Objective: This study aimed to examine whether a graduate entry course widens access to medicine.
Methods: We carried out a retrospective study at the University of Nottingham Medical School of socio-demographic and academic data collected by the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS). Study participants comprised all applicants to the 5-year (mainly school-leavers) and 4-year (graduates only) medical courses for admission in October 2003.
Results: In 2002-03, there were 2392 applicants for the 5-year course and 1235 applicants for the 4-year course. Significantly, applicants for the 4-year course comprised more males, were more socio-economically deprived and had lower UCAS tariff point scores compared with applicants for the 5-year course. These differences were preserved in those students who eventually started on either of the 2 courses in October 2003 (254 and 94 students for the 5- and 4-year courses, respectively). Comparing entrants with non-entrants (mainly rejected students), those joining the 5-year course were younger, were less socio-economically deprived, were more likely to be White and had higher UCAS tariff point scores than non-entrants, but there were no significant gender differences. Those joining the 4-year course were more likely to be White and had higher UCAS tariff point scores than non-entrants. By contrast with entrants to the 5-year course, entrants to the 4-year course were significantly older than non-entrants.
Conclusions: Graduate entrants to medicine widen academic and socio-demographic diversity in the medical school student population.