By Aedín Dunne - Last update

Get Daily news and updates directly to your Email

Do you want to make a difference to people’s lives? Do you want to help treat, provide care and diagnoses as well as medical advice to patients? If you have a caring nature, an inquisitive mind and a passion for healthcare, this could be the area for you. 

What is medicine?

Medicine is a broad term and course that covers a wide range of subjects with the aim of studying and understanding the science and practice of healing. It is the practice of healthcare through skills, knowledge, treatment and prevention of illnesses and disease. 

What third level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:

  • Medicine (UCD)
  • Medicine (TCD)
  • Medicine (UCC)
  • Medicine (Royal College of Surgeons)
  • Medicine – Graduate Entry (UL, UCD, Royal College of Surgeons)

Studying medicine in college

First and foremost, in order to get into a course in medicine, all applicants must sit the HPAT exam for assessment. There are multiple opportunities to study medicine in different Universities across Ireland. Most courses will be around five years in length, at undergraduate level. Many continue on to postgraduate level which will be spoken about in later. Courses are high intensity and often high pressure.

Like in most courses, your first year will be an introduction year to everything you will cover while gaining the basic knowledge and skills in the area that you will take with you throughout your degree. Between your first, second and third year you will look at different biomedical sciences and allow you to understand underlying medicine as well as begin looking into clinical science. Areas such as Physics, Chemistry, Cell Biology and Genetics will all be covered. Following on in your first few years you will also look at  anatomy, physiology and biochemistry of healthy cells, tissues and organ systems.

In some courses, such as in Trinity College Dublin, if you successfully complete your third year of the course you will have the option to take a year out to take a moderatorship in science which will take one year. Otherwise you can go straight into your fourth year. 

Your fourth and fifth year of an undergraduate course in medicine will require you to be a team player and work within teams carrying out different team activities. You will do your work placement in a hospital near the University you are studying in or regional hospitals around Ireland in hospitals that are dedicated to particular areas of medicine and general practices. Towards the end of your degree you may look at areas such as modular programmes such as surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics and psychiatry.

In many courses, there will be an option to work and gain experience abroad also. WOrk can be done in hospitals, clinics or research labs. In order to finish your degree, you must complete a 1 year internship to complete your course. 

This exact layout is an example of the course available in Trinity College Dublin but course structure, content and length may differ from course to course. For example, in UCD, the courses are set out in Stages 1-6. Be sure to research the course in your desired university in detail to find out the exact layout and entry requirements. 

Career Options

In medicine and as a doctor there are many career options that you may take. There is the obvious option of being able to travel and work in different places around the world as well as being a doctor in a hospital, GP clinic, medical clinic, work with sports teams and more. 

Quite a number of those who finish their undergraduate degree will continue on at postgraduate level and complete the course in order to specialise in a particular area such as becoming a surgeon, for example. 

You may work in different settings such as a hospital or work as a General Practitioner or even work for yourself as a GP in your own clinic. It is quite a broad area with a few different options as to what exact path you take. 

To work in this profession there are some skills and qualities that are essential. These include excellent communication skills, interpersonal skills, patience, a caring nature, kind, empathetic, a critical thinker, work well with others and work well under pressure, a desire to help others, stamina, passion, a problem solver and inquisitive mind as well as the ability to work with people of all backgrounds, ages, etc.

Related Jobs

  • General Practitioner
  • Hospital Doctor
  • Surgeon
  • Nuclear medicine
  • Clinical Science
  • Nursing
  • Midwife
  • Occupational Therapist 
  • Physiotherapist 
  • Counselling/Psychiatry 

Further Study

Visit for more information. 


Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always safest to check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should

include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English. 

For medicine in particular, the requirements are usually a H3 + H4 in two of physics, chemistry, biology, physics/chemistry or agricultural science. If you do not have a qualification in physics you must have gotten a O4/H6 or better in mathematics. 

The highest points required to get into a medicine course in Ireland was 736 points to study in UCD in 2020. The lowest points required were 728 points to study Medicine in NUI Galway. In some cases, such as in UCD candidates must agree to undergo testing to assess levels of immunity to certain infectious diseases. 

Where can I study?

For other courses in the area you would like to explore, you can do so here.

Did you know?

  • As of 2015, there were 20,473 registered doctors in Ireland and it is believed the number has grown since.
  • Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to ever receive a medical degree in 1910. 
  • WThe earliest known physician is credited to Ancient Egypt. 


Student Grant Scheme 

Hospital Doctor Job Description 

GP Job Description

What is the HPAT exam? 

Aedín Dunne

Social Science Courses


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We'd love to send you the latest news and articles about evening classes, further learning and adult education by email. We'll always treat your personal details with the utmost care and will never sell them to other companies for marketing purposes.

Comments and Reviews Policy