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The UK armed forces offer generous bursaries/cadetships for undergraduate medics during their studies. In exchange for this financial support, you are required to serve a minimum period in the forces after becoming fully registered with the General Medical Council. If you don’t complete the full term of service you may be required to return some or all of the money you receive during your medical school training.
To be eligible for an Army Medical Services (AMS) Professionally Qualified Officer (PQO) bursary scheme you must be a UK citizen who is within three years of graduating from a UK medical school. If accepted, doctors and dentists receive £10,000 a year. You’ll get a lump sum when you successfully complete initial military training. This is currently £45,000 for doctors and dentists.
After training, you’ll be given a Short Service Commission that lasts for 8 years, although you can opt out at the initial commitment point, which is 4 years from the start of officer training. To be eligible you must be a British, Commonwealth or Irish citizen studying at a UK university, within 3 years of finishing your course.
See the Army website for more information and how to apply.
Royal Air Force
Undergraduates can apply for a University Bursary of £3000 a year from the RAF for 2 years of study (years 2 and 3 of an undergraduate course, or years 1 and 2 of a 4 year accelerated graduate course). In the final 2 years of study you can apply for a University Cadetship of £14,983 – £16,823 a year. In your final 2 years of study you also receive help towards your tuition fees and a book allowance. In return you’re asked to become a member of the University Air Squadron and to join the RAF once fully registered with the General Medical Council. As a member of the University Air Squadron you’ll experience the RAF first-hand and have free flying lessons
See the Royal Air Force recruitment website for more information and how to apply.
The Royal Navy offers a salary during the final 3 years of medical school.
Potential medical officers must attend a 2-day interview board which includes a formal interview plus various physical and mental tasks. Medical officers spend 7 weeks training at a Royal Naval College. The training is demanding and the Navy recommend that officers have a good level of fitness beforehand. If you’re successful, you’ll receive a generous salary starting at £15,379 per year, a book allowance and have your tuition fees paid while still enjoying university life as a civilian. As a Medical Cadet you’re required to join the Royal Navy on a Short Commission of 6 years from the date of your full General Medical Council registration.
See the Royal Navy Medical Cadetship website for more information and how to apply.