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How to Study Medicine in Germany

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One of the world’s most popular non-anglophone study destinations, Germany is an ideal location for studying a medical degree, offering high-quality education at an affordable price.

32 German universities are included in the latest QS World University Rankings by Subject for Medicine, meaning there are plenty of options, depending on what type of university experience you’re looking for.

The first thing to note about medical programs in Germany is that training programs are not divided between bachelors and masters – a medical training program takes six years to complete and is conducted entirely in German, so you’ll need a strong knowledge of the language. However, alternative programs in the medical field do exist as bachelors and masters, including some English-taught programs.

Structure of medical degrees in Germany

Human medicine training degrees take at least six years and three months to complete and conclude with the state examination (Ärztliche Prüfung). This examination (if you pass) leads to your official Licence to Practice Medicine (Approbation). You’ll complete your medical studies in the following stages:

1.      Stage 1: pre-clinical phase

This stage is four semesters (two years) long and will introduce you to the key basics of natural sciences and medicine. It concludes with the first medical licensing examination.

2.      Stage 2: clinical phase

This is the main phase of study (six semesters – three years) comprised of the core subjects, taught in lectures, practical courses, internships and seminars.

3.      Stage 3: practical year

The main phase of study is followed by a practical year. This is one-year of clinical training, in which you’ll be introduced to the practical aspects of surgery, internal medicine and an elective subject. This phase provides on-the-job experience to prepare you for your future profession.

4.      State Examination

The last step in completing your medical degree in Germany is to pass the State Examination, a nationally standardised examination. After taking and passing the examination, you can apply for your medical license (Approbation) and begin working as a certified doctor.

Later on, you might decide to continue your education to become a medical specialist, which, depending on what subject you specialize in, can take another five to six years. The advanced training program for this concludes with a specialist examination. You can read more about this here.

Requirements to study medicine in Germany

As mentioned, you need a very good knowledge of German, which you’ll need to prove with a strong score in a test such as the TestDaF or the DSH. If your language skills aren’t up to scratch yet, don’t worry: you can enrol in a pre-study German course to help get your language skills to the level required for medical study in Germany. You’ll also need:

  • University entrance qualification / your secondary school leaving certificate. If you’re from the EU, your leaving certificate should be generally accepted as equivalent to the German certificate. However, non-EU students will need to check that their qualification is eligible. If it’s not, you may need to attend the a Studienkolleg (one-year preparatory course) and sit the Feststellungsprüfungexam.
  • Strong knowledge of English, in order to understand specialist literature. It’s also helpful but not essential to have knowledge of Latin.
  • Extensive high school knowledge of biology, chemistry and physics.
  • Ability to cope well with stress as medical programs are often time-consuming and intensive, with up to 25-30 hours of compulsory classes a week.
  • Non-EU students may require a student visa and residence permit. (Find out if you need a visa and how to apply for one here).
  • Some universities may also require non-EU students to provide results for the TestAS exam, while the Test for Medical Studies (TMS) is voluntary but can help give you an edge over other candidates by demonstrating your academic potential.

How to apply to study medicine in Germany

It’s a good idea to contact your chosen university’s International Office well in advance (if possible, a year before you plan to begin your course) to allow you plenty of time to get specific information on admission requirements, procedures and deadlines.

There are more applicants than there are spaces available to study medicine in Germany, so the admissions process is organized into a restricted, highly selective admissions policy known as the numerus clausus (NC) There are two types of NC, and, in this case, it is known as a centrally restricted NC.

However, in December 2017 Germany’s top court ruled the selection process as ‘partly unconstitutional’, meaning the government will regulate the criteria used to offer places – it remains to be seen what exact changes will be implemented following this ruling.

The admissions process varies from university to university. If you received your university entrance qualification from Germany or a German school abroad or you come from an EU country (or from Liechtenstein, Iceland or Norway), you should apply via the foundation for admission to higher education – the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (Foundation for University Admissions – website is in German). The same applies for other in-demand subjects: pharmacy, veterinary medicine and dentistry.

To submit your application via the Foundation for University Admissions, you should register with them via their website. This will allow you to submit your application and monitor its status. You may also need to complete an online registration procedure on your university’s website. 

All other students (non-EU) will need to enquire as to whether their chosen university is a member of uni-assist (full list here). If it is, you can apply through the uni-assist centralized admission process. If not, you should apply through your chosen university, and include copies of any relevant documents (for example, your high school diploma).

The deadline for applications is generally July 15 for applications made to study starting from the winter semester, and January 15 for applications to study from the summer semester.

Cost of studying medicine in Germany

If you study medicine in Germany at a public university in any state except Baden-Württemberg, you will only pay a semester fee to cover administration and enrolment costs – this is typically no more than €250 per semester (~US$290). However, tuition fees for non-EU students have now been reintroduced in the state of Baden-Württemberg, meaning non-EU students now need to pay fees of €3,000 (~US$3,500) per year at public universities in this state. Private universities will charge considerably higher fees.

You will also need around €10,200 (~US$11,800) a year to cover your living costs, although expenses will vary depending on where you study. You can read more about the costs of studying in Germany here.

Studying medicine in Germany in English

If you’d prefer to study a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the medical field, there are some English-taught programs available, which do not lead to a qualification as a doctor. However, these are almost exclusively available at master’s level, with only one bachelor’s degree in medical studies taught in English available, according to a search on the DAAD's international program search tool, which is a Bachelor of Science in Medical Natural Sciences taught in English and German at Jacobs University Bremen, a private university which charges tuition fees.

However, at master’s level, 59 English-taught degrees in the medical field are available, some of which are free (as long as your degree is consecutive – i.e. you’ve previously studied the same subject at bachelor’s level). For example, University Ulm offers an English-taught master’s degree in molecular medicine with no tuition fees for EU/EEA students. Be aware that one of the entry requirements stipulates that students must have a bachelor’s degree in molecular medicine “or another program with essentially the same content”.

It’s also worth noting that even if you do study in Germany in English, it’s advisable to nonetheless learn some basic German phrases to help you settle in and communicate with the locals.

Working as a doctor in Germany after your studies

Once you’ve passed the State Examination, you’ll be granted your medical license and can begin working as a doctor. The medical license is permanent and valid anywhere across Germany. If you’re from the EU, you can work in Germany without needing a work permit and will have the same access to the labor market. If you’re from outside the EU, you can apply to extend your residence permit for up to 18 months, in order to find work related to your studies. Read more here.

There is currently a large demand for doctors in the labor market in Germany, especially in rural areas. Average starting salaries are very good, averaging around €49,000 (~US$56,800) a year, which is generally more than starting salaries for graduates of any other discipline. You can read more about career opportunities for doctors at studienwahl.de.

You asked, we listened! This article was written based on questions submitted in our student forum. Let us know in the comments below if you think we should cover any other topics.

This article was originally published in April 2017. It was updated in August 2018.

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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is there a maximum age limit to enroll for medical studies in Germany?
Can I start to study medicine at the age of 35 if I meet the other entrance criteria?

Hi Yasir, There is no age limit to study in Germany so if you meet the entrance requirements you should be fine! 

Im currently a 2nd year med student in Turkey. My parents will move to Germany so I want to continue my degree there. After finishing the first 3 years in Turkey, do I have the change to complete the last 3 years in Germany or do I need to start from the 1st year again? If I am able to transfer what are the obligations, terms, needed documentations etc. thank you so much

Hi Sera, I think this will depend on the school you're looking to attend. You should send an email to the medicine course admissions officer at the university you're looking to transfer to in Germany for more information about your next steps. 

Hi...My name is Serena
I am a first year student like I wrote the GCE and I am waiting for my results.I wish to do medicine in Germany but I don't do physics.I wish to ask if there is any problem with that.
Kindly waiting for your reply.Thanks

Hi Serena, I'd advise you to check the specific entry requirements on the medicine course you're looking to study as they are likely to vary between schools. You might also want to take a look at our guide to medicine, as it outlines the requirements, specializations, and career options. 

hello,i have got 76% marks in my high school can i get chance in german medical university?

Hello, I'm from india . I want study medicine in Germany anyone wil Give me some help to take there admission please.

Hello, I am Jon Ignatius Lacsina from Philippines. I finished my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (a 4 years Bachelor Program). I passed my Nursing Licensure Examination provided by the Professional Regulation Commission which then making me a registered Nurse in my country. The dream of furthering my education to achieve my dream career in life, I am wondering how can I apply, and what do I need to do so I can study medicine in Germany?
Thank you very much!

Hello I am Amadou Barry from The Gambia can I enrolled in a university in Germany with a high school transcript?
I really need to study medicine in Germany

Hello, I would like to know if there's any university in Germany that offers the education of medicine in English. Thank you

Hi Meriem, I'm afraid medical training programs are only offered in German in Germany.

Hi, I study medicine in Saint Petersburg,Russia my university it is an h+ university in anabin.
Can I continue education from 4or5 semester in German universities?

dear sir/madam, i am nazeer ameer frim dharul hasanath children's orphanage,sri lanka.my father left us when i was 5 .i know none from my father's family.and my mother is married and settled with my step father.i know none from my mother's family also.i have got 9A's for ordinary levels.for advanced levels i did biological science.but i was not allowed to go coaching classes due to tje security reasons of the orphanage.in my school i had no teacher for physics.even though alhamdhulillah i got ABCC results for advanced levels.i love to become a doctor to serve poor and orphans around the world who are just suffering like me for their survival in this world.i have no other purposes.my all intension is doing a service to the society. but because of the huge amount of money needed to study medicine i am suffering a lot.as i am orphan i cant afford that much of money.so i would be pleased if you can give me a chance to study medicine in your university for free.please help me for god's sake.please dont ignore my request.please reply me.i would be pleased if you can help me to become a doctor.please help me sir. I would be pleased if you can show me a path to study medicine for free. Dear sir please give me a hand to become a doctor for god's sake. 

Hello Nazeer , I read your comment and think that you deserve a scholarship. I believe that in Ukraine, Romania and some other countries Medicine is not expensive and easy to enroll and they give scholarships. If you tell your story I'm sure you will get one. I wish you the best brother.

Hi, i am Abdo from Egypt , i study nursing , i want to know if there any possible chance to shift to medicine and study it in Germany

Hello, so I studied one year of medicine in Egypt and Iam thinking about moving to germany, so iam wondering about the best colleges, concerning quality and fees. also are there good chances of scholarships, and are student loans allowed for international students

Hello there
I'm from iran and haven't got my diploma this year is my last year in high school and I wanna study medicine in germany i couldn't find much info on webs.
I wanted to know how can i start the process to apply in university

nice article thanks for sharing information about medicine

hello i ame from algeria i have get my diploma of hight scool in 2013 and now i hold master degree in processe engennering i would study medicin is it possible for me

Hello Khaled, where would you like to study, enrollment for medicine in Ukraine for example is easy. I'm Algerian as well.

Hello. Could you please advise the process required to apply to study medicine in Germany when you have both German and Australian citizenship. We live in Australia but my daughter wishes to study in Germany. Would she apply as an international or domestic student? Many thanks

Hi Yvonne, I'm afraid I'm not sure on this one. I would suggest that your daughter contacts the universities she's interested in in order to clarify this. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.

Hello! I am studying medicine in Romania, currently I am in my 3rd year, and I would like to know if it's possible to continue my studies, the last 2 years or so, in a German medical university. To be more specific, have you got any knowledge about the possibility of a transfer to a medical university in Germany?

hello Andreea J am also in my 3rd year in Algeria and am also considering a transfer please do share when you find some helpful info.

Hello, I want to study mbbs for year 2018 in scholarship and i am from Nepal and i dont know which colleges provide scholarship.Could u please help me??

Hello, please take a look at our list of medical scholarships around the world

Good Evening. I am from Pakistan but living in Germany as I am married with a British guy. I have permanent visa. I want to study Medicin here. In Pakistan, I have completed my B.Sc. ( Bechelor) in Chemistry, zoology and Botany. I need some guidance how can I apply in Uni having my B.Sc degree, what should I do ? Right now I am doing C1...

Good Evening .. I'm a 3rd year medical student in Russia and i study in English medium .. is there any possibility to continue my Residency studies in Germany and in english medium ? if yes what are the repuirements and what should i do after i finish my general medicine studies

Can you give information about how you study English language in russia ?
Sorry give me information

Hi Yousuf, please take a look at our article on how to study in Russia in English. Hope it's helpful!

Sorry Mr.
Can you give me information in which university of russia you are studying in English language
Becouse i search alot but Everyone said in russia lesson are teach in Russian language
Can you give mee information about this !!
Thank you !!

Hello, I’m a lebanese student studying 3rd year biochemistry in the public lebanese university and I’m willing to come over to germany and apply to a medical school. My mother lives in germany which would help me more. I want to know if any of my courses would be taken into consideration, if there is any university which provides medical studies in the english language, the tuition fees, and all the necessary papers i should provide. I hope to get a fast reply and thank you for your cooperation in advance.

Hi Dina, as mentioned in the article above, there are unfortunately no medical training programs in English in Germany. You'll find a list of the required documents needed to apply in the 'Requirements to study medicine in Germany' paragraph, and we also have a section on tuition fees. 

Hi. I'm a medical student from Armenia. I wonder if I can continue my studies in Germany as a resident after finishing my studies in Armenia. Do I need to pass exams or should I study for an additional year.
Where can I find information about validation of license given in Armenia?

Hi this is Parnian. i am from Iran and i'm studying medicine here, 4th semester. I've heard that Germany accepts the firs year of my university education equal to college , and then i can enter any university there ,in Germany, without any entrance exam. and everything i need is just B2 degree in German language. is it true? or am i missing any thing? can anyone please help me ?

salam id telegrmet ya instat ra bede zaban almani ra bayad shoro koni

Hello, my name is Aishat, I'm from Nigeria, I'm interested in studying medicine in Germany and I really have a lot of questions.
Please I want to find out if there's a way we can communicate via email ?. Thank you

Hello, my name is Aishat from Nigeria.
I would love to study medicine and surgery at one of the tuition free universities in Germany, but I also need financial aid for accommodation and upkeep, I don't know if there are such scholarships.
I have my secondary school leaving certificate, but I saw something about learning German for a year for free along side biology physic and chemistry in Germany.. And I really don't understand the whole process and I'll like to apply as soon as possible.
Thank you very much

Hello aishat ,have u been able to get any help?how far HV u gone with ur plans to study med in Germany?

Looking forward to admit my twin sons in MBBS with scholarship and low but best university in Germany with expected marks 75-80% with biology maths physics and chemistry and English kindly guide with Daad centre and I am located in Kuwait but Indian

Hi, I'm looking scholarship to study medicine in Germany. I had my AL last academic year with 5 sciences subject (maths, phy, chem, Bio and F.maths) and now I have been learning German language.I am from Cameroon.please I really need your guidance. Thanks

hey. Am a cameroonian too, did u finally suceed in schooling in germany ? If yes, hope you got some informations can we please dicuss about ? My name is pamela

Hi Demanou, medical training programs in Germany are free, as are bachelor-level related degrees. However, you may be able to find a scholarship to help with living costs - here's a list of scholarship options. :)

I am Masters student of economy. But am too much interest in the medical field. I want to get admission in medical in Germany specially or any other generally in Europe . So I need your guidance and also tell me about any feasible scholarship. Thanks.

Me too, I am in a similar situation with you, maybe we can keep in contact and share some information together~ Add me on Facebook~

Hi I am a 12th grade student
I ve finished 8 OL with grade 4 stars 2A and 2 B as well as Iam doing an AS biology now looking forward to study medicine in Germany but unfortunately most of the German universities request for 3AL and I haven't completed any so I would like to make a foundation year to reach the academic requirements so I would be really grateful if anyone told me what are the best universities to have in a foundation in addition to there costs
Thanks in advance.

Nice Article

I'm looking for scholarships to study medicine for the year 2018.
As I am a south african and I also wouldn't mind international schorlarships .
I'm currently in matric.