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Top Medical Schools in 2021

By Chloe Lane

Updated March 17, 2021 Updated March 17, 2021
  • 650 medical schools are featured in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021
  • The highest ranked medical school is found of Harvard University in the US
  • Sweden's Karolinska Institutet is the only medical school outside the US and the UK to feature in the global top 10

The recently released QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 features 650 of the top higher education institutions to study medicine, with 50 new entries this year.

The QS University Rankings by Subject are based on four indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper and the H-index (a way of measuring the productivity and published work of a scientist or scholar). You can find more details about the methodology behind the subject rankings here.

Read on to learn more about the best medical schools in each region. Alternatively, if you would like to explore the medical schools in further detail, click here to view the full table.

Top 10 Universities for Medical Schools in the World

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021

Rank

Name of Institution

Location

1

Harvard University

United States

2

University of Oxford

United Kingdom

3

Stanford University

United States

4

University of Cambridge

United Kingdom

5

Johns Hopkins University

United States

6

Karolinska Institutet

Sweden

7

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

United States

8

Yale University

United States

9

UCL (University College London)

United Kingdom

10

Imperial College London

United Kingdom

See the full ranking for medical schools here  

Top universities for medicine in the US and Canada

The United States has 121 medical schools featuring in this year’s subject rankings, with five of these making it into the worldwide top ten.

Harvard University offers the world’s best medicine program for the sixth consecutive year, achieving a perfect score in the employer and academic reputation indicators. Established in 1782, Harvard Medical School has piloted educational models, developed its curricula to address needs in healthcare and produced leaders in the field of medicine. Its courses teach medical science concepts through real-world and clinical applications.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the global medical research leader in the US, with a perfect score in the research citations per paper indicator.  

Canada has 18 medical schools featuring in the rankings this year. Canada’s top ranked university, the University of Toronto places in 14th, earning its highest score in the H-Index indicator. Other Canadian universities featuring in the world top 50 for medicine are McGill University (joint 25th), University of British Columbia (31st) and McMaster University (joint 41st).

Top universities for medicine in Europe

An incredible 233 medical schools are found in Europe – the most of any region.

The United Kingdom claims 44 of Europe’s top medical schools, including four in the global top ten. The best European medical school this year is the University of Oxford. There are separate pre-clinical and clinical aspects of the course, students on the Oxford standard medical course gain a comprehensive grounding in medical science before applying this in the clinical setting.

Outside of the top ten, there are plenty of other high-performing medical schools, including King’s College London (KCL, 17th), University of Edinburgh (21st), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (23rd) and the University of Manchester (38th, dropping four places this year).

France performs well this year, with 17 universities featured, including its highest ranked school, Sorbonne University (44th). Italy also performs well, with an incredible 29 universities in the rankings this year, including two in the top 100.

Germany contains a staggering 32 medical schools in the index this year. Two of these place in the worldwide top 50, including Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (30th) and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (43rd).

Spain is home to 17 medical schools, with Universitat de Barcelona (UB, 64th) its top ranking university this year. Spain’s two new entries in 2021 include Rovira i Virgili University and Universidad de Córdoba – España, both ranking 601-650.

The Netherlands has nine medical schools in this year’s subject rankings; two of which are in the top 50: the University of Amsterdam (32nd) and Erasmus University Rotterdam (35th). Denmark has five medicine programs featuring in the rankings, with University of Copenhagen in joint 41st and scoring well in the H-Index indicator.

Sweden’s eight entries in this year’s rankings include Karolinska Institutet, the only medical school outside of the UK and the US in the worldwide top ten in the subject rankings. Karolinska Institutet places in sixth and scores particularly well in the academic reputation indicator, with a near perfect score. It is Sweden’s largest centre of medical academic research and offers the country’s widest range of medical courses and programmes.

Top universities for medicine in Australia and New Zealand

In Australia, 26 universities offer top medicine programs this year. Four of these can be found in the top 50 of the medicine subject rankings including the University of Melbourne (18th), the University of Sydney (19th), Monash University (joint 36th) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW, 45th). The University of Melbourne was the first medical school in Australia, founded in 1853.

New Zealand has three entries in the rankings this year. Its highest ranking university for medicine is the University of Auckland in joint 102nd. New Zealand’s new entry in 2021,, Auckland University of Technology, earns a ranking of 351-400.

Top universities for medicine in Asia

This year’s medicine subject rankings includes 134 of the best medical schools in Asia. Japan has the most ranked medicine universities in Asia, with an impressive 34 medical schools, including one in the world top 50 – the University of Tokyo (29th).

Mainland China also performs well, with five new entries this year, bringing its total up to 28. Peking University is the highest ranked medical school in China in 56th place.

23 of Asia’s best medical schools are located in South Korea. Its highest ranking medical school, Seoul National University (SNU, 28th) rises five places in the index this year. India is home to nine top medical schools in this year’s rankings and Malaysia has eight.

Taiwan performs well this year, featuring 10 medical schools in the index, including National Taiwan University (NTU) in joint 49th. NTU earns a particularly high score in the research citations per paper indicator this year.

Hong Kong is home to three ranked medical schools in 2021, including University of Hong Kong (HKU, 39th) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK, 40th.)

Top universities for medicine in Latin America  

This year’s subject rankings include 46 Latin American medical schools. Brazil claims the highest proportion of these with 22 medicine universities featuring in the index this year. Brazil’s best performing university is Universidade de São Paulo (USP, joint 85th) and the country has two new entries this year: Universidade Federal do Rio Grande Do Norte and Universidade Federal Fluminense, both ranking 601-650.

Chile has eight universities in the rankings this year including its top ranking university, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in joint 135th place. Colombia has seven medical schools featuring in the index, with two placing in the global top 350.

Argentina’s four entries include Universidad de Buenos Aires (151-200) which scores well in the employer reputation indicator. Mexico has six medical schools this year, with two new entries: Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL, 451-500) and Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM, 501-550).

Top universities for medicine in Africa and the Middle East

The Middle East is home to 27 of the world’s best medical schools. Israel and Saudi Arabia have the highest number of ranked medical schools in the Middle East. Six universities offer medical courses in each country, including one new entry for each. The highest ranked university in the region is Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul Aziz University (KAU, joint 142nd).

A further six medical schools can be found in Iran. The country features two new entries this year: Mashhad University of Medical Sciences (551-600) and Shahid Beheshti University Tehran (601-650).

Lebanon has three entries this year, with American University of Beirut (AUB) coming out on top in 151-200th. Meanwhile, Jordan has two entries. Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates each have one entrant.

Africa performed well in the rankings this year, with the region claiming 23 of the world’s top universities. The location with the most medical universities in Africa is Egypt – home to nine of the best medical schools including three new entries in 2021: Al Azhar University, Tanta University and Zagazig University, all placing 551-600.

South Africa has eight medical universities, including Africa’s highest-ranking university, University of Cape Town in 87th place.

Kenya has one medical university this year and Ghana has two, including one new entry, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (601-650).

This article was originally published in March 2021 .

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Written by

A Content Writer for TopUniversities.com, Chloe has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. She enjoys writing articles about a wide range of topics for a student audience. 

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