Many students have the ambition to become a doctor. The increase in the percentage of students joining BiPC (PCB) every year is proof of the growing interest in the medical field among students. But, the known fact is the process of becoming a doctor involves a lot of competition and money. This is because of the availability of less number of seats in various government colleges. Students who are ambitious to become a doctor will either join the private medical college or just prefer going abroad for studying when they do not get through the competitive exams. In this post, we will look at the options of MBBS abroad for Indian students.
MBBS Abroad for Indian Students
Top Countries, Costs and Eligibility
Co-authored by Parinita Gupta
Medicine is one of the most popular careers paths across the world including India. The journey to becoming a doctor typically starts with gaining an MBBS degree. But, getting a medical seat in India is not fiercely competitive.
There is a drastic difference between the number of MBBS seats available in India and the number of applicants. Last year, there were nearly 13 lakh students attempting NEET for admission to approximately 60,000 seats.
In 2019, around 15 lakh candidates appeared for NEET 2019 and were competing for just a little over 90,000 Medicine/Dental seats at the UG level. So, nearly 17 students competing for a single seat! As per MCI, there were only 79,855 seats across 542 government and private colleges in 2020.
Studying abroad is one of the best options for the students who didn’t score a good rank in the NEET examination. Studying medicine abroad is comparatively less expensive and has a high ROI. There are many universities abroad that prefer taking the students from various countries to establish a positive co-culture environment. Foreign universities maintain high standards in terms of quality of education at cheaper / lesser fees when compared to India.
MBBS Abroad Eligibility
Each and every country (and university) has got their own criteria. Below are the general ones for Indian students looking to study MBBS abroad.
- The student must be 17 years plus as on 31st December of the year in which the admission is being taken.
- The student must have completed the class 12th.
- The student must have an aggregate of at least 50% in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology and must have English as a compulsory subject if the student is from the General category.
- The student must have an aggregate of at least 40% in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology and must have English as a compulsory subject if the student is from SC/ST/OBC.
- You need to clear NEET from 2018 onwards for admission in any country abroad.
MBBS Abroad for Indian Students in the US and Other Popular Study Abroad Destinations
Unlike other subjects like engineering, business studies, or arts, the popular destinations for pursuing MBBS are not typically US, Canada, UK, Australia, etc. In countries like the US, UK, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, France, Canada, and Malaysia will all require you to take a compulsory local entrance exam for admission to MBBS courses.
Eligibility criteria also vary from country to country. For example, in the US, you need to have completed your graduation (ideally a 4-year Pre-Medical program) before you can apply for the MBBS entrance exam.
Medical Studies in the USA
Admission is contingent on a good academic record and the scores of a Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), besides recommendation letters. Foreign students are required to apply through the American College Application Service, for an MD, or the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service for a DO degree.
The four years of the pre-medical program consists of pre-clinical and clinical courses. The final degree is MD (Doctor of Medicine) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine).
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Students apply for a postgrad specialization in the last year of study. The postgraduate study began with a one-year standalone internship followed by a license to practice. Currently, an internship is part of the first year of residency, called the Traditional Rotating Internship or Transitional Year.
In order to practice medicine in the US, students need to clear USMLE as well. Once the USMLE is cleared, students can go for a Residency. The Residency itself has its own period of study depending on the specialty. Sometimes students follow up the training with a Fellowship, which is a full-time training program in a particular specialty.
MBBS in the UK
Thousands of international students MBBS in UK every year. The duration of the study ranges from four to six years. On completion of two years of study as an undergraduate, the students are required to undergo a foundation training of two years. Learn more about eligibility and costs (in Indian Rupees) of studying MBBS in UK.
A specialty training has to be undertaken after the completion of four years of study in the area one wishes to specialize in, which could last up to seven years. A Certificate of Completion Training (CCT) is awarded upon completing the specialty training.
There are three phases in the medical curriculum in the UK. Below is the curriculum at the Imperial College London.
- In Phase One, students will focus both on the scientific basis of health and disease and the foundations of clinical practice, including early clinical exposure. The course will include modules on lifestyle medicine and prevention and case-based learning, with opportunities to undertake clinical improvement and research projects.
- During Phase Two, students will work towards the BSc by completing a series of modules and a supervised research project in a scientific/medical subject of their choice. This gives you the chance to develop your scientific knowledge and research skills, as well as expose you to research at the cutting edge of the field.
- In Phase Three, students will build on the knowledge, skills, and behaviors developed in the first four years of the MBBS. In hospital and community settings, students will experience how clinical teams work together to deliver patient care from beginning to end of life. Throughout Phase Three, significant emphasis will be placed on preparing students for clinical practice.
Eligibility Criteria and Application Process for MBBS in the UK
- The strict deadline for applications is October 15 every year for the start of the study in September of the following year.
- Students need to apply through UCAS. Students need to have a minimum of 85 – 90% in their 12th Board exams. Additionally, students need to appear for an entrance exam – UKCAT, BMAT, or GAMSAT.
- For international students wishing to study Medicine at the undergraduate level, an IELTS score of no less than 6.5 across all four categories – reading, writing, speaking, and listening – with an overall 7.0 score generally required at most universities.
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MBBS in Canada
The majority of the medical schools in Canada enroll students who have completed a degree in biological sciences except for the Quebec province which accepts students on the basis of who have completed their class 12 exam and one year of diploma.
MBBS in Canada is known as MD (Doctor of Medicine, considered as an undergraduate degree). International students willing to pursue medicine in Canada have to undertake the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
The medical course is a 3-year to a 5-year program in Canada varies according to the university and medical background of each student. Those with a bachelor’s degree in the appropriate field are eligible for the 4-year program while the others have to opt for the 5-year program. An additional residency training is also required which may range from two to seven years of study.
MBBS in the US, UK, Canada, and Other Popular Study Abroad Destinations
As you can see, pursuing medicine in the US is a very lengthy process. Another problem for the majority of Indian families is the cost. In the US and other countries like UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, etc., the cost will range from INR 3 – 4 Crores. Moreover, the scholarships are also very limited for MBBS programs abroad.
So, now, we will look at some of the budget-friendly options for pursuing MBBS abroad.
Top 11 Countries for Indian Students to Study MBBS Abroad at Low Cost
China is one of the most preferred countries to study medicine for Indians. China has about 45 medical institutions that are approved by MCI. Chinese universities provide high standards of education. The tuition fee is also comparatively less when compared to India. It is one of the best choices for studying medicine abroad.
Cost: INR 20 – 35 Lakhs (for the whole program)
Some popular MBBS colleges in China:
- Ningbo University
- Jiangsu University
- Wuhan University
- Southeast University
- Huazhong University of Science & Technology
The Philippines is a profitable choice for studying medicine. The entire course costs 25% lesser than the fees in India. The biggest advantage with Philippines education system is the accent. Philippines follows the American accent which helps the students to understand the subject easily and clear the exams well.
Medical Colleges in the Philippines constitute nearly 40 accredited schools. Their graduates clear the Physician Licensure Examination to practice medicine. Admission requires an undergraduate degree with credits in biology and related courses.
Admission also requires a National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) score. The cut-off NMAT score, for international students, is usually higher than locals and is based on the medical school’s discretion. Shortlisted candidates are subsequently interviewed for a final selection.
The annual cost of education ranges from about $10,000 to $25,000 for a medical degree. The overall cost would be INR 25 – 40 Lakhs.
Some of the best medical colleges in the Philippines
- University of Philippines
- Cebu Institute of Medicine
- University of Northern Philippines
- Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila College of Medicine
- Saint Luke’s College of Medicine
- University of Visayas Gullas College of Medicine
- West Visayas State University College of Medicine
- Angels University Foundation
- AMA School of Medicine, Manila
- Bicol Christian College
- Our Lady of Fatima University
- University of Perpetual Help
Nepal is one of the beautiful countries in the world. It has a climate similar to India. Indians prefer Nepal as it is very near to India and also due to its pleasant weather. The biggest advantage of studying in Nepal is its Visa process. Since both countries have mutual considerations, visa and immigration processes are faster and easier. The cost of living is also less.
Cost: INR 30 – 45 Lakhs (whole program)
Some of the best colleges in Nepal to study MBBS are
- National Medical College
- Nepal Medical College
- Janaki Medical College
- Kathmandu University School of Medical Sciences (KUSMS)
- Kathmandu Medical College
Caribbean medical schools are known for the quality education and hospitality they provide in order to bring to the world a class of amazing doctors that can serve the world.
Additionally, Caribbean Medical schools give more facilities and higher standard education to the students where they can easily crack their USMLE to get into the USA. They also have strong partnerships with Medical Universities in Canada, UK, India, and other countries.
The Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions (CAAM-HP)
is the legally constituted body established in 2003 under the aegis of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), empowered to determine and prescribe standards and to accredit programmes of medical, dental, veterinary and other health professions education on behalf of the contracting parties in CARICOM.
Cost of pursuing medicine in the Caribbean is around INR 80 Lakhs to 1.5 Crore (all-inclusive).
Top Medical Schools (CAAM-HP accredited) in the Caribbean are:
- American University of Antigua
- American University of the Caribbean
- Saba University
- St. George’s University
- Ross University
- American University of Barbados
- Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo
- International American University
Ukraine has world-class equipment to treat diseases. It has some of the best medical colleges which cost very less. It has universities which are affordable for Indian students to complete their UG and PG in medicine. The biggest advantage with Ukraine colleges is that almost all the colleges are globally recognized by international bodies like the Medical Council of India (MCI), World Health Organization, UNESCO, FAIMER, and AIMEE. The cost of living is less with high ROI in a short duration.
Due to ongoing war crisis, Ukraine is not a favorable destination at all.
Cost: INR 20 – 38 Lakhs (all inclusive for 6 years)
Some of the most famous medical universities in Ukraine-
- Bogomolets National Medical University
- Ternopil State Medical University
- Donetsk State Medical University
- Kyiv National Medical University
- Vinnitsa National Medical University
Kyrgyzstan is a place where you can complete your medicine course within 12-18 lakhs. It is the most cost-friendly place to study medicine. The universities provide high-quality education with good infrastructure. All the institutions are recognized by MCI. The eligibility to get admission in Kyrgyzstan is through the marks obtained in 12th standard.
Cost: INR 17 – 24 Lakhs (whole program)
Some of the reputed institutions:
- Jalalabad Medical University
- Asian Medical Institute
- Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University
- International School of Medicine
- Osh State Medical University
Europe Countries are really very expensive. Both the cost of living and educational expenses are relatively high. But there is a different scenario in Russia. The cost of living and educational expenses are very less compared to other European countries. The demand for the experienced and professional doctors is very high which increases the ROI in a span of time. So choosing Russia will be one of the good decisions for an Indian student.
Some of the good medical institutions in Russia are:
- Mordovia State University
- Northern State University
- Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Moscow
- Siberian State Medical University
- Ryazan Medical University, Ryazan
- Kuban State Medical University
Since decades Poland is considered to be the best country concerning education. It is a country which follows the world-class European education system and standards. It is the most peaceful country with less crime rate. Most of the universities offer 6 years of education for medicine with 1 year of the preparatory course for a better understanding of the subject and practical knowledge.
Cost: INR 54 – 72 Lakhs (for 6 years)
Best colleges in Poland to pursue MBBS degree:
- Medical University of Gdansk
- Medical University of Lublin
- Medical Academy of Bialystok
- University of Lodz
To get admission in universities of Bangladesh, students should follow a different procedure. International students have to clear the SAARC exam. Depending on the scores obtained in SAARC students will get admission in government and private colleges in Bangladesh. Though the education system is similar to the Indian education system, the cost of living and the fee for the medical course is very less.
Cost: INR 30 – 60 Lakhs (whole program)
Some of the best medical colleges in Bangladesh:
- East West Medical College
- Bangladesh Medical College
- Jahurul Islam Medical College
- Delta Medical College
To get admission to MBBS at German medical colleges is a little tough. To get a confirmation of admission in any university, the student has to clear the exams like IELTS or TOEFL and should have fluency in the German language. But once you get admission to German universities, your career will be secure.
Germany has the best colleges in the world with the usage of the most advanced treatments and technology. Many universities provide financial assistance to international students through scholarships. Students who pursue medicine in Germany will have global exposure and experience in the medical field. The best part – there is no hefty tuition fees. Most of the state-funded universities charge zero or a very nominal fee (max INR 40,000 per year).
Unlike other countries, there are no separate undergraduate and postgraduate programs for Medicine in Germany. It takes at least six years and three months to finish a Medical degree in Germany, and that concludes with the State Examination (after which you can apply for the license for practicing medicine). Later on, you could continue your education to become a “medical specialist”, which, depending on the subject of specialization, can take another three to six years.
Phases of Medical Studies in Germany (Source: QS)
Eligibility Criteria for Studying Medicine in Germany (Source: QS)
There are 30 different areas of medicine in which you can specialize. Medical specialist training programs are not degree programs. These are not offered at any university or institute. You will work as a doctor in full-time employment, e.g. at a doctor’s practice, a university clinic or medical center or other “institution authorized to provide medical treatment”, and will be paid as an assistant physician.
Medical school admissions are centrally coordinated in Germany. The best way to know about the admission procedures would be contacting the university of your choice at least 12 months in advance.
You must know the German language in order to study Medicine and other German-taught programs in Germany. You can obviously learn the German language in your home country. But, it could be a nice idea to travel to Germany and take the language courses in Germany itself, especially the advanced ones like B1, B2, C1 or C2. These courses usually take place between June and September.
Alternatively, you could spend a year in Germany as part of a youth exchange program. You could stay with a German host family, attend a local high school and beef up your German language skills. The German language proficiency will not only help you to get admission at the universities but will also enhance your job prospects in Germany.
Some of the best medical colleges in Germany:
- Ruprecht Karls University Heidelberg
- Charite – Medical University of Berlin
- University of Munich
- Albert-Ludwigs-Universitaet Freiburg
- Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
- LMU Munich
- Humboldt University of Berlin
- Hannover Medical School
- TU Munich
- Eberhard Karls University Tubingen
- University of Leipzig
- Wurzburg University
- Magdeburg University
Read more: Undergraduate Studies in Germany
Belarus is a very small country. Though the country is small, it has the best colleges with affordable fees. All the colleges in Belarus are approved by MCI and WHO. They are highly recognized for their quality of education system. The medium of instruction is English which is an advantage for Indian students.
Most famous medical universities of Belarus-
- Belarusian State Medical University
- Gomel State Medical University
- Vitebsk State Medical University
- Grodno State Medical University
Apart from these, there are many countries which are considered to be the best for studying medicine. The above-mentioned countries are very affordable for Indian students concerning quality in education, fees, and infrastructure.
Caution for MBBS Abroad Aspirants
Every year, around 7,000 students go outside India to study medicine. Most of the students go to China and Russia.
But, only 15 – 25% of the graduates, who come back after studying abroad, manage to clear the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE). If they don’t clear the FMGE, they don’t get registered to practice in India.
This is really a matter of concern as they go out, spend a lot of money from their parents and are not able to contribute to healthcare in India once they come back.
There are several dodgy institutes and tons of dodgy (and greedy) education agents in India. Before taking admission, please do your research diligently.
Author Bio: Parinita Gupta is a full-time banking professional. Additionally, she is also a passionate blogger and digital marketer.
She mostly writes about the Banking & Finance, Technology, and FinTech sector. But, she also enjoys writing on other topics as well. You can follow her on Twitter.
Featured Image Source: LiveMint