Studying Medicine in Europe Vs USA: A comparative Analysis for Indian Students

With a stronghold in academics, the medical universities of Europe and the USA are leading the QS World Ranking 2019. Out of 500 medical institutions featured in medical school ranking, many are from Europe. Germany with 31 Universities ranked 2nd in the medical colleges ranking of QS.

Also, medical school ranking observed a total of 90 US institutions ranked, out of which 18 are in the global top 50, with 11 in the global top 100.

According to Open Doors data from the Institute of International Education or IIE, produced in association with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State, the number of Indian students in the US was 96,754 in 2012-13.

It increased by 6.1% to 102,673 in 2013-14, by 29.4% to 132,888 in 2014-15, by 24.9% to 165,918 in 2015-16, and by 12.3% to 186,267 in 2016-17.

Moreover, India has become the 3rd largest source of Schengen VISA Applications. Applications lodged in India have surpassed a total of a million. Almost 1,081,359 applications were filed in India for a short stay VISA to Schengen Nations in 2018, out of which 100,992 applications were rejected.

It was also found that the Medical Council of India (MCI) has issued 3,386 more eligibility certificates to foreign medical aspirants in 2018 than in 2017, a rise of about 24 percent.

Despite all, most of the aspiring candidates reject the option of studying abroad because of their misconception that since the fee structure of medical colleges in India is touching the sky then how will they be able to afford the cost of study in foreign universities. But such an assumption about the foreign medical colleges is not true. There are many countries offering medical courses at affordable fees along with favorable accommodation facilities. Not only this but the medical colleges in USA and Europe assist students in arranging and managing the finances with the help of scholarships.

Minimum eligibility criteria to study abroad

  • The age of the student should be 17 years plus on 31 December of the year in which he/she is planning to take admission abroad.
  • The student should be 12th pass with Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and English as compulsory subjects.
  • The minimum aggregate in PCB for General and SC/ST/OBC category students is 50% and 40% respectively.
  • NEET is compulsory to get admission in foreign medical universities for Indian students.

MBBS for Indian Students in Europe Vs USA

  • Admission Requirement to study Medicine in Europe and USA:

The eligibility criteria for admission to Europe and the USA are totally different. MCAT is mandatory to get admission to medicine in the USA while in European colleges no such test is necessary. But proficiency in the native language of the country is demanded by Europe.

Admission Requirements in USA

Admission Requirements in Europe

  • Undergraduate Academic Record (Bachelor’s Degree in Science)
  • Valid MCAT Score, if required
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Valid NEET Score
  • IELTS, TOFEL  (one which is required by the University)
  • 12th with 50% in PCB
  • Written or Oral Exam as per University Requirement
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Valid NEET Score
  • IELTS, TOFEL  (one which is required by the University)
  • Duration of Medical Study in USA and Europe:

The duration of the medical course is less in European countries in comparison to the USA. In USA, including residency, your course duration will stretch up to 10-11 years whereas in European countries the maximum duration is 6 years.

You can get an idea of the same from the table below:


Requirement of Undergraduate Degree

No. of years of UG degree (If Required)

Duration of Medical Course

Additional Speciality Training



4 Years

4 Years

3-7 years of residency

European Countries



6 Years


  • Cost Comparison

Students always search for good colleges with affordable fee structures. Apart from the tuition fees, there are other expenses that are important and need to be considered like Flight Tickets, VISA fees, Study Material, Transport, etc. The cost comparison of major expenses are:



In Europe

Approximate Tuition Fees



Living Expenses

$10,000-15,000 per year

$8000-9000 per year

  • VISA Process:

USA Student VISA:

Students have to apply for the F-1 VISA for an undergraduate course with a duration of 18 hours of study time in a week. Moreover, students are supposed to fulfil all the formalities to get this VISA as mentioned below:

  • Currently, the cost of F-1 VISA is $350 with a VISA application fee of $160
  • A valid passport with a validity of at least 6 months
  • Copy of Online Application Form
  • I-20 form copy sent by the college in which you had applied
  • VISA fees payment confirmation copy
  • Last 3 years bank statement to prove that you have enough funds to sponsor your study in the USA
  • Salary Slips, if any
  • Original mark sheets
  • Scorecard of NEET, IELTS, etc whichever is required to take admission

Europe Student VISA:

A Student Schengen Visa is granted to third-country nationals wishing to enter Schengen Nations, who want to remain for short-stays in any of the member states, for the purpose of studying.

  • 2 VISA application forms, fully filled and signed at the end.
  • 2 identical photos
  • A valid passport with a validity period of at least 3 months after the end of the planned journey.
  • A copy of passports biometric data
  • Previous passports, if any
  • Proof of residency
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Proof of accommodation in Europe
  • Letter of acceptance from the college in which you have applied
  • Proof of previous academic qualifications
  • Proof of Finances
  • Proof of paid VISA fees
  • Post Study Work Permit


  • Students can work after the completion of their study program and gain practical knowledge through OPT.
  • It is temporary employment permission, which gives an opportunity for students to get practical knowledge.
  • The duration of OPT is 12 months and once you get the Employment Authorization Document then you can start your employment.


If a student has completed his/her study program from Germany then the following steps need to be followed to get a Post-study work permit.

  • Students have to apply for a residence permit on the completion of their course.
  • 18 months residence permit will be given to students to search for a job or for employment in a field related to their qualifications.
  • Students have to apply separately for a resident permit, do not mix it up with the study VISA application process.
  • Top colleges offering Medical Study Programs

According to the QS ranking 2019 Top Medical Colleges in USA:



Harvard University


Stanford University


Johns Hopkins University


University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)


Yale University


Massachusetts Institute


According to the QS ranking 2019 Top Medical Colleges in Europe:

In Europe, Germany with 31 Universities became the 2nd most entrant in the medical colleges ranking of QS.



Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin


Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg


Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München


Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


A medical degree from a foreign university is highly valued in India because the curriculum followed by the foreign universities is more industry-oriented and practical based, which helps the students in terms of understanding the work culture and pressure. By comparing the medical colleges of USA and Europe we can clearly find a lot of differences in eligibility requirements, fee structure, duration, other external factors like climate, culture, language etc, but the standard of high-quality education is maintained by the medical colleges in both i.e. Europe and USA. Students must carefully analyze and weigh the options and choose as per their suitability.

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