Admission tests for law degreesAdmission tests for medical and dental degreesAlternatives to full time studyApplying through UCASApplying through UCAS ConservatoiresApplying to collegeApplying to dental or medical schoolChoosing what to study at college or universityChoosing where to studyCollege and university – to go or not to go?College interviewsMaking the most of open daysScottish QualificationsScottish Qualifications Certificate (SQC)Studying abroadUCAS application sent - what next? University interviewsUniversity preparation courses and summer schoolsWriting your UCAS personal statement

Applying to dental or medical school

Article Image

How to apply 

You need to apply through UCAS Apply (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) by the 15 October each year. (This is an earlier deadline than most other undergraduate courses through UCAS.) 

Note: You can only apply to a maximum of four courses in any one of medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine or veterinary science. A fifth course with a different deadline can be applied for later.

Dental or medical school - entry requirements

Getting onto medical courses is highly competitive and as such the entry criteria is set very high. Potential candidates to Scottish medical schools are required to have on average 5 good Highers at one sitting, usually in the region AAAAB, but more realistically accept those holding AAAAA.

For details on individual institutions, see the Planit list of courses for Dentistry and Medicine and Surgery.

University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT)

As part of the selection process all Scottish dental and medical schools require applicants to sit the UCAT. This is designed to test applicants for the range of mental and behavioural attributes needed for the medical profession, and is a separate requirement from academic achievement. 

You must take the test before applying through UCAS. For September 2023 intake, you can register from 20 June and book the test between 28 June and 22 September 2022, and sit the test between 11 July and 29 September 2022. Each school’s website provides further information regarding the test. 

The University Clinical Aptitude Test

The fee for the 2022 test is £70 if taken in the UK/EU and £115 if taken outside the EU. If you receive an Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) you can apply for a bursary to cover the cost.

Non-academic requirements

Securing a place in dental or medical school requires more than excellent academic ability. Competition for places is high and universities are looking for applicants who can match the academic requirements of the course but also demonstrate that they are involved in a variety of activities and lead a varied and full life. 

The personal statement should include details about your: 

In addition, tell them about yourself, why you want to study dentistry or medicine and your hopes for your career along with a summary of the points discussed above. 

Research the training and work involved in becoming a dentist or doctor and secure an understanding of expectations. 

Work experience 

Voluntary work or shadowing in a hospital or with a dentist or GP is desirable but universities recognise that opportunities like these vary across the country. Some voluntary work in a hospital, retirement home, with a charity, overseas agency or in general within a caring environment are beneficial. Try to develop personal qualities such as communication, teamwork and flexibility while on work placement, as these will be assessed at interview. Rather than just list all the work experience that has been undertaken, it is more helpful if you can describe what you learned about a medical career and its implications. 

Contact admissions departments, as criteria for admission may vary between schools, along with individual admissions processes. Visit the dental or medical school to ensure you are making a suitable choice. Explore the location, the school facilities and talk to staff and undergraduate students. 

It's also important to attend dental and medical school open days, which may tell you a lot about the ethos of that particular school. Check out our Upcoming Events Calendar, which has details of open days and other useful events, such as the Medic Insight and Dental Insight programmes.

Core qualities of dentists and doctors 

Some examples of core qualities that a good dentist or doctor might have include: 

Personal statement

A good personal statement will demonstrate what you think a dentist's or doctor's 'core qualities' are and how you display these. This can be achieved by: 

It is also a good idea to show you have developed your sense of social awareness and demonstrate that you can shoulder responsibilities, such as:


Show you are an all-rounder: dentists and doctors' lives are busy and challenging but time management is very important. Show you work hard at school yet fully enjoy your free time.

Demonstrate you are able to work in teams, and are able to assume different roles within the team through the following examples: 

Useful websites

Was this article useful?
Please help us improve Planit by rating this article.