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2019-11-22 00:03:29

10 best benefits of medical education abroad for international students

10 best benefits of medical education abroad for international students

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 to earn a degree. After earning a medical degree, you can work in hospitals, research institutes, health care facilities, and research in related sciences. Graduates with a doctorate from a European or U.S. university may also choose to pursue a career as a healthcare manager or economist, work in forensic accounting, or defend the rights of healthcare facilities or patients through a master's degree in economics, law, or other fields.
  • Working as a physician is a direct and effective way to help people: relieve them during a serious illness, take part in the discovery of a new cure for a previously untreatable disease.
  • The opportunity to become a member of a team of qualified professionals, to feel part of a significant professional community. From medical school to practice after graduation, the physician works as part of a team, collaborating with other medical specialists, nurses, and acting as a mentor to interns or students.
  • There is a high demand for doctors: while the number of doctors in Europe is quite high, in Asia or Africa there is a shortage of doctors, drugs, and supplies. Many students get jobs right after graduation or even before graduation. In most countries, doctors receive high salaries.
  • Choosing medicine is a choice of constant vector of development, because the work of doctors requires constant professional development, advanced education, and self-education. The medical education 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 commitment, self-organization, dedication, and an understanding of the value of personal investment. In return, physicians receive stability, security, and confidence in future employment.
  • Throughout the world, physicians are respected members of society who enjoy a high social status. This imposes moral and ethical obligations on behavior 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 there are many more students who want to study medicine than there are places available. A high school diploma with a good grade is not enough to guarantee access to medical courses in Canada, France, Britain, the United States, and Norway.

Studying medicine abroad in English has gained the most popularity because of the wide range of options, but there are other options as well. For students who speak French, some of the top medical schools abroad (Belgium, Canada, France, Romania) offer medical, dental, pharmacy, and veterinary programs in French. Medical schools with education in French do not have such high ratings, the competition is not so great, the cost of education is lower than in English-language programs, but at the same time they have quality programs.

Most medical schools abroad have adopted Problem-Based Learning (PBL), originally developed in Canada. It allows students to work through all phases of the patient experience, from diagnosis to treatment. The Problem-Based Learning method involves a case study taken from medical practice - students diagnose a patient's illness independently in small groups under the supervision of a specially educated preceptor. Students apply their knowledge in near-real-life conditions, make a diagnosis, prescribe treatment, and discuss problematic issues in class: this technique allows students to feel more confident about the future.

Medical Degrees Abroad

Studying medicine is a long, multi-step process. In many countries, students study for 5 years in their specialty, less often in undergraduate and graduate programs, then complete an internship and become eligible to practice. But often, to be eligible to work as a doctor, students work for several years after their initial education.

  1. Students in the United States, to be eligible to participate in a medical program, must take a bachelor's degree in a related discipline from an American or Canadian university and earn a bachelor of science (BS) or bachelor of arts (BA).

There are two stages of study:

  • Bachelor of Science with a concentration in chemistry and biology - 4 years
  • School of Medicine - 4 years (2 years preclinical education and 2 years practice).

The entrance exam for applicants to medical school in the United States is the MCAT.

  1. Medical education in the UK lasts 10 years and includes several stages:
  • University Medical School - 6 years
  • Pre-Medical Preparatory Program - 2 years
  • Specialty, general medical practice - 3 to 5 years.

Applicants from UK medical schools provide results of BMAT, GAMSAT, UKCAT exams.

  1. Canadian medical schools accept students for graduate courses after completing a bachelor's degree in chemistry, biology, and mathematics. There are also 5-year programs with a preparatory year. Candidates take the MCAT; French courses are also possible (in Quebec).
  2. Medical education in Australia lasts 4-6 years, depending on the program of study chosen:
  • Graduate medical program - 4 years, for those who graduated with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, biology. Candidates will need the MCAT or GAMSAT certificate
  • Undergraduate Medical Program - 6 years, admission after 12 years of high school. Applicants take the UMAT.
  1. German medical schools teach future doctors for 6 years:
  • 2 years - theory
  • 3 years - clinical work
  • 2 years - theory, 3 years - clinical work, 1 year - practice.

Teaching is in German, except for some master's degree courses. There is a limited number of places on medical programmes.

  1. Education which he/she is allowed to continue his/her studies. Usually about 80% of students take it. The state system of the country controls the number of applicants - the number of foreign students may not exceed 8%.

Education is divided into three stages:

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

What degrees does a foreign medical university graduate receive?

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS, BMBS, MBCH, MBCH)
  • Doctor of Medicine (M.D., M.D., M.P.H.)
  • Doctor of Medicine in Research (MD (Res), DM)
  • Master of Clinical Medicine (MCM)
  • Master of Medicine (MMSc, MMedSc)
  • Master of Medicine (MM, MMedSc)
  • Master of Surgery (MS, MSurg, MCHir, MS, PM, SM)
  • Master of Science in medicine or surgery (MSc)
  • Doctor of Clinical Medicine (DCM)
  • Doctor of Clinical Surgery (DClinSurg)
  • Doctor of Medicine (DMSc, DMedSc)
  • Doctor of Surgery (DS, DSurg).

How to enroll in medical programs abroad

Admission requirements to major medical universities in the United States and Europe may differ, but most medical schools have the following requirements:

  • High school diploma (certificate)
  • Good grades in biology, chemistry and math
  • Results of language proficiency tests in English, French, or another language of instruction
  • Results of medical examinations confirming mental and physical health.
  • Proof of financial ability to pay tuition (student loan, own funds in a bank account, proof of grant support).
  • Diploma of completion of a bachelor's degree or several university courses in another country
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Letter of motivation
  • Academic achievements
  • Information on volunteer experience, such as working as a hospital support staff
  • Information about experience in the medical field (nursing, home care, Red Cross, etc.)

Some universities have medical tests in English and entrance exams in biology and chemistry.

Many international students planning to study medicine abroad complete the first stage of their studies at medical schools in their home countries. It helps to prepare for the admission, to master the theoretical bases, moreover, the bachelor's diploma or the certificate on the completion of the 1st or 2nd year allows to enter the foreign universities without studying on the preparatory programs.

When you move from one medical school to another, it is not how many years you have studied, but how many medical credits you have earned. 

What to look for when choosing a medical school abroad?

  • Quality of education by rating indicators
  • Language of instruction
  • Number and list of countries that recognize the diploma
  • Tuition and living expenses
  • Conditions of admission.

Top 10 medical schools in the world

Educational institution


Program, duration

Harvard University United States of America Pathways and Health Sciences and Technology (HST) with MIT

Oxford University


Bachelor's Degree, BM, BC, 6 years

Cambridge University     UK Bachelor's degree, Master's degree, 6 years
Stanford University School of Medicine United States of America MD program
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine United States of America Bachelor's degree, graduate student, doctoral student
Karolinska Institute


Bachelor's degree, graduate student, doctoral student
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) United States of America

David Geffen Medical School


Yale University United States of America School of Medicine
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) United States of America Joint MD program with Harvard Medical School (HMS)
UCL (University College London) UK UCL MBBS, 6 years
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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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