Aberdeen Medical School Review

Let's talk about Aberdeen Medical School, what their admissions process is like, their campus, history, and more important information to consider before making your final decision in the application year.

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Welcome to our UK Medical School Review series. In this series, we work with current students to produce an in-depth overview of each UK Medical School, covering what it is like to study there, how the course looks and what you need to get in.

Today, we are focussing on Aberdeen Medical School, one of the oldest Universities in the English-speaking world. Daanish, an Aberdeen Medic, will share his experiences and insights as a current student throughout.

Overview Of Aberdeen Medical School

About Aberdeen Medical School

Aberdeen University Medical School is the Medical School in the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. It is an ancient University, one of the oldest in the UK. Medicine has been taught at the University since the founding of King’s College – the oldest college of the University – in 1495, and the current formal establishment of a Medical School appears to postdate 1787, making it the first Medical School in Scotland.

Nowadays, the University offers 2 Medicine programmes – a standard 5-year Undergraduate course and a 1-year Gateway2Medicine course for those from Widening Access backgrounds, that upon completion leads to a place on the standard course. Both courses result in the award of a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree. There is no accelerated Graduate-entry Medicine course offered at Aberdeen however they do offer a 4-year Dentistry course for Graduates.

Aberdeen Medical School


Aberdeen Medical School Alumni

Notable alumni from Aberdeen Medical School include Robert Brown, discoverer of Brownian motion; Sir Graeme Catto, president of the General Medical Council; John James Richard Macleod, co-discoverer of insulin and Nobel Prize winner; Sir Patrick Manson, ‘Father of Tropical Medicine’, and Sir Alexander Ogston, discoverer of Staphylococcus aureus.

Why did you choose to study at Aberdeen?

I chose Aberdeen for the teaching style and the affordability of the University. Teaching is done systematically where you learn all the physiology, anatomy and pathology of one system (e.g. respiratory system) before advancing onto the next. It’s really convenient and I prefer learning this way. It’s also much cheaper to live in compared to other major cities and everything is within a walking distance so it’s very convenient. The fact it’s near the beach and has so many places with beautiful views and nature nearby made me like it even more as I prefer the quiet life. Aberdeen is particularly great if you’re a post-grad (like me!). In each year there are around 70-80 graduates which is nice because you have friends of similar ages.”

What is the best thing and worst thing about Aberdeen Medical School?

“The best thing about Aberdeen is the hospitals all being within close proximity to the University, so during placements you’re never too far away and don’t have to relocate (except for the 6-week rural placement in Inverness, where accommodation is provided). The worst thing about the Medical School is how each year varies – your second year is jam packed with content and is noticeably more content heavy than other years, so this can prove to be difficult, but if others have managed it I’m sure you can too. Second year and fourth year are known to be very tough compared to first and third year. I think it would be nicer if they were all equal and less of a see-saw in terms of difficulty.”

Medical School Rankings

The following link will take you to the Complete University Guide Medicine League Table. Here, you can see that the University of Aberdeen Medical School takes 20th position with an overall score of 96%:


Rankings will, of course, differ between other tables; the Guardian includes different aspects to the Complete University Guide. When making your own decision on which table to look at, think about what you place more importance on, such as spending per student or career prospects. Keep in mind that all Medical Schools are highly ranked with excellent ratings across the board.

Aberdeen Medical School Fees And Financial Support

Annual tuition fees for Medicine at the University of Aberdeen are £1,820 for home students. For the rest of the UK fees are £9,250, and for international students they are £47,500 each year. Both Scotland and the rest of the UK students are eligible for tuition fee loans from their respective Governments that cover the course fees in full. Fees do not have to be paid up front. Certain groups of students may be entitled to claim supplementary grants or allowances to help with costs, along with a Hardship Fund for those facing unexpected financial difficulties.

What are the living costs like?

“If you’re under 21 then you can get a bus pass (for free) and travel unlimited trips for free by bus (Scottish government is amazing like that). Otherwise a daily pass to get unlimited trips is £4. The cost of a pint is approximately £3-4 according to my friends (I don’t drink). If you drive you won’t need to ever drive more than 3-5 miles to get anywhere. Everything is close by.”

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What Is Studying At Aberdeen Medical School Like?

Teaching for students at Aberdeen Medical School is integrated and takes the format of lectures, group projects, e-learning, peer learning, research, seminars and tutorials. Anatomy is taught using prosected cadaveric specimens. Aberdeen encourage early patient contact, and as a result, students will undertake clinical learning at local General Practices from Year 1.

Clinical attachments become more full-time from Year 4 onwards, with students undertaking clinical blocks in a range of specialties. At least 1 of these blocks will be undertaken in Inverness or Elgin, with some students opting to spend the whole of Year 4 out of Aberdeen in the more rural and remote parts of Scotland. Teaching will be provided alongside placements, following the 5 horizontal themes of diagnostics, end of life care, health data science, quality improvement and cost and value of healthcare.

What is a week in first year like at Aberdeen Medical School?

The example timetable provided is all of the live sessions from a week in first year. On top of what you see in the timetable, we also had online, pre-recorded lectures (during COVID), so add on an additional 15-30 lectures to the timetable and that is a typical week. Lecture watch time varied from 4 hours – 12 hours per week. On 12-hour weeks we had less live sessions, on 4-hour weeks we had more live sessions and more anatomy, so there was a balance. A 1 hour lecture would typically take 90 minutes to get through, for reference.”

Below is the example timetable of a week in first year:

Aberdeen Medical School Degree Content

Aberdeen offers three different courses, a five-year Undergraduate course, a one-year Gateway2Medicine course and a four-year Graduate Dentistry course

The course is delivered using a systems-based integrated method, with students taking a step-by-step approach to development of knowledge, skills and professional attitudes. The curriculum is frequently reviewed and updated with changing GMC guidance, scientific and medical advances, changes in healthcare delivery and changes in education theory and practice.

Student Selected Components (SSCs) are undertaken in Years 1, 2 and 3 to allow students to follow-up areas of personal interest and acquire an alternative take to healthcare not provided by the mainstream medical curriculum, particularly in the Year 3 6-week SSC ‘Medical Humanities’.

Students have the opportunity to intercalate between Years 3 and 4, either in Medical Science or Medical Humanities at the University of Aberdeen, or elsewhere in the country.

An 8-week Elective is available in Year 5 to allow students to, completely independently, pursue personal interests in any aspect of Medicine, either within the UK or abroad to experience different healthcare systems.

To complete the degree and prepare students for entering their Foundation Years as a Doctor, students will also undertake Student Assistantships in Final Year.

Below is a summary of the curriculum across the 5 years:

Summary of the curriculum:
Year 1: 
  • Foundations of Medicine
  • Respiratory System
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Anatomy 1
  • Clinical Skills 1
  • General Practice placements
  • SSC
Year 2: 
  • Alimentary System
  • Head/Neck/Dermatology
  • Nervous System
  • Diabetes/Endocrine
  • Urinary System
  • Advanced Infection
  • Musculoskeletal System
  • Medical Ethics and Law
  • Anatomy 2
  • Clinical Skills 2
  • General Practice placements
  • SSC
Year 3: 
  • Reproductive System
  • Specialities and Professional Practice
    • Medicine of Old Age
    • Anaesthetics
    • Clinical Genetics
    • Clinical Pharmacology
    • Psychiatry
    • Haematology/Immunology
    • Paediatrics
  • General Practice placements
  • SSCs – Medical Humanities and Clinical Effectiveness
Year 4: Senior Clinical Practice 
  • 6-week clinical placement blocks
    • Acute Medicine and Critical Care
    • Surgery and Critical Care
    • Reproductive and Child Health
    • General Practice
    • Long-term Conditions and Integrated Care
    • Mental Health
    • Diagnostics and Student Preference attachments
  • Professional Practice Block
Year 4: Professional Practice 
  • 8-week Student Assistantship blocks
    • Medicine
    • Surgery
    • Community Health (General Practice or Psychiatry)
  • Elective
  • Professional Practice Block

The course outline by Aberdeen:


This 1-year course is provided to allow Scottish students from disadvantaged backgrounds, who achieve lower grades than those required, a chance to study Medicine. The course is comprised of elements of the University of Aberdeen’s longstanding Certificate in Pre-medical Studies and the HNC/HND in Applied Sciences provided by the North East Scotland College (NESCOL), therefore course delivery and student support is shared with NESCOL. Teaching takes the form of lectures, small group teaching, clinical skills and work experience.

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be awarded a Certificate in Higher Education in Pre-medical Studies, and be guaranteed a place on Year 1 of the standard 5-year Undergraduate Medicine course should they perform satisfactorily in the Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs).

Dentistry at the University of Aberdeen is the only 4-year Dentistry course offered exclusively to Graduate students in Scotland. The programme incorporates early clinical problem-solving and patient contact, alongside an integrated learning approach to prepare students to become a dental professional from the very start. Teaching takes the form of lectures, individual projects, research, tutorials and clinical placements with dental teams. With only 80 students on the course, the high staff:student ratio ensures there is plenty of support for students.

What Makes Aberdeen Medical School Unique?

What makes your Medical School unique?

“The teaching style is brilliant in Aberdeen. You don’t have to learn every single detail of the human body, they focus more on the clinically relevant things and they provide a lot of useful resources. We use 3D anatomy imaging (Anatomy TV), Acland’s Anatomy and have an excellent anatomy lab which is very easily accessible. Aberdeen is one of the oldest medical institutions in the UK. Having over 500 years of experience as a Medical School puts this University ahead of others in experience. They make subtle changes every year to improve the teaching quality and structure of the course so it’s continually improving. I can tell you first-hand that they listen to student feedback too and take our comments into consideration. Student wellbeing is very well looked after in this Medical School too – you have a personal tutor, a medic ‘mum and dad’ (older students paired with you as you enter Medical School) and ‘medic siblings’ (students in your year group who form a medic family). The purpose of all this is for any support you may require. It’s really helpful having such a network to get you through the challenges of University.”

Candidate Selection

Stage 1: applicants are pre-screened against academic criteria and given a score based on achievements.

Stage 2: candidates are given a score based on their UCAT performance.

Stage 3: scores for academic achievements (30%) and UCAT (20%) are combined. Those scoring highest are invited for interview.

Stage 4: applicants attend interview.

Stage 5: scores from the interview (50%) are compiled with the already achieved score for academic and UCAT performance. Offers are made for those with the highest combined score.

Aberdeen Medical School Entry Requirements

Undergraduate Course

ExamUndergraduate Course
Scottish Highers 5 Highers at AAAAB, including Chemistry and 2 subjects from Biology/Human Biology, Mathematics or Physics.
GCSEsgrade B/6 or above, including Mathematics, English Language. Biology and Physics are recommended.
A-LevelsAAA including A-Level Chemistry and 1 subject from Biology/Human Biology, Mathematics or Physics.
IBoverall score of 36 points with 3 subjects at Higher Level at grade 6 or higher, including Chemistry and 1 of Mathematics, Biology or Physics.

Gateway2Medicine Course

ExamUndergraduate Course
Scottish Highers 4 Highers at AABB, including any 2 from Chemistry, Biology/Human Biology, Mathematics or Physics.

Graduate Dentistry Course 

ExamUndergraduate Course
Degreea first or upper second-class honours in a medical or health-related science degree.

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Aberdeen Medical School Personal Statement

The personal statement is not scored in the application process but Aberdeen Medical School do review personal statements prior to sending out interview invitations, and will also assess your personal statement during your interview, therefore it is important to include what they want to see!

Aberdeen recommend structuring your personal statement to cover your commitment to Medicine, your knowledge of the core qualities required of a Doctor and teamwork.

To show commitment to Medicine, you should demonstrate attempts to experience the work of a Doctor, research the training involved for a career in Medicine – pieced with your own hopes for your career – and understand the level of commitment required, including both the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of working in the field. They state that work experience can take the form of job shadowing, speaking with Doctors, reading literature, and visiting/researching Aberdeen Medical School. They emphasise that rather than just listing work experience you have undertaken, reflect on what you have learnt and how that makes you suitable for the career.

Good qualities of Doctors include communication, empathy and integrity. Try to show how you possess these qualities, perhaps through voluntary work, charity work, paid work or other instances where you have needed to practice your ‘people skills’.

Teamwork can be demonstrated through both your activities in and out of school. Reflect on how your extra-curriculars shape you, Aberdeen want to see you are more than just your books!

The most important thing, particularly for when you are asked questions based off your personal statement in your interview, is that you know your it inside out and are candid!

When it comes to personal statement writing, 6med’s Personal Statement Bundle is your best bet for creating the perfect statement! 

Aberdeen Medical School Admissions Tests

UCAT Requirements

You need to undertake the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) in order to apply for the University of Aberdeen. A minimum UCAT cut-off score is not used, and scores are instead allocated based on the applicant’s overall performance. The Situational Judgement Test section is not scored but may be used for deciding between candidates with similar scores. Scores are considered alongside academic achievement, and those scoring highest are invited for interview.

For reference, the average UCAT score in 2021 for home students was 2670, with the lowest being invited for interview being 2440. Check out our UCAT Scoring Guide to learn more!

The BMAT is not required.

Aberdeen Medical School Interview

The number of applicants interviewed is roughly 4x the available number of places. Interviews typically take place between December and March.

MMI Interview Style

The interview at Aberdeen takes the form of Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs).. Each station focuses on different domains, with questioning for each lasting around 7 minutes. The whole MMI experience will last approximately 1 hour.

Candidates may be asked to discuss their preparation for entry to Medicine, consider a new situation and discuss their thoughts or suggest a solution, outline any learning points from previous experiences, reflect upon their own and others’ skills and abilities and consider their personal contribution to the care of others.

Answers are scored in several areas such as ability to express ideas coherently, use of existing knowledge to formulate answers in unknown areas, ability to follow a reasoned argument and form an opinion and degree of motivation/commitment demonstrated.

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Example Aberdeen Medical School Interview Questions:

Extra-Curriculars at Aberdeen Medical School

Outside of study time, what do most people get up to?

“Atik is the most common nightclub, and the biggest too. The Tunnels is close by and also quite popular. The beach (Aberdeen beach front) and the lighthouse (Girdle’s nest lighthouse) are really nice to visit for views – especially sunrise and stargazing at night. Some time of year you can maybe even see the northern lights! For food there is Flakes, Turkish Kitchen, Zee’s, Lahore Karahi, Miller & Carter, Thaikun and your classic high street restaurants in Union Square shopping centre. Fodostory and Cult of Coffee are by far the best places for coffee and a quick lunch. There’s ‘Breakout Games Aberdeen’, an amazing escape room, ‘Inoflate’ for trampolining, ‘Transition Xtreme Sports’ for rock climbing or bouldering – all which make a nice activity for a group of friends. A lot of the accommodations have great social areas with table tennis, pool tables and cinema rooms – most students prefer to chill in one of these places. If the weather is good then Balmedie beach is beautiful (20 min drive away) but it’s nothing but sand dunes and a long stretch of beach. In summer it really feels like you’re on holiday!”

What is the Aberdeen accommodation like?

“University accommodation is all located in Hillhead. A free bus runs from Hillhead to the medical campus every day at various times which is convenient for travel. It takes around 15-20 minutes to reach the University. New Carnegie is the nicest of all (£156/week including bills) with ensuite bathrooms. Fyfe and Wavell house are the cheapest (£92/week, including bills) with shared toilets. It’s actually cheaper to get a flat privately (roughly £350/month if you share with 1 person) so if you can I would opt for that option. I haven’t heard the best things about the accommodation. A lot of students live in accommodation for the experience, to meet people or because it’s free for many first years (depends where you’re from). The best areas for medical students living privately are Shaw Crescent, Rosemount and Hilton – they have the most modern flats which are a walking distance from the University with parking and local amenities.”

Aberdeen Medical School Contact

Email: [email protected]

Tel: +44 (0)1224 437923

Postal address:
School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition,
University of Aberdeen,
Polwarth Building,

You can also visit: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/smmsn/

Advice For Prospective Aberdeen Medical School Students

What advice would you give to a first-year student starting at your Medical School?

“Attend the fresher’s events – find out about them through social media because this is by far the best place and time to make friends. If you’re shy don’t worry, older students are aware of this and make it welcoming to new students. Speak to older students and ask for advice early on. We usually have notes, flashcards and tips that will save you SO MUCH time. Try to keep on top of the work each week – if you leave this week’s work till next week it will pile up very fast. Don’t underestimate the content load, but also don’t be worried. It’s heavy but manageable. Try something new or keep up an existing hobby. I see too many medical students give up hobbies when they begin Medicine. It’s healthy to keep something non-medical on the side as an outlet, be it creative, sporty or academic, make sure you have that outlet! Take this advice from a post-graduate – this is my second degree in a much smaller and less-vibrant city but it’s equally, if not more fun, than the first. University is what you make of it. Regardless of where you end up, you can make life fun and you can always find the right group of friends for you. I thought Aberdeen would be dead since it’s so far north and out of the way, but I managed to make great friends and it hasn’t felt like Aberdeen hindered my University experience. Keep this mindset and you can turn any place into a place of joy. Good luck in your journey!”

Check out our other UK Medical School Reviews:

Aberdeen Medical School is an exceptional place to study, and we’ll help you get there.

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Not sure where to start with your Medical School application?

Our Complete Bundle provides support for your Personal Statement, UCAT, BMAT and Interview and guides you to a successful application.

With our Complete Bundle, we guarantee that you will get at least one offer to study Medicine, or your money back.

By Phoebe Baker

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