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THE UK: Destination Guides

The top medical schools in the UK

If you have been considering studying medicine in the UK you are probably curious as to which universities make the list of top medical schools. We've crunched the numbers and have a comprehensive analysis of the best places to study medicine.

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With excellent graduate opportunities, a challenging academic programme and the prospect of a rewarding career, it’s little wonder that many international students hold ambitions of studying medicine. This is especially true of pursuing medical studies in the UK, with the country attracting many academically excellent international students.


However, you may not be up to speed on the best medical schools in the UK and where the top universities to study medicine in the UK are. We’re to help you navigate your way through some of the best places to study medicine and explore UK medical school rankings.


How are UK medical schools rated?


You may be wondering how the top medical schools in the UK are rated. This may depend on which league table you are consulting, but we’re making use of the Complete University Guide League Tables. The tables have been compiled for than 20 years by experts in the higher education field and consider a number of key factors when arriving at their verdict. These include:


  • Research intensity
  • Student satisfaction
  • Entry standards
  • Research quality
  • Graduate prospects
  • Degree completion
  • Facilities investment
  • Student to staff ratio


Scores and ratings are assigned to each, which then contributes to the overall calculation of an individual rating for a university.  If you’re interested in checking out some of the top universities in the UK overall, you can read our synopsis of the Complete University Guide League Tables 2021.


Now it’s time to take a look at who is on top of the list of best medical schools in the UK.


#1 University of Dundee


The University of Dundee holds the distinction of being the top university in the UK for medical studies as per the Complete University Guide League Tables 2021. Based in the east coast Scottish city of Dundee, the university is also rated as a top 50 institution in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2021, and a world top 250 university by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021.


Dundee is a city with a proud cultural, intellectual and creative heritage. In fact, it was the city in which adhesive postage stamps were invented. It was also the location for the first-ever radio broadcast and is home to one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe. If you are a prospective student you may also be pleased to hear that the university’s students’ association was ranked number one in Scotland in the National Student Survey 2019.


#2 University of Glasgow


The University of Glasgow is another highly regarded Scottish institution and sits in second spot on the list of UK medical school rankings. The university was founded in 1451, making it the fourth oldest provider of higher education in the UK. The institution was also the winner of the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide Scottish University of the Year in 2018.


The university also holds its own globally and is rated in the top 100 worldwide by the QS World University Rankings 2021. In addition, the University of Glasgow is ranked in the top 20 institutions in the UK by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021. 


The city of Glasgow is built along the banks of the river Clyde and was one of the industrial centres of Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries, famed for its shipbuilding. The city now boasts a vibrant cultural scene, including being home to the National Theatre of Scotland and over 20 museums. If you study here you won’t be at a loss of things to keep you busy.


You may be curious as to what to expect when you study medicine, so take some time to check out our guide.


#3 University of Oxford


It’s no surprise to see one of the UK’s, and arguably the world’s, most famous universities make cut as one of the best universities in the UK to study medicine. The university is widely regarded as the oldest university in the country, dating back to the 11th century.  It has a very diverse student population, with almost 45 per cent of the student community being international students, hailing from over 160 countries.  


The University of Oxford enjoys an extremely favourable ranking globally and is rated as a top-five institution in the world by QS World University Rankings 2021. It occupies the first position on the planet in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021, a position it has held since 2017. The university also lays claim to having produced the most world-leading research in the country.


The city of Oxford is known as a university town with the spires of the institution’s buildings dominating the skyline. You can pay a visit to the world’s first public museum, the Ashmolean Museum, which was opened in 1683. You can also be on the lookout for some of the locations used in the world-famous Harry Potter films, some of which were filmed in the city.  Don’t forget, you can discover more about the city by reading our comprehensive guide to Oxford.



#4 University of Aberdeen


Located in northeast Scotland, the city of Aberdeen hosts another of the UK’s best medical schools at the University of Aberdeen. The institution is over 500 years old and has an enviable reputation for cutting-edge research with five Nobel Prize winners having studied and worked at the university.  There are also more than 120 student clubs and societies you could join, which is the fifth-highest number in the UK.


The University of Aberdeen enjoys a renowned reputation across the globe, occupying a position in the top 30 universities in the UK as per the QS World University Rankings 2021. The university is also placed in the top 200 internationally by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021. That’s not all, as the University of Aberdeen was voted as the Scottish University of the Year in 2019 by the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.


Aberdeen has been noted as one of the safest cities in the UK and has some particularly spectacular architecture, with much of the city having been constructed from granite. There are also plenty of green spaces and an expansive harbour and coastline to explore. You never know your luck, you may be lucky and spot one of the pods of dolphins that are known to frequent the local area.


Wondering about what medical specialisations are available and what exactly they are? Don’t miss our guide.


#5 University of Edinburgh


Rounding out the list of the best places to study medicine in the UK is the University of Edinburgh. With a vibrant university community, the institution attracts international students from over 156 countries. Alumni over the university’s almost 500-year history include Nobel laureates and prime ministers.


The University of Edinburgh enjoys favourable ratings, both in the UK and abroad. It is in the top 50 universities worldwide according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021, coming in at number 30. The QS World University Rankings 2021 placed the university at number 20 globally and fifth in the UK.


While you are potentially studying medicine in the UK at the University of Edinburgh you’ll probably also want to explore. You’ll find a city of just over 500,000 people and once a year get to experience the world-famous arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The city is often considered to be ideal for young people and students, boasting an exciting cultural and food scene, with the added benefit of great architecture and green spaces, 112 parks to be exact.


You should now have a better idea of where the top medical schools in the UK are and some of the best universities offering the subject. While you are here you may want to explore some other universities offering medicine in the UK, find out more about professional degrees, and how much it may cost to study abroad.  You can also use our course matcher tool to find your perfect qualification and institutional match.

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