How to Get Into Graduate Entry Medicine with 2.2 Degree

Updated on 21/05/2024 in
A 2:2 degree for graduate entry for medicine

Pursuing a career in medicine is a dream for many, but is it possible with a second-class honours, lower-division degree?

The short answer is: yes, there are plenty of options available to students who want to get into graduate entry medicine with a 2.2 (also called a Desmond degree).

The goal of this blog is to serve as your success guide that will help you start studying medicine as soon as possible. We’ll cover everything you need to know, from grad entry admission requirements to the prospective pathways for students with a 2.2 degree. Additionally, we'll delve into the challenges of applying with a Desmond degree and offer valuable tips and strategies to enhance your application process.

Let’s get straight into it.

Understanding Graduate Entry Medicine Programmes

Graduate entry medicine programmes offer an alternative route to becoming a doctor for students who already hold a bachelor's degree (preferably in a health science field). These courses are designed to kickstart a student's journey into the medical profession, even if they’re coming from a non-medical background.

Also known as accelerated or fast-track programmes, they typically last four years instead of the traditional five or six years required for undergraduate medical degrees. Despite the shortened duration, these programmes still maintain a rigorous curriculum and thoroughly prepare medical students for a fulfilling career in healthcare.

a woman doctor in a laboratory

Admission requirements and criteria

Admission requirements for graduate entry medicine programmes may vary between universities, but there are some common criteria to consider. Typically, students are evaluated based on:

  • Bachelor’s degree type and grade
  • The strength of the application
  • Performance in the interview
  • English language proficiency

While a 2:2 degree may present challenges during the application process, it is important to remember that many universities take a holistic approach when reviewing applications. For instance, personal statements also play a crucial role in the application process.

Additionally, prospective students can often be asked to demonstrate relevant work experience in healthcare or related fields, which can include volunteering at hospitals, shadowing doctors, or working as healthcare assistants. 

You can greatly enhance your chances of gaining admission into graduate entry medicine programmes just by emphasising your relevant experiences and demonstrating your commitment to the field of medicine through your personal statement.

Pathways and Tips to Get Into Graduate Entry Medicine with a 2:2 Degree

Entering Medicine with a 2:2 degree may seem difficult, but it is far from impossible. There are several pathways you can take which not only demonstrate your commitment to the field but also help to bolster your academic profile. Here are some of the routes you can consider:

Go Through Pre-Medical Foundation or Access Courses

Many medical schools offer pre-medical programmes specifically designed for students who don’t meet the entry requirements. These courses usually last one year and cover essential scientific topics to prepare you for medical school. Successfully completing a foundation course can often lead to direct entry into medicine programmes.

Get Postgraduate Qualifications

Consider pursuing a relevant postgraduate degree, such as a Master's in a science or health-related field. This can not only prepare you for a career in medicine but will also show your dedication to furthering your education in a relevant area. A strong performance in postgraduate studies can significantly enhance your medical school application.

Pursue Additional Qualifications

Gaining additional qualifications, such as a diploma or certificate in a healthcare-related subject, can also be advantageous. These qualifications can provide you with foundational knowledge and clinical skills that are directly applicable to medicine, showing your ability to handle large amounts of academic work.

Consider enrolling in relevant courses, such as anatomy or physiology, or obtaining certifications like CPR or first aid training. These additional qualifications showcase your proactive approach and willingness to expand your knowledge.

Acquire Work Experience in Healthcare

Although we’ve already mentioned it, we want to emphasise again that work experience in a healthcare setting is invaluable. It provides insight into the medical profession and demonstrates your commitment. Whether it's volunteering in a local clinic, working as a healthcare assistant, or shadowing doctors, these experiences can be a significant part of your application.

Participate in Research 

Engaging in research in a medical or scientific field can also strengthen your application. It shows your ability to contribute to the advancement of healthcare and your dedication to continuous learning and innovation.

Take Graduate Entry Exams

Some graduate entry medicine programmes may require you to take an entrance exam like the GAMSAT or MCAT. Achieving a high score on these exams can compensate for a lower degree classification and show that you have what it takes to take on a rigorous grad entry medicine course.

Familiarise yourself with the format of these exams and utilise recommended resources such as practice books or online question banks to improve your test-taking skills.

Build a Strong Personal Statement 

Your personal statement should highlight your passion for medicine, emphasising how your experiences have shaped your desire to become a doctor. It should also reflect on any challenges you have overcome, the lessons you have learned, and the transferable skills that you have acquired.

Admissions committees look for qualities such as empathy, communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and resilience.

In fact, personal statements are so important that we’ve written an entirely separate blog about it: How to Write the Perfect Medical School Personal Statement.

Secure Strong References

Get references from individuals who can speak positively about your character, work ethic, and suitability for a career in medicine. Choose referees who know you well and can provide specific examples of your skills and attributes.

Address Your 2:2 degree 

By addressing the concerns associated with a Desmond degree, you can explain any circumstances that may have affected your grades. Emphasise how you have grown and learned from those experiences and showcase how you’ve acquired the skills that make you a strong candidate despite your previous academic performance.

Prepare for Interviews and Entrance Exams

Preparing for interviews is crucial as they play a significant role in the selection process. Don’t worry, though; we’ve got your back. We’ve compiled the 90 most common interview questions so you can practise answering them confidently. 

Try Alternative Degree Pathways

If direct entry into medicine is simply not feasible, consider degrees in related fields such as Biomedical Sciences or Health Sciences. These programmes often provide opportunities to transfer into medicine at a later stage or at least offer a solid foundation for a future application to medical school.

We promise you that by choosing your pathway and implementing these tips, you will substantially enhance your application and increase your chances of success in gaining admission into graduate entry medicine programmes despite having a 2:2 degree.

a woman and a man doctors looking at patient file

Where to Apply for Graduate Entry Medicine with a 2.2 Degree

In recent years, Europe and the Caribbean have emerged as strong options for students pursuing grad entry in Medicine. These regions not only provide a range of world-class universities but also offer unique cultural experiences and a global perspective that can enrich your medical education. The universities in the Caribbean are especially known for their unparalleled student experience and welcoming environment.

However, there are a large number of top-tier medical schools in these regions and finding the best university that fits your goals and ambitions can be an exhausting task. But there’s no need to worry because we’ve got your back.

Medlink Students specialises in helping aspiring doctors like you find med schools that value your unique experiences and potential. With our personalised guidance and expert advice, we'll work with you to find the perfect university that can set you on the path to success.

Take the First Step

Your determination and our expertise could be the winning combination to unlocking the doors to your medical career. We can guide you to the universities that look beyond the numbers and appreciate the dedication behind your application.

The best part is that we can give you a completely free consultation to help you get started. Schedule a call now with one of our expert advisors, and we’ll make sure that you get accepted to a high-quality graduate entry programme in Medicine.


Despite the challenges that come with a 2:2 degree, it is important to remember that you can still follow your dreams of becoming a respected doctor. By overcoming these challenges through determination and smart planning, you can even turn the situation around and use it to your advantage.

Don't let setbacks discourage you; instead, use them as motivation to work harder and showcase your unique qualities and skills. All successful medical professionals have faced obstacles at one point in their journey. Stay focused on your goals, and never give up on pursuing your dreams of making a difference in the field of healthcare.

FAQ: Getting Into Graduate Entry Medicine with a 2.2 Degree

1. Is it really possible to get into graduate entry medicine with a 2.2 degree?

Absolutely. Many universities take a holistic approach to admitting students and look beyond just academic grades.

2. What are the admission requirements for graduate entry medicine programmes?

Admission requirements vary, but they often include factors like the type and grade of your bachelor's degree, the strength of your application, interview performance, and English language proficiency.

3. How can I improve my chances with a 2.2 degree?

There are many things you can do to improve your chances. Our top recommendations would be to get expert help and acquire relevant work experience.

4. Should I address my 2.2 degree in the application?

Yes, you should. You can use this as an opportunity to address what went wrong, what you’ve learned from the experience and how that has helped you grow. 

5. Where can I apply for graduate entry in Medicine with a 2.2 degree?

There’s a rich choice of world-class universities that offer such courses. The best thing you can do to find out where you should apply is to get in touch with one of our expert advisors for a free consultation.

6. What if direct entry into Medicine isn’t possible for me currently?

There are several pathways you can take that will either greatly enhance your chances of getting into Medicine or ensure direct entry. You can consider:
- Enrolling in a pre-medicine foundation course
- Getting postgraduate qualifications
- Pursuing additional qualifications
- Acquiring relevant work experience

Article written by Dr Sam El Mais
Dr Sam El Mais, MD, MSc, BSc, graduated from a renowned medical school in Romania in 2019. He uses his professional knowledge and personal experience to guide students on crucial aspects such as university selection, admissions processes, and cultural adjustments.
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