Study Pharmacy, Medicine and Dentistry in the UK: Become a doctor


dentistry degree

(Image Credit: Google images)

Recently, higher education in the UK has made some major changes which have made it more open and welcoming for international students. Especially, degrees in pharmacy, medicine and dentistry have been made more available for overseas students with high academic achievements and good command of English.

Why is it so hard to get qualified for Medical Science-related degrees?

It has always been hard. Specifically, it’s much more difficult than other fields of study such as business, education, media or even engineering. This is the fact that applies across the world. In the UK particularly, the average entry requirements for dentistry/medical degrees are:

  • For A-level students: you have to have at least 5 GCSEs at grade A or A*
  • For International Baccalaureate: around 35 points overall depending on the universities.
  • English requirements: IELTS 7.0 with no skills under 6.5.

The entry requirements come about the above average ones but they heavily depend on the university. High-ranking universities usually have higher requirements. Different subjects are also slightly different from each other when it comes to entry requirements.

Study Pharmacy degrees in the UK

Career in Pharmacy in the UK

Depending on the subjects you study, career in Pharmacy in the UK have the following three professions:

  • Pharmacist
  • Pharmacy assistant
  • Pharmacy technician

The majority of international students coming to the UK to study degree level in Pharmacy which mainly leads to a career as a Pharmacist. The other two professions can be taken on with a diploma in pharmacy which is unlikely to be offered for international students.

To become a Pharmacist after completing your degree, you can apply to register as a pharmacist with the GPhC through this route if you have completed:

  • a UK accredited MPharm degree (Master’s degree in Pharmacy) or OSPAP qualification
  • 52 weeks of pre-registration training in England, Scotland or Wales signed off as satisfactory by your tutor
  • the GPhC registration assessment with a pass result.

International students on a common 4-year undergraduate degree route are allowed to do Pre-registration training only if they successfully secure a job with a tier-2 sponsor. However, there are currently two universities offering the placement scheme which allows international students to do the pre-registration year with a guaranteed GPhC pre-registration assessment. With this scheme, international students have more chance to be qualified as a Pharmacist to work in the UK. The universities mentioned are the University of Nottingham, the University of Bradford and the University of East Anglia.

Average earnings of personnel working in pharmacy are from £25000 to £35,000 depending on the positions. It can go up to £50000 a year.

Degrees in Pharmacy

With undergraduate degrees, students will have to do a foundation course prior to the undergraduate course. It is a fact that not many international students know about these foundation courses which can lead to pharmacy degree: Kingston University ISC and Leeds University ISC.

Undergraduate degrees take at least 4 years to complete. Tuition fees vary from £13000 to £25000 per year.

Study Medicine in the UK: Become a doctor

Medicine is one of the shortage occupations qualified by the UK government. This means non-EU qualified doctors can be granted Tier 2 working visa to work in UK hospitals or general practice centres. However, this also means that the entry requirements are highly revised to make sure the UK medical field gets the best-qualified personnel.

The time it takes to become a qualified doctor through studying in the UK is around 8 years including 5 years of studying undergraduate, 1-2 years of junior training and 3 years of specialist training depending on the areas that you study.

Tuition fees for the first two years are around £20,000 a year, followed by the three clinical years from year 3 with the tuition fees of around £40,000 a year. However, you can start earning from the first year of training as a junior doctor after finishing your degree.

Facts and figures:

Optimized study medicine in the uk infographic

(Source: UKEC infographics)

20,700 overseas doctors can be granted each year tier 2 visa which is not enough to cover the shortage in medical practice.

Official figures revealed the NHS faces a staffing shortfall of 93,000 doctors, nurses and medical technicians.

Around 139,000 of the 1.2 million NHS employees are foreign nationals.

GMC expects 5,000 non-EU doctors will apply to work in the UK.

Nurse pay and roles


Pay range

Typical role


£21,692 - £28,180

Nurse or midwife


£26,041 - £34,876

Nurse team leader/specialist


£31,072 - £40,694

Senior nurse/manager


£39,632 - £81,618

Nurse consultant or matron

According to figures from the NHS Employers Organisation, the average total salary for a doctor in training is around £37,000

Over 400 courses offered by numerous universities in the UK are medical-related studies including medicine, dentistry and pharmacy. 

In order to get onto a medical degree, high school graduates have to one of the two additional tests called BMAT and UKCAT. 

The BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) and the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) are two additional requirements, alongside A-Levels (or equivalent) and IELTS (or equivalent) needed to study a medical degree in the UK. UK universities tend to require either BMAT or UKCAT results. This will be made clear before an application can be made, and your UKEC education consultant will ensure you take the correct test.


BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)

The BMAT is a two-hour pen and paper test which is divided into three sections:

  • Section 1 – Aptitude and Skills
  • Section 2 – Scientific Knowledge and Applications
  • Section 3 – Writing Task


Student are required to register for the BMAT before making their applications to universities, but the test is taken after the application. You can only take the BMAT through a registered test centre, and can only be registered by a test centre also. You can find a registered test centre near you here.


BMAT key dates


UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT)

The UKCAT is designed to be a test of aptitude and attitude, rather than academic achievement. It attempts to assess a certain range of mental abilities and behavioural attributes identified as useful, including critical thinking, logical reasoning, and inference. The test is divided into sections, including:

  • Verbal reasoning
  • Decision making
  • Quantitive reasoning
  • Abstract reasoning


You must personally register to take your UKCAT. Registration opens in May, and closes in September. The deadline for booking your test is October. Testing then takes place between July and October. Students are strongly recommended to register and sit their UKCAT at their earliest convenience. Find your local UKCAT test centre here.

Study Dentistry in the UK

Dentistry degrees used to be exclusively offered for home and EU students. Now, there are pathways for international students to progress on to dentistry degrees by achieving high results in their foundation courses.


Prospective dentists on the Dental Foundation Training year are paid £30,132 per year. Depending on the route taken following the foundation year, trainees should expect to earn between £29,000 and £40,000 per year. NHS salaries can be anything up to £110,000 a year.


Stage 1: Foundation year in science.

If you plan to study undergraduate in dentistry, you as an international student would need to take on a foundation year in science. This foundation year is provided by higher education organisations such as Kaplan, CEG, StudyGroup and so on. You can choose to study at any partner university in the UK. However, you will need to achieve the very high standard required by dentistry undergraduate courses at most UK Universities.

Good news is this year (2018) Sheffield University, which is placed 40th In Guardian’s UK university rankings 2018, is the first university in UK higher education history to offer a direct pathway for high achieving international students onto dentistry degree. Their dentistry ranking is 11th in Guardian rankings 2018.

To learn more about science foundation year at this university or in the UK generally and how to apply, click here or contact us via

Stage 2: Degree in Dentistry

After Foundation year, you will be able to progress onto Dentistry degree at universities with the entry level which is similar to the given requirements above.

Dentistry degree takes at least 5 years to complete, followed by 1-2 years of supervised practice before you can start working as a qualified dentist. Unlike becoming a dentist, becoming a dental technician or dental hygienist require fewer years of supervised practice and lower entry requirements in terms of degrees and courses.

Top Dentistry courses in the UK based on the Guardian rankings of Dentistry subject:




4.King's College London

5.Queen's Belfast

6.Central Lancashire





Tuition fees for a year of dentistry degree fluctuate around £20,000 depending on every university.

There is hardly any scholarship offered for students studying this subject across the UK. However, if you look carefully, there are still come universities offering vice-chancellor scholarships which can be applied for by writing a statement after you apply for the course. You also have to be academically bright and high-achieving proven on your transcript.

To apply for undergraduate in Dentistry, click here to send us your information.

If you are looking into studying for a Master’s degree, there are a number of options for you. You can study for one year to up to 3 years clinical which require different entry level. However, you still have to hold a primary degree in Dentistry at least. Some universities even require their applicants to have at least 2 years of supervised practice. To find out the right option for you, click here to let us know you are interested.

Stage 3: PhD in Dentistry

If you are looking into broadening and deepening your knowledge as a dentist, studying PhD in dentistry is available for you at various UK universities. A Doctorate degree is not required in terms of getting a job as a dentist in the UK but it helps you become an expert in your field. The process of applying for a PhD in dentistry at a UK University is similar to other fields which can be found here.

Tuition fees for international students who wish to study PhD in Dentistry start from

To acquire more information on how to apply for PhD in Dentistry, click here to leave us your information or you can email us to

Stage 4: Get a job in Dentistry in the UK

In order to get a job as a dentist in the UK, you need to register yourself and obtain a license. You can find out how to obtain a license by clicking here.

If you're interested in studying Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy at any levels, you're welcome to contact us by sending us an email to or clicking here to leave us your contact details. We at UKEC have strong partnerships with over 120 universities which provide courses in Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy across the UK. This allows us to support your journey to your dream education in the fastest and most reliable manner. We have a team of the most experienced, enthusiastic advisors who know everything about the UK education and its universities. We are able to help you go for whatever's best for you.