Studying Medicine: Alternative Routes

Here are some alternatives to the direct entry path into medicine through the CAO

Studying Medicine: Alternative Routes

The HPAT results were released today (25th of June, 2019) and many who have applied to medicine degree programmes will be weighing up their chances of acceptance. While we wish every student applying to medicine through the CAO the best of luck, we are also detailing a few alternative routes by which students can pursue the study of medicine.

Medicine continues to be one of the most popular course choices for students applying to the CAO. When considering what the world will look like in the future, it is reassuring to know that so many people are determined to commit themselves to career where helping others plays such a central role. While this is undoubtedly a positive for society as a whole, those who are applying for the limited places on these medicine degree programmes might see things differently.

Obtaining a place to study medicine in university is no easy feat; not only do students require high Leaving Certificate points, they are also required to perform well in the Health Professions Admissions Test (HPAT). With such a rigorous admissions process and stiff competition among applicants, there are many students who do not receive offers each year. While this is understandably disappointing, there is no need to let that disappointment endure, for there are many more ways to pursue a medical degree.

Study Abroad
Many Irish students choose to study medicine abroad, a lot of the time this is in the UK or elsewhere in Europe. Many European universities visit Ireland frequently to recruit students for their degree programmes and medicine is no exception.

Many UK universities require applicants to sit admissions tests to study medicine and the most popular of these is the UKCAT. Some universities, including the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, require students to sit the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). If in doubt about which admissions tests are required of you, it is best to check the specific entry requirements of the institution you are applying to.

is an independent application support service. It has been set up to facilitate the growing numbers of UK and Irish students who are unable to access their preferred programme, or any suitable programme at all, in a university at home, as well as students who have a clear idea of the advantages of studying abroad.

will be hosting Open Evenings around the country featuring Dutch universities seeking to recruit Irish students for a range of programmes, including Medicine. See details of each below:

EUNiCAS Cork Open Evening
EUNiCAS Galway Open Evening
EUNiCAS Dublin Open Evening

The Medical Poland Admission Office is having an Open Day in Dublin on the 28th of August. See details HERE.

See our guide on studying abroad HERE.

Graduate Entry Medicine
Another popular route is Graduate Entry Medicine. Applicants for Graduate Entry Medicine hold primary degrees in other subjects. Sometimes these degrees are in related health science or science disciplines, but this is not always the case. Applicants must also complete the Graduate Medical Admissions Test (GAMSAT). Those who choose this route must be prepared to undertake many years of study that directly entry medicine students do not.

Applications to Graduate Entry Medicine are made through the CAO. See the CAO's document on Graduate Entry Medicine applications HERE.

Repeat the HPAT
If your HPAT score was lower than you would have liked the first time around, then you can consider sitting the test again. This can be a more convenient option than repeating the Leaving Certificate, which a small number of students choose to do. Under current regulations there is no requirement for the HPAT and the Leaving Certificate to be taken in the same year. Without the pressure of the Leaving Cert, students may devote more time to mastering the exam technique required for the HPAT.

Find out more about careers in the Medical and Healthcare sector HERE.

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