GEMP – Pursuing Medicine After a Non-Medical Degree


If you didn’t make it into medicine first time round and now find yourself studying a different degree – hope is not lost. As a graduate, you can study medicine through GEMP at Wits.

Maybe you’ve religiously watched all of the seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, and you know everything about Dr House and his team of impressive investigative doctors. Perhaps your own medical experiences ignited a fire and passion inside of you and you dream of working on cases, helping people out of situations that seem impossible to cure.

You may have acted on this dream and applied for medicine after school, only to be rejected. Don’t forget that dream! With Wits, you’re able to study medicine without losing too much time. If you’re busy studying towards a degree now or you’ve already graduated, you could apply for the GEMP programme at Wits and start as a third year medical student. Carry on reading to find out more!

If you want to be called Dr, and not Mr or Mrs (gotta as Jay-Z would say, “brag different” you know?), here is how you can study medicine through Wits University’s GEMP.

What is GEMP?

GEMP is Wits’ Graduate Entry Medical Programme. The University of the Witwatersrand is committed to improving the state of healthcare in South Africa, and as a result they have created GEMP to increase the number of medical graduates. Graduates of relevant degrees can apply to study medicine, starting from third year instead of first year. You must have a degree before applying for GEMP.

What do I need to qualify for the programme?

In order to qualify you need to meet these requirements (these have been adapted from the GEMP website):

– A Bachelor’s or a Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree with an average of at least 60% over the final two completed years of study. If you have a National Diploma, Technical Diploma, Certificate and similar qualifications you will not be considered for entry.  Students doing their final year can also apply.

*Click on the squares to open them and see the requirements.

Subject Specific Requirements:

  1. 50% for first year university degree level Biology (Full course). If you don’t have that but have Anatomy, Physiology, Zoology, Life Sciences and similar courses, you can still apply.
  2. 50% for first year university degree level Physics (Half Course).
  3. 50% for first year university degree level Chemistry (Half Course).
  4. The above three subjects MUST be completed at first-year level of a university Bachelor’s degree or higher. Diploma or certificate studies will not be considered.

Mathematics Requirement:

One of the following is accepted: 

  1. 60% for Matric Mathematics (National Senior Certificate (NSC) – 2008 to present) or 
  2. Pass on Higher Grade or 60% on Standard Grade for Matric Mathematics (Pre-2008) or
  3. 50% for a full-course Mathematics at first year university degree level.

Language Requirement:

One of the following are possibilities:

  1. 60% for Matric English Home Language or First Additional Language (National Senior Certificate (NSC) – 2008 to present) or
  2. Pass on Higher Grade or 60% on Standard Grade for Matric English First or Second Language (Pre-2008) or
  3. 50% for a full-course English at first year university degree level.
  4. International applicants: 
    • Score of at least 7 for the IELTS test (International English Language Test Systemor
    • A pass in English Language at the GCSE/GCE/IGSCE Ordinary level (or equivalent examination) or
    • Pass in English in a school-leaving examination equivalent to the South African National Senior Certificate or
    • If the tertiary studies were at an English-medium institution, a letter from that institution stating that instruction and examinations were conducted in English must be provided.

If you are applying for the GEMP in the Faculty of Health Sciences you will not have to write the National Benchmark Test. If you’re also applying for a different degree in the Faculty of Health Sciences (example Pharmacy or Physiotherapy), then you will have to write the NBT. However, the NBT results will not be used in the consideration for the GEMP application.

NB: On all methods of application please ensure that you are applying for the THIRD year of study for the MBBCh degree. The degree code is MF000, YOS3.

How do I apply?  It’s not that difficult, we promise.

  1.  Applications for the next year open the year before, so start by checking the GEMP website for when applications open and make sure you hand in your application before the deadline
  2. Remember: your GEMP is not a post-graduate application. The MBBCh degree is an undergraduate qualification.
  3. You can apply online or in person. If you want to apply in person, download an application form from the website or call the Student Enrolment Centre for them to send you one. 

What documents do I need?  You will need:

  • Completed application form.
  • Certified copy of your degree certificate if you have already completed your studies.
  • Certified copy of your academic transcript.
  • Certified copy of your matric certificate or final school leaving certificate.
  • Proof of registration if you are currently studying the Minimum Requirement courses (Physics, Chemistry and/or Biology)
  • Proof of payment for the Application Fee.
You can post it or hand deliver it to:

Student Enrolment Centre at Senate House, Wits East Campus, Braamfontein.

Tell: 011 717 1000

What’s this WAPT I hear about?

This is the Wits Additional Placement Test. It’s a once a year entrance test for the GEMP and is written by invited candidates. They advise students to start studying for this test as soon as their applications are submitted to allow them enough time to prepare. The test will be based off of second year MBBCH work – so get studying!

What must I study for the WAPT?

The WAPT covers Human Anatomy, Human Physiology and Molecular Medicine.

The textbooks listed in the links above can be bought from any academic bookstore. To help you with practice, look through the example questions.

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You don’t need to give up on your dreams to be a doctor if you didn’t get in straight after school. Starting as a third year student saves you two extra years. Essentially, you’ll only be one year behind, which is pretty cool considering. Getting into the GEMP can be quite difficult (it’s like Game of Thrones. Okay maybe not that hectic, but you still need to be on your toes), so apply early and make sure you have all the documents you need before sending it in.

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