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General Medicine

A Guide to Studying General Medicine in Europe

Did you know that, as an international student, you can get a degree in General Medicine at a top-ranked European university? Best of all, it's taught entirely in English and costs less than 1 year of tuition at a US college.

What are my options?

European Bachelor's programs taught entirely in English.
European Master's programs taught entirely in English.

About this area of study.

Becoming a general practitioner and being able to put the letters "M.D." behind your name is an arduous process in the United States. You will first have to complete a 4-year bachelor's degree, usually in a subject like biology or chemistry, then spend four years in medical school (assuming that you're accepted). Three to seven years of residency (supervised practice in a hospital) follow, for a total of 10 to 14 years before you can truly practice medicine.

It is, however, possible to shorten this process if you're brave enough: many European universities offer a combined bachelor's/master's degree in general medicine. These generally run for 6 years, and some of them are taught in English.

As long as the institution you study at is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools as meeting ECFMG (The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) eligibility requirements, the degree is technically worth the same as a Doctor of Medicine earned in the United States.

Afterward, you will generally need to do 3 or more years of residency in the United States. The bad news is that only about 40% of doctors who studied abroad and passed the USMLE exams manage to snag a U.S. residency slot.

Without a residency to your name, you will still be an M.D. (assuming that you passed the licensing exams) and could find work in a non-clinical role. You may be able to work in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries, for instance. However, without a residency or perhaps significant research credentials,  you will be at a disadvantage compared to doctors who studied in the U.S. or Canada.

Careers options in this area of study.

In short, studying medicine abroad is somewhat risky unless you can find someone who's willing to sponsor you for residency. On the other hand, studying general medicine in Europe is significantly cheaper (perhaps $15,000 per year vs about four times that or more in the United States). 

The knowledge and skills you will gain are roughly equivalent and you will certainly have a valuable qualification at the end for everything except actually seeing patients. You can, of course, practice abroad if you so choose. General medical practitioners in the United States earn $236,000 on average. In Europe, there are major differences between countries (as well as in terms of taxes and the cost of living) but doctors' salaries are usually in the $90k to $150k range.

So, if you truly feel that medicine is your calling but you don't want to pay back student loans until your teeth start falling out, getting a medical degree in Europe is an option worth considering. Many practicing doctors in the U.S. did indeed study abroad - just know that moving back home may not be totally straightforward.

Admissions information.

The college admissions process in the US has become a race to the bottom as students compete with their peers for a single spot in a liberal arts college, convinced by parents and guidance counselors that their survival rests on playing a musical instrument or varsity sport. Many smart kids don’t do well on standardized tests. This doesn’t limit them as much when looking outside of the US, as many colleges in Europe do not require standardized tests. Many countries see entry into universities as a right, rather than a privilege, so admission standards are not as stringent.

How to study in Europe.

When you also factor in the many problems with US higher education, it is imprudent not to consider other possibilities. It is true there are many excellent schools in the United States—I don’t think anyone would argue that. There are some that have managed to look at applicants as people, and not just a checklist of achievements. Some even have reasonable tuition rates, and/or professors that actively teach and have highly engaged students. Despite this, I have yet to find a school in the United States that addresses all of these issues: allows students to opt out of the rat race the admissions process has become, have reasonable tuition, AND have positive results around the educational experience and post-graduation outcomes. Not every school in Europe provides all this either, but the schools listed in our database do.

How to find English-taught degrees.

Finding these programs is burdensome, difficult, and confusing, especially with institutional websites in foreign languages... We know that making the decision to study abroad can be difficult, so we want to make it easy for you. We scoured the continent for vetted programs and made them available to thousands of families looking to leave the US and find a better life in Europe. We found over 11,200 degrees, 870 universities, 550 cities, and 32 European countries to choose from. Europe offers an impressive range of educational opportunities!

We have gathered all of the information you need to know about studying in Europe – from the different types of schools available to how to get housing and everything in between. Our database helps you find these programs quickly and easily, helping you contextualize the many benefits and options around higher education in Europe.

You will be able to find programs and courses that suit your interests and needs, taught in English by experienced professors in state-of-the-art facilities. Search our database of English-taught European bachelor's and master's programs and get started on your journey to Europe today.

Travel the world while you get your degree.

Travel opportunities abound when attending college in Europe. For example, Lille, a city in northern France with multiple universities, is close to major cities such as Brussels, London, and Paris via high-speed rail. Air travel, especially with the rise of affordable airlines like Ryanair, EasyJet, and Transavia, can be comparable in price to rail travel, so many more destinations open up for short-term travel.

Feeling overwhelmed?

You shouldn't be! We're here to help in any way we can... and if it means running extensive searches and using our best judgement to lead the way, we're all for that too.

We get that choosing a program feels like committing to a major early on, but in reality it is more of a general direction. A Best Fit List gives you a unique list of 3 to 5 programs tailored to your needs, helping you take the headache – and heartache – out of choosing a program.

Discover all the English-taught European college programs in one place.

Beyond the States provides easy access to 11,600+ European bachelor's and master's programs across 870 universities, 550 cities, and 212 areas of study, plus all the resources you need to get there. No sponsorships. No bias.
English-taught bachelor's programs in our database.
English-taught master's programs in our database.
Beautiful European cities to choose from.
Top-tier universities accepting international students.
Typical savings against a private university in the US.
Typical savings against in-state tuition in the US.
All inclusive of tuition, living, food, books, health insurance, travel expenses, as well as hidden fees. Compiled with data from students and the official websites from KU Leuven, UNC, and Duke.

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