Becoming a medical practitioner is maybe the most popular career goal that many have, way before even reaching high school. Future doctors nurture their passion for helping others and start studying Medicine before applying for a medical school.
Medicine is also a versatile field that can be studied anywhere in the world, so you have a variety of choices at your disposal. This is why it may sound easy to choose a medical school abroad. However, since it’s a decision that might change your life, it needs to be well planned in advance.
If you narrow your research for medical schools to Europe, you have plenty of options which include different teaching styles, cultures and, sometimes, entry requirements. Now you just have to look closer to your option and find the right destination country.
In order to make this process easier for you, we’ve compiled rankings of medical schools in Europe, developed by the leading websites in the field of excellence in higher education (Times Higher Education and QS Ranking).
Why study Medicine in Europe vs. the USA?
We all know that there are differences in teaching between Europe and other areas on the globe. Here are some distinctions between Medicine studies in continental Europe and the USA:
- The study usually lasts a total of six years, while in the USA the academic period lasts for four years.
- Including the training, the total period before you may begin your career in Europe lasts for 6.5 – 7 years, while in the USA you are considered trained after 10 years.
- Tuition fees are usually lower in Europe for graduate studies in Medicine. These are around 60,000 – 150,000 USD. In the USA you will pay 140,000 – 240,000 USD.
- Entry requirements in Europe usually don’t involve exams such as the MCAT, which usually requires 1 – 2 years of preparation.
The best medical schools in continental Europe according to Times Higher Education 2019
1. ETH Zurich (ranked 11th worldwide)
ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology was founded over 150 years ago, and has established itself as one of the most important institutions in STEM research. As one of the most important and highly-ranked universities in the world, not just in Europe, a degree at ETH is definitively something that will make your CV stand out.
2. LMU Munich, Germany (ranked 32nd worldwide)
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich has a centuries-old tradition and is one of the most internationally renowned universities in Germany. Research Services support researchers during all phases of research from consultation on third-party funding to the administrative, and legal aspects of projects.
3. Karolinska Institute (ranked 40th worldwide)
Located in Solna, right next to Sweden's capital, Stockholm, Karolinska Institute is one of the most prestigious Medical institutions in the world. With an affiliated teaching and research hospital, Karolinska is a place where a lot of focus isn't just on the theoretical side, but on innovation and on practice, as well.
4. Technical University of Munich, Germany (ranked 44th worldwide)
Technical University of Munich is one of the youngest medical schools in Germany, and has active collaborations with over 20 teaching hospitals and clinics. Within the university, the medical faculty has extensive modern facilities, including 24 clinics and 18 institutes that enables students to focus on research and gain valuable practical experience.
5. Heidelberg University (ranked 47th worldwide)
Heidelberg University has a rich history within Germany and Europe. As the oldest university in the country, and the third ever university established by the Roman Empire, the university is home to a lot of international students, coming from over 130 countries.
6. KU Leuven – University of Leuven, Belgium (ranked 48th worldwide)
The Faculty of Medicine is involved in international projects and networks and is part of the Biomedical Sciences Group. Also collaborating with a hospital, the school usually has a consistent group of international students. Research is also a main focus of the specialists from KU Leuven and there are plenty of studies on science, technology and health.
7. University of Amsterdam, Netherlands (ranked 62nd worldwide)
The University of Amsterdam has two educational institutes, which study medicine and medical informatics and a research institute that develops projects in cardiovascular disorders, epidemiology and public health, infectious diseases and immunology, metabolic disorders, oncology and many others.
8. Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany (rank 67th worldwide)
Humboldt University of Berlin has an integrated university hospital, Charité which is both a training and a research centre. At Humboldt University, students have the opportunity to engage in student councils and come up with ideas and theories related to teaching, learning and research in the medical field.
Having a wide international outlook, students and staff come from over 80 countries and patients worldwide choose to be treated at Charité as well.
9. Leiden University, Netherlands (ranked 68th worldwide)
You can focus on medicine or medical sciences and pursue your study in Leiden University’s medical centre. Although there is a limited number of students available each year, the university has a strong local reputation.
10. Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands (ranked 70th worldwide)
Erasmus University is internationally recognized for its research in health. Its medical centre is the largest of its kind in Europe and it focuses on clinical, health and biomedical sciences, particularly genomics and bioinformatics.
QS Ranking includes some other top medical universities in Europe in 2018-2019
1. The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
The entrepreneurial and cross-disciplinary culture of the University of Edinburgh attracts students from some 150 countries. A stimulating learning and teaching environment and access to excellent facilities are other pluses. Medical degrees here are focused on practical medicine and clinical research.
2. University of Copenhagen, Denmark
At University of Copenhagen, Bachelor and Master medical degrees are mostly research-based and courses take place in real clinical conditions. The university has outstanding facilities, featuring the largest animal research laboratory in Northern Europe.
University of Copenhagen continuously enlarges its collaborations and covers international partners, giving students the possibility to experience clinical work and research in different locations.
3. University of Barcelona, Spain
Bachelor’s and Master’s degree courses at University of Barcelona focus on keeping a perfect balance between knowledge and research. The medical department at University of Barcelona includes a research and innovation institute that promotes the activity of medical students, in collaboration with the university hospital.
4. University of Helsinki, Finland
With an international scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers, the University of Helsinki seeks solutions for global challenges and creates new ways of thinking for the best humanity can achieve. The University of Helsinki offers a wide range of Masters, taught entirely in English, including in health-related subjects.
By studying Medicine at European universities abroad, you will gain access to elite global research and higher education institutions preparing future doctors. With their cutting-edge research programmes, innovative curricula and teaching styles, medical schools in Europe are ideal destinations for students keen on becoming responsible and capable M.D.s or healthcare professionals.