Pathway to Medicine September 2019 entry

The International Pathway to Medicine (September intake) is a two-year programme of study with two phases. During the first year (Phase 1), you will focus on science-related topics and in the second year (Phase 2) you will focus on the study of Medicine.

This programme offers students the potential to move on to a degree in Medicine at the University of St Andrews.

The Pathway programme aims to develop scientific knowledge to prepare students for their study of Medicine, as well as equip students with the communicative skills and knowledge of ethics appropriate for the subject.

Course type

International Foundation Pathway

This is the University's own Pathway to Medicine 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: 9 September 2019
End date: June 2021 

This course is for:

International students (not from the UK or EU) who are academically able but whose high school qualifications are not recognised for application to an undergraduate degree at St Andrews. Applicants should be due to leave school soon or should have left school within the past 18 months and have not yet studied at college or university.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

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

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Typical academic requirements (PDF)  are listed alphabetically by country. If your qualification is not shown here, please email for details 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 dated within the previous two 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 Sunday 30 June 2019. You must 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.

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 degree programmes.

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. 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.

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


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:

  • Academic Language and Study Skills for Science A: improves students' abilities to research and present their ideas accurately in both writing and speaking.
  • Science module A - Fundamental Chemistry: designed to develop your existing knowledge and understanding of inorganic and physical chemistry; covers a substantial part of the inorganic an physical content of the first year Chemistry degree at the University of St Andrews. Students will also prepare an academic essay as part of this module.
  • Biology 1: covers cell diversity and the origins of life, cellular structures and fundamental processes.

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

  • Academic Language and Study Skills for Science B: builds on the skills developed in the Language and Study Skills for Science module A.
  • Science module B - Physiology: introduces you to some of the key systems in the human body, such as homeostasis, metabolism and enzymes, the endocrine system, the nervous system, and the circulatory, digestive, excretory and sensory systems. Students will also prepare an academic essay as part of this module.
  • 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.

For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2018–2019 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2019 entry.

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. Students also have sessions on effective communication and attend workshops with simulated and real patients in the School of Medicine.
  • Introductory Physical and Inorganic Chemistry: includes lectures on 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. In Semester 2, students will also have a series of lectures introducing them to important themes in Medicine. These 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 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.

For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2018–2019 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2019 entry.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2019 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 5pm. You will spend approximately 18 to 21 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 at least a further 20 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 Castle Befriending project provides support and companionship for the elderly and vulnerable in the local area. Students who have participated in this project have enjoyed meeting local people and making a difference to their lives.

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
  • integrated skills exams (which include listening, reading and writing on a topic)
  • leading and participating in seminars
  • presentations
  • lab or field trip reports
  • end of module examinations
  • patient interviews.

The grade from each module contributes to the final grade. Each module is equally weighted.

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. 

2019-entry fees: £54,300 (£25,950 for Phase 1 and £28,350 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), just a 10-minute walk from the Centre for International Foundation Programmes. 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 12.0
  • a GPA of 11.0 for Biology 1 (BL1101) and Organic and Biological Chemistry 1 (CH1601)
  • A GPA of 11.0 for Fundamental Chemistry and Physiology.

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

Students must take the UCAT in the summer between the two phases. This is required by the School of Medicine who will advise the required score by the end of Phase 1.

Students also have an informal meeting with the director of the International Foundation programme for Medicine and will carry a letter of reference from the director of the Pathway to Medicine. Students are expected to undertake a period of clinical observation before starting Phase 2.

Moving from Phase 2 to the BSc in Medicine

In order to progress onto the BSc in Medicine at St Andrews, students must achieve:

  • an overall grade of 14.0 or above for the International Foundation programme for Medicine (ET1030)
  • a grade of 12.0 or above for each Faculty of Science module:
    • Introductory Inorganic and Physical Chemistry (CH1401)
    • Psychology 1 (PS1001)
    • Psychology 2 (PS1002)
  • an overall grade of 14.0 or above for Human Biology
  • an overall grade of 14.0 or above for Foundations for Medicine 1 and 2.

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

  • a competitive score in the UCAT taken in the summer before Phase 2 (the International Foundation programme for Medicine)
  • successful multiple mini interviews
  • IELTS (Academic) with an overall score of 7.0 and at least 7.0 in each component.

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.

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 coordinators 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