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Eligibility & Requirements for Medical Study (MBBS/MD) in UAE

Apr 14, 2023

Eligibility & Requirements for Medical Study (MBBS/MD) in the UAE for International Students

Entry requirements to study medicine in UAE

Medical tourism has boosted the UAE’s medical and healthcare industries. In response to increasing demand, many colleges in the UAE have begun offering medical degrees. Al Ain, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Ajman have some of the greatest medical schools in the UAE. These medical colleges are locally accredited by the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) and acknowledged by the World Health Organization.

The medical colleges in the UAE offer medical programs either as an undergrad MBBS/MBBCh degree or a post-graduate MD degree. Let us go through the eligibility and admission requirements for MBBS/MD degrees in the UAE from the standpoint of an international student. 

Overview of Eligibility & Requirements for Medical Study (MBBS/MD) in UAE

This chart summarizes the MBBS/MD courses, eligibility, and entrance requirements, particularly for international candidates interested in studying in the UAE.

Medical degree level Undergraduate and Postgraduate
Medical degree type MBBS, MD, and MBBCh 
University type Public or Private
Accrediting body  Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA), Ministry of Education 
Average tuition fees  20,418 to 43,560 USD*/year
Duration  4 to 6 years
Entrance exam for MBBS EmSAT or University entrance exam
Entrance exam for MD MCAT or University entrance exam
Medium of teaching  English 
English Proficiency exams iBT TOEFL, IELTS, or EmSAT English 
Pre-requisite courses Mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, 
Average salary of a doctor in the UAE 153,824 USD*/year (Salaryexplorer)

Why Study MBBS/MD in the UAE?

Here are some pointers as to why one should consider studying for an MBBS/MD degree in the UAE:

  • The UAE’s strategic location (just an eight-hour flight from two-thirds of the world’s population) makes it an ideal study destination for international students
  • Being the hub for international medical tourism, doctors are always in great demand in the UAE
  • The cost of medical fees (20,418 to 43,560 USD*/year) is comparatively lower than in the USA (50,000 to 70,000 USD*/year)
  • The strong health regulation framework ensures quality healthcare education for all doctors
  • It welcomes international students from all around the world 
  • The UAE’s medical colleges are accredited by the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) and recognized by the World Health Organization
  • The country has some of the best universities to pursue medical studies
  • Students can either choose to do a six-year MBBS degree or a  four-year MD degree which is closely styled along the lines of an MD from the USA

Top Medical universities in the UAE

UAE has both public and private universities offering general medicine courses in the UAE. Due to the limited number of seats, admission to public universities is difficult, and their costs are lower than those of private colleges. Furthermore, because there are more private colleges than public ones, it is easier to get admitted to them. The following is a list of top medical schools in the UAE that offer MBBS and MD programs.

University Name EduRank Ranking (UAE) University Type Degree Type Duration Tuition Fees (USD*/year)
United Arab Emirates University 1 Public  MD 4 years  20,418 (75,000 AED/year)
University of Sharjah 2 Private MBBS 6 years  32,207 (118,300 AED/year) 
Khalifa University 3 Public  MD 4 years  Full scholarship based
Gulf Medical University 4 Private MD 4 years  40,021 (147,000 AED/year) 
Ajman University 5 Private MBBS 6 years  32,942 (121,000 AED/year)
Ras al-Khaimah Medical and Health Sciences University 11 Private MBBS 6 years 32,942 (121,000 AED/year)
Dubai Medical College for Girls NA Private MBBCh  6 years
Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) NA Private MBBS 6 years 43,560 (160,000 AED/year)

*Note: All prices mentioned in the USD are for reference only. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and from country to country.

Note: The American University of Sharjah and New York University Abu Dhabi, despite being classified as medical schools, only provide pre-med courses and do not offer MBBS/MD degrees. Students who get admitted to the MD program of Khalifa University, automatically receive a full merit-based scholarship. 

For more information on the cost of medical studies in the UAE click this link.

Eligibility requirements for MBBS/MD in the UAE

The medical colleges in the UAE offer two kinds of medical degrees: MBBS, which is of five to six-year duration, and MD, which is of four years duration. Students applying for medical programs must be at least 18 years old before or on the date of admission. The maximum age for entrance to the MD program, which needs a bachelor’s degree, is 30. 

The MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree is an undergraduate degree, meaning students with a high school diploma with 12 years of school education can enter provided they have completed the pre-requisite/pre-medical bridge courses needed for admission to the MBBS course. 

On the other hand, an MD (Doctor of Medicine) degree is a post-graduate degree designed considering the medical curriculum of North American colleges like the USA and Canada, where students need a bachelor’s degree in science or related fields to get admitted. They also have to complete pre-requisite courses. 

Many universities use EmSAT, the Emirates Standardized Test for admissions to MBBS and MD courses. It is an electronic exam that tests candidates’ skills and knowledge in mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, and computer science. 

Some medical colleges conduct their own admission/entrance tests for admissions to MBBS/MD degrees in the UAE. These tests are conducted to test the knowledge base at the cognitive level and include questions from science subjects such as mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, etc.

Lastly, to test non-cognitive skills like communication, critical thinking, ethics, professionalism, and insight knowledge of the healthcare system medical colleges conduct multiple mini-interviews (preferably 2). 

Pre-medical bridge courses:

Pre-requisite course requirements differ by the university; for example, some medical universities in the UAE that offer MD degrees may not require students to take pre-requisite courses if they have a bachelor’s degree in a medical field; however, if they have a bachelor’s degree in a non-medical field such as engineering, they must take the pre-requisite courses as specified by the university. The following is a list of prerequisites courses:

  • General biology with laboratory 
  • General chemistry with laboratory 
  • Organic chemistry with laboratory 
  • Physics with laboratory
  • Mathematics
  • At least two courses in one or more in bioethics, business, economics, epidemiology/statistics, cell biology, foreign/additional language, genetics, humanities, immunology, microbiology, physiology, psychology, social sciences, sociology

Admission requirements for MBBS/MD in the UAE

There is no centralized application service for international students to apply to medical colleges in the UAE (National Admission and Placement Office or NAPO application service are reserved only for the UAE nationals). International students have to apply directly to the respective college through their website. The application process for all the colleges is online. Students can also apply through the Gyanberry website. We provide both free and paid admission and counseling services. The following is a general admission process followed for MBBS/MD courses in the UAE:

  • Sign up and fill out the application through the respective university website
  • Pay the application fees and submit the form along with the required documents 
  • Wait to receive an offer letter from the medical university
  • Upon receipt of the acceptance letter, pass the personal interview 
  • Upon selection, pay the deposit fees to reserve the seat
  • Apply for a UAE visa
  • Upon visa clearance, fly to the UAE to arrange accommodation and to complete other administrative responsibilities

Admission requirements for MBBS course:

  • Higher secondary certificate or high school diploma with a GPA of 3.0 or higher 
  • English proficiency proof (iBT TOEFL score of 70 and above or IELTS 5.5 and greater or EmSAT English proficiency score of 1250 and above) 
  • Pre-requisite courses with a grade C and higher 
  • EmSAT Arabic score of 800, or its equivalent
  • EmSAT score of 900 in mathematics or equivalent, plus 900 in two of the three science areas (chemistry, biology, or physics) 
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Character certificate
  • Medical certificate
  • Resume
  • Valid passport
  • Passport photographs
  • Personal interview
  • A copy of bank statement showing adequate funds for at least one academic year of tuition
  • Official transcripts (UAE equivalent)

Admission requirements for MD course:

  • Bachelor’s degree (STEM disciplines are preferred) from an accredited college with a GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0
  • MCAT score if applicable (500 and above are preferred) or EmSAT or university entrance exam 
  • English Proficiency proof (iBT TOEFL score of 90 and above or IELTS 6.0 and greater or EmSAT English proficiency score of 1500 and above) 
  • Pre-requisite courses with a grade C and higher 
  • EmSAT Arabic score of 900, or its equivalent
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Medical experience (preferred)
  • Character certificate
  • Medical certificate
  • Resume
  • Valid passport
  • Passport photographs
  • Personal interview
  • A copy of bank statement showing adequate funds for at least one academic year of tuition
  • Official transcripts (UAE equivalent)
  • Personal statement
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Frequently Asked Questions

Owing to its modern medical technology, low treatment costs, and highly specialized doctors with world-class healthcare services, the UAE is one of the fastest-growing medical tourism hubs.

As per the Salaryexplorer’s data, the medical doctors or physicians earn a salary of 153,824 USD*/year in the UAE.

No, the UAE does not have any standardized entrance tests for MBBS admissions. A medical university, on the other hand, may have an entrance exam followed by a brief online interview that students must pass to be considered for admission. Some universities offering MD courses may require the MCAT score for their admission. 

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