How Do I Choose the Best Medical School in Europe?

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  • Written By: Jennifer Voight
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2018
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Choosing to attend medical school in Europe requires many of the same considerations as choosing medical school in your own country. Yet there are added factors that are unique to international students. A student should know the licensing requirements of the country where he or she will ultimately practice medicine and make sure that prospective European medical schools are adequately accredited. Students should consider possible language barriers when applying to medical schools or plan to study the language used to teach the courses. Many students find that medical schools hold international students to a higher standard and should make sure that they meet admission standards.

Two factors to consider when choosing a medical school in Europe are the academic focus of the medical training program and the student culture. Some medical schools in Europe may tend toward more clinical practice, while others have a more academic and research focus. Many medical schools have a competitive student culture, while other European medical schools are more relaxed and foster more student cooperation. Prospective students should choose a medical school in Europe that aligns with their personal goals and student culture preferences.


Students considering medical school in Europe should assess the country's living conditions where the medical school is located. It is necessary to be fluent in the language used to teach classes or to plan to study the language before coursework begins. Students should also assess the cost of living, international tuition rates, and types of living arrangements available. In addition, living in a foreign country can be isolating and overwhelming. Many medical schools have support services for international students that can help them adjust to a new culture.

After graduation from a medical school in Europe, graduates usually enter residency or fellowship programs in their chosen specialty. Competition for these programs can be intense, and students who have graduated from a foreign medical school may be at a disadvantage if applying for a non-European residency or fellowship. For instance, in the US, many residency programs require that an applicant graduate from a medical school program that has been accredited by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. Such certification may be necessary to obtain a license to practice medicine in a particular country.

European medical schools are usually set up as six-year programs that accept students directly from high school. An applicant from another country who has already completed most or all of an undergraduate degree may need to search carefully to find a four-year program for graduate students. Although they tend to be rare, they are becoming more common, especially in Great Britain.



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