Poland is a coastal country situated in Central Europe, bordering Baltic Sea. It can trace its history back over 1,000 years, and today is home to almost 40 million people. Its rich history is reflected in its cultural diversity, with many world-class museums, art galleries, and theatres. For this reason, it is also one of the most visited countries in the world, with over 16 million tourists arriving each year to take in the culture, as well as the beautiful scenery of both the coastal and inland regions.
In total, there are 12 universities in Poland that provide medical education in English which, between them, admit over 1,300 students each year. All 12 of the universities offer 6-year undergraduate programmes for school leavers, while six of them also offer 4-year graduate entry programmes for students who have previously studied degrees in a relevant field. Fees are around 11,000 EUROS/year (though many of the universities charge their fees in Polish Zloty, the national currency of Poland).
Each of the Polish medical schools offers a 6-year programme, but the nature of these courses varies from institution to institution. Some, such as Wroclaw Medical University, require students to attend summer placements in the clinical environment, providing hands-on training to students even in the early years. Others, such as the Medical University of Silesia, place a greater emphasis on the pre-clinical sciences in the early years, providing a solid foundation of knowledge on which clinical expertise is built.
As well as offering 6-year programmes to undergraduate applicants, six of the Polish medical schools also offer a 4-year programme to graduate applicants. These allow students who have already gained a high level of scientific knowledge from previous degrees to enter the clinical part of the course more quickly, reducing the length and cost of the course.
Each university has different academic requirements. Some, such as the Pomeranian Medical University, have no minimum grades beneath which an applicant will not be considered, but still, use the grades achieved when selecting students for admission. Others, such as the Medical University of Silesia, rank students based on their performance on an internal admissions exam. As a rule, the schools do not have minimum grades but many do set subject pre-requisites (e.g. Biology, Chemistry, and Physics), and several utilise internal admissions exams in the ranking of their students.
For the undergraduate programmes, all but 3 of the schools require their students to sit an internal entrance exam. These exams are set but each individual school and vary in their nature, length, and location. They are designed to standardize the admission process, allowing applicants from all countries the same chance of entering the course.
Of the six schools that offer graduate programmes, all but one require students to sit an entrance exam. These vary from the university’s internal exams to internationally recognised exams including the MCAT, SAT, UKCAT, and GAMSAT. Each university differs in how it uses these scores within the selection process.
Medical student's opinions
Many of the students we spoke to when researching for this book reported the best bit about their university to be the support provided by the administrative and faculty staff, who are often very accessible and willing to help the students with any problems that arise. They also told us that they have fallen in love with the city in which their university is located, and thoroughly enjoy the lifestyle these cities can offer.
As with all international courses, some students struggle with the language barrier, with their lecturers sometimes talking with a difficult-to-understand accent. But on the whole, students found they were able to adapt to this and find their time at Polish medical schools to be a rewarding and enriching experience. If you are interested in learning more about studying abroad view our guidebook "Get into Medical School Eastern Europe, Ireland & Italy".