University tuition fees can be a major issue for countless prospective students across the world. This is especially a huge concern for students who wish to study complex subjects like Medicine.
However, as of recently, numerous countries and their respective universities around the world tend to offer tuition-free education which seems quite surprising. This is especially true for countries such as Germany and sure Scandinavian countries such as Sweden and Norway, where the majority of universities operate on tuition and cost-free basis.
Students may argue that although universities do not charge tuition fees, it still does so for international students, even in the case of courses such as Medicine. Medicine is also among the few subjects in the world that lead to the accumulation of student loans and debt, which is a grave global issue.
In this article, we introduce to you and discuss some of the few medical schools in the entire world that provide tuition-free medical education for their students (either local or international students or both).
Free Medical Schools in the World
1. Novel York University School of Medicine
The first medical school with no tuition that we are going to look at is the Novel York University School of Medicine, the medical school division of the Novel York University. The medical school’s history dates back to the early 19th century and is considered to be among the most prestigious schools of medicine in the country. It is based in the heart of Manhattan in Novel York. The NYU Langone Medical Center is the primary centre that is connected to NYU Medical School.
In addition to the standard MD program, numerous joint degree Masters programs are also offered in conjunction with the MD program (to form extended 5 year dual programs) which is a key feature of the university. These include bioethics, health policy and general management. MD/PhD programs (which are part of the US’ Medical Scientist Training Program) are also offered by NYU medical school.
It currently has a student population of approximately 700 MD students as well as around 400 students pursuing joint degrees and PhD programs. The university is known for being among the most selective institutions in the country with an acceptance rate as low as 1% for the MD program.
As of 2018, the university was among the first in the US to introduce full-tuition scholarships to all current and prospective students irrespective of merit or need. Therefore, NYU School of Medicine makes our list of free medical schools!
2. Washington University School of Medicine
The Washington University School of Medicine is the official medical school that is connected to the Washington University in St. Louis. The school was established in 1891 and is based in the city of St. Louis, Missouri. It has a wide acclaim for its wide range of courses and programs, despite the fact that it is a school of medicine.
In addition to the standard Doctor of Medicine/MD program, the university offers MD/joint programs with other fields as well. MD/PhD training programs are also offered for the students. It is also one of the only universities in the country to offer specific programs in Audiology and Speech Therapy, as well as the unique Doctor of Audiology (Au.D) program. As of 2019, the university is home to around 1400 students.
This free medical school operates in conjunction with several hospitals in the city, specifically the St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the Barnes-Jewish Hospital which are the primary centers.
It has maintained a high standard for academics as well as research and has been consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in the country for medical education. In 2019, the university announced plans to suspend tuition fees and award full-tuition scholarships for all prospective students.
3. Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine
The Case Western Reserve University is a private university located in Cleveland, Ohio. Its official medical school is the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine that was originally founded in 1843. This medical school has been ranked among the top 25 medical schools in the country. It is considered to be the first medical school in the United States to offer the MD/PhD double degree prior to the introduction of the medical scientist training program.
The medical school provides education to over 1200 students in total. It is known for its cutting edge research facilities as well as being home to the largest biomedical research center in the country. However, the key program that deserves your attention is the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine.
This is specifically a program of the CWRU medical school that was first introduced in 2002. Contrary to the standard MD program, this program has a 5 year-long curriculum and semester composition. The program has a standard class size of 32 students for each year.
All matriculated students gain a full tuition scholarship for the duration of their studies, making Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine a free medical school. This program has grown into becoming a highly coveted and selective course and selects students with the highest GPA scores and MCAT marks.
4. University of Bergen Norway Faculty of Medicine
Located in the stunning city of Bergen in the western coast of Norway, the University of Bergen is a prestigious public university that was founded in 1946. As is the case with the majority of Norwegian universities, the University of Bergen Faculty of Medicine operates on a tuition-free basis so no students, including international students, are charged any kind of expenses (aside from minor administration fees).
To this end, the university’s Faculty of Medicine is an ideal option for prospective students who wish to study medicine in a free medical school.
The school is comprised of numerous departments of study that include biomedicine, clinical medicine, dentistry as well as public health and international health studies. Of the 17,000 students who study at the University of Bergen, the medical school is home over 2000 students. The majority of the courses that are taught in the medical school are administered in Norwegian so the university does require standards of Norwegian language which are considered when students are applying.
For any prospective international students, Masters courses in Biomedical Science and Global Health are taught in English. The university also provides a range of exchange study opportunities for any students who are interested.
5. Free University of Berlin Faculty of Medicine
The Free University of Berlin is a prestigious research university that is located in Berlin, the capital of Germany. Fascinatingly, the university has a distinguished reputation particularly for the fields of humanities, social and natural sciences. It has been further classified among the top 11 universities in the Germany that fall under the German Universities Excellence Initiative.
Currently, the university has a student population of over 32,000 students. The university was first established in 1948. However, when considering the academic extension of medicine, the school was only recently founded in 2003. This was via a merger between the Free University and the Medical Faculty of Humboldt University together with a joint corporation known as Charité.
Over 7000 undergraduate students are currently enrolled on different types of courses at the medical faculty. The university is further committed to ensure the highest standards of clinical practice and research are provided for the benefit of the future of medicine.
In addition to the programs of Medicine and Dentistry, the Charite further provides a range of Bachelors and Masters degree programs as well that serve as a pre-medicine entry route, which range across nursing, epidemiology, international health and molecular medicine. Students are guaranteed access to clinical exposure from the start of their degrees.
6. Umea University Faculty of Medicine
Our next candidate in our list of free tuition medical schools is the Umea University Faculty of Medicine. The city of Umea is based in the northeastern region of Sweden and is home to the iconic public research institution that is Umea University. Founded in 1965, it is among the oldest institutions of higher education in the country. It has since expanded into an internationally recognised university that provides education for over 32,000 students in total.
Among its four major faculties, the School of Medicine has a long standing reputation for its academics, research and clinical focus. More than 3000 students currently study at the Umea Faculty of Medicine. The academic profile of the faculty constitutes of 13 academic departments that range across the fields of medicine, dentistry, infection and clinical research.
The school is further connected to 7 research centers which form a focal point of the university’s strong research prowess. Domestic students have access to the university’s Medicine and dentistry programs which offer flexible tuition free education.
The university ensures the students have clinical exposure from the onset of the program as well. Additionally, international students also have access to a diverse range of Masters programs which are all taught in English as well.
7. Heidelberg University School of Medicine
The Heidelberg University is a public research university based in the university city of Heidelberg in Southwestern Germany. Its history dates back to the late 14th century, making it the oldest institution of higher education in the country as well as among the oldest surviving universities in the world. It academically constitutes of 12 major academic departments and offers a wide variety of degree programs.
The main language of instruction is German but several courses and degrees are taught in French and English as well. The Heidelberg University School of Medicine is one of these 12 academic schools and is actually one of the original faculties to be established during the university’s founding.
The original medicine program was offered in two years of basic science training followed by 4 years of clinical training with an additional step of the German medical licensing program. This 6 year intensive course was later modified to accommodate the Harvard Medical School curriculum. It further maintains a partnership with the LMU University of Munich.
Today, this medical school in Germany with no tuition fees is among the most prestigious medical schools in the country. It comprises of 22 academic sub-departments. The university’s official medical center is the University Hospital of Heidelberg.
8. Lübeck University Faculty of Medicine
The University of Lübeck is a research university based in the city of Lübeck in the northern region of Germany. It is one of the few institutions of higher education in the country with a strong focus on providing education in medicine and the natural sciences. Founded in 1964, it has grown to become the number 1 institution for Medicine in the country and currently provides education for over 5000 students.
It is academically comprised of 2 main faculties which include the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Natural Science and Technology. The free medical school in Lübeck University is the best ranked in the country and offers a complex science-based medical education with adequate clinical exposure throughout the years.
The course is primarily taught in German and therefore requires all students to demonstrate an excellent command of the language. Patient interactions are especially encouraged for the students throughout their degree so the program has a reputation for its practical focus.
Furthermore, the university also takes part in exchange programs such as the Erasmus scheme and regularly draws in a large international student population. Research ranges across a wide range of fields with the most prominent being in the field of infection studies and inflammation.
9. University of Munster Faculty of Health Science
The University of Munster is a public university that is located in the city of Munster within the western region in Germany. The university was founded in 1780 and has a student population exceeding over 45,000 students who have access to more than 120 fields of study across 15 academic departments. It is among the largest universities in the country and has grown into becoming one of the main intellectual hubs of Europe.
A diverse range of fields are provided of which several are administered in English in addition to the main language of instruction which is German. Of these academic departments, the Faculty of Health Science is a key school that provides education in the fields of medicine and dentistry.
This free medical school currently has a student enrolment of more than 3000 who receive an in depth training in research and clinical medicine throughout the duration of their degree. It further forms its training links with the prestigious University Hospital of Munster.
The primary language of instruction in the university is in German. This medical school further provides tuition-free scholarships for prospective students as well. Students are also further exposed to the high research profile of the university and enables them to pursue practical training in respective fields if they are interested.
10. Wurzberg University Faculty of Medicine
Next free medical school that we are going to look at is the Wuzberg University Faculty of Medicine. Officially referred to as the Julius Maximilian University of Wurzburg, this prestigious institution of higher education is based in the city of Wurzburg in northern Bavaria, Germany.
The university was originally founded in 1402 and is known for being one of the oldest as well as the most respected universities in the country. It has a high research profile and is a member of the U15 group of universities in Germany as well as the elite Coimbra group.
It currently has a student population of over 20,000 students with more than 1000 students coming from outside of Germany. The university’s campus is well integrated within the city and the central administration as well as numerous student facilities are relatively modern mixed with the historical buildings from the university’s past.
The faculty of Medicine of Wurzberg University is one of the many academic departments. It provides a prestigious learning experience for all students interested in studying in the fields of medicine, dentistry and biomedicine. Modern medicine is taught alongside state of the art research.
Furthermore, the university maintains collaborations with the University Hospital as well as other teaching hospitals in the area. Research of the faculty is primarily dominant in the fields of infection and inflammation, cardiovascular disease, neuroscience, cancer studies and regenerative medicine.
Also, this medical school with free tuition ensures students have hands on contact with access to teaching clinics and patient exposure from the start of the degree. Students are also given the option of pursuing electives and study abroad semesters to diversify their learning experience. Currently, more than 3000 students study at the Wurzberg Faculty of Medicine.
11. Leipzig University Faculty of Medicine
The Leipzig University is a public research university located in the city of Leipzig in Saxony, the eastern state of Germany. Founded in 1409, it is among the oldest universities in the country as well as in the world.
It currently has a student population of over 30,000 students and has grown from an institution of originally 4 faculties to a global university that provides education through more than 14 academic departments and institutes. The campus of Leipzig is spread across the city and consists of some of the oldest buildings in the region coupled with cutting edge and modern facilities of education for students and administration.
Of the main faculties of studies, the Faculty of Medicine was one of the original founding schools that began with the inception of the university. The faculty runs in conjunction with the official University Hospital of Liepzig. It further consists of a wide range of sub departments that focus and provide education and research opportunities in a variety of clinical fields.
One of the big things that set aprts this school with many others is that Leipzig University Faculty of medicine provides free tuition education for all its students. With its high standards of academia and research, the university (and collectively the faculty of medicine) have been ranked among the top 300 universities in the world.
12. University of Oslo School of Medicine
Founded in 1811, the University of Oslo is the oldest institution of higher education in Norway. It is located in the capital city of Oslo, it was also the largest university in the country (until it was surpassed by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology). The university currently has a student population of over 28,000 students.
It is academically comprised of over 8 schools of study or faculties which further include several departments spanning across a wide range of fields and subjects. The Oslo School of Medicine is one such member of these schools of study and was founded in 1814 short after the university’s inception. It is also the oldest school of medicine in the country.
The academic profile of the faculty consists of the Institute of Basic medical sciences, the Institute of Clinical Medicine and the Institute of Health and Society. It further operates a few research facilities known as the Centers of Excellence that predominantly focus on the fields of mental disorders, cancer biomedicine and immune regulation.
The faculty further provides several types of courses in addition to the standard Medicine program. All undergraduate programs are taught in Norwegian and require a high standard of the language for admission. Medical students who wish to study an MSc during an intercalated year for example can also apply to the university’s MSc programmes (which are also taught in English).
13. King Saudi University College of Medicine
Based in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, the King Saud University was founded in 1957 and holds reputation for being the first university of the kingdom and its pinnacle of higher education. This prestigious institution of higher education was initially established to meet the demand for skilled workers in the country but ultimately, it has grown into one of the most elite universities in the Middle East.
Currently, the university has a student population of over 55,000 students, of which more than 7% come from outside the country. The university offers a diverse range of courses across the humanities, natural, social sciences as well as Medicine. The majority of these courses are taught in Arabic as well as a few that are taught in English.
Furthermore, several courses are tuition-free, making it a very tempting option for prospective students. The King Saud College of Medicine was the country’s first school of medicine to be founded in 1967 and was formed in conjunction with the King Abdul-Azziz University Hospital. Currently, the college has more than 4000 undergraduate students as well as over 1000 postgraduate students.
Despite the fact that it was only founded a few decades ago, this free medical school has expanded into an international institution and has further been ranked among the top 100 medical schools in the world.
14. Poznan University of Medical Sciences
The Poznan University of Medical Sciences is an elite public university located in the city of Poznan in the southern region of Poland. Its foundings go back to the early 20th century where it was formed as the Poznan University until it gained its separate status in 1950 as an institution that majored in medical education.
From 1993, the university reverted into providing full-time education in English as well, much to the benefit of prospective international students. It is home to over 7000 students, of which nearly 1000 come from outside Poland.
Academically, the university comprises of several faculties; the primary Faculty of Medicine (I) is responsible for the provision and administration of the 6 year official MD program taught in Polish. The Faculty of Medicine (II) provides education through the dentistry, postgraduate courses as well as medicine which are all taught in English.
From the start of the degree, students are acquainted with the essential basic science and medical knowledge while completing clinical rotations at the university affiliated hospitals. The university also provides practical learning opportunities through facilities such as simulation labs and outpatient clinics as well. Additionally, numerous international partnerships are formulated with universities and institutions across the world.
The university also takes part in the Erasmus program which annually draws in over a hundred students. Prospective students have the option of applying through the undergraduate entry pathway or the graduate entry pathway.
15. Medical University of Vienna
The final candidate on our list of medical schools with free tuition is the Medical University of Vienna. This medical school is a public institution of higher education based in the capital of Austria, Vienna. Its history dates back to the year 1365 where it was originally part of the University of Vienna and its Faculty of Medicine. It repositioned and reformed itself only recently by forming the independent Medical University.
Nevertheless, the institution is regarded as one of the oldest medical schools in the world. It further holds rank as the largest medical organisation in the country as well as being affiliated to the Vienna General Hospital, one of the largest hospitals and medical centers in Europe.
With its outstanding academics and research prowess, the university has been further ranked among the top 15 medical schools in Europe as well as in the top 50 in the world.
It has produced world class alumni including the founder of the ABO blood group system, Karl Landsteiner. In terms of the Medicine program, around 660 places are offered each year for prospective applicants. Studies are organised into 12 semesters with a clerkship of 18 weeks and clinical internships of 48 weeks.
Admission into the program is highly competitive and further requires the completion of a special Austrian medical school admissions test known as the MedAT as well as evidence of knowledge of the German language and further specific tests depending on the student.
I hope that this article on free medical schools around the world was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Free Tuition Category!
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé