The moment you decide you want to pursue a career in medicine, you know you are expected to go through a lot of hard work, and inevitably many hours of study. However, all your effort will be worth it in the end. After all, being a doctor is one of the noblest and most rewarding professions in the world.
You have to choose your medical school wisely and in order to make your mission a little easier, below you will find the most common entry requirements to medical universities from all over the world.
Entry requirements for medicine studies in Europe vs. the U.S.
Wherever you decide to study medicine in Europe, it will be almost the same and the good thing is that diplomas from all accredited medical universities in EU and EEA countries are recognised in all countries.
Statistically, though, it seems that while it is easier to get into a medical school in Europe, it is harder to find a place where you can practice medicine, and work as a doctor. Compared to Europe, in the U.S., getting into a medical school can be really difficult, but once you successfully complete your studies, you have a great chance that you will easily find work in a hospital or other health care facility.
Below you will find general application requirements for universities, colleges and medical schools worldwide (Europe and the USA), with specific details for the academic level youre looking for.
Medical studies in Europe
1. European Bachelors degree requirements
- High school diploma (certificate) giving access to university
- Good marks in biology and chemistry and math
- Letters of recommendation
- Letter of motivation
- Voluntary or work experience related to health care
- Candidates taking the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) must offer three subjects including Chemistry and Biology at Higher Level, plus three subjects at Standard Level.
Holders of European Baccalaureate must have 87.5% for the diploma overall (including chemistry and biology)
Some countries may also require IELTS (usually a minimum score of 6.0)
2. European Masters(Postgraduate)degree requirements
- Bachelor degree (medicine or any degree related to health care)
- Pass an admission test
As an international student, if you want to apply for a Master degree at some universities in Germany, for example, entry requirements would only include a Bachelor of science degree with a GPA of 80.
Medical studies in the UK
3. Entry requirements for undergraduate degree in the UK
- Previous (high-school) studies of at least two science subjects (most times chemistry and/or biology as mandatory science subjects)
- Proof of English language proficiency: IELTS average score 6.0 or 6.5
- Minimum score of 500 in each of the four sections of the UKCAT (UK Clinical Aptitude Test)
UKCAT is an online test required by medicine schools in the UK, designed to test cognitive abilities, attitudes, critical thinking, and logical reasoning.
- International Baccalaureate, with at least 36 points overall, including three higher level subjects (including Chemistry and Biology), and three standard level subjects. Each subject must be passed with a minimum of six points. International baccalaureate is not required by all universities from the UK.
Additionally, you may also be required a reference letter from teachers/academic supervisors or people youve worked with or collaborated in a volunteering project.
4. Entry requirements for graduate degree in the UK
Bachelor degree in a field that is related to medicine or healthcare (it can be chemistry, physics, biology, or more specific specialisations like radiology, surgery, clinical research etc.)
Proof of English language proficiency: IELTS average score 6.0 or 6.5
- In some cases, you may also be required to have work experience in a hospital or other health facility
Medical studies in the U.S.
In the U.S., medical degrees are considered second entry degrees, meaning you cannot enrol directly to a Bachelor degree in medicine. You need a Bachelor (undergraduate) degree in order to apply to medical school. Then, you can enrol in a complete and progressive medicine study degree that usually lasts four years.
American degree requirements for medical school
- High School Diploma
- Undergraduate Degree in the field of Sciences (3 4 years)
- Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00
Admissions committee may also consider other factors when deciding whether or not to admit a student to a medical programme:
- Letters of recommendation
- Extracurricular activities
- Personal qualities
- Commitment to medicine
- Meeting MCAT exam requirements
What is the MCAT?
The MCAT is an exam conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and is required for all candidates who want to apply to any of the U.S. medical schools.
The MCAT exam last approximately seven hours and a half and it is comprised of four main parts: biology, chemistry, psychology and critical analysis and reasoning skills.
You may have to meet additional requirements, such as:
- Academic work from an accredited institution
- Completion of premedical courses, such as:
- College biology with laboratory, one year,
- General college chemistry with laboratory, one year
- Biology, chemistry minimum of 24 semester hours in areas of humanities
- Mathematics (Calculus and/or statistics, one year (6-8 semester hours).
- General college physics with laboratory, one year (8 semester hours).
Keep in mind that entry requirements listed above may not be the only ones that you will need in order to be eligible for a medicine school or university. Each higher education institution may have specific entry requirements that you will have to meet. The best thing you can do is to check and contact the university or medical school directly to see the exact list of requirements.
The path to becoming a doctor
In most universities worldwide, after four years of study, you will be granted with the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) title and will have to apply for a residency programme in your chosen field of specialisation.
Certain residency programmes are more competitive and its harder to get a place, depending on the specialisation or sometimes even the prestige of the residency. The duration of a specialisation programme can range from three years (e.g. internal medicine) to five years (for surgery) or even more for other sub-specialisations in surgery and other fields. You should take note that specialisations dont include research (PhD) years; these may last from one to four years.
Finally, you can practice medicine at the end of the residency programme. It may sound like a long way until you become an official doctor, but if you ask any medicine graduate, they will all say that the years of study are not that many. With each year, you learn more and more and it really is more like a discovery journey rather than a simple study duration.