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  • Writer's pictureCameron Elsworth

Medical Work Experience Requirements - What Work Experience Is Required For Medical School?

Work experience.... It's an essential part of every application to medical school and for good reason! Medical schools want to know that applicants are serious about their careers - therefore gaining firsthand insight through work experience is vital. This article will explain exactly what medical schools mean by work experience and roughly how much you should aim to have!

What does a medical school mean by 'work experience'?

We can split experience in a clinical setting into two categories: directly shadowing a doctor and working in a non-medical/ supportive role such as a part-time job as a Healthcare assistant or volunteering in a hospital.

This distinction is necessary as many universities such as The University of Manchester differentiate between direct shadowing of a doctor and 'experience of a caring role', attributing importance to both.

This blog will discuss direct shadowing experience, we will be publishing more blogs focussing specifically on hospital volunteering/ part-time work.

Where can I go for my work experience?

Medicine is a vast subject with an incredible amount of specialities available to explore. Gaining an insight into everything is going to be impossible... this is why medical schools are generally non-specific in the type of experience they require!

Work experience can either take place in a hospital or GP surgery, having experience in both locations is good but not necessary! The important thing is that you have some work experience and can demonstrate what you have learned from it!

How long should my work experience be?

Unlike some courses such as veterinary medicine which require a minimum number of weeks of work experience, most universities generally have no minimum time requirement for their work experience (confirm this on the website of your chosen university). Many actually have no specific requirements for clinical shadowing work experience if other voluntary experience is in place. However, we highly recommend aiming to secure some as it will give you an irreplaceable insight into medicine.

It can be difficult to secure work experience, and don't be disheartened if you can only secure one day! A student that reflects well on one day of experience will gain far better insights than a student who secures 3 weeks of experience but fails to reflect!

Examples of university specific medical school work experience requirements


​A range of experience in primary care or a hospital. Voluntary work in care homes, hospices or special needs schools. Work experience form completed and returned at interview.

If you have had difficulty in undertaking research, (e.g. there are no medical placements available for you locally) then you should inform us of these difficulties and concentrate on researching your career in other ways.


The university recognises that opportunities for work experience will vary according to individual circumstances. Applicants are encouraged to show an appreciation of the length of the training programme and the career structure.

Hull York​

Hull York do not expect prescribed pre-application experience, but you should try to obtain a realistic understanding of the demands of medical training and practice.


Manchester requires applicants to undertake some relevant work experience in order to gain insight into what the role of a Doctor involves.

The take-home message?

  1. Work experience can take place in a hospital or general practice

  2. there is no minimum requirement for work experience - the important part is that you have some and reflect on it!

  3. Once again... reflection is key!

Want to learn more about medical school work experience or the medical school application process in general?

We will be running an online work experience for all students interested in medicine for free. Please get in touch to express interest and join our waitlist!

Want something now? Check out our website! We will be posting biweekly blogs on all things medical school applications, including a full guide on securing and reflecting on your work experience!

For answers to specific queries, don't hesitate to get in touch with us!

For bespoke application tutoring services tailored to you, delivered by one of our expert team members, please contact us directly.


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