Medical school

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Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas, USA.

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

A medical school or faculty of medicine is a tertiary educational institution or part of such an institution that teaches medicine.

In addition to fulfilling a major requirement to become a medical doctor, some medical schools offer Master's Degree programs, PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) Programs, and other educational programs. Medical schools can also employ medical researchers, and operate hospitals or other programs.

Medical schools teach subjects such as human anatomy, biochemistry, immunology, neurobiology, genetics, and human biology.

The entry criteria, structure, teaching methodology and nature of medical programs offered at medical schools vary considerably around the world. Medical schools are often highly competitive, using standardized entrance examinations to narrow the selection criteria for candidates (e.g. MCAT, BMAT, GAMSAT and many others).

In many countries (e.g. most of Europe, India, China), study of medicine is completed as an undergraduate degree (although postgraduate options are usually available). In other countries (e.g. the USA) medical schools only take postgraduate students. Students wanting to enter postgraduate medical school often benefit from an undergraduate pre-medical curriculum including physics, inorganic chemistry, genetics, biochemistry, pathology, anatomy and physiology, human biology and organic chemistry.

Although a medical school may confer upon a graduate the title of Doctor of Medicine, a doctor typically may not legally practice medicine until licensed by a government authority. Licensing may also require passing a test, undergoing a criminal background check, checking references, and paying a fee.



In Egypt, medical school is a faculty of a university. Admission depends on the score of the applicant in his last year of Secondary School (الثانوية العامة). Alternatively, students who have taken either the IGCSE or SAT can also apply. However, the minimum threshold for applicants with such international degrees tends to be very inflated as there's a very strict quota on non-Thanawiya Amma students and there are no specific entrance examinations. Medical education lasts for 6 years, at the end of which, there is an additional 12 months dedicated to full-time training as a house officer at one of the University or Government Teaching hospitals. The first 3 years of medical school cover the basic medical sciences, while the last 3 years are focused on clinical sciences. After graduation, medical students are conferred the degree of Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery MBBCh (بكالريوس الطب و الجراحة). Medical licensure as a General Practitioner (GP) is obtained after completion of the year of full time training and registering with both the Ministry of Health & Population ( MOHP) and the Egyptian Medical Syndicate (نقابة الأطباء).


In Kenya, there are only 2 medical schools both of which are faculties within a university. One has a 5 year course while the other, under the problem based education system, has a 6 year course. Internship is done for 1 year hereafter.

Admissions are considered after completion of a high school education.

The first 2 years are basic science years and the remaining years clinical years. On completion, a bachelors degree in Medicine and Surgery is awarded.

South Africa

There are 8 medical schools in South Africa, each under the auspices of a public university. As the country is a former British colony, most of the institutions follow the British-based undergraduate method of instruction, admitting students directly from high school into a 6 or occasionally 5 year program. Some universities such as the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and the University of Cape Town have started offering post-graduate medical degrees which run concurrently with their undergraduate programs. In this instance, a student who has completed an appropriate undergraduate degree with basic sciences, can enter into a 4 year post graduate program.

Most South African medical schools award the MBChB degree (except the University of the Witwatersrand which styles its degree MBBCh). Following successful completion of study, all South African medical graduates need to complete a 2 year internship as well as a further year of community service in order to register with the Health Professions Council, in order to practice as a doctor in South Africa.

Specialisation is usually a 5-7 year training process (depending on the speciality) requiring registering as a medical registrar attached to an academic clinical department in a large teaching hospital with appropriate examinations. The specialist degree may be conferred as a Fellowship by the independent Colleges of Medicine of South Africa, following British tradition, or as a Magisterial degree by the University (usually the degree M Med (Master of Medicine).

Medical students from all over the world come to South Africa to gain practical experience in the country's many teaching hospitals and rural clinics. All of South Africa's 8 medical schools are of world class standard and have excellent facilities. The language of instruction is English but a few native languages are studied briefly.

North America


In Canada, a medical school is a faculty or school of a university that offers a 3- or 4-year Doctor of Medicine (M.D. or M.D.C.M.) degree. Generally, medical students begin their studies after receiving a bachelor's degree in another field, often one of the biological sciences. Minimum requirements for admission vary by region from 2-4 years of post-secondary study. The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada publishes a detailed guide to admission requirements of Canadian faculties of medicine on a yearly basis.

Admission offers are made by individual medical schools, generally on the basis of a personal statement, undergraduate record (GPA), scores on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), and interviews. Volunteer work is often an important criterion considered by admission committees. Francophone medical schools in Quebec and three Ontario schools do not require the MCAT.

The first half of the medical curriculum is dedicated mostly to teaching the basic sciences relevant to medicine. Teaching methods can include traditional lectures, problem-based learning, laboratory sessions, simulated patient sessions, and limited clinical experiences. The remainder of medical school is spent in clerkship. Clinical clerks participate in the day-to-day management of patients. They are supervised and taught during this clinical experience by residents and fully-licensed staff physicians.

Students enter into the Canadian Resident Matching Service, commonly abbreviated as CaRMS in the fall of their final year. Students rank their preferences of hospitals and specialties. A computerized matching system determines placement for residency positions. 'Match Day' usually occurs in March [2], a few months before graduation. The length of post-graduate training varies with choice of specialty.

During the final year of medical school, students complete part 1 of the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE). Upon completion of the final year of medical school, students are awarded the degree of M.D. Students then begin training in the residency program designated to them by CaRMS. Part 2 of the MCCQE, an Objective Structured Clinical Examination, is taken following completion of 12 months of residency training. After both parts of the MCCQE are successfully completed, the resident becomes a licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada. However, in order to practice independently, the resident must complete the residency program and take a board examination pertinent to his or her intended scope of practice. In the final year of residency training, residents take an exam administered by either the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or the College of Family Physicians of Canada, depending on whether they are training for specialty or family practice.

United States

Admission to medical school in the United States is based mainly on GPA, MCAT score, admissions essay, interview, and volunteering activities, along with research and leadership roles in an applicant's history. In order to gain admittance to medical school, students usually pursue a four-year undergraduate degree at a college or a university, majoring in any subject they wish to (majoring in biology is not a requirement so long as prerequisites for medical school are completed). A few medical schools offer pre-admittance to students directly from high-school by linking a joint 3-year accelerated undergraduate degree and a standard 4-year medical degree with certain undergraduate universities, sometimes referred to as a "7-year program", where the student receives a bachelor's degree after their first year in medical school. While obtaining an undergraduate degree is not an explicit requirement for a few medical schools, virtually all admitted students have earned at least a bachelor's degree. As undergraduates, students must complete a series of prerequisites, consisting of biology, physics, and chemistry (organic chemistry and inorganic). Many medical schools have additional requirements including calculus, genetics, statistics, biochemistry, English, and/or humanities classes. In addition to meeting the pre-medical requirements, medical school applicants must take and report their scores on the MCAT, a standardized test that measures a student's knowledge of the sciences and the English language. Some students apply for medical school following their third year of undergraduate education while others pursue advanced degrees or other careers prior to applying for medical school.

The standard U.S. medical school curriculum is four years long. The first two years are composed mainly of classroom education, while the last two years primarily include rotations in clinical settings where students learn patient care firsthand. Upon successful completion of medical school, students are granted the title of Doctor of Medicine (MD, if they graduate from an allopathic medical school) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO, if they attend an osteopathic medical school). Upon graduation, physicians who plan to independently care for patients must complete a residency which is a supervised training period of three to seven years. Physicians who sub-specialize or who desire more supervised experience may complete a fellowship, which is an additional two to three years of supervised training in their area of expertise.

Licensing of medical doctors in the United States is coordinated at the state level. Most states require that prospective licensees complete the following requirements:

  • Graduation from an accredited medical school granting the degree of DO or MD
  • Satisfactory completion of a AOA- or AMA-approved residency.
  • Passage of the United States Medical Licensing Examination or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE, COMLEX, or simply "the boards"). USMLE and COMLEX both consist of four similar parts:
    • Step I is taken at the end of the second year of medical school and tests students' mastery of the basic sciences as they apply to medicine.
    • Step II CK is taken during the fourth year of medical school and tests students' mastery of the management of ill patients.
    • Step II CS is taken during the fourth year of medical school and tests students' mastery of clinical skills using a series of standardized patient encounters.
    • Step III is taken after the first year of a residency program and tests physicians' ability to independently manage the care of patients.

Asia and Oceania


In Australia, students wishing to study medicine have two options: they can either attempt to gain entry through the UMAT exam and interview to a 6-year undergraduate MBBS program, or complete a undergraduate degree in any area and then attempt to gain entry through the GAMSAT exam and interview to a four year graduate BMBS (or MBBS), first introduced at Flinders University in South Australia.

Hong Kong


In India, admission to medical colleges is organized both by the central government CBSE as well as the state governments entrance tests, after the students complete their 10+2 education (high school). These exams are highly competitive and often the volume of applicants far exceeds the number of students accepted. Entrance is based solely on the entrance examination and academic records have very minor consequences on an application. The undergraduate program consists of 9 semesters, followed by one-year internship (rotating housemanship). The degree granted is Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S.). Further postgraduate qualifications may be obtained as Diploma or Degree (MS) under the aegis of the Medical Council of India [3]. PG diploma may also be obtained through the National Board of Examinations [4]. See Medical College (India) for more details


There are four university medical schools in Israel, including the Technion in Haifa, Ben Gurion University in Beer Shiva, Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The entrance requirements of the various schools of medicine are very strict. Israeli students require a high school Baccalaureate average above 100 and psychometric examination grade over 740. The demand for medical education is strong and growing and there is a lack of doctors in Israel. The Technion Medical School is the only medical school in Israel to offer MD/PhD [Foreign Medical School in Israel] for American and Canadian students in Israel.


In Japan, a medical school is a faculty of a university. Programs are generally 6 years. Entrance is based on an exam taken at the end of high school.

Medical students study liberal arts for the first 1-2 years, then clinical medicine, Public health and Forensics for the next 3 years.

Medical students train in the hospital for the last year. Clinical training is a part of the curriculum. Upon completion of the graduation examination, students are awarded a Bachelor's degree.

At the end, Medical students take the National Medical License examination, and if they pass it, become a Physician. The scope of this exam encompasses every aspect of medicine.


There are 4 public universities in jordan that include a medical school: Jordan University of Science and Technology in Ramtha, University of Jordan in Amman, Hashemite University in Zarqa and Mutah University in Al Karak.


Myanmar medical schools are government-funded and require Myanmar citizenship for eligibility. No private medical school exists at this moment. In Myanmar, admission to medical colleges is organized under the Department of Health Science which is the branch of Ministry of Health of Myanmar. A student can join one of the four medical universities of Myanmar if he gets the highest scores in the science combination of the matriculation examination. This exam is highly competitive. Entrance is solely based on this examination and academic records have very minor consequences on an application. The undergraduate program is 5 years plus 1 year for work experience in government hospitals. After medical school, Myanmar medical graduates are under contract to spend one year of internship and three years of tenure in rural areas before they are eligible for most residency positions. The degree granted is Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S.).Further postgraduate qualifications may be obtained as a Degree (M.Med. Sc). See Medical Universities (Myanmar) for more details.


In Nepal, medical studies start at undergraduate level. The program is of five and half years duration. There are three main medical bodies in Nepal:

The first two years of studies are called "Basic Sciences" followed by two and half years of "clinical sciences" and one year of internship. After the successful completion of this course, a student is awarded Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S.) degree.

New Zealand

New Zealand medical programs are undergraduate-entry programs of six years duration. Students are considered for acceptance only after a year of undergraduate basic sciences or, in a small number cases, following the completion of a bachelor's degree. There are two main medical schools in New Zealand: the University of Auckland and the University of Otago. Each of these has subsidiary medical schools such as Otago's Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Auckland's Waikato Clinical School.

The first year of the medical degree is the basic sciences year which comprises study in chemistry, biology, physics, biochemistry as well as population health and behavioural sciences. The following two years are spent studying human organ systems and pathological processes in more detail as well as professional and communication development. Towards the end of the third year students begin direct contact with patients in hospital settings.

The clinical years begin fully at the beginning of year 4 where students rotate through various areas of general clinical medicine with rotation times varying from between two and six weeks. Year 5 continues this pattern focusing more on specialized areas of medicine and surgery. Final medical school exams (exit exams) are actually held at the end of year 5 which is different from most other countries where final exams are held near the very end of the medical degree. Final exams must be passed before the student is allowed to enter year 6.

The final year (Year 6) of medical school is known as the "Trainee Intern" year where a student is known as a "Trainee Intern" (commonly referred to in the hospitals as a "T.I."). Trainee interns repeat most rotations undertaken in years 4 and 5 but at a higher level of involvement and responsibility for patient care. Trainee interns receive a stipend grant from the New Zealand government. Currently this is $NZ 26,756/year (about $US 18,500). Trainee interns have responsibility under supervision for the care of about one third the patient workload of a junior doctor, however, all prescriptions and most other orders (e.g. radiology requests and charting of IV fluids) made by trainee interns must be countersigned by a registered doctor.

New Zealand medical schools currently award the degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB).


In Pakistan a medical school is usually called a medical college. A medical college is affiliated with a university as a department. There are however several medical universities and medical institutes with their own medical colleges. All medical colleges and universities are regulated by the respective provincial department of health. They however have to be recognized after meeting a strict criteria by a central regulatory authority called Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) in Islamabad. There are almost equal number of government and private medical colleges and universities, with their number exceeding 50. Entrance in to the medical colleges is purely on merit under the strict guidelines of PMDC. Both the academic performance at the college (highschool, grades 11-12) level and an entrance test are taken into consideration for the eligibility to enter a medical college. After successfully completing 5 years of academic and clinical training (clerkships) in the medical college and affiliated teaching hospital the graduates are awarded a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree. The graduates are then eligible to apply for a medical license from the PMDC.A house job of one year duration is mandatory in a teaching hospital after completing 5 years of academic and clinical training (clerkships) in the medical college.

People's Republic of China

Medical education is normally a five-year Bachelor degree, plus one year internship, and work experience before the final degree is awarded. Clinical specialization usually involves a two or three-year Master degree. Acceptance is based on the national entrance examination used for all universities. There are a few colleges that teach in English and accept foreign medical students.


The Dominicans, under the Spanish Government, established the oldest Medical School in the Philippines in 1871, known as the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas in Intramuros, Manila. This prestigious Medical School produces the largest number of medical graduates in the Philippines and is famous for its outstanding and world class medical graduates. Medical education in the Philippines became widespread under the American administration. The Americans, led by the insular government's Secretary of the Interior, Dean Worcester, built the University of the Philippines's College of Medicine and Surgery in 1905, with Johns Hopkins University as a blueprint. By 1909, nursing instruction was also begun at the Philippine Normal School. At present there are a number of medical schools in the Philippines, notable examples include the University of the Philippines, Manila, the University of Santo Tomas, De La Salle-Health Sciences Campus, Fatima University College of Medicine, Far Eastern University-Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation Institute of Medicine, and the University of the East.

Any college graduate may apply for medical school as long as he or she as accumulated a set number of units in biology, chemistry, physics, and math. There is also a test known as the National Medical Admissions Test or NMAT. Scores are given on a percentile basis and a high ranking is a must to enter the top medical schools in the country.

In most institutions, medical education lasts for four years. Basic subjects are taken up in the first and second years, while clinical sciences are studied in the second and third years. In their fourth year, students rotate in the various hospital departments, spending up to two months each in the fields of internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics, and several weeks in the other specialties. After this, students graduate with a Doctorate in Medicine and apply for internship in an accredited hospital of their choice. After internship, medical interns are eligible to take the medical licensure examinations. Passing the examinations confers the right to practice medicine as well as to apply in a residency training program.

Republic of China (Taiwan)

The medical education in the Republic of China (Taiwan) is usually 7 years in duration, starting right after high school. The reason for such a long period of study is because Taiwanese medical schools include undergraduate education. Currently, only Kaohsiung Medical University offers a 4-year medical program, similar to the US medical school system, for university degree holders.

Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia medical education is free for all Saudi citizens and a bachelor degree isn't important for registration. A medical student must pass an entrance examination and complete a 1-year pre-medical course containing some basic medical subjects including: Biology, Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Physics, Medical Biostatistics, and English for medical uses. Saudi Arabia has approximately 8 medical schools but King Saud University in Riyadh is the oldest one and the most experienced. It offers an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) degree after 1 pre-medical course, 5 medical years and 1 training year.

South Korea

Medical schools in South Korea are divided into two different types. One type of medical school such as Kyung Hee University teaches Korean traditional medicine, involving practices such as acupuncture and herbal medicine. Another type medical school such as Gachon Medical School teaches western medicine. Medical program used to be a direct entry program like the UK system and used to take 6 years to complete. However, a general trend towards the 4+4 years system found in the US is happening. This school year was the last year for many medical schools such as Yonsei University to offer the direct medicine program.; and as such, competition for admission was very fierce.

Sri Lanka

There are seven medical schools in Sri Lanka that teach allopathic or western medicine. The oldest medical school is the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo (Started as Ceylon Medical School in 1870) and is 137 years old. There are medical faculties in Jaffna, Sri Jayawardanepura, Galle, Peradeniya,Kelaniya and Rajarata as well. Kelaniya Medical Faculty initially started as a the North Colombo Medical College (NCMC), a private medical institution. It was one of the earliest private higher educational institusions (1980). Heavy resistance by the Maxist JVP political movement to private sector growth led to its nationalization and to its renaming as the Kelaniya Medical Faculty. The output of all medical schools is around 1200 and they receive the degree MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery.However, since the intake into these faculties are very limited, a large number of students graduate from foreign countries. As the country is a former colony of Britain, lot prefer England, Australia,New Zealand. Former Socialist countries are also attractive due to their low tuition fees as well as Bangladesh and Pakistan. The training period is around 5 years plus a residency period of 1 year for full registration. [Post Graduate institute of Medicine] (PGIM)is the only postgraduate degree awarding institution. Course period may vary according to the discipline. It is mandatory for graduates to undergo a training period of 1-2 years in a center of excellence outside Sri Lanka. The Institute of Ayurvedhic Medicine of the University of Colombo, the Gampaha Wickramarachchi Ayurvedhic Medicine Institute of the University of Kelaniya and the Faculty of Siddha Medicine, University of Jaffna teach Ayurvedha/ Unani / Siddha Medicine. Medicina Alternativa or the Open University of Complimentary Medicine teaches acupuncture and homeopathy.


Most of the Thai medical schools are government-funded and require Thai citizenship for eligibility. Only one private medical school exists at the moment. Some Thais choose to attend the private medical school or attend a medical school in a foreign country due to relatively few positions and high college entrance examination scores required for enrollment in public medical schools. Generally those who did not graduate from a public medical college are not well received.

The Thai medical education is six years consisting of 3 pre-clinical and 3 clinical years. Upon graduation all medical students must pass the national examination and a university-based comprehensive test. After medical school, Thai medical graduates are under contract to spend one year of internship and two years of tenure in rural areas before they are eligible for most residency positions. Other than general clinical practice and basic emergency procedures, all Thai doctors are required by the Thai Medical Council to be able to perform six surgical operations, namely: appendectomy, caesarian section, circumcision, herniorrhaphy, tubal-ligation and vasectomy.

The students will receive Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree.


Bosnia and Herzegovina

There are 5 Medical Schools (Medicinski Fakultet) in Bosnia and Herzegovina:

1. University of Banja Luka School of Medicine

2. University of Sarajevo Medical School

3. University of Tuzla Medical School

4. University of East Sarajevo Medical School (Foca)

5. University of Mostar Medical School

These medical schools are usually affiliated with regional hospitals.

The course of study lasts 6 years or 12 semesters. Students are conferred degree Doctor of Medicine (MD) upon graduation.

Entry to BH Medical Schools are very competitive due to limited places imposed by the government quota. Students are required to complete Secondary School Leaving Diploma (Gimnazija-Gymnasium or Medicinska skola matura/svedocanstvo/svjedodzba).

Entrance examination is usually held in June/July. Combined score of Secondary School Diploma assessment (on scale 1-5, with 2 minimum passing grade and 5 maximum grade) and entrance examination is taken into consideration. Usually, 5 in Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, and Physics are required for entry to medicine.

Course structure is more traditional and divided in pre-clinical (year 1-3)/clinical part (year 3-6)and subject-based.

Practical examinations are held throughout the degree (Anatomy,Biochemistry,Pathology,Physiology practicals etc.). Dissection is part of all medical curricula in Bosnian and Herz. Medical Schools.

Course content in BH Medical Schools:
1. Biophysics
2. Biology and Human Genetics
3. Medical Chemistry
4. Sociology
5. Statistics and Computer Science in Medicine
6. Ethics in Medicine
7. Social Medicine
8. English Language
9. Anatomy
10. Biochemistry
11. Histology and Embryology
12. Physiology
13. Microbiology and Immunology
14. Pathological Anatomy
15. Pathological Physiology
16. Basic of Oncology
17. Nuclear Medicine
18. Clinical Propaedeutic
19. Epidemiology
20. Radiology
21. Neurology
22. Psychiatry
23. Pharmacology and Toxicology
24. Infectious Diseases
25. Dermatovenereology
26. Internal Medicine
27. Gynaecology
28. Surgery
29. Medical Ecology
30. Pediatrics
31. Forensic Medicine
32. Otorhinolaryngology and Maxillofacial Surgery
33. Ophthalmology
34. Physical Medicine and General Rehabilitation
35. Primary Health Care and Occupational Medicine


In Bulgaria, a medical school is a type of college or a faculty of a university. The medium of instruction is Bulgarian, but the medical faculties in Sofia, Varna and Pleven also offer courses with English as the language of instruction. These cater to foreign students who come to study medicine here.

Students join medical school after completing high-school. Admission offers are made by individual medical schools. Bulgarian applicants have to pass entrance examinations in the subjects of Biology and Chemistry. The competitive result of every candidate is the based on their marks these exams plus their secondary-school certificate marks in the same subjects. Those applicants with the highest results achieved are classified for admission. International applicants for the English medium courses are selected on the basis of their high school results and proficiency in English.

The course of study is offered as a six year program. The first 2 years are pre-clinical, the next 3 years are clinical training and the 6th year is the internship year during which students work under supervision at the hospitals. During the 6th year students have to appear for 'state exams' in the 5 major subjects of Internal Medicine, Surgery, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Social Medicine and Pediatrics. On successful completion of the 6 yrs of study and the state exams the degree of 'Physician' is conferred.

For specialization, graduates have to appear for written tests and interviews to obtain a place in a specialization program. Specialization in General Medicine - GP lasts 3 years, Cardiology - 4 years, Internal medicine - 5 years, General surgery - 4 years.


In Croatia there are 4 out of 7 universities which offer a medical degree, the University of Zagreb (offers also medical studies in English), University of Rijeka, University of Split and the University of Osijek. A Medical school is a faculty of those four universities. Medical students enroll to Faculties of medicine after finishing secondary education, typically after the Gymnasium, but also after the four-year nursing school or other secondary schools with a duration of 4 years. During the application process, the grades of the last four years of secondary school, the scores at the final secondary school examination (Matura) and the score at the obligatory entrance examination are taken into account, and the best students are enrolled.

The course of study lasts 6 years or 12 semesters. During the first 3 years students are engaged in pre-clinical courses (Anatomy, histology, chemistry, physics, cell biology, genetics, physiology, biochemistry, immunology, pathological physiology and anatomy, pharmacology, microbiology, etc.). The contact with patients begins, however, already at the 3rd year. The remaining 3 years are comprised of rotations at different departments, such as internal medicine, neurology, radiology, dermatology, psychiatry, surgery, pediatrics, Gynecology and Obstetrics, Anesthesiology and others. During every academic years students also enroll in two or three elective courses. After each rotation the students take exams, a total of circa 60 exams. At the end the students must pass a final examination, which is a multiple-choice exam comprising questions about clinical courses, and finally they gain the title Doctor of medicine (dr. med.) which is written after one's name. Now doctors must complete a one-year, supervised, paid internship in a hospital of their choice, after which they take the state (license) examination, which is an eight-part oral examination containing eight most important clinical branches. Now doctors are eligible to practice medicine as general practitioners. Residencies are offered at various different hospitals throughout Croatia, and at numerous medical specialities. They are, however, very competitive at this time.


In Finland, basic medical education is given in five universities: Helsinki, Kuopio, Oulu, Tampere and Turku. Admission is regulated by an entrance examination. Studies involve an initial two-year preclinical period of mainly theoretical courses in anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology etc. However, students have contact with patients from the beginning of their studies. The preclinical period is followed by a four-year clinical period, when students participate in the work of various hospitals and health care centres, learning necessary medical skills. Some Finnish universities have integrated clinical and preclinical subjects along the six-year course, diverging from the traditional program. A problem-based learning method is widely used, and inclusion of clinical cases in various courses and preclinical subjects is becoming common. All medical schools have research programs for students who wish to undertake scientific work. The duration of basic medical education is six years and the course leads to the degree of Licentiate of Medicine.


In Germany, admission to medical schools is currently administered by the Zentralstelle für die Vergabe von Studienplätzen (ZVS), a centralized federal organization. The most important criteria for admission is the so called Numerus clausus, a person's final GPA on the Abitur (highest secondary school diploma). After 2 years of preclinical classes and 4 years of clinical classes, the students graduate as general practitioners. The final graduating exam is called Medizinisches Staatsexamen (federal medical exam). A person who passes the Staatsexamen is awarded an "Approbation als Arzt" (a license to practice Medicine), but does not receive an academic degree, in the sense of an academic title. However, graduates are authorized to use the German professional title Arzt (Physician), and are informally addressed with the honorific "Dr." ("Doktor"). As in other countries it is optional to write a dissertation to obtain a Dr. med. (which is an academic degree in contrast to the Staatsexamen licensing degree).


In Iceland, admission to medical school requires passing an organized test, controlled by the University of Iceland, which anyone who has a gymnasium degree can take. Only the top 48 scores on the exam are granted admission each year. Medical school in Iceland takes 6 years to complete. Graduates must also complete 1 year of residency. Students receive an MD degree upon graduation.


There are six medical schools in the Republic of Ireland. They are at Trinity College Dublin, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, University College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Galway and University of Limerick (the National University of Ireland is the degree-awarding institution for all except Trinity College). Training lasts four, five or six years, with the last two years in the affiliated teaching hospitals (UCD - St. Vincents University Hospital, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Holles St., The Coombe, Crumlin Children's Hospital) (Trinity - St. James's Hospital, Adelaide and Meath Hospitals incorporating the National Children's Hospital) (RCSI - Beaumont Hospital). Programs that are six years in length generally require high school qualifications. Programs that are four or five years in length generally require previous university degrees. The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland is the first medical institution to offer Graduate Entry Medicine of four years in duration in the Republic of Ireland.

Medical education is regulated by the Irish Medical Council, the statutory body which is also responsible for maintaining a register of medical practitioners. After graduation with the degrees of MB BCh BAO (Medicinae Baccalaureus, Baccalaureus in Chirurgia, Baccalaureus in Arte Obstetricia), a doctor is required to spend one year as an "intern" under supervision before full registration is permitted. Graduates of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland also receive the traditional "Licenciate of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons and Physicians in Ireland" (LRCP&SI), which was awarded before the RCSI became an Affiliate of the National University of Ireland and thus was allowed grant degrees, under the Medical Practitioners Act (1978).

Netherlands & Belgium

In the Netherlands and Belgium, medical students receive respectively 6 and 7 years of university education prior to their graduation.

In the Netherlands, students used to receive four years of the preclinical training, followed by two years of clinical training in hospitals. However, for a number of medical schools this has recently changed to three years preclinical training, followed by three years of clinical training. After 6 years students graduate as basisarts (comparable with Doctor of Medicine), which in accordance with the Bologna process is comparable with a master's degree qualification. All medical students are permitted entry from the highest level of secondary school: VWO, the entrant is not required to have a previous bachelor's degrees qualification.

The Belgian medical education is much more based on theoretical knowledge, whereas in the Netherlands medical education is focused more on skill than theoretical knowledge. In Belgium the first three years of education lead up to a bachelor's degree, followed by a four-year master's program.


Medical education in Norway begins with a six to six and a half year undergraduate university program. Admission requires a relatively high GPA from secondary school, with the medical program at the University of Oslo requiring the highest, although the GPA may be raised with post-secondary education and relevant work experience. It is therefore not uncommon for future medical students to get a university degree before enrollment in the medical program. Upon completion, students are awarded a candidatus/candidata medicinae (cand. med.) degree. Following this, the Norwegian Registration Authority for Health Personnel (Statens autorisasjonskontor for helsepersonell) requires a minimum of 18 months of internship (turnustjeneste) before granting a medical license. Once the doctor has got a license to practice, he or she is able to apply for a post to start specialist training. There are currently 43 recognized medical specialties in Norway.


In Romania, medical school is a department of a medical university, which typically includes Dentistry and Pharmacy departments as well. The name facultate is used for departments in their universities too, but the Medicine departments distinguish themselves by the length of studies (6 years), which grants to graduates a status equivalent to that of a Master in Science. The Medicine departments are also marked by reduced flexibility - in theory, a student in a regular university can take courses from different departments, like Chemistry and Geography (although it usually doesn't happen, majors being clearly defined), while the medical universities do not have any extra offers for their students, due to their specialization. Admission to medical faculty is usually awarded by passing a Human Biology, Organic Chemistry and/or Physics test. The program lasts 6 years, with first 2 years being preclinical and last 4 years being mostly clinical. After these six years, one has to take the national licence exam (which consists of mostly clinically-oriented questions, but some questions also deal with basic sciences) and has to write a thesis in any field he/she studied. Final award is Doctor-Medic (titlu onorific) (shortened Dr.), which is not an academic degree (similar to Germany). All graduates have to go through residency and specialization exams after that in order to practice, although older graduates had different requirements and training (e.g., clinical rotations similar to sub-internship) and might still be able to practice Family Medicine / General Medicine.


Medical education in Sweden begins with a five and a half year undergraduate university program. Upon completion, students are awarded a University Medical Degree (Läkarexamen). Following this the National board of health and welfare (Socialstyrelsen) requires a minimum of 18 months of clinical internship (Allmäntjänstgöring) before granting a medical license. This internship consists of surgery (3–6 months), internal medicine (3–6 months), psychiatry (three months) and family medicine (six months). Once the doctor has got a license to practice, the doctor is able to apply for a post to start his/her specialist training. There are currently 52 recognized medical specialties in Sweden. The specialist training has a duration of minimum five years, after which the doctor is granted formal qualification as a specialist.


In Turkey medical education is quite like the one in Thailand. All the high school graduates who wish to pursue further education are required to take an MCQ exam abbreviated by OSS. The exam covers most of the high school and secondary school curricula. Currently there are disputes about the exam's objectivity. A student who scores high enough gets a place in a faculty of his/her desire.

Medical education takes 6 years, first three years being Pre-clinical years and the latter three being Clinical years. Right after graduation, graduates can either work as GPs or take another exam called TUS (Medical Specialization Examination) to do residency in a particular department of a particular hospital.

Most of the medical schools in Turkey are state schools but the number of private schools are getting higher. Language of instruction is Turkish but few universities also offer schools with English being language of instruction. This makes Turkey a popular place to study medicine for students from near areas like The Balkans, The Middle East and to a lesser extent North Africa.


Currently medical degrees in Ukraine are offered only in institutions called meical universities, which are separate from traditional universities. These include Danylo Halytsky Lviv National Medical University, Donetsk State Medical University, Bogomolets National Medical University Of Ukraine, Crimea State Medical University, Luhansk State Medical University, Odessa State Medical University and National Pirogov Memorial Medical University.

United Kingdom

There are currently 32 institutions which offer medical degrees in the United Kingdom. Completion of a medical degree in the UK results in the award of the degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. Admission to the schools varies, most schools require solid A-Levels/Highers, the UKCAT and even an interview on top of it all. Other schools require the BMAT or GAMSAT before you can be offered a place.

Methods of education are diverse, with some courses offering problem-based learning, some having a more traditional pre-clinical/clinical structure, and others combining several approaches in an integrated approach.

Following qualification, UK doctors enter a generalised two-year, competency-based "foundation programme", gaining full GMC (General Medical Council) registration at the end of foundation year one, and applying for specialist training (in medicine, surgery, general practice etc.) after foundation year two.

Many medical schools offer intercalated degree programmes to allow students to focus on an area of research outside their medical degree for a year.

Some medical schools offer graduate entry programmes, which are typically accelerated (i.e. shorter courses). These may restrict entry to those who hold degrees in, or have previously worked in, other areas of healthcare, or may require a degree (not specifically in a science subject).

Recently, medical schools in the UK have begun testing applicants in order to improve the selection process.

Medical students

A person accepted into a medical school and enrolled in an educational program in medicine, with the goal of becoming a medical doctor, is referred to as a medical student or student doctor. Medical students are generally considered to be at the earliest stage of the medical career pathway. In some locations they are required to be registered with a government body.

Medical students typically engage in both basic science and practical clinical coursework during their tenure in medical school. Course structure and length vary greatly among countries (see above).

See also

External links

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