This article discusses the age requirements for studying Medicine at UK medical schools. We explain some of the reasons medical schools have them and advise on what to do if you do not meet the age requirements to study Medicine. At the end of this article, we present a table of the different age requirements of UK medical schools, so you can get an idea of the types of policies medical schools have regarding age.

Do medical schools have minimum age requirements?

The majority of medical schools have minimum age requirements with only a few stating that they do not. The minimum age varies amongst medical schools but is usually 18, 17, or 16 by the time the candidate is in the first year of medical school. No UK medical school has a minimum age limit of over 18 at the time of writing. The minimum age limit usually applies to the age that the applicant will be when they start the first year of medical school (or at some point of the first year) and not the age they are when they apply to study Medicine. This is relevant as it means candidates who are slightly too young, can apply for deferred entry if the university allows this as a reason for deferred entry. Deferred entry means that a candidate can secure a place but will not start medical school until after they take a gap year.

Do medical schools have a maximum age limit?

Medical schools do not specify an upper age limit to study Medicine.

Why do medical schools have age requirements?

The reason for age requirements to study Medicine are usually logistical and practical. Medical students need to visit and study in hospitals and clinical areas. They interact with patients and perform procedures or assist in them. They need to follow codes of conduct. From an insurance and legal standpoint, these things can be difficult to organise if a student is below 18 years of age and even more so if they are not aged over 16.

What can a candidate do if they do not meet the minimum age requirement to study at all medical schools?

By the time most applicants can satisfy all the entry requirements to apply to medical school, they will usually be old enough to apply to any medical school. If a candidate is not old enough to do this, firstly they should carefully consider their decision to commit to such a challenging and long degree and career at a young age. This process should involve multiple people’s perspectives such as teachers, careers advisors and parents. If an applicant wishes to apply to medical school after such careful considerations, then they should consider which medical schools they will be eligible to apply to. They can contact the admissions teams at these medical schools for further advice and clarification. Options may include applying for deferred entry, waiting to become older or applying to eligible medical schools.

What about older applicants who want to study Medicine?

People who commence higher education at or over the age of 21 are known as mature students. Around 100,000 mature students (from all courses) enrol onto to UK higher education courses every year. Medicine is no different and in fact, has a high proportion of mature students. If you are a mature student, some extra things to consider include:

  • Making sure you meet the entry requirements: do you have the right qualifications and are they recent enough? If not, then you will need a plan to meet these requirements. If you have the academic talent, then there are many ways to achieve this regardless of your background or existing qualifications.
  • Funding: Do you have a previous degree which affects your ability to attract funding? How will you manage finances while studying?
  • Course type: Should you apply to a standard 5-year course or a fast track graduate course
  • Being informed: Getting high-quality careers advice from a range of sources
  • Your circumstances: Each person will have unique things to consider such as leaving their current job, loss of earnings by studying, considering the length of their working career as a doctor, plans for future career breaks and so on.

For more information, we have free guides on applying to Medicine for mature students which include graduate students and people with fewer educational qualifications. We also discuss the many routes to study Medicine. These can be found under application guides in our resources section. Our guides are entirely free as they are part of our commitment to making high-quality advice on applying to Medicine accessible to all. They do not require you to sign up for anything, and we do not ask for your email address or any other information.

A table of age requirements for studying Medicine

Below is a table of age requirements for medical schools. It is designed to give you a general idea of the kinds of policies that medical schools have. Remember, that you should double check any information with the individual universities and not make any decisions based on the following table.


Updated: 2018

Medical School

Age requirement policy


No minimum age listed


Must be 18 at the commencement of the course. If not, can apply but for deferred entry the following year if the candidate will be 18 at course commencement by then.


Must be 17 years old at commencement of course AND turn 18 within the first year of study

Brighton & Sussex

Previously accepted candidates who are 17 at course commencement. Unable to accept candidates who are 16 at course commencement


Must be 18 by October 1st of course commencement


Must be 18 by the start of the second term of year 1 Medicine


Must be 18 at the commencement of course.


No minimum age listed


No minimum or maximum age. Admissions selectors will not normally consider applications from Scottish S5 applicants for either immediate or deferred entry.


Will not admit students under 17 years


No minimum or maximum age listed

Hull York

Must be 18 by October 1st of year 1 commencement


Must be 18 at the commencement of course


Must be 18 by October 1st of year 1 commencement. No upper age limit


Accepts applications by 17-year-olds but they must be 18 by their first clinical placements


No minimum age listed


Applicants must be at least 17 at the start of the course in September, and be 18 by the beginning of January for the hospital placements in the 2nd term of the course.


Must be 18 by October 1st of year 1 commencement. 17-year-olds can apply for deferred entry


No minimum age listed. If a candidate is under 18 when course commences, they will require parental/guardian consent


Must be 17 at the commencement of course


No minimum age listed


No minimum age limit to apply. However, the course involves considerable patient contact within year one. Given this, students who will not be 18 years old at date of course commencement may wish to consider applying for deferred entry.


Must be 18 by 1st September of year 1 commencement


Must be 18 by November 1st of year 1 commencement


Must be 18 at the commencement of course


Interested applicants should be aware that under the Medical Act, the minimum age for inclusion on the GMC Medical Register on graduation is 21. This means that it is not possible to admit students on to the five-year programme under the age of 16.


Must be 18 by the January following course commencement


Must be 18 at the commencement of course

St Andrews

No minimum age listed

St George’s

No minimum age as such, however, St George’s typically want applicants to be turning 18 during their first year. There are also certain areas of the hospital that cannot be accessed under the age of 18.


Must be 18 at the commencement of course