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What can I do with my degree?: Medicine

Medicine is a vocational degree, which allows you to develop the practical and clinical capabilities specific to medicine, as well as the professional and personal attributes that are necessary to be a doctor...

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

There are over 60 specialist areas of medicine; information can be found about each one at NHS Medical Careers .

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. To find out what jobs would suit you, log in to My Prospects.

Work experience

It is a good idea to start enhancing your CV while you are still at university. You can develop additional skills by undertaking voluntary work, getting involved in medical school societies or becoming an academic course or clinical representative.

Skills and experience can also be gained from taking an 'elective', a period of clinical experience taken during your degree. A lot of students who take an elective decide to go abroad, with many going to developing countries.

Some medical students spend an additional year at medical school (lengthening a five year course to six years) studying for an intercalated degree. This involves taking a year out from the medical curriculum to study and carry out a research project in a different, usually science-related, subject area.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Most doctors work within the National Health Service (NHS). For job vacancies, take a look at:

There are also opportunities for those wishing to practise medicine in:

  • the armed forces;
  • overseas aid agencies;
  • prisons;
  • hospital/research institutes;
  • clinical trial organisations;
  • private healthcare establishments;
  • residential nursing homes;
  • air ambulance services;
  • university teaching.

Find information on employers in healthcare, science and pharmaceuticals, and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

As well as the vocational skills you acquire when undertaking a degree in medicine, you also develop a range of other transferable skills through your course, such as critical appraisal, observation, listening, logical reasoning and decision making. These skills are crucial when working as a doctor, but are just as useful in work outside medicine.

Other transferable skills include written and oral communication, from completing assignments, taking histories and writing medical reports. You will also be able to work in a team, understanding your role and responsibilities.

Similarly, you will have key skills in how to lead a team and assign tasks.

Further study

Most medicine graduates undertake the two-year Foundation Programme after graduation in order to practise medicine in the UK. In order to register with the General Medical Council (GMC) , you must successfully complete the first year of the Foundation Programme and gain a Certificate of Experience.

Most doctors start further training immediately after the Foundation Programme, choosing to specialise in either general practice or a specialty. The number of years spent in training varies: approximately three years for GP training and around five to seven years for specialties.

Many of the specialty programmes are initially broad-based, but as training progresses, doctors can specialise in a particular area, such as cardiology. For more information on the range of specialties available, see Medical Careers .

Successful completion of this training leads to the award of a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT). Doctors are then eligible for entry to the specialist/GP register and can apply for a senior medical appointment.

A few graduates each year consider careers outside medicine. Those that do may undertake further vocational training in an area they wish to enter as a career, such as teaching or law. Others may undertake further study in areas such as finance, management or business to enhance their knowledge of a specific career area.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses.

What do medicine graduates do?

Medicine is a highly vocational degree and this is reflected in the destination data of graduates. Almost all (99.1%) medicine graduates employed in the UK are working as medical practitioners.

Graduate destinations for medicine
Destinations Percentage
Employed 93.0%
Further study 5.1%
Working and studying 1.4%
Unemployed 0.1%
Other 0.5%
Types of work entered in the UK
Health professionals 99.3%
Education professionals 0.1%
Business, HR and financial 0.1%
Managers 0.1%
Other 0.4%

Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?  

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Written by AGCAS editors
July 2014

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