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Study medicine and help people

Doctors are in particular demand during the current corona pandemic. We present the key facts about studying medicine in Germany.

Johannes Göbel, 27.10.2020
Budding doctor: a demanding degree course offering many opportunities
Budding doctor: a demanding degree course offering many opportunities © picture alliance / Zoonar

How are students admitted to degrees in medicine in Germany?

The courses are heavily oversubscribed: each year, some 45,000 applications are submitted for one of the 9,000 or so available places to study medicine in Germany. The grade achieved in the applicant’s university entrance qualification plays an important role: 30 percent of students are selected according to their performance in their final school exams. 60 percent of students are chosen by the universities themselves on the basis of an aptitude test specific to the subject of the degree course in question. This takes into account at least two criteria that have nothing to do with school grades, such as a completed course of vocational training or a recognised professional activity. The remaining ten percent of applicants are picked on the basis of an “additional aptitude quota”: this likewise gives consideration to practical experience, e.g. in nursing care or laboratory work; selection interviews or prizes in science competitions can also play a part.

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Where can medicine be studied in Germany?

Around 40 universities across Germany offer a degree in human medicine, including the world-famous Charité University Hospital in Berlin, where the Freie Universität and the Humboldt-Universität Berlin collaborate. The MeCuM International programme at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich offers students particular opportunities: as well as taking a conventional semester abroad, they can additionally complete modules in clinical practice at over 60 partner universities around the world. The degree course on offer at Germany’s oldest university in Heidelberg is also outstanding: in the current ranking of the Centre for Higher Education (CHE), it achieved among the best scores in every category.

Heidelberg University Hospital: rich in tradition and fit for the future
Heidelberg University Hospital: rich in tradition and fit for the future © picture alliance/dpa

What form does a medical degree take in Germany?

The relevance to clinical practice is increasing all the time: four semesters of foundation courses are followed by six semesters of the main degree course. Subsequently a practical year is spent in surgery, internal medicine and one elective area, during which students extend their knowledge of the doctor’s profession in daily hospital routine. Once students have passed the final oral and practical medical exams, they receive their licence to practise.

International students can also find comprehensive information about studying medicine on the website of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)


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