Studying medicine in the UK differs to Canada. Entry requirements, fees, duration, graduate salaries and many other factors vary from country to country. We take a look at how the two countries differ, in order to help you decide whether you want to study in your home country or venture to the UK.

Entry requirements

There are key differences between the entry requirements of UK medical schools and those of Canadian medical schools.

UK institutions request that students have achieved 3 A-grade A-Levels, including Chemistry and Biology, an IB of 38 or an IELTS score of 7.0. In Canada, there is usually a GPA entry requirement but these differ depending on each institution, starting at 3.3 in a 4.0 scale.

In both countries, students must take an entrance examination. In the UK, some schools will expect you to sit the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT), which comprises of 5 sections. These are; Verbal Reasoning; Quantitative Reasoning; Abstract Reasoning; Decision Analysis; and Situational Judgement. More information on the test and how the test is scored can be found here.

For Canadian medical schools, applicants must pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), which costs $270 and consists of 4 main sections. These are; Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behaviour; and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.

These are not the only requirements, though. For any UK applications, students must provide a personal statement, letters of recommendation and demonstration of any relevant work or volunteer experience. There is generally an interview too. This does not differ much from Canada, where you must too write a personal statement and attend an interview.

However, since government regulations mean that UK universities only have 7.5% of their admissions reserved for international students, this is an extremely competitive field and therefore it is much tougher to get in to a UK medical school.


In both the UK and Canada, tuition fees differ depending on the medical school you attend. On average, UK institutions charge £24,206 in total, with top London schools charging as much as £34,800. In Canada, costs range between $35-50,000, but increase substantially if you are not from the province in which you intend to study.


The duration of your studies will also differ depending on where you choose to study.

In the UK, it can take either 5 or 6 years for the undergraduate degree, then enrol on a 2 year foundation programme, during which they must complete work placements according to their specialisation, before applying to Medical Specialty Training. In total, then, medical studies in the UK can take up to 8 years.

In Canada, medical study is only available at graduate level, so you must take 4 years of a pre-med undergraduate degree (although some institutions will accept only 2 years of this or offer a fast-track option), with the graduate medical studies taking another 4 years. After this, you must complete a residency training programme, which can take between 3 and 8 years, depending on your specialisation. Medical studies in Canada, then, take a minimum of 11 years.

This is because the UK undergraduate qualification is equivalent to the combination of undergraduate and graduate degrees in Canada. 


In both the UK and Canada, there is a wide range of medical subjects available to study. A full list of available courses in the UK can be found here.

In Canada, while students must complete a general pre-med degree at undergraduate level, post-graduate studies can be taken in a variety of fields, including family medicine, surgery and internal medicine, to name a few.

Graduate salaries

The starting salary on average for UK medical graduates is £29,000 per annum, but this can very quickly increase to £40,000+ with experience and individual specialities will receive differing salaries.

This variation can also be applied to Canada. Because of this, starting salaries for medical graduates in Canada range from $40-80,000 per annum, so although the lower end may be slightly less than the starting salary for UK graduates, the top end is about the same, so UK medical graduates seem to have a higher earning potential.

However, doctors who gain their qualifications outside of Canada may have difficulty practising medicine if/when they choose to return. Some UK institutions offer help when it comes to this, of which more info can be found here.

This, along with the other differing factors we have outlined for you, must be given some very serious consideration before you decide on where to study. With our help, though, you have all of the facts you need in order to make an informed decision.

Useful links:

UCLan launches new Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery

Medicine programmes in the UK