Requirements of different medical schools in Europe and the United States

Students should know that starting medical school is no easy task. In fact, they must be congratulated if they make it. However, not every medical school is the same. They all have different degrees to offer, different curricula to teach and different requirements.

That’s right, Medical School Admission Requirements are not always the same across different countries and continents. Let us have a look at the requirements of medical schools in different countries of Europe and the United States.


Each academic institution in France has a different admission criterion. Medical studies are divided into 3 cycles. The first cycle (PCEM) lasts for around 2 years. At the end of the first year of these studies, a difficult examination takes place which determines which students can go into the second year. Often around 15-20% of medical students clear this exam.

The second cycle (DCEM) lasts around 4 years. Here, students learn theoretical classes, take exams, and take part in training periods conducted in healthcare institutions. In the final year, Medical students take a national examination. The grade earned in this examination determines their field of specialization.

The third cycle is divided into General and Specialized medicine. The internships for general medicine last up to 3 years typically. Whereas internships for specialized medicine take around 4 to 5 years for completion. When the third cycle nears its end, students receive a specialized studies diploma, known in French as Diplome d’Etudes Specialisees (DES).

The last thing students need to do is writing a thesis and defending it before a panel. Successful defence of thesis leads graduates to receive their diplomas in medicine. In order to practice medicine, they must register with the Conseil National de l’Ordre des Medecins.


Medical education in Germany is bounded by Numerus Clausus (NC) meaning limited seats and it determines the number of places available in medicine program. The number of places also varies from one semester or year to another. It also requires students to have a certain grade to be admitted to the program.

The degree of medicine in Germany can take at least 6 years and 3 months to complete. They are not divided into bachelor’s or master’s degree programs. For students to graduate, they must take the state examination.

The pathway to becoming a physician in Germany is divided in the following stages:

·         Stage 1 studies: This comprises of 4 semesters followed by the first three sections of the state examination.

·         Stage 2 studies: This comprises of 6 semesters.

·         Completing a practical year (PJ) at either a hospital or a clinic.

·         The second and final state examination takes place. Clearing this will give the student a license to practice medicine in Germany.

It is important to understand that students must develop a good fluency in German. Most lectures and exams will be in that language.

United Kingdom

The following are common requirements for admission to the medicine (MBBS) programs in universities in the United Kingdom:

·         High school studies having at least two science subjects out of biology, chemistry, maths and physics on a mandatory basis

·         Proof of English language proficiency through IELTS (an average score of either 6.0 or 6.5).

·         UCAT test score. Each university uses it in a different way as they often set their own minimum Unified college admissions test (UCAT) score. Others use a points system for evaluating student applications and offer students more points if they have a higher UCAT result.

·         An International Baccalaureate with at least 36 points overall having three higher level subjects (chemistry and biology included) and three standard level subjects. Each must be passed with a minimum of six points. But not all universities in the UK need an IB.

·         Evidence of volunteering work experience relevant to medicine and healthcare.

·         Reference letters from teachers or academic supervisors or both.

·         Clearing University interviews.

United States of America

In the United States, medical degrees are regarded as second entry degrees. It denotes that direct enrollment into the Doctor of Medicine (M.D) program isn’t possible. Students first need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in a related science field (like biology, chemistry, microbiology, public health) before applying to medical school.

After obtaining such a degree, students can then apply to medical school and enrol in the Doctor of Medicine (M.D) program. The general requirements for medical school are as under:

·         High school diploma.

·         A bachelor’s degree in a relevant science field (4 years).

·         A minimum CGPA of 3.0.

·         Good scores in TOEFL.

·         Strong letter of recommendation.

·         Participation in extracurricular activates.

·         A minimum acceptable result in the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and it is set individually by each medical school.

Some other American medical schools have additional requirements which are as under:

·         College biology with laboratory sessions for a year.

·         General college chemistry with laboratory for a year.

·         Biology and chemistry with a minimum of 24 semester hours in areas of humanities.

·         Mathematics (Calculus, Statistics, or both for a year equivalent to 6-8 semester hours).