Medical Sciences (Extended International Pre-Med)

September 2023 entry

The Medical Sciences (Extended International Pre-Med) programme offers students the potential to move on to a degree in medicine at the University of St Andrews.

This is a two-year programme of study with four taught semesters. During the first year, you will focus on studying sciences and learning to present and interact effectively in an academic environment. You will also start to reflect on how you can build knowledge about medicine. In the second year, you study modules focusing on the academic knowledge and skills required to study medicine.

The interactive teaching and learning experiences will help students understand what it means to study medicine and to be a doctor. 

Over the past two years, more than 70% of all Medicine Sciences (Extended International Pre-Med) students at the International Education Institute achieved all progression requirements to move onto the BSc Medicine (A100) degree at St Andrews.

Apply nowGet more information

Course type

Extended International Pre-Med

This is the University’s own pre-degree programme which prepares international students for undergraduate study in the UK and at the University of St Andrews in particular.

Course duration

Two years, full time

Course dates

Year 1
Start date: 4 September 2023
End dates: 10 May 2024

Year 2
Start date: 2 September 2024
End date: 9 May 2025

The schedule for this programme differs slightly from the standard University semester dates. All weeks from the programme start date to end date of Year 1 are teaching, in-class revision or assessment weeks, other than the following:

  • independent learning week: 16 to 20 October 2023
  • winter vacation and inter-semester weeks: 20 December 2023 to 12 January 2024.
  • February vacation: 19 to 23 February 2024.

Vacation dates may be subject to change.

This course is for:

International students who are academically able, but whose high school qualification is not recognised for application to an undergraduate degree at St Andrews. International Foundation students typically use English as an additional language.  

Who can apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

Applicants must have studied sciences throughout high school and be able to offer strong grades in English, Chemistry, Biology, and Physics or Mathematics. 

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

See typical academic requirements for the Medical Sciences (Extended International Pre-Med) programme. If your qualification is not shown, please email about the grades needed from your high school system.

You can demonstrate that you have met the academic requirements with a high school transcript from your final year at school. Any high school qualification you use as evidence of your academic ability should be from the last year you attended high school and dated within the previous three years.

You should apply before your final results are available, as the University can make you a conditional offer based on your past exam performance and predicted grades.

English language requirement

All International Foundation applicants must submit a Secure English Test (SELT) as evidence of their English language ability, unless they have a UK passport.

You will be required to submit a UKVI IELTS academic test score for progression onto BSc Medicine so you must take a UKVI IELTS academic test to meet English language entry requirements for the Medical Sciences (Extended International Pre-Med) programme.

See a list of approved English language tests and required scores for this programme.

You do not need to have your result when you apply, as this can be a condition of an offer made by the University.

Application requirements

The University will ask you to provide the following documents as part of your application:

  • your most recent high school transcript
  • a personal statement outlining why you wish to study medicine at St Andrews and reflecting on your life and learning experiences to explain why you feel you would be successful on this programme
  • an academic reference from your high school on their letterhead or from a school email
  • your official English language test result.

Application deadline

The deadline for applications is Monday 31 July 2023. You only need to provide your high school transcript and personal statement when you first apply so that the University can consider your application. Your academic reference and your English language evidence can be provided later.

How to apply

Course information

This two-year programme combines science and medicine to provide international students with a route onto the medicine degree at the University of St Andrews.

You will enjoy a friendly and supportive learning environment where you will study in small groups to accelerate your learning and adaption to the new culture. You will have access to a personal tutor to support you in your studies, help you to manage your time effectively and become an independent and reflective learner.

The course aims to ensure that students develop the analytical approach to learning and communication skills which are required to study medicine in a British university. The structure of the programme provides students with dedicated support in the first year when it is most needed, but progressively enables students to work more independently and collaboratively as they will do on their medical degree programme.

You will learn to adapt to studying in a university environment and to develop a deeper knowledge of key sciences as well as general communication skills. 

Classes integrate science and English language learning through a focus on writing laboratory reports, structuring essays, critical thinking and scientific methods of investigation.

In the second year, the programme will also introduce you to courses in medical ethics and clinical communication skills, as well as medical-related sciences.

By the end of Year 1, students will:

  • demonstrate an overall appreciation of the body of knowledge of sciences required to study medicine
  • demonstrate an understanding of differences between explanations based on evidence, research and other sources, and the importance of this difference in the study of sciences and medicine
  • present and evaluate arguments, information and ideas that are routine to science and medicine and more general contexts
  • select and use standard ICT applications to process, obtain and combine information for presentation of assessed and non-assessed work
  • understand a wider range of demanding, long texts related to science, medicine, and society, and recognise implicit meaning
  • use language flexibly and effectively for social and academic purposes.

By the end of Year 2, students will:

  • demonstrate an overall appreciation of the body of philosophies related to the study of medicine
  • demonstrate knowledge that is embedded in the main theories, concepts and principles of the philosophies related to the study of medicine and apply that knowledge in practical contexts
  • undertake critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of ideas, concepts, information and issues that are within the common understandings of health and medicine
  • demonstrate awareness of own and others’ roles, responsibilities and contributions when carrying out and evaluating tasks related to the study of medicine
  • convey complex information to a range of audiences such as fellow students, medical professionals, and patients
  • exercise autonomy and initiative in some activities in their learning
  • manage, under guidance, ethical and professional issues in accordance with current professional codes related to the medical profession.


The Medical Sciences (Extended International Pre-Med - September entry) is a two-year programme.

All students will study the same five compulsory modules in Semester 1:

  • Communicating in Academic Contexts 1: helps you develop and practise productive and receptive academic spoken communication skills to use within the International Foundation programme and in your undergraduate programme.

  • Research and Writing for Science A: aims to explore a range of academic functions, features of academic style and organisation, and academic grammar and vocabulary in order to improve your overall academic literacy but with a focus on the texts you need to write for science. You will learn how to evaluate the reliability of a variety of published texts and develop your own academic voice.

  • Foundation Academic Thought in Arts and Science: introduces students to the history and development of academic thought in both the arts and the sciences, which will enhance understanding of the key philosophical and analytical principles underpinning academic study. This module supports students in the preliminary stages of acquiring discipline-appropriate academic voice. 
  • Foundation Inorganic and Physical Chemistry: develops students' existing knowledge and understanding of inorganic and physical chemistry and provides a useful introduction to many of the chemical concepts which are used organic and biological chemistry courses.

  • Psychology A: students should be able to demonstrate familiarity with a wide range of the theoretical and empirical underpinnings of modern psychology, through the detailed study of classic and contemporary literature; A solid grounding in the empirical approach to provide the necessary basis for conducting research in psychology; An appreciation of the diversity of psychology and its practical applications in modern society. 

In Semester 2, all students will study the same four compulsory  modules:

  • Communicating in Academic Contexts 2: helps you further develop and practise productive and receptive academic oral communication skills that you will need to draw on in your degree programme.

  • Research and Writing for Science B: further develops the skills introduced in Research and Writing Skills for Science A in Semester 1. Students will be working more specifically on more extended research skills using references, and using them to support arguments in science.

  • Foundation Physiology 1: introduces the study of the physiological systems in the human body. In particular, it covers cell structure, cell function and cell membranes, homeostasis, temperature regulation, metabolism and enzymes, the endocrine system, the nervous system and circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems. 

  • Psychology B: further develops the skills introduced in Psychology A and shows students how research methods have helped to develop understanding in three areas of psychology: Developmental, Evolutionary and Social Psychology. It also aims to develop students’ research methods and analytical skills.

In addition to these four compulsory modules above, students will also study one or two modules from the following list:

  • Foundation Organic Chemistry: students develop their existing knowledge and understanding of patterns in the periodic table, structure and bonding in elements and compounds, reaction kinetics, equilibria and acid base chemistry, redox reactions and electrochemical cells, and chemical calculations using the mole concept. 

  • Foundation Philosophy: provides an introduction to Western philosophy, and to the types of philosophical issues one might encounter in the fields of ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, and logic.

  • Foundation Statistics: provides an introduction to statistical methods for students who may be choosing maths, business or other science subjects, or who have an interest in how data is presented in the media. 

Clinical observation post Year 1

If possible, students are encouraged to undertake some clinical observation, usually in their home country. The key purpose is to enhance your understanding of the skills, qualities, practices and systems of care settings. This will prepare you for Year 2 of the Medical Sciences (Extended International Pre-Med - September entry) programme where there will be a much greater focus on what is required to study and practice medicine. 

The observation should take place in a care facility which you will organise in a location most convenient for you. It should only be undertaken if it is safe for you to do so. The International Education Institute at St Andrews can provide documentation to support your application to the care facility.

All students will study the same three compulsory modules in Semester 1:

  • Foundations for Medicine 1: focuses on academic research and writing skills along with seminar and project skills. You will study medical ethics in order and understand how this links to clinical practice and medical professionalism. You will also have sessions on effective communication and attend workshops with simulated and real patients in the School of Medicine.

  • Biology 1: introduces students to molecular and cellular biology and covers cell diversity and the origins of life, cellular structures and fundamental processes. 

  • Introductory Inorganic and Physical Chemistry: covers the origin of the elements, atoms and the Periodic Table, shapes and properties of molecules, chemistry of the elements, properties of solutions, thermochemistry, thermodynamics and kinetics.

All students will study the same three compulsory modules in Semester 2:

  • Foundations for Medicine 2: builds on the skills studied in Semester 1 to enhance confidence and competence in communication, specifically for a degree in medicine. Students continue studying medical ethics. Students will also have a series of lectures on important themes in Medicine which are delivered by staff from the School of Medicine. 

  • Organic and Biological Chemistry 1: includes lectures on the structure, stereochemistry and nomenclature of simple organic compounds, fundamental organic reaction mechanisms, organic functional groups and their reactions, introductory bioorganic chemistry, and organic spectroscopy.

  • Human Biology: covers all the key physiological systems within the topic areas, with an overarching focus on how disease affects these systems.

Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs)

To prepare for the MMIs held by the School of Medicine in Semester 2 of Year 2, there will be workshops on the various interview stations so that students can develop their interview skills and MMI performance. Students also study medical ethics in order to transition into first-year medicine with an understanding of how medical ethics link to clinical practice and medical professionalism.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2023 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


Teaching format

Classes take place from Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm (UK time). You will spend approximately 16 hours per week on focused learning activities. During this time, you will experience a mixture of live lectures, laboratory practicals and seminars or tutorials.

Class sizes are likely to be between 14 and 16 students.

As well as your timetabled classes, you will be expected to complete approximately 20 to 25 hours of independent study each week. As a fully matriculated student, you have access to the University’s libraries and study areas, but you will also work with the University's online learning tools (Moodle and Microsoft Teams).

Students are expected to do the following to prepare for classes and consolidate their learning:

  • read and take notes from online or hard copy textbooks, articles, and other online sources as required
  • undertake additional research and self-study through the University library and online
  • complete a range of homework tasks, individually and in groups
  • engage with feedback on both formative and summative assessments.

In Year 2 of the programme, students are introduced to simulated and real patients throughout the programme and are given opportunities to explore how to communicate effectively with people from diverse backgrounds with a variety of health conditions.

Students are also encouraged to volunteer with a local charity during the programme.

The University’s student services team can help students who have additional needs resulting from disabilities, long-term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities web page.


There are assessments as part of each module. These include:

  • end-of-module examinations (in-person or online)
  • lab and clinical reports
  • academic essays
  • reflective writing 
  • integrated skills exams (which include reading and writing on a topic)
  • leading and participating in seminars
  • presentations
  • patient interviews. 

Meet us in your country

Staff of the University of St Andrews are always pleased to meet prospective students in person. We visit many schools, colleges and higher education fairs to talk about the University and provide support and information for those thinking about applying.

Meet us in your country

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. 

Online information events


Tuition fees 

The tuition fee for 2023 entry is £45,323 (£21,698 for Year 1 and £23,625 for Year 2). This fee includes:

  • access to all University facilities 
  • a transfer from Edinburgh or Glasgow airport, or Leuchars train station, when you first arrive
  • the use of course books, handouts and other course materials.

See further information on how to pay your International Foundation fees

Accommodation fees

The International Education Institute recommends that you request an en suite single room with either a self-catered or catered package as this ensures you have a place close to your classes and with other International Foundation students. 

University accommodation is guaranteed for International Foundation students.

See fees and further information on the International Foundation accommodation web page

Funding and scholarships

IFP September scholarship

If you are an offer-holder for a University of St Andrews International Foundation programme starting in September 2023, and you submitted your completed application before Wednesday 1 March 2022, you can apply for this scholarship.

Successful candidates receive £2,000 towards the cost of tuition fees.

The deadline for scholarship applications is Thursday 30 March 2023. Find out more about applying to the IFP September scholarship.

Kinnessburn Scholarship

Students who successfully complete an International Foundation programme and move onto a degree at the University of St Andrews may be eligible to apply for the Kinnesssburn Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to two students annually in July. It provides a partial fee waiver for each year of study on an undergraduate programme at the University of St Andrews, and an Ambassador's role.

Your future

Modules in Year 1 and Year 2 of this programme may be subject to change, therefore, progression requirements for specific modules are also subject to change, especially if a module is withdrawn from the programme.

Requirements to progress from Year 1 to Year 2

To progress from Year 1 to Year 2 of the Medical Sciences (Extended International Pre-Med - September entry), students must pass all modules in the year and achieve:

  • an overall GPA of 11.0 or above across all modules

Results are graded on the University's 20-point scale

In addition, students must achieve a competitive score in UCAT in the year of entry onto Year 2 of the Medical Sciences (Extended International Pre-Med - September entry) programme. This is a requirement of the School of Medicine for entry onto the BSc Medicine (A100). If this condition is not met in the year of entry to Year 2, the competitive score on UCAT can also be achieved in the year of graduation from the Medical Sciences (Extended International Pre-Med - September entry) programme, prior to entry onto BSc Medicine (A100).

Additional information

Resit scores may be used to meet the overall GPA requirement for movement onto Year 2 of the programme.

Students are advised to undertake a period of clinical observation before starting Year 2.

Students who do not meet the progression requirements from Year 1 to Year 2 may exceptionally be allowed to continue onto Year 2 of the Medical Sciences (Extended International Pre-Med - September entry) programme, but with no automatic right to move onto the BSc in Medicine (A100) at St Andrews following completion of the programme. Progression in these circumstances will be at the discretion of the Director of Foundation Studies. Any students who progress under these circumstances will be encouraged and supported to explore other institutions where they can continue their studies after completion of the programme.

Students entering the Medical Sciences (Extended International Pre-Med) programme in September 2023 will receive a conditional offer in Autumn 2024 for a place on the BSc Medicine (A100) starting in September 2025. 

When you successfully complete the programme with the required module results listed above, and you have met the above entry requirements for the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews, your offer to enter the BSc Medicine (A100) will become unconditional. 

Requirements to move from Year 2 onto the BSc in Medicine (A100)

To move from Year 2 onto the BSc in Medicine (A100) at St Andrews, students must have met the progression requirements from Year 1 to Year 2, and then must pass all modules in Year 2, achieving:

  • an average grade of 11.0 or above at first sitting across the following modules:
    • Foundations for Medicine 1 (IE1101)
    • Foundations for Medicine 2 (IE1201)
    • Human Biology (IE1252)
  • a grade of 12.0 or above at first sitting in the following modules:
    • Introductory Inorganic and Physical Chemistry (CH1401)
    • Biology 1 (BL1101)
    • Organic and Biological Chemistry (CH1601)

Results are graded on the University's 20-point scale.

Students must also meet the following entry requirements of the School of Medicine:

  • A competitive score in UCAT, achieved in the year of entry onto Year 2 of the Medical Sciences (Extended International Pre-Med - September entry) programme. If this condition is not met, the competitive score on UCAT can also be achieved in the year of graduation from the Medical Sciences (Extended International Pre-Med - September entry) programme, prior to entry onto BSc Medicine (A100).
  • Satisfactory performance on the multiple mini interviews with the School of Medicine
  • Applicants who use English as an additional language and who cannot provide their English language ability through their school-leaving qualifications must achieve 7.0 in all four components of the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) exam, to be taken at one sitting. This is irrespective of any other English qualification achieved. The final four consecutive years of secondary or high school education in an English-medium school may in some cases be considered as evidence of English language ability. This will be considered on a case by case basis. IELTS scores have a recommended two-year validity period, and this time limit will be applied.
  • Fulfilment of the 'fitness to practise' criteria listed on the School of Medicine entry requirements web page.

Additional information

Provided that you meet the above entry requirements for the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews, you will be given an unconditional offer to enter first year of the BSc Medicine (A100).

The programme director for the Medical Sciences (Extended International Pre-Med - September entry) programme is required to comment on your fitness to practise Medicine at the end of your studies, when you are considered for the BSc Medicine degree. Under the School of Medicine’s policy, any concerns about your health or previous conduct or both may be considered at the time of application or prior to entry to the medical course. For more information, please refer to the entry requirements for BSc Medicine.

Studying a Science degree instead of BSc Medicine (A100)

Students who do not move on to medicine but meet the academic requirements for the Faculty of Science may be able to study a science degree at the University. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account both student performance and capacity within the relevant subject area, and date of application. Students can also apply to secure a place at another institution. Programme directors will offer assistance in achieving the best possible outcome for you.

Join a live question and answer session

The International Education Institute offers question and answer sessions (Q&A) to prospective International Foundation students who would like more information about St Andrews, university life and the application process at the University.


International Foundation programmes

International Education Institute
University of St Andrews
Kennedy Gardens
St Andrews 
KY16 9DJ

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2255

International Education Institute


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Curriculum development

As a research-intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online.

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online.