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Pathway to Medicine September 2020 entry

The International Pathway to Medicine (September intake) 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 two phases. During the first year (Phase 1), you will focus on studying sciences and learning to present and interact effectively in an academic environment. In the second year (Phase 2, which is the International Foundation programme for Medicine) you will focus 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. 

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Course type

International Foundation pathway

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

Start date: 7 September 2020
End dates:

  • Phase 1 - 28 May 2021
  • Phase 2 - June 2022 

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

  • independent learning week: 19 to 23 October 2020
  • winter vacation and inter-semester weeks: 21 December 2020 to 15 January 2021
  • spring vacation: 22 March to 2 April 2021.

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. Foundation students typically use English as an additional language. 

Applicants will normally meet the following criteria:

  • be designated 'overseas' for fees purposes by the University (not 'Home/EU' or 'Rest of the UK')
  • have a national high school qualification or mixed-curricula qualifications not recognised for application to an undergraduate degree at the University of St Andrews. If you have three A Levels, the HKDSE, a full IB Diploma or any qualification type that is recognised for degree entry, you will not be eligible for an International Foundation programme, irrespective of the grades you have achieved.
  • be due to leave school soon or have left school within the past three years
  • have not previously studied on a foundation programme in the UK
  • have not previously studied at university.

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

Typical Medicine IFP and Pathway to Medicine academic requirements - 2020-2021 entry (PDF)  are listed alphabetically by country. If your qualification is not shown here, 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. Any high school qualification you use as evidence of your academic ability should be from the last year you attended high school and be 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

An IELTS (Academic) test report form with a minimum of 6.0 overall and no component score below 5.0.

If you require a visa, your IELTS test must be for UKVI purposes. See an overview of our English language requirements for foundation applicants.

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

Application requirements

The University requires 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 Pathway to 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 IELTS (Academic) test report form.

Application deadline

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 15 July 2020. 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

The September Pathway to Medicine programme is a two-year, two-phase programme designed to help students function effectively as undergraduates at the University.

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. 

You will join science modules with first-year students from the beginning of the programme. 

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. To learn more, visit the page on the International Foundation programme for Medicine

Download the International Foundation Programmes brochure (PDF)


The Pathway to Medicine is a two-phase programme. The programme includes a total of 12 modules: six compulsory modules in the first year (Phase 1) and six compulsory modules in the second year (Phase 2).

Students must take the following three modules in Semester 1 of Phase 1:

  • Speaking and Listening in Academic Contexts 1: helps you develop and practise productive and receptive academic spoken communication skills to use within the Foundation programme and in your undergraduate programme.
  • Science module A: combines the study of fundamental chemistry with developing reading and writing skills for science. It will introduce you to some of the core concepts in inorganic, organic and physical chemistry needed to study at university and particularly on a medical degree.
  • Biology 1: introduces students to molecular and cellular biology and covers cell diversity and the origins of life, cellular structures and fundamental processes.

In Semester 2 of Phase 1, you will study three modules:

  • Speaking and Listening 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.
  • Science module B: combines the study of physiology with further development of reading and writing skills for science. You will study physiology in order to learn more about the anatomy and key physiological processes of the human body, and associated diseases and disorders.
  • 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.

You will study three modules in Semester 1 of Phase 2:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Psychology 1: introduces students to the theoretical foundations, historical perspectives and modern developments of psychology; provides an introduction to the variety of subjects which make up contemporary psychology; provides a thorough grounding in the empirical basis of psychology.

You will study three modules in Semester 2 of Phase 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. 
  • Human Biology: covers all the key physiological systems within the topic areas, with an overarching focus on how disease affects these systems.
  • Psychology 2: introduces students to the theoretical foundations, historical perspectives and modern developments of psychology; provides an introduction to the variety of subjects which make up contemporary psychology; provides a thorough grounding in the empirical basis of psychology.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2020 entry.


Teaching format

Classes take place from Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm. You will spend approximately 18 to 20 hours per week in taught classes. During this time, you will experience a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials, classes and practicals (including in laboratories).

The academic modules and lectures may have more than 100 students in them. The other modules will likely have class sizes between 14 and 16 students.

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

In Phase 2 of the Pathway to Medicine, which is known as the International Foundation programme for Medicine, 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:

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

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a talk and tour to explore the town and find out about the courses and opportunities we offer.

Talk and tour


Combined fee

The Pathway to Medicine programme offers an all-inclusive fee package which covers all the major costs of the programme so that there are no hidden extra costs. 

2020-entry fees: £58,000 (£27,700 for Phase 1 and £30,300 for Phase 2)

The all-inclusive fee package includes:

  • tuition
  • accommodation, including a bedding pack
  • a catered meal plan with 14 meals per week
  • 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
  • 24-hour emergency phone number
  • programme-led and seasonal social events.


The fee package for the Pathway to Medicine programme includes catered accommodation. The University arranges this on your behalf so you do not need to apply for accommodation.

All Pathway students are allocated a room in David Russell Apartments (DRA). In each apartment, there are five study bedrooms, each with its own private shower and toilet, and a shared living space and fully equipped kitchen.

Bedding pack

A bedding pack will be delivered to David Russell Apartments for each Pathway student. The bedding pack is for a standard double bed (UK size) and contains:

  • one duvet (10.5 tog)
  • one duvet cover
  • one flat sheet
  • two pillows
  • two pillowcases.


Pathway programme students are on a catered meal plan that gives them 14 meals per week during the semester.

Breakfast and an evening meal are served every weekday; breakfast and lunch are served on Saturdays and Sundays.

See a sample menu for the 14-meal plan.

Your future

Progression from Phase 1 to Phase 2

In order to progress from Phase 1 of the Pathway to Medicine to Phase 2 (the International Foundation programme for Medicine), students must achieve:

  • an overall GPA of 11.0
  • grades of 11.0 in the following modules:
    • Organic and Biological Chemistry 1
    • IFP Science B (including a grade of 11.0 in the Physiology component of the module)

In addition students must achieve a competitive score in UCAT in the year of entry onto Phase 2, the International Foundation programme for Medicine. 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 Phase 2, the competitive score on UCAT can also be achieved in the year of graduation from the International Foundation programme, prior to entry onto BSc Medicine (A100).

Additional information

Students will have an informal meeting with the programme director of the International Foundation programme for Medicine and will carry a letter of reference from the programme director of the Pathway to Medicine.

Students are expected to undertake a period of clinical observation before starting Phase 2.

2019-2020 resits are not available for IFP modules. Resit scores on other modules may be used to meet the above requirements for movement onto the International Foundation programme for Medicine.

Moving from Phase 2 to the BSc in Medicine (A100)

In order to move onto the BSc in Medicine (A100) at St Andrews, students must achieve:

  • an overall grade of 11.0 or above for:
    • IFP Foundation for Medicine 1
    • IFP Foundation for Medicine 2
  • a grade of 11.0 or above for IFP Human Biology
  • a grade of 12.0 or above at first sitting for:
    • Introductory Inorganic and Physical Chemistry
    • Psychology 1
    • Psychology 2

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 International Foundation programme for Medicine. If this condition is not met, the competitive score on UCAT can also be achieved in the year of graduation from International Foundation 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 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.

Additional information

2019-2020 resits are not available for IFP modules. 

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).

Students who do not successfully complete all the requirements to move on to the degree in Medicine but meet the academic requirements for the Faculty of Science may be able to study a science degree (Biology, Chemistry or Psychology) at St Andrews, or to secure a place at another institution. Programme tutors can assist with advice and UCAS applications as necessary to work towards the best possible outcome for you.


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 website

Page amendments 

The academic requirements pdf was updated on Friday 20 March 2020.  


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

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 (PDF, 72 KB).

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 (PDF, 84 KB).

Join a webinar

The International Education Institute offers webinars to prospective foundation students who would like more information about St Andrews, university life and the application process at the University.

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