Top European Medical Schools

Are you or someone you know looking for an opportunity to study abroad? Europe is host to some of the highest-ranking medical schools in the world. If the charm of old architecture and delicious pastries isn’t enough to draw you there, perhaps these stellar medical programs will help you decide where to study.

1. University of Oxford

Oxford, UK

Ranked number one in the world in medicine by the Times Higher Education Supplement (2011-16), Oxford University should be high on your list if you’re looking to study medicine in Europe. Oxford describes college life as supportive and full of opportunity.

“At Oxford, everyone is a member of a college as well as their subject department(s) and the university. Students therefore have both the benefits of belonging to a large, renowned institution and to a small and friendly academic community.”

Oxford is the oldest English-speaking university in the world, dating back to the year 1096. The school also boasts an impressive list of celebrity graduates, including 28 British prime ministers and 56 Nobel Prize winners.

Acceptance to Oxford can be challenging, considering it is an ivy league school. Be sure to read over the admission requirements and application guide if Oxford University piques your interest.

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2. University of Cambridge

Cambridge, UK

Coming in at number three in the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities, Cambridge is another ivy league institution you should consider while browsing European universities.

Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope describes Cambridge as a welcoming university with a deep-rooted sense of community. He states, “Today, Cambridge continues to reach outwards, welcoming an ever more diverse group of students who have the desire and ability to learn and produce new insights that shift and deepen our understanding of the world around us.”

Cambridge has impressive statistics concerning its graduates. Since 1904, there have been 110 Nobel prize award winners affiliated with the university. Cambridge also notes that 89% of graduates report having work or further study within 15 months of graduating.

If you’re curious about your chances of getting into Cambridge, check out their admission statistics. They also have plenty of open events to help introduce prospective students to Cambridge and help you with your application.

3. Imperial College London

London, UK

Imperial College London has an impressive reputation and garners specific global attention toward their engineering and science programs. The school ranks 3rd in Europe and 11th worldwide according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021, and 1st for graduate prospects.

Imperial consistently ranks highly as one of the top universities in London according to many charts. However, it has recently risen above neighboring university UCL for a few notable reasons.

The international students and student-faculty rate, employer reputation indicator, and bursary options are all areas in which Imperial comes out on top of UCL. There are also subject-specific areas in which UCL and Imperial excel, so your best option ultimately depends on your area of specialty.

According to their website, Imperial College London is “the only UK university to focus entirely on science, engineering, medicine and business.” Imperial was founded in 1907 and has spent many years building its reputation, making it number three on our list.

4. University College London

London, UK

Next on our list is University College London (UCL). According to the Research Excellence Framework, UCL is the top university in the world for research strength.

Since the school was founded in 1826, there have been 30 affiliates to win Nobel prizes. Ranked joint 8th in the 2022 QS world universities rankings, UCL is a top contender for any medical student looking to study abroad.

UCL is a large school located in the heart of London with over 40,000 students. If you are looking to make plenty of connections within London’s medical scene, UCL might be the place for you. Larger schools offer lots of opportunities for peer learning and developing relationships.

With critical acclaim and top global rankings, UCL is a strong contender for any student hoping to study in Europe.

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5. Catholic University of Leuven

Leuven, Belgium

Often named one of the top universities in Europe, The Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) is another research-oriented university on our list. This large university has fourteen campuses across ten cities.

KU Leuven’s three main faculties are separated by Humanities and Social Sciences, Science, Engineering and Technology (SET), and Biomedical Sciences. Each of these schools has a doctoral school for their training programs.

As one of the oldest schools on our list, KU Leuven was founded in 1425. Their mission statement reads that they have a “Christan view of the world and the human.” They also state, “KU Leuven endeavours to be a place for open discussion of social, philosophical and ethical issues and a critical centre of reflection in and for the Catholic community.”

If you are interested in studying medicine in Belgium, KU Leuven is worth checking out. We suggest brushing up on some Dutch before applying!

6. University of Copenhagen

Copenhagen, Denmark

The University of Copenhagen (UCPH) is last on our list but certainly shouldn’t be overlooked by applicants looking to study clinical medicine. Coming in at number seven, UCPH is a world-class research university with over 37,000 students and 9,000 staff members.

UCPH was founded in 1479 and has since grown into the 36 departments and 200 research centers that it is today. Their website offers detailed stats to keep applicants well informed on their historical student intake. Among previous students of the university, nine have been awarded Nobel prizes.

The university’s strategy for 2023 is based around “attracting, developing and retaining academic talent, education with closer ties to research and practice” as well as “collaboration and societal commitment – nationally and globally.”

Studying abroad in Denmark requires an understanding of their quota 1 and quota 2 system, which UCPH goes over in detail on their admission requirements page. If you speak Danish or hope to learn in the near future, UCPH could be the perfect place to begin your medical journey.

Note: Each university excels in different areas. Keep in mind that rankings differ depending on which medical specification you are researching.

Honorable Mentions

These schools nearly made it to our top seven and are definitely worth checking out. Remember that each school excels in different areas. Be sure to prioritize schools according to your specific interests.

  • Radboud University Nijmegen Nijmegen, Netherlands
  • Heidelberg University Heidelberg, Germany
  • University of Vienna Vienna, Austria
  • King’s College, London London, UK
  • Karolinska Institutet  Stockholm, Sweden

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