also find lots more advice on medicine entry requirements, completing your personal statement and medical interviews on our website, to support you with the whole application process. Most of the medical schools in this list require you to complete the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) as part of their entry criteria. We've written a UCAT complete guide and UCAT practice test to provide you with everything you need to know about this admissions exam. And for help to effectively and efficiently prepare for your UCAT exam, visit our AI-powered adaptive UCAT question bank, and take your UCAT preparations to the next level.