Is it difficult to gain admission to a European medical schools

Is it difficult to gain admission to a European medical schools

Without a doubt, medicine is indeed a noble field where doctors, nurses, researchers and other healthcare professionals (on the front and on the back) do a lot in saving the lives of people. However, there is one thing that needs to be understood about medicine:

It is not a walk in the park!

Regardless of whether physicians graduated from Sackler Faculty of Medicine – Tel Aviv University, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Faculty of Medicine – Free University of Amsterdam, Medical School of the University of Buenos Aires, Medical School of the University of Toronto or a top-notch Caribbean university medical school; they all studied quite hard and had to study loads of material before making it through.

Admissions are even harder especially in Europe. The number of seats are limited and it takes a lot for students to graduate as physicians. They follow the Numerus Clausus Rule in medical school admissions. Let’s read a bit about it.


Medical schools in Germany follow the Numerus Clausus (NC) rule diligently (just like Italy). In fact, it and Italy were the first in Europe to adopt the rule in medicine.

The number of places differs from one semester/ year to another. The same goes for states to one state to another (i.e. number of seats in Bavaria would differ from those in North-Rhine – Westphalia). For Pre medical courses for students hoping to gain admission to medical schools in Germany, they must have a certain grade/set of grades in high school studies as this determines a student’s ability in medicine and healthcare.

The degree of medicine in Germany takes around 6 years and 3 months to complete. The program is different as it is not segregated into bachelor’s and master’s degrees. It is one of the most highly revered programs in the world.

The following stages are of the medical program in Germany:

  • Studies of stage 1 consist of 4 semesters (the first three sections are of the state exam).
  • Studies of stage 2 comprise of 6 semesters.
  • Completing a practical year (PJ) at a healthcare setup.
  • The second and final state examination takes place. When students clear this, they are officially on the path to practice medicine in Germany.

Upon completion of studies, graduates are required to take the state examination upon completing the final semester, thesis, and practical year. This examination is a licensing exam, the pathway to practicing medicine. All exams and studies will be in German, hence students should know German.


Medical schools in Italy are a proponent of the Numerus Clausus (NC). They also use it for professional medical training as well. The rule itself limits the number of available seats in medical schools and also determines the number of places held in related medical programs (like nursing, radiology, surgery, dentistry and the like).

International students (i.e. students from outside Italy) are required to give and clear the International Medical Admissions Test (IMAT). In case the IMAT does not apply, they should be able to give and clear exams equivalent to it or related to it. Such exams often test the applicant’s skills in logic, chemistry, biology, pre-medicine and related subjects for medicine.

The degree of medicine in Italy is 6 years long. When students graduate, they must complete a 6-month clinical placement. Medical graduates also should clear a national exam so they can become registered physicians. Once registered, they can then start training.

Clearing the national medical exam and registration helps graduates start training in their respective specializations. Depending on their area of specialization, it can take them between 3 and 6 years to get the license to practice medicine.

The Netherlands

The Dutch have quite some strict requirements in medical school admissions. Applicants must prove that they have studied biology, chemistry, physics, and math. They are also required to take a test which examines their skills in these subjects.

Dutch Medical Schools follow the rule of Numerus Clausus quite seriously. They also follow Numerus Fixes (meaning decentralized selection programs having limited seats). Under these rules, applicants can apply for only two medical schools in the Kingdom.

These are the stages of medical education in The Netherlands:

  • Completing a bachelor’s degree in medicine for 3 years. This comprises of assignments, lectures, and exams.
  • Finishing a master’s degree in Medicine. This can take approximately 3 more years. Here, students participate in different internships during these studies. They also need to write a thesis.
  • To start working as a physician, graduates must register themselves with the Royal Dutch Medical Association. Then they must go under related training.

Though 90% of the Dutch People understand English quite well, all examinations, lectures, studies, and communication, as well as training, will be in the Dutch language.


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