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Medical schools all over the world are notoriously difficult to get into, especially so if you’re an international applicant. Only about 7 – 10% of each admitted class are international students. Entry standards include stellar grades in school, top scores on aptitude tests, diverse extracurricular experiences such as volunteering and job shadowing, and outstanding interview performance. The ages of 15 – 16 years is an ideal time to begin preparation for medical school. If you’re aiming for the best of the best, here are the world’s top 5 universities for medicine.
1. University of Oxford, UK
At this prestigious university, only about 150 students are admitted for their medical course each year. Its medical school was established in 1936, and is ranked number one by Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the last five years. The six year medical degree (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) follows a traditional curriculum that is split into pre-clinical years (years 1-3) and clinical years (years 4-6). In the first few years, students are taught theoretically about core sciences that are relevant to medicine. After successfully passing the preclinical years, students must then apply to complete their final 3 clinical years in either Oxford or London. Oxford has a collegiate system which means students belong to a smaller college community that offers a huge amount of individual pastoral and academic support for each student.
2. University of Cambridge, UK
Rivaling Oxford, Cambridge ranks second for its medical program. It is just as prestigious and one of the oldest institutions in the world. The undergraduate medicine course that takes 6 years to complete. It too follows a traditional curriculum split into preclinical and clinical years. There are six applicants per place, and about 260 are accepted. Like Oxford, Cambridge excels in the field of biomedical science research and places importance on ensuring that students develop a strong scientific basis of medicine. Cambridge also has a collegiate system with a wider range of colleges to choose from than Oxford.
3. Imperial College London, UK
Imperial is one of the most international institutions in the UK, but only a few overseas students are accepted on to the medical program each year. There are over 2400 applications to their medical course, of which 600 receive offers. The six-year undergraduate qualification in medicine also includes a Bachelor of Science, in addition to the MBBS. From the very first term, students have direct contact with patients, unlike at other more traditional universities in the UK.
4. University College London, UK
UCL Medical School, situated in the heart of London, was established in the year 1746. It has an annual intake of 330 students and is one of the oldest medical schools in the world. Similar to Imperial, it offers MBBS and BSc (Hons) degrees as a six-year integrated program. There is also early patient contact and opportunity to meet healthcare professionals. UCL Medical School is also home to a number of impressive alumni, including presidents of the Royal College of Physicians, presidents of the Royal College of Surgeons in England and chairs of the General Medical Council.
5. National University of Singapore, Singapore
Established in 1905, the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine is Asia’s best medical and research institution. They admit 300 students each year. The MBBS degree is split into 5 phases, each comprising a year. During phase 1 and 2, students are exposed to foundational pre-clinical courses, without the stress of grades. Starting from phase 3, students enter their clinical years.