In the UK students study professional degrees such as Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Nursing directly from high school. The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK funds medical training. Thus, spaces in medical training programs are restricted in the number of international students they are allowed to accept.
In the UK, students enroll in an MPharm programme in order to become practicing pharmacists. This consists of four years of study at university and one year of residency experience. This degree is the equivalent of the PharmD professional degree in the USA. If students wish to return to the USA to practice pharmacy at the completion of the degree, then they must complete the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Examination and become State Board certified. More information can be found on the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy website.
There is currently one specific undergraduate nursing program available to international students. It is the BSc in Adult Nursing. If you hold a British passport, please email email@example.com to learn if you are eligible to apply for other undergraduate nursing programs. If you are currently a practicing healthcare professional, then some postgraduate programmes are available to you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Studying Medicine and Dentistry
If your goal is the become a doctor, then you have to think a bit differently about medical programs in the UK. In the UK doctors earn an MBBS to practice medicine. This program is usually 5-6 years and is begun straight from high school.The NHS, the UK government's healthcare program for its citizens, pays for doctor training. This means that there are limited spaces in each of the UK's 33 medical schools for international students. At King's, for example, there are around 25 spaces for international students out of a class of 400. Competition is quite high for each of the 25 places. If you have earned a Bachelor's degree already, King's offers a graduate entry option. There are about 10 spaces available each year, and again, competition is high.
As an alternative, a BSc from the King's Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine is a great pre-medicine curriculum as it is three years, deeply concentrated in your area of study, and carries the King's reputation for excellence in biomedical sciences that will have US and Canadian medical schools sitting up and taking notice.
In order to gain entry to a UK medical, dental, or nursing program, you will need to have an academic background strong in the sciences, and specifically biology and chemistry. You will be required to take a medical study entrance exam. At King's the entrance exam is the UKCAT
. You will need to apply via UCAS
by the October 15 application deadline
. Depending on the course, an interview may also be required.
In addition to academic requirements, it is highly desired that you have the following experience:
- Scholastic activities: Any scholastic activity would be considered, eg general reading, debating, theological interests, etc.
- Community activities: We look for applicants who have participated as fully as possible in school, college or community life, making the most of the opportunities available to them and also demonstrated some experience of society beyond their immediate environment. Your interests, achievements and contribution to your community are taken into account e.g., clubs, theatrical, religious, etc.
- General activities/interests: We look for applicants who not only have interests but may have also achieved in these areas e.g. music, sport, first aid, etc.
- Work shadowing/observation: We would normally expect that applicants will have undertaken some voluntary work experience in a caring/health environment and/or observation in a medical clinical setting. It is important for applicants to have a realistic appreciation of what a career as a health professional involves.
- Paid or voluntary work: Any voluntary contribution to your community is taken into account, e.g., volunteer in a care home. We look for evidence that you have worked in a setting where you can interact with the general public e.g., in a pharmacy, check-out or restaurant.
Returning to North America
You will be able to practice medicine in the USA and Canada with a medical degree in the UK, but you must first pass the licensing exams for your location. The following organizations list resources for students with international medical degrees.