International Study Centre

Undergraduate Foundation Programme in Life Sciences – Pathway to Medicine

Begin your journey to a career in medicine with our Undergraduate Foundation Programme. At the University of Aberdeen, you will study medicine at the thriving Medical School, co-located on one of the largest clinical sites in Europe with superb teaching and extensive research facilities.

Student learning to use MRI machine

Start your career in medicine

Begin building a prosperous career in medicine by gaining academic support and guidance at the University of Aberdeen International Study Centre. Our Undergraduate Foundation Programme in Life Sciences - Pathway to Medicine is a three term programme, designed to prepare you to join the Medical School at this top-ranking UK university and give you the tools to thrive in your degree studies and beyond. Following a highly comprehensive selection process, successful students will be ready to start a five-year medicine degree at the University of Aberdeen. After completing the five-year degree course with the required grades, you will receive the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB).

Medicine is a competitive, demanding career field, which means students will need to be dedicated and ambitious in their studies. This is why, each year, there are up to 20 places available on the Undergraduate Foundation in Life Sciences - Pathway to Medicine programme at the International Study Centre. It is important to note that, provided you meet the English language and are on track with your predicted grades/school report to meet the academic entry requirements, offers to study this pathway programme will be made on a first-come-first-served basis.

What will I study?

Gaining a place at Medical School is highly competitive - with this in mind, we will aim to help you develop the skills necessary to succeed in your application and throughout your degree. You will study a combination of insightful modules, centred around building a foundation of relevant academic knowledge and improving your English language abilities, to ensure you are fully prepared to study your degree at the University of Aberdeen.

Term 1

This module covers:

  • an introduction to university-level study in chemistry
  • an understanding of the basic terminology and technical language of chemistry
  • the basic principles of organic chemistry such as nomenclature, functional groups and stereochemistry
  • quantitative calculations involving masses, moles, volumes, stoichiometry, balancing equations and pH calculations
  • the rules of chemistry, such as kinetics, the principles of thermodynamics and the ideal gas equation
  • the use of lab equipment and the concepts of risk assessments
  • numeracy, IT and communication skills

This module covers:

  • the beginnings of life and the cell as a functional unit
  • cell division and cell death
  • inheritance, the brain and the nervous system
  • understanding the fundamental role of DNA in cells
  • the functions of the major cell organelles and their structural elements

Term 2

This module covers:

  • performance and survival integrative physiology
  • measuring performance and the survival of the fittest
  • diet and health
  • environmental conditions and influences of health, gender and age on performance

This module covers:

  • an introduction to imaging and investigation in anatomy, pulmonary structure and function, circulation, energy and power, protein fat and carbohydrates
  • an investigation into the health benefits of the Scottish diet
  • an understanding of the fundamental aspects of medical sciences applied to sport and exercise science

Term 3

This module covers:

  • more advanced quantitative calculations involving masses, volumes of solutions, pH, molar quantities and stoichiometry
  • counting electrons in multi-atom molecules
  • organic reaction mechanisms and organic compounds
  • factors that affect organic reaction mechanisms

This module covers:

  • asking ‘what is health?’ and ‘what are the determinants of health?’
  • the main causes of morbidity and mortality in the UK
  • the NHS
  • an introduction to clinical skills
  • equality and diversity
  • infection control
  • the development of an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the definitions of health and the factors which influence it

Selection process for the MBChB

Medicine is a popular discipline but also an intensive subject to study, which requires personal dedication and commitment to the career choice. Because of this, only limited places are available on the degree programme, and the University of Aberdeen has a very competitive candidate selection process in place.

In order to be considered for entry to MBChB degree at the University of Aberdeen's Medical School, you will have to complete the following:

  • Throughout your pathway programme: achieve the required progression grades
  • December: submit your application and personal statement to the Medical School
  • March: undertake multiple mini interviews with the Medical School
  • July: complete the online University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) – this can be done in your home country
  • August: you will be notified directly by the Medical School if you have been successful in your application to the MBChB. Students selected to the MBChB will be contacted to undertake an occupational health assessment and to join Scotland's Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme. You will be responsible for paying this fee.

If you do not gain a place following the selection process, you will be able to select a degree in the area of Life Sciences (subject to achieving the required grades).

How will I be supported?

Our main focus is helping you to achieve your full potential, both academically and personally. You will have a Personal Academic Tutor whilst at the International Study Centre, who will have regular one-to-one meetings with you to monitor your progress. This support will be tailored depending on your needs, and will include:

  • bespoke modules, designed to introduce you to the UK health system, the NHS and patient care
  • help to find resources and materials to prepare you for all application stages
  • feedback on your draft application and personal statement before you submit these to the Medical School
  • preparation support for your interviews, including mock interviews from both the International Study Centre and the Medical School.

We offer the above because we are fully committed to supporting you in your journey to study at the University of Aberdeen, and hope to see you succeed in your time with us and in your future.

Degree Programme NameAwardOverall GradeEnglish GradeGrade Module
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Key facts

Entry requirements

Check our academic and English language entry requirements


Check your programme fees

I have learnt different aspects of science, as well as health services in the UK. Doing regular lab experiments, has taught me a lot more about how to analyse cells, tissues and other living matter. I studied about the NHS in more detail and wrote about diseases such as cancer. My overall experience has been really good as the teachers and staff were all extremely kind and supportive. With their encouragement, I found it easier to cope up with my work and had a greater determination."

Tanya from Singapore
Studied Undergraduate Foundation Programme in Life Sciences – Pathway to Medicine