Widening access to medicine

Pre-medical entry programme sees 95% of students go on to study medicine.

A course which helps support students to get the qualifications needed to go on to study medicine has achieved a 95% success rate in its first year.

The one year pre-medical entry programme started in 2017. The Universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow shared £330,000 of funding to support the initiative, which aims to give students from diverse backgrounds the experience and qualifications needed to go on and study medicine at university.

Following a successful first year, 40 students out of a total of 42 completed the course and will go on to study medicine. From 2019, places on the course will also increase to 50 in total across both universities.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“This is an incredibly promising start to what is a new approach to widening access to our medical schools.

“I want to see a more diverse workforce in the health service and we must make sure we have a level playing field and give everyone with the ability and desire to study medicine a fair chance.

“This course contributes to our commitment to widen access to higher education and enhances the range of medical education already available in Scotland’s five world-leading medical schools.

“I’d like to congratulate these students and wish them every success with their studies and future careers.”

Dr Neil Croll, Head of Widening Participation at the University of Glasgow, said:

“The University is delighted with the news that we are receiving funding from the Scottish Government for this course for the next four years.

“It has enabled us to take widening access to medicine to a new level and deliver a step-change in this area. Demand for the course has been high, so the increase from 20 to 25 annual places is very welcome.

“We firmly believe in equality and opportunity for all and support the Scottish Government’s drive to widen access for those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds to every area of study.”

Professor Steve Heys, Head of the School of Medicine at the University of Aberdeen, said:

“We are delighted with the results of this programme. The high proportion of those going on to study medicine here at Aberdeen is testament to the high quality of our applicants, and I’d like to thank the Scottish Government for their support towards this initiative that aims to help our young people, from both urban and rural backgrounds, to become Scotland’s doctors of the future.”


The pre-medical entry programme forms part of the Medical Education Package and aims to give students from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as remote and rural backgrounds the experience and qualifications to better prepare them to meet the entry level requirements to study medicine at university. It contributes to the Scottish Government’s commitment to support the development of a more sustainable medical workforce and widen access to higher education.

Following a competitive bidding process in 2017, the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen received £330,000 to fund a total of 40 places for academic year 2017-18 and funding was approved in October 2017 for 2018-19. The Scottish Government has committed to funding the pre-med programme until 2022/23.

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