What are the Medical School Rankings for 2020?

The Medical School rankings have arrived for 2020 – at last! But with so many different organisations putting together lists on which Medical School is the best in the country, how do you know which ones to look at and believe? We’ve put together a short guide to the rankings and the things to take into consideration when making your application.

medical school rankings uk

What are the different tables for medical school rankings UK?

There are a number of different ranking guides which compile their lists using different measuring factors. The Guardian and The Complete University Guide are just two of the most popular organisations that compile lists of the best universities for lots of courses. Of course, they aren’t the only league tables around for Medical School rankings UK. A quick google search can you give you a lot more options if you’d like to compare and have multiple studies to back up your decision of which medical school to apply to.

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What factors are considered in Medical School Rankings?

There is no official way to rank the Medical Schools of the UK. 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 very hard things to accurately measure.


The Guardian Medical School Rankings 2020

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

  • Satisfied with course (the overall rating given by final year students)
  • Satisfied with teaching (quality of teaching rated by final year students)
  • Satisfied with feedback (a rating for the quality of feedback and assessment by final year students)
  • Student to staff ratio (the number of students per staff member)
  • Spend per student (the amount of money spent on each student excluding academic staff costs)
  • Value added score (a comparison of students’ degree results against the entry qualification, which shows how effectively they are taught)
  • Career after 6 months (the percentage of graduates who find a job or continue further study within 6 months of graduating)
  • Average entry tariff (the typical UCAS score of entrants)
  • Continuation (the percentage of first year students who go on to the second year)

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 in their Medical School rankings UK league table.


What do The Guardian medicine university ranking results show?

The Guardian places the University of Oxford at position number 1 (with a score of 100) in 2020, closely followed by Aberdeen at number 2 with 96.9. This is quite unusual as places 1 and 2 are often taken up by Oxford and Cambridge, not just for Medicine, but most university league tables about subjects offered by these two universities. In 2020, Cambridge is actually #4 on The Guardian list – mainly due to it’s “satisfied with feedback” (56.1 vs Oxford’s 78) and “satisfied with course” (70.7 vs 91.9 for Oxford) scores.

The two universities sandwiched between Oxford and Cambridge are Aberdeen and Keele university with scores of 96.9 and 95.4 respectively. In last position is Warwick Medical School, with a score of only 36.1. Warwick only offer graduate Medicine courses, and because of this, their “average entry tariff” score is N/A. This is largely the reason they are in last place.

The Guardian Medical School Rankings 2020

The Complete University Guide Medical School Rankings 2020

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 medical school rankings UK, these are the headings to rank the schools:

  • Entry Standards (the average UCAS tariff of students joining the university)
  • Student Satisfaction (how satisfied students are with the quality of teaching they receive)
  • Research Quality (a measure of the quality of research undertaken in the university)
  • Graduate Prospects (a measure of the employability of beyond graduation)
  • Overall Score (an overall score that determines the rank of the medical school)

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

  • Research intensity (the proportion of staff involved in research)
  • Student:staff ratio (the number of students to staff)
  • Academic services spend (the spend per student on all academic services)
  • Facilities spend (the spend per student on staff and student facilities)
  • Good honours (the number of students achieving first or 2:1 degrees)
  • Degree completion (the number of students completing their courses)

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.


What are the ranking results?

In the Complete University Guide’s ranking, Oxford and Cambridge take up their usual spots of #1 and #2 with scores of 100 and 99.9 respectively. The following universities differ significantly from The Guardian rankings, with Glasgow and Swansea taking up #3 and #4. Compared with The Guardian ranking, Glasgow was at #7 and Swansea at joint #4 with Cambridge.

By considering just these two ranking tables of Medical Schools in the UK, we can see that there isn’t a “confirmed” rank list that everyone can agree on.

The Top 10 Medical School Rankings For 2020 (average from both ranking lists):

  1. Oxford
  2. Cambridge
  3. Swansea
  4. Dundee
  5. Aberdeen
  6. Glasgow
  7. Edinburgh
  8. Imperial College London
  9. Queen Mary
  10. Keele

You can find the rest of the listed medical schools on the Guardian Medical School UK rankings 2020.

The Complete University Guide classes itself as an independent and trusted source of Medical School rankings UK. As mentioned, this guide works in a similar way to the Guardian’s but uses slightly different, simplified categories to determine an overall score.

Both guides to Medical School Rankings UK place the University of Oxford in first place for 2020. Two Scottish Universities (Glasgow and Aberdeen) hold a very high position on both ranking tables, along with the University of Cambridge and Swansea.

In general, satisfaction scores for all medical schools in the UK are over 90. With so many Universities to choose from, there’s never been a better time for medical school admissions.

Which table should I follow?

That depends what’s most important to you. The Guardian seems to put their focus on staff to student ratio when choosing between Oxbridge medical schools. They have created their own way of ranking universities which is largely based on student perspective. The Complete University Guide, on the other hand, puts focus on student satisfaction. But for you, the most important aspect may be the ‘spending per student’, in which case you can sort results by this on the Guardian Medical School UK rankings.

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 post-graduate masters and PHD students, which has little to do with the experience of a medical undergraduate.

It can get so 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 and after graduation to a degree, you should keep in mind that all of the these 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 be 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.

Student Life at Oxbridge

What is life really like at Oxbridge? Cambridge and Oxford have always been regarded as being ‘high-end’ universities to go to. But surely it’s a lot more chilled out than that? You’re right, it is – find out what life is really like as a student at Oxbridge. From the libraries, the course and, of course, the social life, this is one student’s account of life in an Oxbridge University.

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