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10 best benefits of medical education abroad for international students

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Studying medicine abroad attracts foreign students due to the opportunity to study in English or one of the European languages at the best universities in Europe, to receive a diploma that will be recognized by employers from anywhere in the world. It is not easy to get a medical education abroad in the best educational institutions: most universities have a selective approach, there are many applicants and the competition is very high. The average percentage of receipt relative to the number of applications is 20%.

The cost of education in medical specialties abroad is up to 50,000 € / year, although there are more budget options in France, Germany, Norway, and Eastern Europe. For example, Romania or Bulgaria offer studying courses that meet European standards, while the cost of education and living expenses here is one of the lowest in Europe - from 1000 € / year, There are scholarship programs, education in English or French.

The benefits of studying medicine abroad

  • Studying medicine abroad opens up many opportunities for graduation. After receiving a medical degree, you can choose to work in hospitals, research institutes, public health institutions, do research in related sciences. Graduates with a doctor’s diploma from a European or American university can also choose a career as a manager or economist in the field of healthcare, work in forensics, protect the rights of medical institutions or patients by completing a master's degree in economics, law or other disciplines.
  • Working as a doctor is a direct, effective way to help people: to alleviate their condition during a serious illness, to participate in the discovery of a new medicine for a previously incurable disease.
  • The opportunity to be a member of a team of qualified professionals, to feel part of a significant professional community. From studying at medical universities to practice after graduation, a doctor works in a group, collaborates with other medical specialists, nurses, and acts as a mentor for interns or students.
  • A high need for doctors: if in Europe the number of doctors is quite large, in Asia or Africa there are not enough doctors, medicines, materials. Many students get a job immediately after graduation or even before graduation. In most countries, doctors receive high salaries.
  • The choice of medicine is the choice of a constant vector of development, because the work of doctors requires constant professional development, advanced education, self-education. The medical studying system offers courses for professionals of all levels. Many students see this as an advantage and point to medicine as a unique example of continuous professional development.
  • A career in medicine requires high returns, self-organization, commitment and an understanding of the value of personal investment. In return, doctors receive stability, security, confidence in future employment.
  • All over the world, doctors are respected members of society who have a high social status. This imposes moral and ethical obligations on behaviour with colleagues, patients, and life outside of work situations.

Features of studying medicine abroad

Admission to medical specialties can be incredibly difficult because in most countries far more students are willing to study medicine than places are available. A high school diploma with a good grade is not enough to guarantee access to medical courses in Canada , France, Great Britain , the USA , and Norway.

Studying medicine abroad in English has gained the greatest popularity, as it opens up a wide range of possibilities, but there are other options. For students speaking French, some of the best medical schools abroad (Belgium, Canada, France, Romania) offer medical, dental, pharmaceutical, veterinary programs in French. Medical schools with studying in French do not have such a high ranking, the competition is not so great, the cost of education is lower than in English-language programs, but at the same time they are of high quality studying programs.

Most medical schools abroad have adopted the Problem-Based learning (PBL), originally developed in Canada. It allows students to work through all stages of working with a patient - from diagnosis to treatment. The method of problem teaching involves the analysis of a specific case taken from medical practice - students diagnose a patient’s disease on their own in small groups under the supervision of a specially educated mentor. Students apply their knowledge in conditions close to real ones, make a diagnosis, prescribe treatment, discuss problem points in the classroom: this technique allows students to feel more confident in the future.

Medical degrees abroad

Learning medicine is a long, multi-step process. In many countries, students study for 5 years in a specialty, less often undergo education in Bachelor's and Master's programs, then enter an internship and get the right to practice. But often, to get the right to work as a doctor, students work for several years after the first stage of study.

  1. Students in the United States, in order to be eligible to enter a medical program, need to study in undergraduate studies in related disciplines at an American or Canadian university and earn a Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.

Education takes place in 2 stages:

  • Bachelor with a bias in chemistry and biology - 4 years
  • Medical school - 4 years (2 years of preclinical education and 2 years of practice).

Entrance exam for applicants to a medical school in the USA - MCAT test.

  1. Medical education in the UK lasts 10 years and includes several stages:
  • University Medical School - 6 years
  • Foundation program for doctors - 2 years
  • Specialty, general practice - 3-5 years.

Applicants from British medical schools provide BMAT, GAMSAT, UKCAT exam results.

  1. Canadian medical schools accept students for Master's courses after graduating with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, biology, and mathematics. There are also programs lasting 5 years with a preparatory year. Applicants are taking MCAT exams; French courses are possible (in Quebec).
  2. Medical education in Australia lasts 4-6 years, depending on the chosen training program:
  • Graduate medical program - 4 years, for those who graduated with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, biology. Applicants will need a MCAT or GAMSAT certificate
  • Undergraduate medical program - 6 years, Admission after a 12-year school. Applicants pass the UMAT test.
  1. German medical universities teach future doctors for 6 years:
  • 2 years - theory
  • 3 years - clinical work
  • 1 year - practice.

Education is conducted in German, except for a number of Master's courses. There is a limitation of places on medical programs.

  1. Preparation of doctors in France takes about 9 years. After 1 course, the student passes the PACES exam (the basics of medicine), after which he gets the opportunity to continue studying. Usually, about 80% of students take it. The state system of the country controls the number of applicants - the number of foreign students should not exceed 8%.

Training is divided into three stages:

  • Theoretical education- 2 years
  • Clinical practice, seminars - 4 years
  • Internship - 5 years.

What degrees does a graduate of a foreign medical university receive?

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS, BMBS, MBChB, MBBCh)
  • Doctor of Medicine (MD, Dr. MuD, Dr. Med)
  • Doctor of Medicine by research (MD (Res), DM)
  • Master of Clinical Medicine (MCM)
  • Master of Medical Science (MMSc, MMedSc)
  • Master of Medicine (MM, MMed)
  • Master of Surgery (MS, MSurg, MChir, MCh, ChM, CM)
  • Master of Science in Medicine or Surgery (MSc)
  • Doctor of Clinical Medicine (DCM)
  • Doctor of Clinical Surgery (DClinSurg)
  • Doctor of Medical Science (DMSc, DMedSc)
  • Doctor of Surgery (DS, DSurg).

How to enter medical programs abroad

Requirements for admission to leading medical universities in the United States and Europe may vary, but most medical schools have the following requirements:

  • High School Diploma (Certificate)
  • Good grades in biology, chemistry and math
  • Results of language tests for knowledge of English , French or another language of instruction
  • The results of medical examinations confirming mental and physical health.
  • Confirmation of financial ability to pay for tuition (student loan, own funds in a bank account, confirmation of grant support).
  • Diploma of completion of undergraduate or completion of several university courses in another country
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Motivation letter
  • Academic Achievements
  • Information on volunteer experiences, such as working as hospital support staff
  • Information on work experience in the medical field (nursing, home care, Red Cross, etc.).

Some universities organize a medical test in English, entrance exams in biology, chemistry.

Many foreign students planning to study medicine abroad are completing the first stage of study at medical schools in their countries. This helps to prepare for admission, to master the theoretical foundations - in addition, a bachelor’s diploma or certificate of completion of 1, 2 courses allows you to enter foreign universities without studying in preparatory programs.

When moving from one medical school to another, it is important not how many years you studied, but how much medical loans you have earned. 

What should I look for when choosing a medical university abroad?

  • Quality of education by ranking indicators
  • Language of instruction
  • Number and list of countries recognizing a diploma
  • Tuition and living expenses
  • Conditions for admission.

TOP-10 medical universities in the world

Educational institution

A country

Program, duration

Harvard university


Pathways and Health Sciences & Technology (HST) with MIT

Oxford University

Great Britain

Undergraduate, BM, BCh, 6 years

Cambridge University Great Britain

Bachelor, Master, 6 years

Stanford University's School of Medicine


MD program

Johns Hopkins ' School of Medicine


Undergraduate, graduate, doctoral

Karolinska Institute


Undergraduate, graduate, doctoral

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)


David Geffen School of Medicine


Yale university


School of medicine

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


Joint MD-PhD program with Harvard Medical School (HMS)

UCL (University College London)

Great Britain

UCL MBBS, 6 years

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