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We often receive e-mails from Leaving Cert and International Students wondering what it is like to study Medicine at UCD. 

Unfortunately we do not always get the opportunity to reply to every quiery. This page is designed to answer some of the most common questions that we receive.

If you have further questions click here:

UCD School of medicine
UCD Medical Society


Questions about the criteria and processes for graduate entry and international students applying to UCD should be directed to the school of Medicine (Their site).

For Irish Leaving Cert students, applying for Medicine at UCD is done through the CAO system like all other courses. However the points system is a little different. Your 'Medicine Points' are a combination of your Leaving Cert results and your HPAT results.

The HPAT is an exam held in February designed to test your logical and emotional reasoning. It is a multiple choice exam broken into 3 sections. It is worth a theoretical 300 'Medicine points', however no one every scoers anywhere near that but it is generally considered that about 180+ can be considered a good score that (with a high leaving cert score) should get you in and around the points required, but this can vary from year to year.

The HPAT is a very tricky exam, and no past papers are available and no one really knows how it is graded. However in preparation for the HPAT most students would either subscribe to online resources or receive HPAT grinds in order to familiarize themselves with what they will face.


The points you get from your leaving cert work slightly different to other courses. If your points total exceed 550, then for every additional 5 CAO points, you only get one additional 'Medicine Point'. For example 580 CAO Points = 550 + (30/5) = 556 Medicine points.


So for example a student with 560 leaving cert points and a HPAT score of  184 

10/5 = 2, 550 + 2 + 184 = 736 (The cut-off in 2014) 

In September, the society will be organising a talk on the HPAT that will be held in UCD Belfield. Follow us on Social Media to get updates.




UCD is Ireland's 'international university' and Medicine is one of, if not the most, international courses. About 75% of entrants into PreMed come through the Irish school system, with the rest coming mostly from Canada, The United States, The United Kingdom, The Middle East, Africa, East Asia in fact practically anywhere.

In 1st Med, a large number of students from Malaysia arrive and stay for 2 and a half years before returning to Malaysia to complete their degrees.


Teaching is split between lecture, small group tutorial and lab based learning. 

Each semester you have 5 core modules, which each have 2-4 hours of lectures a week depending on the course.Each module is like a stand alone subject like 'Medical Genetics' or 'Cardiac Biology'. Every member of your class will be scheduled for the same lecture at the same time, and sometimes you can share lectures with other courses so they can get packed, but attendance isn't mandatory so there is usually plenty of space.

For an idea of what you learn in each year, Click Here:


The lecturers in UCD are of a very high standard. The staff is vey international and most have a wealth of either research or clinical experience. UCD is great in its use of technology. All lecture halls are fitted with modern Audiovisual equipment and the vast majority of lecturers will post lecture notes and other details of their course online for students to view.

Each module has its own exam, and you receive an individual grade from each module that contribute to your overall Grade Point Average or GPA.

Examination varies by subject but most involve some form of continuous assessment, be that group projects, verbal presentations or mid-term exams. Final exams tend to be a mix of both essay questions and multiple choice questions which sometimes have negative marking for incorrect answers.

In addition, each year students must sit two elective subjects. These can be effectively any course offered by any school in the university, and are an opportunity to learn a foreign language, explore a subject tha interests you, examine a particular specialish branch of medicine or just take an easy subject to boost your GPA.

Practicals are an important part of the teaching in UCD, particularly in the older years. From 1st Med you begin to do dissections in the cadaver labs. Clinical skills are taught in special clinical skills classrooms, where you learn about examination techniques and technologies mostly by testing them out on each other. One thing that UCD is shifting away from is old-school techniques like looking at slides down a microscope, replacing them with computer assisted labs instead.

Many modules have small group tutorials, where in groups of 10-15 you discuss particular aspects of the module with one of the lecturers and gives you a chance to ask questions and improve your understanding. These vary in frequency from module to module.

Hospital Based Learning

UCD's main teaching hospitals are St. Vincent's University Hospital and the Mater University Hospital, two of Ireland's largest and best institutions.

Students will also be expected to do rotations in smaller regional and specialist hospitals as well which may include:

The National Maternity Hospital, Holles St.

Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin

Mullingar General Hospital

Wexford General Hospital

Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar

The Beacon Hospital, Sandyford

The Royal Hospital, Donnybrook

St. Michael's Hospital, Dun Laoghaire

and a number of others



Students in their first year of studying at UCD are able to live on campus in one of the multiple Residences.

The price and consequently standard varies from residence to residence, for more information on this we reccomend you view UCD's official website.

Priority is given to new students, scholarship students, students with disabilities, final year students and visiting students from other institutions. There are usually additional spaces for students in other years as well as there is a large quantity of apartments.

Rent for the year includes wifi, electricity, heating, waste disposal and water costs.


UCD has just recently completed a number of new apartment blocks in a new residence block, increasing its capacity which will create more places for next year.

Accommodation away from the campus is generally less expensive, however the rental market in all of Dublin is still much higher than the rest of the country and other major European cities, particularly on the southside of the county (near UCD). Students often find housing in nearby areas such as Rathmines, Clonskeagh, Goatstown, Mount Merrion and Ranelagh.



UCD has probably the best facilities of any third level institution in Ireland. The campus is extremely modern and there is always something being built.

Academic Facilities

The school of Medicine is housed in the ultra-modern Health Sceinces Building, which contains

  • spacious comfortable lecture theatres

  • multiple computer labs 

  • dissection labs

  • classrooms specifically designed for teaching clinical skills

  • tutorial classrooms

  • a fake ward, complete with 'dummy' patients (which you never really use but it's just cool to have)

It is also where you will find the Health Science Library, which houses every medical textbook and journal you will ever need during your time in UCD, and plenty of open space to study.


UCD has a number of other libraries, most notably the James Joyce, which is absolutely huge. Taking up its own building and housing the library's general collection, including many of the scientific texts you require during the early years of Medicine, as well as everything from Accounting to Zoology, includign a half deent DVD collection.

Sports Facilities

UCD is Ireland's premier sporting University. Its sernior rugby team compete in the highest Irish division, while the soccer team qualified for the UEFA Europa League in 2015 and are the only university to compete at the top levels of the national league.

GAA is massive in UCD, UCD ae the current College's All-Ireland Champions in Gaelic Football, and lost out in the semi-finals of the hurling. 

UCD fosters a lot of high performance talent, and many of its students represented Ireland at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

UCD has a club and both men's and women's teams for practically every sport you can imagine, from archery to lacrosse to water polo. The biggger sports like rugby, GAA, football etc. would have multiple teams for players of every level. 

UCD also has 3 Gyms open to students known as the 'Main Gym', which is massive and takes outside members, he 'Performance Gym' a relatively smaller but still quite large area with a focus on strength trainign equipment, and the the 'Team Gym' which is supposed to be only for those playing a sport with a UCD team. There is also an olympic length swimming pool.

The School of Medicine and MedSoc have many of their own sporting activities. Medical students can play for our teaching hospitals - St. Vincents, and the Mater - in the Hospitals Cup, a rugby competition between Dublin Hospitals. MedSoc organises many sporting activities through out the year, most notably the MedSoc ski trip, but also tag rugby, football and basketball.

Other Facilities

UCD campus is effectively like a medium sized town with everything you could need available on campus including a bank, numerous restaurant and cafes, the student bar, shops for food, a post office, a cinema, a theatre, pharmacy and many more services. 

UCD has a vibrant student society scene, with something for all tastes. Practically every week you can attend or take part in debates, musicals, plays, lectures from guest speakers, poker nights, video games nights.. you name it, there is a society for it,



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