The Best Cambridge Colleges For Medicine

The Best Cambridge Colleges For Medicine in 2023

For those applying to Medicine, choosing the right school for your studies can be one of the most important decisions you make at the start of your academic career. If you are one of the best students, you will probably look to apply to Oxford or Cambridge medical colleges. 

Medicine at Cambridge is extremely competitive with only around 200 places available each year. With so many Cambridge colleges available for medicine, it can be hard to know where to begin. 

This guide will provide you with a full overview of the best Cambridge colleges for medicine and help you make the right decision on which college is best for you!

The Best Cambridge Colleges for Medicine

Choosing the right medical college is a big decision for any student, but it’s especially important for those considering prestigious universities like Cambridge. The good news is that Cambridge is well-known in the UK for medical studies. 

There are plenty of great medical colleges to choose from in Cambridge. However, some of the best Cambridge colleges for medicine are in the list below. 

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Pembroke College

Pembroke College at Cambridge is considered to be one of the best Cambridge colleges for medicine because of its strong reputation in the sciences and its proximity to major teaching hospitals. 

Pembroke is one of the best Cambridge colleges for medicine
Photo credits: Pembroke college

Pembroke offers a range of pre-clinical and clinical medicine courses, as well as opportunities for research and hands-on experience through internships and placements. The college also has a dedicated team of academic staff and advisors to support students throughout their medical studies. The college has Fellows in Clinical Medicine, including Dr Menna Clatworthy, teaching clinical students at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Prof. Ken Smith. 

Pembroke is one of the oldest and most respected colleges in Cambridge. It has a long tradition of excellent students, and its alumni include some of the most famous names in medicine.

To get into medicine at Pembroke college you will need A*A*A in Chemistry, and another two subjects Biology, Mathematics or Physics are required. BMAT test is required as well. 

St Catharine’s College

St Catharine’s College has a long-standing tradition of excellence in medicine. 

This is evident in the legacy of one of its former students and Fellows, Dr John Addenbrooke, who founded the renowned Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. 

Today, the hospital still bears its name and is at the heart of one of Europe’s largest biomedical campuses. 

The college’s current medical Fellowship comprises a diverse group of accomplished scientists and clinicians who provide personalised weekly tutelage to small groups of medical undergraduates. These one-on-one sessions, known as supervisions, supplement the lectures and practicals that all medical students in the University attend.

As a medium-sized college situated in the heart of Cambridge, St Catharine’s is conveniently located near the main teaching departments, making it easy for students to access lectures and laboratories. 

Each year, the college admits 11 students to study medicine and they become part of a dynamic community of over 60 clinical and pre-clinical medical students. As a student at St Catharine’s, you will be supported throughout the six years of the medical programme.

Entry admission requirements are high. St Catharine’s College usually invites and interviews students who have received AAA at A Level, with a mandatory A in Chemistry. 

Also, international applicants who have achieved a score of 40-42 points and 7,7,6 in their higher level subjects in the International Baccalaureate programme.

Gonville and Caius College

Gonville and Caius College is an excellent choice for future medics. It’s very popular and one of the best Cambridge colleges for medicine. The college offers undergraduate and postgraduate clinical medicine courses and has strong ties with major teaching hospitals, providing students with ample opportunities for practice, experience and research. 

The college also has a dedicated team of academic staff and advisers to support students throughout their medical studies. Caius has a long history of excellence in the sciences, including medicine, and is considered one of the most prestigious colleges at Cambridge University.

Caius places a strong emphasis on medicine and has a vibrant community of medical students. The college has the largest undergraduate enrollment in each year group, with 25 students per cohort, fostering a supportive and collaborative environment. 

The college also has in-house expertise in a wide range of subjects, with a large medical faculty that includes experienced Fellows in every area of medicine. This enables students to work closely with Fellows in small-group teaching and receive guidance and support in any area.

Also, The Caius Medical Association, a prominent and the largest medics alumni group, offers financial support for medical students interested in completing a summer research project during their 1st, 2nd or 3rd year.

To get into the Gonville and Caius College medical course you need strong A-Levels, topically A*A*A in Chemistry, Maths, and Biology. 

Trinity College

Another top choice if you are applying to medicine. Trinity College at Cambridge is considered to be a very good Cambridge college for medicine, similar to Pembroke College. 

Trinity College is one of the oldest and most prestigious colleges at Cambridge University, known for its strong academic reputation and excellent facilities. The college has a long history of success in the natural sciences, including medicine, and offers a range of pre-clinical and clinical medicine courses. 

Trinity has close links to major teaching hospitals, which provide opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience and research opportunities.

Medicine course length is typically around 6 years. Applicants usually get an offer if have the following requirements: A*A*A in A-Level subjects, chemistry plus two other maths/sciences. 

St John’s College

St John’s College at Cambridge is an excellent choice for students interested in pursuing a career in medicine. It is a large college with around 17 medical students per year, compared to other medicine courses at Cambridge colleges. 

The college offers a 6 year-integrated course that seamlessly combines undergraduate and clinical education to provide a well-rounded and comprehensive medical education. 

This is facilitated by the college’s commitment to the integration of scientific and clinical ideas and opportunities, which are carried through the entire course via electives, summer school opportunities, and special study components. 

To this end, the college has appointed two new Clinical Directors of Studies, one with pre-clinical expertise and one clinically qualified academic who is dedicated to championing scientific achievement and career development.

In addition to the strong academic medicine programme, St John’s College provides students with top-notch facilities to support their medical education. The library is well-stocked with the core medical textbooks and other resources needed to excel in the programme. 

Also, the college provides students with access to several skeletons and medical models, which serve as valuable teaching aids. 

The college also operates the Rolleston Fund, which provides generous book grants and substantial funding to support fifth-year electives, in addition to the many grants available for research, resources, and travel, St John’s College equips students with all the necessary resources to achieve success in their studies. 

Minimum admission entry requirements are A*A*A in A-Levels for subject Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics or Physics. 

Jesus College

Jesus College is a great college for medical students. It offers an excellent education and has produced many successful alumni who have gone on to have careers in medicine.

The medical programme is taught by an exceptional group of Fellows, each of whom specialises in different core subjects. Professors Kathryn Lilley, Biochemistry, Drs Matthew Harper and Steve Hladky, Pharmacology, Dr Sybil Stacpoole, Neuroscience, Dr Jim Ajioka, Pathology, Dr Ramsay Bowden, Genetics, Dr Andrew Grant, are some of the experts who will be guiding you through your studies. 

Clinical students play an important role in Medicine at Jesus, as they provide both teaching and mentoring to undergraduates. Usually, Jesus College graduate students work in a variety of positions within the NHS, public health organizations, and private practice. 

Medical courses at Jesus College require a solid grounding in science, as the first three years are taught as Natural Science. You should have an A-level or International Baccalaureate Higher in Chemistry, in combination with Maths, Physics, or Biology. 

The typical offer is AAA at A-level or equivalent. If you’re taking four relevant A-levels, you may be asked for AAAA or AAAB. 

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Why Study Medicine at Cambridge University?

According to the 2022 QS World University Rankings, Cambridge is ranked as the 4th best university in the world for Medicine.  

Cambridge’s approach to teaching Medicine is steeped in tradition. It’s a 6 years programme. The first two years of the course are dedicated to pre-clinical studies and primarily consist of lectures and hands-on practicals. 

During these initial two years, students delve into seven distinct science-based “subjects” that include:

  • Anatomy and Embryology, cleverly disguised as “Functional Architecture of the Body”
  • The physiology and organ systems of the body, known as “Homeostasis” also include fortnightly Histology practical classes.
  • “Molecules in Medical Science” which covers pure biochemistry, cell biology and genetics, with termly PBL (problem-based learning) sessions to encourage research and presentation skills.
  • “Biology of Disease”
  • “Mechanisms of Drug Action” which is essentially the pharmacology subject.
  • “Neurobiology and Human Behaviour” encompasses everything related to the central nervous system, including some psychology
  • “Human Reproduction”
  • The practicals during these years are more advanced versions of those done during A-levels. This year, students have the opportunity to engage in diverse activities such as gel electrophoresis of protein samples, monitoring oxygen levels after exercise, and many more.
Medical students graduation at Cambridge
Photo credits: Pembroke college

Entry Requirements for Medical Cambridge Colleges

Applying to study Medicine at Cambridge Colleges is a competitive process and requirements are very high. The colleges expect candidates to have a AAA in Chemistry and at least two in Biology, Maths, or Physics at A-level (or equivalent). 

These subjects show that the candidate has a strong foundation in the relevant subjects and is prepared to take on challenging coursework.

All applicants are required to take the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT), a two-hour test that must be taken before an interview is granted. 

The BMAT test can be taken at your current school or college, but if you are a post-A-level candidate, it is important to reach out to the college to discuss the best location to take the test. Many post-A-level candidates choose to take it at their previous school or college.

It’s important to note that the medicine courses at Cambridge are known to be challenging and rigorous, so it’s essential that those applying have a solid background in the sciences.

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Cambridge Medical School Acceptance Rate

Medicine at the University of Cambridge is a highly competitive course. According to the Admission report acceptance rate for medicine at Cambridge is around 13%. In 2021, exactly 2022 students applied, but only 270 students were accepted. 

Choosing The Best Cambridge College For Medicine

When choosing a medical college at Cambridge University, there are a variety of factors to take into account. 

One of the most crucial considerations is the type of course offered by the college, particularly if you are planning to pursue undergraduate studies in medicine. It’s important to ensure that the college you choose offers the programme you’re interested in. 

The location of the college is an important aspect to consider. Cambridge is a small town, but you will love to be close to the accommodation, libraries and main facilities. 

Another important consideration is the reputation of the college in medicine and overall. It’s important to research the college’s standing among students, Fellows, professors and staff members. This can be done by reading guides like ours and speaking to current students or staff, visiting Open days. 

Additionally, it’s crucial to consider the cost of tuition when deciding on a college. Make sure that you can afford the tuition fees associated with the course you wish to study, as these can vary considerably between different colleges. Also, other expenses like accommodation, transportation, meals etc.

Consider the size of the class and the strength of the research programme offered by the college. A small class size ensures that each student receives individual attention and support from faculty members and Fellows. A strong research programme indicates that the school is constantly seeking new ways to improve patient care and treatment options.

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Final Thoughts

Choosing the best Cambridge college for medical students is a big decision that must be taken carefully and thoughtfully. 

We hope this ultimate guide has given you some insight into what to look out for when selecting your medical college at Cambridge. 

With so many options available, it’s important to consider not only the academic reputation of each college but also other criteria such as lifestyle and past experiences at the university before making a final choice. 

A well-informed decision will ensure that you have an enjoyable experience studying medicine in Cambridge!


Which Cambridge College is easiest to get into for medicine?

Applying to medicine at Cambridge is very competitive. For all colleges, entry requirements are very high and it’s hard to get into any college for medicine.

Can you get into Cambridge medicine with a * A * A?

To be considered for an offer for Medicine at Cambridge University, applicants must have achieved a minimum of AAA in A-levels and a score of 40-42 points at the International Baccalaureate (IB) level.

Is Cambridge the best for medicine?

One of the best medical programmes globally is the six-year course at Cambridge University. Cambridge is renowned for its rigorous and competitive medical schools, providing a challenging and demanding educational experience.