Why It is Significantly Harder To Study Medicine As a Second Degree!

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If you’re considering a second degree in medicine, you may be wondering if it’s worth the extra effort.

After all, medicine is already a challenging field, and doing one degree just to get to another challenging one may be an unnecessary struggle.

But there are some good reasons to pursue a second degree in medicine, even if it is significantly harder to study medicine as a second degree.

Here’s a look at some of the challenges you may face and why it may be worth the extra effort.

1. It is significantly harder to study medicine as a second degree!

It is significantly harder to study medicine as a second degree.

Contrary to popular belief, studying medicine as a second degree is much harder than doing it as your first degree.

This seems hard to believe since enrolling on an undergraduate medical programme is already very tough, and postgraduate medicine usually has lower entry requirements.

However, there are significantly fewer postgraduate places for undergraduate medicine vs postgraduate medicine,

First, you must enrol on a good biomedical science program which will typically last 3 years.

Then you must either apply to purely postgraduate medical schools such as Warwick, or you must apply to undergraduate medicine, essentially competing against school leavers.

2. Is graduate entry medicine any different?

Graduate entry medicine is actually an undergraduate degree in medicine, the only difference being that the first two years are compressed into one.

This puts the degree at one year shorter (i.e four years) than the typical five-year undergraduate medical degree in the UK.

This can me incredibly challenging for students who struggle to keep up with massive amounts of course content and lectures.

It is however important to note that the actual contents of the degree are identical, with potentially more exposure to patients.

The degree attracts individuals from all walks of life including nurses, biomedical scientists, allied healthcare professionals, and pharmacists.

The average age of a graduate entry medical degree cohort is usually greater than that of an undergraduate cohort.

The skill level is also different i.e there is usually more clinical/work experience from the start with postgraduate medicine cohorts.

Undergraduate medicine is potentially easier as a result of the extra time given to complete the program.

3. Why is postgraduate medicine harder to get into?

Postgraduate medicine is harder to get into for a number of different reasons.

We have already touched upon the first point but briefly,

Postgraduate medicine has a lot less places than undergraduate medicine.

Even though there are fewer applicants, the ratio of applicants to places can still be roughly 10-times more than when applying for undergraduate medicine.

Postgraduate medicine is also harder to get into since you usually have to achieve at least a 2:1 in your undergraduate degree to be eligible.

This in itself isn’t hard to achieve, however, if for whatever reason you are unable to complete your undergraduate studies. you will be ineligible for postgraduate medicine.

The 3-year risk that you will perform well in your undergraduate studies is a gamble.

A better path may be resitting high-school exams and applying with school-leavers instead.


There are a few things to consider if you are thinking of studying medicine as a mature student.

Firstly, you will need to have a strong academic record. Secondly, you will need to be prepared for a demanding course load.

And thirdly, you will need to be prepared for the high cost of tuition.

there is limited funding available when compared to the undergraduate version, and therefore such a decision to study postgrad medicine shouldn’t be taken lightly.

But if you are up for the challenge, studying medicine as a mature student can be a very rewarding experience.

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