Updated: Jun 25, 2020
By Alisha Staley
The Medicine Transfer Scheme: applying to medicine after 1 year of a different degree
Getting into medicine is difficult, there is no arguing that. There is no “right” way to get on, but people tend to assume that there are only 3 routes:
1- You go straight from A-levels.
2- You get rejected but you keep applying, and eventually get in.
3- You get another degree and then start medicine as a graduate.
There is, however, a rarely spoken of 4th option- the “transfer scheme”. This is different to graduate medicine, as you will have only studied one year of your degree before transferring. Not every university has one, but some do, these include: Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Leicester, Edinburgh, Plymouth, and Anglia Ruskin.
Getting onto medicine through these schemes generally has lower odds than the other 3 ways. Leeds medical school offer 20 transfer places a year, while Edinburgh has offered just 3 spots in the last 8 years. All of the schemes are different, but the general rules are:
1- You must be one of the top performing students on a medicine related course (for example Biomedical science, Neuroscience, Genetics etc.)
2- You cannot fail any of your modules.
3- You need to get at least a 2:1 in first year.
4- You need to be extremely passionate about studying medicine.
Being a Manchester student, I can only really discuss the Manchester Transfer scheme. If you would like more information about transfer schemes at other universities, please see the university websites, or talk to your tutors.
The Manchester Scheme
This scheme began in 2016, and it is very difficult to get on to. There are around 600 students every year who are able to apply, and they accept approximately 10. That, however, does depend on the quality of the applications, for example; in my cohort there were only 7 accepted. Thankfully, the Manchester scheme does not require you to have a UCAT or BMAT, and they do not look at you’re A-levels or GSCEs. This can be a blessing or a curse. It may be frustrating to have really good A-levels and them not matter, but it evens the playing field out. That means anybody who is good at their degree can apply, and any “mistakes” from the past will not matter.
The first stage of the process is the application. This is kind of like your UCAS personal statement, but you have specific questions you must answer with a character limit. It can be quite daunting writing this out, but my advice to you is- get EVERYONE to read it. That’s your parents, friends, tutors, the teacher you like, the professor you dislike, everyone. All criticism is helpful.
Once the application has been submitted, you may be invited to an interview. When I did this, around 40 of us were invited. It is an MMI style, much like a normal medicine interview at Manchester, but be aware they will probably want you to compare and weigh up the pros and cons of both medicine and your current degree. Annoyingly, they tend to put the interview right in the middle of your summer exams, so there is very little time to prepare.
After the interview, the medical team will get a reference from your academic advisor and/or tutor. This means you need to display your desire to study medicine from the get go. You don’t want your tutor putting in your reference that you have never mentioned it before.
The last stage is the offer. Like I said earlier, the chances of getting an offer are extremely slim. The offer will be conditional, depending on your grades from your exams.
…And then you are finally off to study your dream degree.
Now there will be people reading this, who were rejected from medicine, who are wondering should they pick their university based on it having a transfer scheme. My answer: absolutely not! The chances of getting in this way are so low, and if you don’t get on the scheme, then you may risk ending up at a university you hate for the remainder of your degree. For me, Manchester was my first choice for both medicine and biomedical science because I loved the city. I didn’t get into medicine the first time, so I came to do Biomed here: it was just an added bonus that they had a transfer scheme. I had every intention of doing graduate-entry medicine, but I just got lucky.
Good luck everybody!