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School Selection Procedures - Medicine

At the beginning of each admissions cycle, the Admissions Sub-Committee reviews the previous cycle and recommends to the Board of Medical Studies any changes in policy or the selection criteria. This policy and the selection criteria will not normally be changed during an admissions cycle. Competition for a place at Medical School is intense. For example, in the 2014 intake round the University received approximately 2,900 applications for 309 places; of these, approximately 1,000 were invited to interview.

All applications must be made through the UCAS scheme, details of which can be found at Applications can be made either in English or Welsh languages, and applicants can elect in which of these languages they wish to receive correspondence. Applicants are advised that no more than four choices from the possible five can be used for medical programmes. Cardiff University is not made aware of applicants' other chosen universities, but is aware of an individual's application for other courses at Cardiff University. Application for such other courses in Cardiff University does not affect the way that an application for Medicine is considered in any way. All applications are subjected to verification procedures for fraud and plagiarism.

The closing date for all applications each year is the 15th October. Applications received after this date will not usually be considered. 

The Selection Process

There are three stages to the selection process. Members of the Medical School's Admissions Sub-Committee Selection Panel are involved at all stages.

Academic requirements

In order to establish an applicant’s potential to cope with the academic requirements of the programme, the initial assessment consists of screening applications according to whether they meet the specified minimum academic requirements shown in Appendices A and B of the Admissions Policy found here. In the absence of documented exceptional extenuating circumstances provided at the time of application, applications that do not meet these minimum requirements will be deemed unsuccessful and will be notified of this decision by UCAS as soon as possible. The remaining applications will be ranked according to their overall prior certificated academic qualifications, eg GCSE and GCE A2 Level grades, Baccalaureate points, or degree classifications. From this ranking students will be identified for assessment of non-academic attributes and for interview. This means that not all applicants who have met the minimum academic requirements will proceed to the next ‘non-academic’ stage of the selection process; it will depend on their ranking (and consequently, the competition). Most of our applicants have strong academic records, such as a minimum of five A*s at GCSE.

If an applicant does not meet the academic score cut off point having obtained only their GCSEs, they would be advised to reapply after obtaining their A Level grades providing they meet the minimum entry requirements for the year they apply.  If you already have AAA at A2 Level when you apply, this will be taken into account when calculating your academic score.

Non-academic requirements

Applicants who meet the minimum academic requirements and are sufficiently highly ranked academically are assessed on non-academic criteria according to the information contained in their Personal Statement and the Referee’s Report given on the UCAS Application Form. Applications are reviewed by trained selectors and the following are assessed and scored:

• Medical motivation and awareness of the career

• Caring ethos and a sense of social awareness

• Sense of responsibility

• Evidence of a balanced approach to life

• Evidence of self directed learning and extracurricular activities

• Referee’s report

All applicants are expected to have an appreciation of the length of the training programme and the career structure, and how this relates to their own situation and circumstances.

The University recognises that opportunities for certain types of work experience and participation in some non-academic activities will vary according to individual circumstances, including an applicant's cultural or socio-economic background, or the activities available in their local area. Selectors are, therefore, not prescriptive about the ways in which the non-academic selection criteria may be demonstrated.

Selectors will also consider additional information such as that provided by schools or the applicant, particularly that relating to documented exceptional extenuating circumstances, if this is provided at the time of applying through UCAS.

Use of Contextual Data

All applications are scored against the School of Medicine's detailed selection criteria, which are published here.

Cardiff School of Medicine is committed to widening access and welcomes applications from students of all backgrounds. For Entry 2015, the School will continue its use of contextual data. The academic and non-academic attainment of a candidate will be reviewed against educational performance data and socioeconomic background to provide admissions tutors with a more complete overview of an applicant's attainment and potential. The School will consider this information in deciding whether or not to call a candidate for interview. It will not use this information to make lower or differential offers to any particular group of students.  

See policy document for information on contextualisation. For details of University policy, please click here.


No offers are made without interview. Interviews are offered to applicants who achieve the highest positions according to their academic and non-academic rankings (some degree of mutual compensation between these is allowed). The number of applicants to be interviewed in order to meet the student intake quota is determined at the start of the admissions cycle. Interviews normally take place from November to March, and no significance should be attached to whether the interview date is early or late within this period. Those who are not invited for interview will be informed, through UCAS, that their application has been unsuccessful.

Interviews normally last 20 minutes. By prior arrangement, applicants can choose to have a bilingual interview conducted in the Welsh and English languages.

The composition of the School’s team of interviewers recognises the importance of balance in terms of gender and ethnicity as well as covering a range of professions associated with medicine. Each interview panel is drawn from this team and normally consists of 2 or 3 interviewers, at least one of whom is medically qualified, unless exceptional circumstances prevent the clinician attending. Panels may include a medical student from the senior years. Interviewers receive specific training and guidance on the form and conduct of the interview, including issues relating to equal opportunities and the benefits of diversity.

The aim of the interview is to explore the non-academic criteria (see above) and to encourage applicants to talk naturally about themselves, their studies and their experiences, and to demonstrate that they have the interpersonal skills to be able to communicate effectively and whether they have a balanced approach to life. In this way they can show how they meet the academic and non-academic attributes required of a prospective doctor.

Individual interviewers assess each applicant’s performance and the interviewer panel agrees an overall recommendation.

Final selection

The final decision to offer a place is made by the Admissions Sub-Committee Selection Panel, chaired by the Sub-Dean for Admissions. It is determined by an applicant's overall ranking, based on a combination of the academic profile, personal statement and referee's report, and the interview performance. Applicants will be advised of decisions by UCAS, and also in writing by the School Admissions Office.

Decisions reached by the Admissions Sub-Committee are final.

It is recognised that unsuccessful applicants will be disappointed at not being offered a place. Due to the high volume of applications received, the School regrets that it cannot provide detailed individual feedback. Members of the Admissions staff are under no obligation to discuss with applicants, or to provide in writing, the reasons why an application was unsuccessful. The Sub-Dean for Admissions or Admissions Officer may, at their discretion and if requested by the applicant personally and in writing, provide limited guidance about relevant aspects of the application.

Confirmation of a Place

The examination results of applicants taking standard UK qualifications and who are holding conditional offers at Cardiff University will be transmitted electronically by UCAS to Cardiff University in August and the Admissions Office will review the grades obtained. Applicants with other qualifications, such as graduates and international students, are responsible for ensuring that the Admissions Office is informed of their results immediately after they are published and provide copies of relevant certificates. Applicants who have met the terms of their offer will be notified by UCAS, and subsequently in writing by Cardiff University.

Those who have failed narrowly to meet the terms of their offer are referred to the Admissions Sub-Committee Selection Panel for review. The Panel will take into account all information available relating to the application, including documented exceptional extenuating circumstances if appropriate, before making a decision as to whether the student should be offered a place. It should be noted that exceptional extenuating circumstances relating directly to examination performance will normally be expected to have been disclosed to the relevant Examination Board and to have been dealt with in the grading or classification of results. UCAS and the Admissions Office will notify the applicant of the decision. The Panel's decision is final.

Admissions Tests

All applicants (other than those resident in exempt countries) are required to take the national UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UK-CAT) during July-October. Test results obtained in previous years are not accepted. Comprehensive information on this (including specimen test questions) can be found on the UKCAT website ( No absolute minimum threshold score is required.

All graduate applicants are required to sit the GAMSAT examination prior to applying, in order for their application to be considered.

Selection Interviews

No offers are made without interview. Details of the interview can be found under the heading "School selection procedures".

Deferred Entry

The Medical School will consider applicants seeking deferred entry, provided that the intervening year is spent in a positive and worthwhile way, e.g. through a Gap programme. Application is made through UCAS in the usual way, although the UCAS form should be amended clearly to show the intention to defer. The Personal Statement should include an indication of the reasons why it is proposed to defer entry.


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