A guide to Italian medical schools

Introduction

Italy is a country in Southern Europe, that projects into the Mediterranean Sea. It is home to 60 million people, Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc, and also some of the richest and most historically significant artifacts that can be found anywhere in the world. From the bath houses and the Colosseum to the ruins of Pompeii, Italy is a treasure trove of ancient monuments, items, and traditions.

As well as this wealth of culture and history, Italy is also home to ten medical schools with courses taught exclusively in English. These can be found in the list below. (*Private university)

  • University of Bari
  • University of Campania ‘Luigi Vanvitelli’
  • Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
  • Humanitas University*
  • University of Milan
  • University of Naples ‘Federico II’
  • University of Pavia
  • University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’
  • University of Rome ‘Tor Vergata’
  • Vita-Salute San Raffaele University*

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These medical schools have fairly small cohorts, with 540 students being offered a place each year. Fees at the public medical schools (all except San Raffaele and Humanitas) are among the lowest in Europe and start from as little as 400 EUROS per annum. These are also extremely international courses, with students from all over the world benefiting from the enriching experience of studying medicine in such a beautiful and modern country.

Courses

All of the Italian medical schools offer 6-year programmes only, which are all open to both graduate and undergraduate applicants. The courses take a modern approach to medical education, with problem-based learning being a key feature of the curriculum in several of the institutions. There remains, however, a strong emphasis on securing a strong knowledge base in the basic sciences prior to the commencement of clinical training, ensuring graduates from Italian universities have the knowledge as well as the skills to perform as successful and well-rounded doctors.

Entry requirements

None of the Italian medical schools set any minimum grade requirements or specific subject pre-requisites for entry onto their English medical courses. They all, however, stipulate that applicants must have completed 12 years of education, and meet the requirements to apply for university in their own country. In the British system, this is equivalent to having achieved a passing grade in at least 3 GCE A-levels. Applicants are required to contact the Italian Embassy in their country of education in order to have this officially confirmed. This is covered in the following section entitled Dichiarazione di Valore.

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Admissions exams

All of the state-operated medical schools in Italy require candidates to sit the International Medical Admissions Exam (IMAT) in order to be accepted onto the course, and each university uses the score achieved in this test as the sole differentiating factor during the admissions process. This test is covered in detail later in the chapter. The two private schools, San-Raffaele and Humanitas Universities, require applicants to sit different exams, which are discussed individually in the section on those schools.

Medical students opinions

One of the strongest ‘pull-factors’ identified by current students on these English language courses is the diversity of the student body. With low fares, low costs of living, and bountiful cultural heritage, Italy is an extremely appealing country for students from all over the world, allowing those who attend to mix with people from a vast array of backgrounds.

Another key benefit is the strength of the faculties, that the students feel are not only knowledgeable and experienced but also approachable and engaging. While some students feel that the organisation of the institutions has room for improvement, and others feel language barriers sometimes exist between the students and their teachers and patients, all the students interviewed for this book would recommend their university and Italy as a whole as a great place to study medicine. If you are interested in learning more about studying abroad in Italy, view our guidebook "Get into Medical School Eastern Europe, Ireland & Italy".


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