The study of medicine in Europe is quite a bit different than in the United States. In Europe, it is customary that students apply for the study of medicine directly after high-school. This eliminates the middle stage of acquiring a bachelor's degree altogether. The study of medicine generally spreads over 5 to 6 years (10 to 12 semesters) where pre-medical school is included and usually takes up the first two years of the curriculum.
Most universities in Germany, France or the United Kingdom have a Faculty of Medicine and are, therefore, always dependent schools belonging to a bigger institution. In Europe, universities are rarely ranked, with an exception of the UK, and thus, the choice of the university depends more on the size and the city rather than its academic performance.
The UK, Germany, France, and Italy all have central application systems through which medical students apply to the medical schools of their choice. These are similar to the AMCAS system in the USA explained above. These application systems will be further explained below in the individual country sections.
Lastly, another good reference about the general study of medicine in Europe is the website of the Association of Medical Schools in Europe: http://www.amee.org.
Picking a Medical School in Europe
This process is identical to looking for an institution in the United States or any other country world-wide. It is important that you feel comfortable at your school, so the location, country, city, climate, language, currency, etc... play important roles. Furthermore, you should read through the medical school's curriculum and see if it takes the approach to medicine that you prefer. Generally, Europe is known for a more theoretical approach, while America seems to give more hands-on experience to its medical students. As mentioned before, schools in Europe are not often ranked, so the place you pick to study medicine can give you the best medical education, if that is what you make of it.
The best way to learn more about a university is to find them on the internet, ask for them to send you a prospectus, get in contact with them via email and discuss the university with parents, friends, family and professors.
Important Information Regarding the UK and Germany
As it has been explained above in the country sections for the United Kingdom and Germany, the customary way to medical school is directly after high-school. It would be a shame if you spent three hard-working years at IUB only to begin your studies in medicine from the very beginning, where you might have to re-sit the standard chemistry, biology, and physics classes. This can mean as much as 6 to 7 more years of study after IUB! If this does not sound appealing to you, then you will be glad to hear that there are ways to avoid entering medical school as a first year undergraduate student.
In the United Kingdom, it is rarely possible to transfer into medical school via a degree in a biological or life science. There are only a few universities that, if they have an excess number of places, will allow students to switch from their current degree to medicine. But since the demand for places in medicine is always high and the quota for foreign students for whom this transfer might be possible is limited to 6 places for the entire country, this option is not a very good one to take.
However, in March 2000, the University of Warwick and the University of Leicester have joined together in founding a program, which offers the study of medicine to postgraduates with a biological degree. This means that with a completed degree you are able to begin on a four-year study of medicine. This opportunity is open to UK, EU, and international students.
The website of the Leicester Warwick Medical School (LWMS) can be viewed using the following link. Here, you will see that a student coming from IUB with a biological degree qualifies for the four-year A101 course in medicine, which is held at Warwick. The prerequisites for this course are:
• Cell Biology
• Molecular Biology
The application form for this course of study will be sent to LWMS through the UCAS system explained previously one year before desired entry. However, you will also need to fill out a Supplementary Application Form, which will be sent to the Warwick admissions office directly. Again, details about this extra form can be found on their website. Generally, there will also be an interview.
The tuition fees for the LWMS are based on citizenship. UK and EU students may apply for public funding from several UK Research councils and international students have the possibility of attaining scholarships issued by the UK government.
Like IUB, LWMS opened its doors in August of 2001. So far, it is the only postgraduate institution in the United Kingdom to offer medicine as a single subject. In the coming years, King's College (part of the University of London) and Keele University plan on doing the same.
In Germany it is possible,but not easy, to obtain transfer credits when beginning the study of medicine after the completion of a biological degree.
If you are serious about studying medicine in Germany, you will need to talk to the Landesprüfungsamt in the state (if you are German) where you were born. You will need to provide them with your allgemeine Hochschulreife. Next, you will have to send in all the information necessary for them to decide in how far your courses at IUB are equivalent to the courses at German universities. They may or may not give you transfer courses for some of the courses you sat at IUB the past three years.
If you are not German, then there is a possibility to work with the ZVS in achieving some transfer credits. On their website, there is information about foreign students coming to Germany to study. However, the chance of obtaining credits or getting accepted to a German university is largely dependent of your nationality, where you graduated from high-school, what other degrees you have completed, and what subject you plan on pursuing.
If you are not up for dealing with this tedious process, but speak German well and want to study medicine in Germany, then you may want to take a closer look at the Universität Witten Herdecke. This is the only private university in Germany that offers the study of medicine.
The Universität Witten Herdecke was founded in 1983. The Faculty of Medicine offers medicine, music therapy, pharmacy and nursing as its primary subjects. Next to medicine, the university also offers a graduate program in Biochemistry. The student body has circa 1070 members with 90 of them being international students. If you are interested in more facts and figures, visit Witten Herdecke's website at:
Although the website can also be viewed in English, the language of instruction is German.
Furthermore, the university is private and so it does not run its admissions process in accordance with the ZVS. If you are interested in applying, then you will need to download the application forms from their website and send them in with all necessary requirements one year prior to planned entry. Witten Herdecke is always looking for international students and so even if you don't have the German Abitur, you should not be hindered from applying. What you will need, however, is proof that you speak the German language. Other requirements include:
• A handwritten and printed version of your resume (civil record)
• At least two months of practical experience during time of application
• Proof of completion of prior degrees (this is your Bachelor from IUB)
• Application form (found on website)
Last but not least, the entire application process will also cost you 125 Euro.
Witten Herdecke's Homepage: http://www.uni-wh.de/
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