Q: I would like to study medicine in Europe. Could you advise me whether this is a good option?

Studying medicine and becoming a doctor continues to be a cherished dream for many parents and students. The high cost of pursuing this degree and the limited seats allocated to international students, however, tends to be an effective deterrent for most families. Ironically, neither of these deterrents apply should you chose to study medicine in Europe.

Before embarking on this journey it is imperative the student does a psychometric test to match the skill sets with his interest. It is not uncommon for parents to live their dreams through their children, compelling them to pursue degrees which they may not be adept at or interested in. Medicine is an extremely demanding programme and only students willing to commit to this rigor should pursue this option. It is also among the most expensive tertiary level degrees to study.

Europe fortunately offers the perfect antidote and opportunity for youngsters who aspire to be doctors, dentists or pharmacists. A major deterrent for students has been the misplaced fear of studying the subject in the local language. Fortunately this is a misconception as the majority of top medical schools in Europe teach the programme in English. That said, it is always advisable to learn the local language as it will be a major asset during clinical studies and treating local patients.

Tuition fees

Unlike traditional education destinations, wherein the high tuition fees in conjunction with the limited number of seats allocated to international students makes medicine an extremely expensive and competitive degree, Europe is more affordable and less competitive. Medical universities have large quotas for international students and because the state contributes to the coffers, cost of education tend to be reasonable and within reach.

Tuition fees for the six-year programme could range from €5,000 (Dh21,722) for public universities to €20,000 per year for private universities. Compound this with the affordable cost of living, general acceptance of international students by the local populace, the amiable social and cultural environment and Europe suddenly looks very appealing.

Even while there could be common entrance exams in each country for various universities, the possibility of gaining admission without the need of an entrance exam also exists. European medical degrees are recognised worldwide and on graduating you shall be eligible to practice medicine in any country.

Education in the European Union is calibrated and governed through the Bologna Treaty, which ensures a level playing field and recognition of the curriculum and degree of each participating country by another. This recognition in conjunction with the mobility offered within the European Union means a degree from an EU country will be recognised by another allowing you to work and move seamlessly across borders.

Italy, Czechoslovakia, Hungry, Netherlands, Estonia, Georgia, Russia and Poland are the "go to" countries for studying medicine.

Sofia University, Charles, Plovdiv, Varna Medical, Debrecen, Humanitas, Groningen, Gdansk and Tbilisi State University are the more popular institutions chosen by students to pursue their studies.

Ease of visa, cost of education, cost of living, accessibility, post-study stay-back options, English as the medium of instruction – all contribute positively towards making a decision in favour of Europe.


In addition to Europe, pursuing your higher education in Russia is another option the cost-conscious student could explore. Medicine seems to be overwhelming favourite for the majority of international students and admissions are solely dependent on high school academic records obviating the need of entrance exams. While the medium of instruction is English, it is advisable to approach the programme with the intent to learn Russian as it would be required when practicing clinical medicine and treating patients.

Tuition fees are reasonable and range from $6,000 (Dh22,035) upwards per annum.

St. Petersburg State University, Tambov State and First Moscow State Universities are at the forefront of Universities offering medicine in English.

Sanjeev Verma is the managing director of Intelligent Partners, a leading education consultancy based in Dubai (sanjeev@intelligentpartners.com, www.intelligentpartners.com). Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.

Read more