Medical Studies (MBBS / MD) in Italy: International Student Guide

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Pursue Medicine Degree from Italy in English: Top Colleges, Fees, Eligibility, and Career Scope

Thirteen universities in Italy offer English-taught medical programs for international students. The English-taught curricula have made Italian medical programs accessible to international students.

Italian medical education is at par with other European states such as the Czech Republic or Poland. The intensive and rigorous programs prepare students to excel in their medical careers, and that too, at an affordable tuition fee.

Read about how international students can enroll in the best medical programs in Italy. Also, get to know the cost and admission criteria at Italian medical universities.

Study Medicine in Italy- Overview 

Number of Medical Universities 13
Programs Offered Laurea in Medicine and Surgery, MD
Duration 6 years
Average Tuition Fee USD 19,982 (private universities)
Langauge of Instruction English
Entrance Exams IMAT, UCAT
English Proficiency Up to CEFR B2/C1 or IELTS 6.0 or equivalent


Is a Medical Degree from Italy Recognized?

Italian medical degrees for international students are single-cycle degrees. They combine undergraduate and graduate levels of study. The program is taught in English and is titled ‘MD.’

Italian English MD degrees are recognized in EU and Non-EU countries. Many top universities report their graduates placed in Switzerland, US, UK, and Germany.

Medical degrees from public universities are valid across the EU per the European Law mandate. But Non-EU countries treat Italian graduates as any other international graduates.

That means graduates from Italian medical universities must take the USMLE and complete residency to practice in the US.


Top Medical Colleges in Italy

This list features the top 100 medical universities in Italy and includes public and private ones. All the listed universities offer medical degrees in English and accept international students. 

US News Ranking 2022 UniRank 2021 University
1 1 University of Bologna
3 4 Sapienza University of Rome
4 5 University of Milan
5 9 University of Naples Federico II
7 6 University of Turin
11 22 Tor Vergata University of Rome
12 15 University of Pavia
14 17 University of Milano-Bicocca
18 74 Vita-Salute San Raffaele University
19 19 University of Bari Aldo Moro
36 65 The University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
28 Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
78 University of Humanitas
86 UniCamillus University


How to study Medicine in Italy? Admission & Eligibility Requirements

Italian medical universities do not state a long list of requirements for enrollment. The essential eligibility criteria for international students is a high school diploma. Students must have completed 12 years of schooling.

Since the programs are English-taught, universities expect students to prove their English proficiency. Students must meet up to CEFR B2/C1 level. 

Knowledge of Italian is an added advantage. Medical programs in Italy focus extensively on practical training. It involves interacting with patients in the latter years of study. Students with knowledge of the Italian language will face no issues during such training.

General requirements

  • High School Diploma
  • Required Subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics
  • English language competency: CEFR B2/C1; IELTS 6.0; TOEFL iBT 80

The most important aspect of admission into medical schools in the entrance test. Most public universities need students to sit for the IMAT.

IMAT stands for International Medical Admissions Test. The test is conducted jointly by Cambridge Evaluation and the Italian Ministry of Education and Research (MIUR). 

Features of IMAT are summarized below.

  • Pen and paper-based
  • Multiple-choice format
  • A total of 60 questions, with five answer options to choose
  • 12 questions in General Knowledge, 10 in Logic, 18 in Biology, 12 in Chemistry, 8 in Physics and Mathematics
  • There is only one correct answer
  • Each correct option carries 1.5 marks; the wrong answer carries -0.4

The IMAT is limited to public universities. Private universities in Italy require scores of university-conducted exams.

Students may have to appear for interviews as part of the admission process.

Medical Study Fees in Italy

Tuitions costs for Italian medical universities are highly affordable. At public universities, tuition fees are assigned based on an applicant’s economic state and country of residence. Students from low GDP countries are charged with low tuition.

The tuition fee range of public medical universities in Italy is EUR 1,000-3,500

Popular public universities in Italy charging tuition fees in the range of EUR 1,000-3,500 are

  • University of Bologna
  • Sapienza University of Rome
  • University of Milan
  • University of Turin
  • University of Naples Federico II

However, this is not the case with private universities. The average annual tuition fees for private medical universities are EUR 18,985 or USD 19,982*. Still, these costs are a lot more affordable than other popular study destinations like the US and the UK. The table below lists the annual tuition fees at private medical universities in Italy.

University Annual Tuition in EUR Annual Tuition in USD*
Vita-Salute San Raffaele University 20,140 21,198
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore 15,800 16,630
University of Humanitas 20,000 21,050
UniCamillus University 20,000 21,050

* Note: Amounts in EUR are converted to USD at 1 EUR = 1.05 USD. Exchange rates change from time to time.


Scholarships for International Medical Students

Scholarships for Italian medical programs are available from the government, universities, and independent organizations. The following list briefly describes some of the available scholarships for international students.

Unibo Action 1&2

The University of Bologna offers deserving international candidates grants in two ways

  • A full tuition fee waiver (Unibo Action 1)
  • A grant of EUR 11,000 (Unibo Action 2)

Students who perform exceptionally well in any of SAT, GRE, or TOLC exams will receive the grant. Students must also be interested in registering for any of the first/single/second-cycle programs at the university.

International Scholarships by Humanitas University

Students who rank within the top 10 in the Non-EU admission test can receive scholarships. 

The Humanitas University offers four scholarships. Each of these four is further divided into four partial scholarships of EUR 16,000 each. Fees not covered by the scholarship will have to be paid by the students.

Eligible students must submit a motivation letter and CV to the university.

International Scholarships by UniCamillus University

Unicamillus University, through the Foundation Progetto Salute, awards Non-EU students partial scholarships.

Students enrolled in Medicine & Surgery or Dentistry & Dental Prosthetics programs are eligible.

The amount of scholarship ranges from EUR 6,000 to 10,500. Students must submit the following documents

  • Scholarship application
  • Motivation letter;
  • Curriculum Vitae;
  • Certificate of the financial situation of the student’s family
  • High school diploma

Italian Government Scholarships

The Government of Italy awards grants to foreign students to encourage international cooperation. These grants are for programs within Italy. Students can receive grants for up to six or nine months.


Career Prospects and Salaries after Medical Study in Italy

After six years of study, medical graduates in Italy must complete a six-month clinical placement. After clinical placement, students can sit for the State exam (Esame di Stato).

Once cleared, students are registered with the medical association (Ordine Dei Medici). This registration provides graduates the license to practice medicine.

Doctors are the highest-paid professionals in Italy. The national average salary of a general physician is EUR 103,000. The top 5 highest-paying cities are

City Annual Medical Graduate Salary Estimate in EUR
Rome 121,000
Milan 119,000
Naples 117120
Turin 114960
Palermo 112920

Career opportunities after medical studies are not limited to working in Italy. Because of its globally recognized programs, graduates can look for employment in any country of preference. To practice as a doctor outside Italy, graduates must take the country-specific licensing exam.

Many doctors continue their education with specialized postgraduate training. Specialization takes three to six further years. Popular specializations in Italy are

  • Dermatology
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Cardiology
  • Pediatrics

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. International students can sit for the IMAT exam at the nearest test center. The IMAT is an important criterion for selection into medicine programs at the public universities in Italy. Private universities have separate admission tests.

Students who wish to study single-cycle medical programs must have completed their high school. Subject requirements include Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics.

There are currently thirteen universities offering single-cycle medicine programs for international students. These degrees are recognized worldwide.