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 to 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, even entry requirements. Now you just have to look closer at your options and find the right 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:
- World University Rankings from Times Higher Education
- QS Rankings by Subject: Medicine from TopUniversities
We've also included the average acceptance rates (where available) to give you an idea about the level of competition during the university application process.
Best medical schools in the UK in 2021
Medical schools in the UK are at the top of university rankings in Europe, so we've decided it's best to create a list of their own. Keep in mind that while they are considered the best, the study and living costs at these universities are likely higher than at other top universities in Europe.
Here are the best medical schools in the UK, according to QS Rankings 2021 by Subject Medicine:
- University of Oxford – 17.5% acceptance rate
- University of Cambridge – 21% acceptance rate
- University College London – 63% acceptance rate
- Imperial College London – 14.3% acceptance rate
- King’s College London – 13-15% acceptance rate
- The University of Edinburgh – 10% acceptance rate
- London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
- The University of Manchester – 56.1% acceptance rate
- University of Glasgow – 70% acceptance rate
- Queen Mary University of London – 43.6% acceptance rate
In addition to the UK medical schools mentioned above, Times Higher Education 2021 also features the following 3 universities in the top 10:
- University of Sheffield – 85% acceptance rate
- University of Liverpool – 72% acceptance rate
- University of Bristol – 67.3% acceptance rate
Best 10 medical schools in the rest of Europe - Times Higher Education Rankings 2021
1. Karolinska Institute, Sweden
- 3.9% acceptance rate
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.
2. Heidelberg University, Germany
- 73% acceptance rate
Heidelberg University has a rich history in 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.
3. ETH Zurich, Switzerland
- 27% acceptance rate
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.
4. Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
- 4% acceptance rate
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin stands out among other German universities thanks to its research efforts. Over 3,700 researchers are working on new medical innovations and devices. You can be one of them!
5. LMU Munich, Germany
- 10% acceptance rate
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.
6. KU Leuven – University of Leuven, Belgium
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.
6. Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands
- 39.1% acceptance rate
The Erasmus University Rotterdam is often present in the global university rankings created by Times Higher Education, TopUniversities, US News, and other organisations. This is excellent proof of the university's quality, assets, and its research efforts & facilities.
7. Sorbonne University, France
- 100% acceptance rate (accepts everyone who meets the minimum requirements)
Sorbonne University is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in France and in Europe. It is known for its multidisciplinary focus and promoting diversity, creativity and innovation. A lot of the world's high-level research in science and technology, medicine and human sciences takes place at this university.
8. University of Paris, France
University of Paris spans about twenty campuses and research sites and offers students innovative courses, with ambitious goals and a diverse study offer. The aim of the university is to challenge student development and enact societal change.
9. Maastricht University, Netherlands
Maastricht University teaches using the method of problem-based learning, gathering students from all over the world in interactive classes and building a scientifically-focused mindsets. The university conducts meaningful research on modern-day hot topics, including new methods to create plastic from organic materials, global warming, migration, and more.
10. University of Zurich, Switzerland
The University of Zurich is the largest university in Switzerland, preparing students for successful careers through implementing new techniques, models and methods based on real-life examples. The university keeps in touch with international education trends, making sure their classes are at the forefront of academic excellence.
Best medical schools in the rest of Europe - QS Subject Rankings 2021
- Karolinska Institute, Sweden
- Heidelberg University, Germany
- University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
- Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands
- University of Copenhagen, Denmark – 40-50% acceptance rate
- LMU Munich, Germany
- Sorbonne University, France
- KU Leuven, Belgium
- Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
- University of Zurich, Switzerland
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 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. You can even study for free at numerous universities in countries like Germany, Finland, Norway, and others. Just make sure tuition fees apply to you. In some countries, free courses are only available for EU/EEA students. Other international students have to pay fees, although these are still lower that those in the US.
- Entry requirements in Europe usually don’t involve exams such as the MCAT, which usually requires 1 – 2 years of preparation.
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.
Find the complete list of medical schools in Europe in World University Rankings 2021 and QS Top University Rankings by Subject 2020: Medicine.