University Of Pretoria Medical School

University Of Pretoria Medical School

The School of Medicine at University of Pretoria started out as the Faculty of Medicine in 1943. The first class comprised of 57 students.  Over the years class sizes increased and departments of allied health care were added to the Faculty.  With the formation of the Faculty of Health Sciences in 1999 the School of Medicine was established as one of four Schools in the Faculty, the others being Schools of Dentistry, Health Care Sciences and Health Systems & Public Health.

The School of Medicine offers training for the following degrees:

  • MBChB
  • MMed in different specialties
  • MPharm Med
  • MPhil (Philosophy and ethics of mental health)
  • BClinical Medical Practice
  • MPhil (Pain Management)
  • Master of Early Childhood Intervention
  • BScHons
  • MSc
  • Doctor of Medicine
  • Doctor of Philosophy

Postgraduate Diplomas are also offered in Family Medicine and in General Ultrasound.

Prospective students who are looking for more information are encouraged to contact the department

Academic Programmes

The University of Pretoria’s School of Medicine changed over from a “traditional” curriculum to an integrated, problem-oriented curriculum. The curriculum is outcomes-based and the content is organised around body organs and systems. It contains a larger component of community health and primary health care than the former curriculum. The curriculum enables the Faculty to realise its vision of local relevance and international competitiveness.

Consultation nationally and internationally with other medical education institutions, an in-depth study of the latest literature, attendance of workshops, seminars and congresses locally and abroad, and visits to various medical schools worldwide led to the design of a newly-integrated, problem-oriented medical curriculum. The previous Faculty of Medicine took the lead in the country by phasing in the first year of the new curriculum in 1997, and is constantly evaluating the curriculum against the needs of the country and the feedback from lecturers, students and other stakeholders, making the planning of the curriculum an ongoing and dynamic process.

Click on the link below for more information about programmes offered by the School of Medicine at UP.

School of Medicine

Selection Procedure

  • Prologue
  • Staff members involved in selection
  • Selection regulations
  • Applications
  • National Benchmark Test (NBT)
  • Value Added Questionnaire
  • Phase 1: Provisional Selection
  • Phase 2: Final Selection
  • Phase 3: “Top-up” Selection
  • Important note


The relevant professional boards determine the maximum number of students that may be selected per course offered in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Pretoria (UP) (as well as at other universities).

The National Department of Health has set targets for an increase in the selection of students who have been previously disadvantaged.

In terms of agreements at government level, 15 new students from SADC countries are accepted in the Medical School per year. At UP, these students are accepted in addition to the maximum number of foreign MBChB students stipulated by the Medical Council.

School leavers and students with previous university training are evaluated according to separate categories for all courses offered by the Faculty.

Selection consists of three phases:

  • Phase 1: Provisional selection
  • Phase 2: Final selection
  • Phase 3: Top-up selection – applies only to Medicine and Dentistry.

Staff members involved in selection

The heads of the specific departments and/or the chairpersons of the schools of Dentistry, Health Care Sciences or Medicine take full responsibility for the selection procedures in which they are involved.

The administration officers in the Division: Prospective Students and Selection (a division of Student Administration in the Faculty) are responsible for processing and preparing the selection lists, presenting all relevant information to the various selection committees, and finalising the selection results. The Head of the Division manages the process and the Deputy Dean is involved in a supervisory capacity.

The final results of all the selection procedures are presented to the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences for confirmation.

Selection regulations

Selection regulations have been drawn up individually for each degree programme. These regulations, which are approved by the Faculty Board and University Senate, stipulate the procedures and criteria for the selection of students.

The admission and selection procedures are followed in strict accordance with the selection regulations.


Applications for all study courses in the Faculty close on 31 May every year.

Applicants can apply online or download an application form at The information supplied by applicants is processed and applications that meet the minimum criteria (in terms of the selection regulations) are processed and sent to the chairpersons of the various selection committees.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum criteria are notified accordingly in writing by the Division: Prospective Students and Selections.

All applicants are divided into separate categories according to their level of existing education (i.e. school leavers or students with previous university training) and citizenship. Candidates compete against one another in each of these categories/subcategories based on the criteria described in the selection regulations.

National Benchmark Test (NBT)

In the case of most faculties of health sciences at South African universities, applicants are required to write the NBT. As far as UP is concerned, writing the NBT is compulsory for all school leavers who apply for admission to any field of study in the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Applicants who fail to write the test will not be considered.

The test can be written at sites across the country. For more information about the test, dates and venues, please visit or call 021 650 3523.

The NBT assesses a writer’s proficiency levels in three content areas, namely academic literacy, quantitative literacy and mathematics. Two tests are written; in the first one academic and quantitative literacy are tested, and separate scores for these two components are awarded. The second test is the mathematics test, also known as the cognitive academic mathematical proficiency (CAMP) test, which is based on the Grade 12 syllabus (papers 1 and 2) and is, therefore, only written from July each year. One score is awarded for the mathematics test.

The applicant can choose whether to write the question papers in English or in Afrikaans.

The question papers are marked centrally and the results are sent to the universities to which the candidates have submitted applications.

The faculties or departments at the universities process these test results using their own selection formulae. The Faculty of Health Sciences at UP uses the results, as well as school leavers’ Grade 11 averages, to calculate a selection ranking index for use as an academic parameter in selection procedures.

Value Added Questionnaire

All school leavers who comply with the admission requirements must complete the value-added questionnaire, which questions them on their participation and achievements in leadership roles, sport, cultural activities and community service. The information is evaluated and the score is used in the selection process.

Phase 1: Provisional Selection

On completion of the calculations, candidates in the various categories are provisionally selected on merit (according to the specified criteria) and a waiting list of first runners-up is compiled. These applicants will be selected if and as soon as places become available in the specific category (see below).

Candidates are informed telephonically and in writing about the results.

Phase 2: Final Selection

Final confirmation of the selection results takes place once the final matric results of school learners or the end-of-year results of university students become available. Retention of selection is subject to the provisions set out in the selection regulations that were communicated to candidates in writing during provisional selection. Successful applicants are informed by SMS.

If students:

  • cancel their applications, or
  • forfeit their selection places as a result of their unacceptable academic results at the end of the year in which they applied (see above),

the applicants on the relevant waiting list will fill their places. These places are filled in strict accordance with the order in which their names appear on the waiting list.

Phase 3: Top-up Selection

As far as the MBChB course is concerned, 10% of the places available for first-year students are only filled at the end of the first semester (i.e. in June) during the third phase of selection. Applications for this phase of the selection process close annually at the end of May.

This selection category is reserved for applicants who have not had any previous exposure to tertiary education and who were registered at UP for BSc 1 during the first semester and who passed the specified courses. (The specified courses ensure that these applicants can continue directly with the MBChB 1 course in the second semester.)

If additional places became available during the first semester due to cancellations, these too are filled so that the final top-up will bring the total number of MBChB 1 students to 300.

For first-year Dentistry the places that became available during the first semester are also filled by applicants from the above-mentioned BSc 1 class. However, in contrast to MBChB 1, no special places are reserved for students who can be selected in July of the first year.

Due to the design of the nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and radiography courses, no additional students are selected at the end of the first semester of the first year.

Unsuccessful candidates in the third phase of the selection process can continue directly to complete the BSc I course.

Important note:

  1. MBChB/BChD indicated as a second choice by prospective students will not be considered.
  2. Applications of international candidates from countries that have their own medical schools will not be considered for admission to this medical school.
  3. African and Coloured applicants are collectively regarded as previously educationally deprived applicants and are evaluated in separate subcategories of the main categories of scholars and students.
  4. The selection procedure is used as a guideline and does not guarantee admission.

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