What Are the Top Medical Schools in the UK?

Updated April 17, 2017

The Times and Guardian Newspapers conduct a yearly survey of the best medical schools in the United Kingdom. Due to the distinct methodologies of the two surveys, there are differences in the scores assigned to schools which are included in both reports. However, the medical programs of three universities are consistently ranked at or near the top in both lists: Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh.

Oxford University

The University of Oxford is the oldest university that has been in continuous operation in the English-speaking world, and the medical department has conducted classes since the thirteenth century. Physiology chair Sir Charles Sherrington was awarded a Nobel Prize for his studies of the nervous system, and university researchers Professor Howard Florey and Dr. Ernst Chain won the Nobel Prize for their discovery of penicillin.

The medical school receives a high ranking due to the wealth of job prospects that are available to its graduates based on data compiled by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). The school was also ranked highest on the National Student Survey in which the graduating classes from 270 universities are questioned regarding satisfaction with course quality.

University of Oxford Medical Sciences Teaching Centre South Parks Road Oxford, UK OX1 3PL (+44)1865 221689

Cambridge University

While the Cambridge University first received funding for a medical program from Henry VIII in 1540, the college did not begin to enrol a significant number of students until the 1840s. Cambridge first began to offer a modern medical school curriculum in 1976, after completion of a new clinical school facility. The university is well known for its work in genetics, and researcher Professor Sir Martin Evans won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2007 for his work with stem cells.

According to the HESA, Cambridge University's medical school maintains the highest entry standards of all the ranked institutions. Cambridge is dedicated to providing a quality education to all incoming students, however, and the medical department graduates a significant number of students who entered at lower achievement levels with the highest class of degree.

University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine Addenbrooke's Hospital, Box 111 Hills Road Cambridge, UK CB2 0SP (+44)1223 336700

Edinburgh University

The University of Edinburgh is home to the Royal Medical Society, the oldest Medical Society in the United Kingdom, which has been in operation since 1734. Famous graduates include Joseph Lister, who was the first surgeon to sterilise surgical tools, and Sir James Young Simpson, who discovered chloroform.

Edinburgh has a high ranking for the quality of its teachers, as reported by graduating students. The school also has a large budget set aside for medical classes.

The Queen's Medical Research Institute 47 Little France Crescent Edinburgh EH16 4TJ Tel: +44(0)131 242 9300

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About the Author

Malynnda Littky has written professionally for the past year, and contributes regularly to several blogs and websites such as eHow as a contracted content contributor.