Erudera's Complete Guide to Studying Medicine in Germany
There are around 39 public universities in Germany offering medical degrees. The medical faculties at these universities provide extensive and respected study programs taught by excellent professors. German higher education institutions offer excellent training to future medical professionals. In fact, not only does Germany provide world-class education in medicine, but medical graduates also benefit from countless employment and career development opportunities.
Here’s everything you need to know about studying medicine in Germany:
Best Medicine Programs in Germany
Some of the top Medicine programs in Germany include the following:
Medical School Structure in Germany
A medical degree takes six years to complete. The degree concludes with a state examination (Ärztliche Prüfung), which you must pass to receive your Licence to Practice Medicine (Approbation).
A medical degree in Germany comprises of the following phases:
- Pre-Clinical Phase: Includes the theoretical fundamentals of medicine. Takes 4 semesters/2 years to complete.
- Clinical Phase: Teaches core subjects (such as orthopaedics, neurology, gynaecology, etc.) through lectures, practical courses, and internships. Takes 6 semesters/3 years to complete.
- Practical Phase: One-year practical training in a clinic or hospital. Students become acquainted with the practical aspects of surgery, internal medicine, and an elective field.
A state examination (Ärztliche Prüfung) concludes your medical studies, after which you can apply for your medical license (Approbation).
Some Medical Doctors wish to become Medical Specialists in a certain subject of specialization. The specialization phase can take an additional 5-6 years, depending on the subject. There are approximately 30 different areas of medicine to specialize in. During the training program, you will be required to complete specific tasks. The specialization period also concludes with an examination, known as the specialist medical examination.
General Academic Requirements
- Secondary school leaving certificate (equivalent to the German certificate).
- If your qualification is not eligible/equivalent (non-EU students): One-year preparatory course (Studienkolleg) to enter the final exam (Feststellungsprüfungexam), which enables you to study at German universities.
- Outstanding GPA (applicants usually have excellent grades).
- German proficiency (generally C1 level): TestDaF or the DSH.
- Proof of English language proficiency (enough to understand scientific literature): TOEFL or IELTS.
- Aptitude for subjects like biology, chemistry, physics, and maths.
- Professional training or volunteer experience (depending on the university).
Medical degrees in Germany have nationwide admission restrictions (centrally restricted NC), which happens when there are more applicants than places available at a particular program. Considering medical degrees are in demand across Germany, the admission restrictions apply nationwide. The admission process in these programs is restricted and quite selective, which means getting into medical school is not as simple unless you meet the university-specific requirements. Usually, 5% of the spots are reserved for non-EU international students at each German medical university.
Students from the EU (including Liechtenstein, Iceland, or Norway) should submit their application through the Foundation for University Admission (Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung - SfH). To submit an application through this platform, students must register on their website and, additionally, also complete an online registration form on the university’s website. The complete set of documents varies according to the university.
Non-EU students should initially make sure that their chosen university is a member of Uni-Assist. If the answer is positive, they should submit their application to Uni-Assist, including all the required documentation. After receiving the Verification of Documents confirmation (Vorprüfungsdokumentation) from Uni-Assist, international students should submit their application directly to the university of their choice, along with the whole set of documents.
Degree Duration: How Long Does It Take to Study Medicine in Germany?
It takes six years and three months to complete medical training at a university in Germany, including the state exam (Ärztliche Prüfung). The degree is divided into three phases, including the pre-clinical phase (duration: two years), the clinical phase (duration: three years), and the practical phase (duration: one year). During each of these phases, students become more and more acquainted with the fundamentals of medicine. In the last year of studies, students are better exposed to the practical aspects of their work in a hospital/clinic setting as part of the practical phase.
Tuition Fees: How Much Does It Cost to Study Medicine in Germany?
The cost of studying medicine in Germany is relatively low, especially in most German public universities, which have introduced tuition-free education. Students pursuing their studies at German public universities only pay around €250 ($300) in semestral fees. The only exception to this no-tuition fee regulation is the state of Baden-Württemberg. Public universities in this state charge approximately €3,000 (~$3,600) in tuition fees per year. The affordability of tuition fees at German public universities is one of the greatest reasons to study medicine in Germany, complemented by higher education expertise and employment opportunities.
On the other hand, private universities in Germany regulate their own fees, which are usually higher compared to public universities. Moreover, when you decide to pursue your medical degree in Germany, keep in mind that you will also have to consider the living costs. Luckily enough, the living costs are also reasonably affordable. It has been estimated that a single student will need approximately €900 (~$1,100) per month to live comfortably in Germany.
Medical Jobs in Germany
The State Examination (Ärztliche Prüfung) is what will make you eligible to practice your medical profession. Medical professionals from EU member countries can access the labor market the same way as German nationals can without having to obtain a work permit or apply for a visa. Those from outside of the EU will have to extend their residence permit for up to 18 months to find employment in Germany.
The good news is that there is a great demand for medical professionals in Germany, which means finding employment will not be difficult, especially if you know the German language. There is a particular shortage of doctors in Germany, especially in rural areas. Some German states offer additional allowances for students who can commit to working as general practitioners in these understaffed areas in Germany.
Reasons to Study Medicine in Germany
Nearly Free Education
Yes, it is true! You can get your medical degree for nearly free in Germany. Most public universities in Germany have no tuition fees, except for semestral administrative fees, which are around €250 ($300) per semester. The only exception is public universities in Baden-Württemberg, where tuition fees were reintroduced in 2017 and can go up to €3,000 (~$3,600) per year. Still, compared to other popular destinations to study abroad, the cost of pursuing a medical degree in Germany is pretty reasonable.
World-Class Medical Schools
At least eight German universities rank among the top 150 best universities in the world for medical studies. German medical schools offer world-class medical education, and students benefit from the excellence of their professional and academic staff. Germany is especially recognized for the importance it places on the practical application of knowledge. When it comes to medical studies, the practical part enables students to fully grasp the essentials of one of the noblest professions in the world.
Employment opportunities are extensive for medical professionals here, making it a great reason to study medicine in Germany. The healthcare industry is significantly developed, and the job prospects are pretty good. Doctors and other medical professionals are pretty in demand in Germany, whether you want to work in hospitals, clinics, or healthcare centers, to name a few. In addition, the medical profession has high starting salaries, which means as a doctor here, you can live a comfortable (and even lucrative) life.
Excellent Living Conditions
Germany has high living conditions with a focus on cleanliness and efficiency. The unemployment rate in Germany in 2020 was approximately 3.03%, which is a decrease from the previous years. Living in Germany will place you among an international community of friendly and welcoming people. Germany offers plenty of opportunities to advance in your career through its excellent higher education system and economy. As a medical professional living and working here, you will likely find your ideal place in Germany.