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Two science students working on an experiment in the lab.
Anniesland Campus
SCQF Level
Start Date
28 Aug 2023
Qualification Type
Course Type
1 Year (August to June)

Applications Closed

Access to Medical Sciences is run in partnership with the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP) and is designed for adults who are thinking about returning to education, after a break of at least three to five years. The course will introduce you to a range of science subjects to develop the skills and knowledge required for progression to one of our partner university degree programmes in medical related fields such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine or pharmacy.

This is an academically demanding course and previous study of Biology, Chemistry and Maths at higher level is required. Relevant experience within a related field would be an advantage.

What will I learn?

The programme is a combination of Biology units ranging from SCQF Level 6 – 8, Chemistry units from SCQF Level 5 – 6, Higher Maths units and Communications. 

You will also complete a module designed to develop the academic skills necessary for studying at university.

Find out more about the Access to Medical Sciences course.

Entry requirements (minimum)

  • Entry to the programme is subject to interview.  There will be an entrance test covering basic Biology, Chemistry and Maths knowledge. Your personal statement on the college application forms an important part of the selection process.  You should clearly detail your experience to date and your aptitude for studying medical sciences. 
  • Higher ESOL at grade A/B for applicants whose first language is not English.
  • You must indicate in your personal statement whether you wish to study Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine or Pharmacy.
  • Due to the competitive nature of medical and dentistry degrees, it is important that you explore suitable back up options.
  • Due to the high level of Chemistry and Biology you will be expected to have some appropriate recent qualifications in these subjects and at least Maths at National 5 level or equivalent.
  • Applicants with relevant experience and a good understanding of their chosen career path, but who lack recent relevant qualifications in Biology, Chemistry and Maths should apply for the Access to Medical Sciences (An Introduction) course instead.  
  • Applicants who hold a degree already are usually not eligible for SWAP.  Please get in touch using the enquiry button to discuss. 
  • This course is not available to international students and you must be living in Scotland for at least 3 years prior to starting the course.  Please contact our Student Advice team if you have any queries around residency. 

Additional Information

A range of criteria will be used to decide who will join the programme. The interview will provide an opportunity for the potential student to discuss the programme with a representative of the College.

You should be aware of the work experience required for the progression routes and be able to discuss the relevance of your experience. Details are specified on the university websites. As an adult returning to education there is an expectation that you will be able to draw on both vocational and life experience.


Applicants to the University of Glasgow Medicine and Dentistry degrees are required to undertake a UCAT aptitude test. As the aptitude test process begins prior to the medical studies programme commencing, it is the responsibility of the student to complete the UCAT application. We recommend students leave sitting it as late as possible to allow time for practice. You must make sure to book it in time.

Further information on UCAT will be provided at the information session.

For further information about the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP), please visit the SWAP website.

Employer and industry links

This course is designed for university progression, all partner universities have very strong links to employers and industry.

Jobs and further study

Successful completion of the SWAP Access to Medical Sciences course provides the academic entry qualifications to allow progression onto the following degrees:

University of Glasgow: Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine

University of Strathclyde: Pharmacy

Glasgow Caledonian University: Oral Health Science and other Health Science related degrees

Various Life Science degrees including Anatomy, Neuroscience, Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, and Genetics.

Please note that for entry to University of Glasgow, students require a Minimum of 80% in their assessed units, studied throughout the year

In addition, a wide variety of access to science progression routes are available from all of these partner organisations, together with University of the West of Scotland, University of Stirling and Scottish Rural University College. These include forensic science and bioscience degrees, amongst many others. Details of these additional progression routes will be made available in October.

Making an application

For courses starting in August, you can make up to two applications.

Applications are made to a course and a first choice of campus. If the course is oversubscribed at your first choice you will be automatically considered for alternative sites and may be made an offer without a further application.

I've applied — what happens next?

When you apply 

You will receive an automated email confirming that we have received your application (remember to check your junk/SPAM folder if you do not hear from us after submitting your application). We will be in contact as per the following stages: 

  • Stage 1: Review of Application - initially your application will be reviewed and if successful, you will be invited to attend an online Information session where you will find out more about the course.  At this stage we will look at your past education, personal statement, relevant experience and your chosen career path.  It is therefore important that your application form is completed fully.  We may suggest alternative courses at this stage if you do not meet the SWAP eligibility criteria or if this course does not match with your career plans. 
  • Stage 2: Entrance Test - you will be sent a link to allow you to complete an online entrance test which you must complete prior to interview – this test is used to ensure you have the necessary prior knowledge in order to succeed on the course.   
  • Stage 3: Interview - you will be invited to an Individual interview which will take place on campus at some point between February and June depending on when you apply. 


You will be informed of the outcome by email within 10 working days after the interview. There are four possible outcomes: 

  1. unconditional offer: you have met all the entry requirements and your place is guaranteed 
  2. conditional offer: your place is secured, pending meeting the entry requirements 
  3. waiting list: you have met all entry requirements, however, the course is full. If any spaces become available you may be contacted. 
  4. unsuccessful: you have not met the entry criteria or did not meet the necessary level at the skills test. You can call the Student Advice Centre to discuss alternative options. 

Once an offer is received, you must reply within 14 days or risk losing your place. If a place is unavailable at your first choice of campus, you may be offered a place at one of our other campuses and you must respond to this within 14 days. 

Once you have accepted your offer, you will be sent further details such as joining instructions, induction date and funding information. 

More questions? Contact us about this course

0141 272 3267