German medical schools and universities have a high academic reputation, with several schools in the top 50 institutions included consistently in the QS World University Rankings for Medicine. As competitive as the schools are, the more competitive are their standards in accepting students, especially the foreign ones. In this article, we will be looking at the best medical schools in Germany.
Can international students enroll in medical schools in Germany?
The answer is yes but being accepted in a German medical school is hard. Most schools only allocate 5% of their student population to international students outside the European Union. If you are thinking that there is no harm in trying, then the following are the basic requirements that most medical schools require:
- Proficiency in the German and English Language: Teaching medical courses are mostly done in German, so excellent German skills are necessary, preferably at the C1-level. Although most classes are in German, being adept in English is needed for reading scientific papers.
- Secondary school-leaving certificate from a school with equal to German A-levels
- Excellent grades in Science-related subjects, especially in biology and chemistry.
- A high GPA, since most schools accept students belonging to the highest GPA percentile.
- Some schools also require that you take the TestAs examination before application.
Most German medical schools accept international students, including the top institutions like the University of Heidelberg, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich, and the University of Tubingen, among others.
What is the medical curriculum like in medical schools in Germany?
Medical programs in Germany are not part of the Bachelor’s or Master’s system. And unlike other medical curricula in other countries, you need to take a pre-medicine course before entering German Medical schools. German students can take a medical degree directly after high-school, but that is not the case for international students who need to take a preparatory year or Studienkolleg in German.
This year helps non-German students with their language skills and prepare them for medicine. At the end of the Studienkolleg, the students will have to take the Feststellungsprüfung, which will serve as a ticket to the German higher education system. The medicine program in Germany usually takes six years and three months to complete and consist of three stages. Here is an example of how the curriculum looks at the University of Heidelberg:
The Pre-clinical (Vorklinik) or the first stage of the medicine program consists of four semesters for two years. In this stage, the students learn the theoretical foundation of medicine, such as Anatomy and Physiology of the Human Body, Biochemistry, Biology, and more. They will also have a three-month internship as a nurse; some schools require their students to undergo one before entering the first stage. There will also be first-aid training. At the end of the stage, the students will have to take the Physikum or first section of the medical licensing examination to proceed to the next phase.
The next three years will be the Clinical (Klinik) or second stage that has six semesters. The clinical study is longer as it contains the core medical subjects, followed by a four-month internship to a hospital and out-patient medical facility, and ends with the Hammerexamen or second section of the medical licensing examination. They call it Hammerexamen because the exam feels like being hit by a hammer.
The Practice year (PJ) is the last year of the medical program with two semesters. It focuses on the actual clinical training or on-the-job experience in a clinic or hospital in internal medicine, surgery, and one elective subject. The third and final examination is called Staatexamen, which consists of oral and practical assessment.
After completing the medical program, the individual is now a licensed physician and can work in health-related fields, but they can not treat patients without a specialization. The specialist training or residency usually takes 5-6 years and will have a specialist medical examination to complete. Graduates can also opt to continue Doctoral studies (1-3 years), where they will be required to write a doctoral thesis.
Best Medical Schools in Germany
1. University of Heidelberg Baden-Württemberg
Founded in 1386, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, or the University of Heidelberg, has more than 600 years of expertise in medical education and research, therefore, making it the oldest university in Germany. The institution is also recognized by international bodies as the best medical school in Germany, with internationally renowned research facilities; one of them is the German Cancer for Research that has won multiple Noble Prizes in Chemistry and Medicine. The University of Heidelberg is always open for local and foreign student applications for their medicine program.
2. Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
The Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin is a University Hospital owned by the Federal State of Berlin that offers teaching and research, besides providing care and treatment and treatment for most German patients. These services that the university has allowed them to have an abundant source of experience and expertise. The University hospital has four campuses and approximately 100 clinics and departments for all aspects of modern medical practice. The Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin also caters to international students.
3. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich
For the past 500 years, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich, another top medical school in Germany, has been awarded multiple University of Excellence certifications. Located at the center of Munich, Germany, the university offers numerous degrees and medical programs. However, studying Medicine in Munich is a lot more complicated. In the pre-clinical stage of the program, the students will be given admission to both Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich and Technology University of Munich (TUM). The first stage follows the Medical Curriculum of Munich (MeCuM) by LMU in cooperation with TUM’s medical department. However, the whole discussion and laboratory activities occur in LMU facilities.
After the first section of the medical examination is completed, the students can choose between LMU and TUM to continue the clinical and practice stage. To help you choose between the two competitive medical schools, the LMU utilizes MeCuM concept, which is key-symptoms-related based on Harvard Medical School teaching methods accompanied by longitudinal courses in preparation for the practical stage.
4. Technical University of Munich
The Technical University of Munich is an entrepreneurial university with 178 degree-programs covering Engineering to Medicine. However, you have to take the pre-clinical stage of their medical program in LMU. Only after passing the first stage in LMU can you continue the second or clinical phase in TUM. At this one of the best medical schools in Germany, the clinical study uses mediTUM model that, unlike the MeCuM offered by the LMU, is organ-related with intensive block internships and mentoring programs.
5. Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen Baden-Württemberg
The Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen Baden-Württemberg or the University of Tübingen is distinguished for its excellence in infection and cancer research and machine learning. Its faculty of medicine is also one of the largest in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The teaching methods employed in the school follow the longitudinal curriculum that consists of four parts: skills, clinical routine, communication iTüpFerl, and scientific Tü-REX. International students are always welcome to enroll as the school values cultural diversity.
6. Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main
The Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main (Goethe University Frankfurt), one of the best German medical schools, is situated, at the heart of Europe. Its Faculty of Medicine is acclaimed internationally for its research in cardiovascular medicine, neurosciences, oncology/immunology, and translational drug research. The Goethe University Frankfurt also accepts international students through Uni-assist. Uni-assist is a platform that acts as a bridge that connects international students to their desired German schools.
7. Albert-Ludwigs-Universitaet Freiburg
Unlike the previous best medical schools in Germany, the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg or University of Freiburg medical program only consists of two phases. The first phase will focus on the theories and fundamentals of medicine in its four semesters. While the second phase, with six semesters, will be intensive practical courses and an internship year. The students also have an option to join their exchange program to be globally competitive.
The above ranking is merely to give you an overview of the best medical schools in Germany, but you should not take it as is. German schools are often of equal quality and varying fields of expertise, and although you may want to choose the best school, it is most sensible to select the school which is best for your faculty of interest. Ich drücke dir die Daumen! That is German for “I will keep my fingers crossed for you!”
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