Medical School Rankings UK – 2024 Results

Deciphering the different medical school rankings can be confusing and may interrupt your search for the right university. In this guide, we'll go over everything you need to know to help you understand what they mean and review the most recent medical school rankings from two of the biggest providers in the UK.

Last Updated: 9th November 2018

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UK Medical School Rankings for 2024 are now out, so which are the best medical schools in the UK?

With so many different organisations putting together lists of which Medical School is the best in the country, how do you know which ones to look at and believe? And how much importance should you actually place on medical school ranking tables? 

We’ve put together this guide to explain the rankings and help you understand what to take into consideration when you’re making your choices. If you’re ready, then let’s get started!

Want to skip to the ranking tables? Press the button’s below:

Who makes the UK medical school rankings?

There are a number of different ranking guides which compile their lists using different measuring factors. The Guardian and The Complete University Guide are two of the most popular organisations that compile lists of the best universities in the UK for lots of courses, though there are also global rankings provided by different organisations like QS Top Universities.

Of course, these aren’t the only league tables around for UK Medical School rankings. A quick Google search can give you a lot more options if you’d like to compare and have multiple tables to back up your decision of which Medical School to apply to. For today though we will be focussing on just two tables. 

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How Are UK Medical Schools Ranked?​

There is no singular way to rank the UK Medical Schools. There are roughly 36 of them in total, all varying in their teaching style, selection process, and education standard.

While many different Medical School ranking tables exist, they do not all agree. This is largely because the rankings are influenced by vague or indefinable aspects, such as the reputation of the university, or the level of student satisfaction for those studying there – both are difficult to accurately measure.

That’s not to say that these ranking tables are completely unreliable, as they still help to give a general sense of how a medical school performed in a given year and how students rated their experience. It’s just important to know that a lot of the metrics covered aren’t supported by extensive data. 

It’s also worth noting that even the lowest universities on these lists aren’t too low in quality. The UK is generally known for maintaining a high standard of education, including medical degrees, so the lowest-ranked universities earn their place for being less exceptional or having a couple of noticeable flaws compared to others. 

Now we have a bit more context, let’s look at two of the most well-known university ranking tables, starting with The Guardian.

The Guardian Medical School Rankings

To compile their lists of Medical School rankings UK, the Guardian uses these headings to rank the schools:

They then give each of these categories a score depending on the information they have collected. Finally, all Medical Schools are then given a Guardian Score out of 100, which determines the rank they receive.

The Guardian Medical School League Table 2024
Guardian UK Medical School Rankings 2024

The Guardian Medical School Rankings 2024

Below is the full The Guardian’s league table, displaying the results for 2024 and comparison to 2023’s results: 

PositionUniversityPrevious Position (2023)
1University of Aberdeen2nd (>1)
2University of Cambridge1st (<1)
3University of St.Andrews5th (>2)
4Swansea University7th (>3)
5University of Edinburgh3rd (<2)
6Keele University9th (>3)
7Imperial College London4th (<3)
8University of Oxford6th (<2)
9University of Glasgow10th (>1)
10Brighton & Sussex Medical School8th (<2)
11University of Bristol12th (>1)
12University College London (UCL)18th (>6)
13Queen’s University Belfast21st (>8)
14Cardiff University15th (>1)
15Hull York Medical School14th (<1)
16University of Dundee11th (<5)
17University of Leicester16th (<1)
18Newcastle University17th (<1)
19University of SunderlandNA
20University of Liverpool13th (<7)
21University of Leeds19th (<2)
22Queen Mary University of London20th (<2)
23University of East Anglia (UEA)22nd (<1)
24University of Plymouth25th (>1)
25University of Sheffield31st (>6)
26University of Birmingham27th (>1)
27King’s College London26th (<1)
28Lancaster University24th (<4)
29University of Warwick29th (=)
30University of Southampton28th (<2)
31University of Manchester30th (<1)
32University of Exeter23rd (<9)
33University of Buckingham33rd (=)
34University of Nottingham34th (=)
35St George’s University of London35th (=)
36Aston University32nd (<4)
37University of Central Lancashire37th (=)

This year, The Guardian gave the top spot to the University of Aberdeen with a score of 100. Aberdeen rose from second place and has taken the spot from Cambridge, which ranked number one in 2023. Closely following is the University of Cambridge and the University of St.Andrews in second and third. 

It is not common to see such a gap between Oxford and Cambridge in a university ranking table. However, we can see here that while Cambridge takes the 2nd spot, Oxford is placed much lower down at 8th. 

The University of Central Lancashire takes the last position in 2024 for the second year in a row with a score of 36.2. However, the following medical schools were not featured in this year’s ranking: 

Compared to last year’s results, we can see the most dramatic change was for the University of Exeter, which fell nine spots from 23rd to 32nd. The biggest improvement was for Queen’s University Belfast, which rose 8 spots from 21st to 13th.   

The Complete University Guide Medical School Rankings

The second and equally respected university league table is produced by The Complete University Guide. Their Medical School rankings are based on a slightly different set of criteria, although there is a lot of overlap.

To compile their lists of UK Medical School rankings, these are the headings to rank the schools:

There are also a few other factors taken into consideration that have an impact on the overall score awarded to medical Schools. These aren’t displayed on the main ranking table but are as follows:

As with The Guardian, each category has a weighting attached to it, which then feeds into the final “Overall Score” achieved by a university. This overall score is what determines the Medical School’s rank in the UK.

The Complete University Guide Medical School Rankings 2024

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Complete University Guide Medical School Ranking Table 2024

Below is the full Complete University Guide ranking table, displaying the results for 2024 and comparison to 2023’s results: 

PositionUniversityPrevious Position (2023)
1University of Cambridge1st (=)
2University of Oxford2nd (=)
3University College London (UCL)5th (>2)
4Imperial College London4th (=)
5University of Edinburgh8th (>3)
6University of Bristol6th (=)
7University of Glasgow3rd (<4)
8Queen’s University Belfast7th (<1)
9University of Dundee9th (=)
10University of St.Andrews14th (>4)
11University of Leicester11th (<1)
12Queen Mary University of London16th (>4)
13Swansea UniversityNEW
14Cardiff University11th (<3)
15King’s College London12th (<3)
16Lancaster University13th (<3)
17University of Sheffield15th (<2)
18Keele University17th (<1)
19University of Aberdeen 18th (<1)
20University of Manchester20th (=)
21Hull York Medical School21st (=)
22Newcastle University23rd (>1)
23University of Exeter22nd (<1)
24University of Birmingham19th (<5)
25University of Leeds25th (=)
26University of East Anglia (UEA)24th (<2)
27Brighton & Sussex Medical School26th (<1)
28St.George’s University of London28th (=)
29University of Plymouth31st (>2)
30University of Southampton30th (=)
31University of Liverpool27th (<4)
32University of Nottingham29th (<3)
33University of WarwickNEW
34Anglia Ruskin UniversityNEW
35University of Buckingham32nd (<3)
36University of Central Lancashire33rd (<3)

In The Complete University Guide’s ranking, Cambridge takes the top spot again. Oxford, UCL and Imperial each follow with very high scores but Cambridge just edges them out with a 100% score. Be aware that Complete University Guide refers to this table as their 2025 ranking in reference to the year of entry that this year’s applicants will be applying for. 

As you can see, there’s very little consistency between the top 5 in each table, with only two universities appearing in both and only one university sitting in the same spot on each (Edinburgh at 5th). 

The University of Central Lancashire once again takes the last position with a score of 89%, which still seems very high! However, this is a conclusion that both tables seem to agree on. The following medical schools did not feature on this ranking:   

Compared to The Guardian’s ranking, far more universities maintained their space this year, including three of the top five. The biggest position change came from the University of Birmingham, which fell five slots from 19th to 24th.

By considering just these two ranking tables of Medical Schools in the UK, we can see that there isn’t a “confirmed” ranking list that everyone can agree on. This split is confirmed further when looking at other ranking providers like Time Higher Education, so the conclusions made in these tables should not be the only influence in your decision-making process.

The Best and Worst UK Medical Schools

It needs to be made clear again that these rankings are not definitive in any sense, nor is there a way to calculate the definitive “best” medical school in the UK. While factors such as employment rates and student satisfaction can be measured to a certain degree, each person will have their own preferences as to how they want to study and live at university. 

With that being said though, let’s round up the data and see which medical schools ranked highest and lowest between the two tables: 

Best Universities For Medicine UK

The highest-ranked medical schools in the UK tend to stay consistent from year to year, although their placements may move around. In 2024, the University of Cambridge and University of Aberdeen the top spots, with both receiving perfect 100 scores. Of course, the overall score doesn’t mean these universities are literally perfect, but they are consistently high-scoring in many of the metrics that are recorded. 

Let’s look at the top five UK medical schools for each list:

Complete University Guide

The Guardian

From this list, we can see that Scottish medical schools tend to do fairly well in The Guardian rankings, with three of the top five being Scottish. 

Besides that, we can see The Guardian has not ranked the University of Oxford within the top 5, which is fairly uncommon for any UK university ranking. Oxford instead appears in the 8th position. Two London universities appear on the Complete University Guide’s top 5, while none appear on The Guardian’s. The highest-ranked London medical school on that list was Imperial College London in 7th.  

University of Cambridge Exterior

Worst Medical Schools UK

Any ranking must have a bottom rank, but in this case, the bottom ranking shouldn’t be taken as a list of medical schools to avoid. Worst is a very strong word to use in this context as none of the universities listed here are bad. They simply placed at the bottom of a highly competitive ranking. 

Nonetheless, here are the lowest-ranked medical schools in the UK in ascending order: 

Complete University Guide

The Guardian

UCLAN takes the bottom spot on both lists with Buckingham being the only other to appear on both. It’s worth noting that, especially with the Complete University Guide’s scoring system, none of these universities score particularly poorly. While they may not be exceptional in many areas, the education provided at these medical schools is of a high standard and will give you the best chance of employment afterwards. As we said before, these medical schools aren’t bad, they just had some truly exceptional competition. 

We know the rankings featured in each table individually, but how do the results looked when considering both tables? 

Below, we have created a table that combines the ranking positions for each university from both tables to determine the order based on both opinions. When looking at the combined positions, a lower total equals a higher ranking For example, Cambridge ranked 1st & 2nd in the two tables, so it received a combined ranking of 3, making it the highest-ranked medical school in the UK. Let’s take a look: 

UniAdmissions' Combined Medical School Rankings

PositionUniversityCombined Ranking Score
1University of Cambridge3
2University of Oxford10
2University of Edinburgh10
3Imperial College London11
4University of St.Andrews13
5University College London (UCL)15
6University of Glasgow16
7University of Bristol17
7Swansea University17
8University of Aberdeen20
9Queen’s University Belfast21
10Keele University24
11University of Dundee25
12University of Leicester28
12Cardiff University28
13Queen Mary University of London34
14Hull York Medical School36
15Brighton & Sussex Medical School37
16Newcastle University40
17King’s College London42
17University of Sheffield42
18Lancaster University43
19University of Leeds46
20University of East Anglia (UEA)49
21University of Birmingham50
22University of Manchester51
22University of Liverpool51
23University of Exeter55
23University of Plymouth55
24University of Southampton60
25University of Warwick62
26St George’s University of London63
27University of Nottingham66
28University of Buckingham68
29University of Central Lancashire73
NAUniversity of Sunderland19 (Not featured on Complete Uni Guide)
NAAnglia Ruskin University34 (Not featured on The Guardian League Table)
NAAston University36 (Not featured on Complete Uni Guide)

From this table, we can see that Cambridge was the highest-ranked medical school overall in the UK, with Oxford and Edinburgh coming in joint 2nd with a score of 10 (2 & 10 for Oxford and 5 & 5 for Edinburgh). Cambridge and Oxford rank high in terms of quality, but the acceptance rates at each university are very low compared to many others. Learn more about this in our Cambridge Acceptance Rates Guide and Oxford Acceptance Rates Guide.

Of course, the University of Central Lancashire ranks at the bottom of our list with a total score of 73, although three universities did not qualify as they did not appear on both ranking tables. 

While this list isn’t a more accurate measurement of which medical schools are best, it does help to make the comparison between the two tables a bit easier. 

Which Ranking Table Should I Follow?​

That depends on what’s most important to you. For example, you may place more importance on ‘spend per student’ or career prospects. The Guardian have created their own way of ranking universities which is largely based on student perspective and The Complete University Guide, on the other hand, puts focus on student satisfaction.

You also need to consider that the ranking of the university as a whole is also based on the quality of research being produced by the postgraduate Masters and PhD students, which has little to do with the experience of a Medical undergraduate.

It can be easy to get very carried away with all these different ratings and rankings of the best Medical Schools in the UK. While it is true that these subtle differences may affect your experience at university, you should keep in mind that all of these Medical Schools are highly rated universities with excellent rankings across the board.

However, it is crucial to remember that no matter which Medical School you attend, you will graduate with the future of a fully respected career which is boundless in its opportunities. So don’t get too worried if you don’t end up being able to go to the medical schools at the very top of the list.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of what you are looking for in a University when it comes to how you choose which Medical School you want to apply to.

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