Medical Degrees

The competition for places at medical schools is extremely high and as a result medical schools employ additional selection criteria. The document Medical degree guidance August 2016 describes the sorts of things you should look out for in relation to Mathematics and Further Mathematics when considering an application.

There are two issues that Further Mathematics students should consider when applying to medical schools.

Recognising Further Mathematics

Until recently many medical schools would not include both Mathematics and Further Mathematics qualifications in their offers. Fortunately this is now changing. In many cases medical schools will include one grade from either A level Mathematics or Further Mathematics in their offer. Some will also accept Further Mathematics as an additional fourth subject at A or AS level.

However there are still some medical schools which do not count Further Mathematics and Mathematics as two separate qualifications. In a check, carried out in August 2016, of admissions information for entry 2017 to UK medical schools, about half placed restrictions on the applications involving Further Mathematics alongside A level Mathematics.

The schools that do not count A level Further Mathematics with Mathematics for 2017 entry are: Birmingham, Cardiff, UEA, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull York, Keele, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Barts, Queens University Belfast, Sheffield, Southampton and St Andrews; however, some of these courses accept Further Mathematics at AS level. It is important to check the websites of individual medical schools for the most up to date information prior to applying.

Completing A level Mathematics in Year 12

If students have completed A level Mathematics in Year 12 some medical schools will not count this in their offer. They insist that all A levels in the 3 subjects making up their offer are sat at the end of Year 13. Students completing A level Mathematics at the end of Year 12 would be made an offer based on their grade in Further Mathematics (taken at the end of Year 13), and two other subjects. Schools and colleges that arrange their Mathematics and Further Mathematics programme in this way should consider contacting medical admissions tutors at the universities to which their students have applied to explain the situation.

Reasons for Studying Further Mathematics

There are good reasons why prospective medical students should continue to study Mathematics and Further Mathematics.

  • Medical schools recognise that mathematically strong and well prepared candidates perform well on medical degrees.
  • AS or A level Further Mathematics is often a fourth subject option, and many medical schools will include AS Further Mathematics as the AS grade where this is needed.
  • Studying AS or A level Further Mathematics has been shown to improve students A level Mathematics grades.
  • Students starting in Year 12 may have ambitions to study medicine but this may change during the course for many reasons. If they then decide to aim for another STEM degree, studying Further Mathematics will better prepare them mathematically.

The importance of studying mathematics in preparation for a career in medicine was outlined in an October 2016 BBC News article Maths become biology's magic number in which Sir Rory Collins is quoted as saying "If you want a career in medicine these days you're better off studying mathematics or computing than biology."

The document A100 Medical degree entry requirements for 2017 lists UK medical schools and their entry requirements, highlighting references to Further Mathematics. The document is based on data collected in August 2016, and in some cases requirements may have changed.

Always check directly with the medical admission tutor of the university you are interested in applying to.

If you have any queries relating to Further Mathematics and medical schools, please contact Kevin Lord.