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Study Medicine In France

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Study Medicine in France

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In fact, study medicine in France within French universities is an important opportunity for all students in this field, as it is evident that France represents a real destination for more than 18,000 students annually from different nationalities.

Medical studies in France are characterized by practical application as well as theoretical study.

Moreover, France is one of the few countries with a long history of medical excellence. Approximately 80 medical achievements and discoveries were first made in France, leading to 13 French citizens being awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology.

However, France has become a good destination for foreign students who aspire to become doctors. If you are one of them, here is everything you need to know about how you can study medicine in France.

Duration of Medical Study in France

The duration of studying medicine in France differs depending on the medical professionals. It takes 9 years for general medical practitioners to complete their studies. On the other hand, it takes 10 to 12 years for other specialists such as surgeons or pediatricians.

In the first and second years of studying medicine in France, students become familiar with the basic medical sciences. After the third year, students move on to learn more practical aspects, and the clinical stage begins in the fourth year and beyond.

Each academic year in France is divided into two semesters: the first semester and the second semester. The first semester consists of a specific number of subjects within a period of no more than 4 months, and the same applies to the second semester of each year.

In the fourth year and beyond in the medical study years in France, students transition to hospitals for training and to get closer to clinical medical life. Therefore, studying medicine in France becomes an enjoyable experience during the years following the third medical academic year.

See Also: Study Medicine in Germany

Requirements for studying medicine in France:

The primary requirement for studying medicine in France is a high school diploma. All students wishing to study medicine in France are required to have a baccalaureate (high school) diploma with an excellent grade. The student must also have a basic knowledge of scientific subjects. This means that to study medicine in France, the student must have a high school diploma in the scientific track only.

In some countries where the curriculum is taught in French, such as Morocco, Tunisia, or Africa in general, students are exempted from French language tests to enter medical universities in France. However, anyone whose teaching language is not French is required to pass French language tests in order to be able to pursue medical studies in France.

Other requirements may include good grades in specific subjects. For example, at the University of Nantes, applicants need to obtain good grades in life sciences, physics, chemistry, mathematics, French, and languages.

Documents required for application to the French Medical University:

  1. A copy of your passport.
  2. Translated and authenticated copies of your certificates.
  3. Curriculum vitae (CV) or resume.
  4. Motivation letter.
  5. Recommendation letters.
  6. Certificates of experience or volunteering in the medical field or related scientific fields.
  7. French language certificates.

Is studying medicine in France difficult?

Studying medicine in France is highly selective. At the end of the first year, both local and international students need to pass an exam called PACES. This can be extremely challenging, as only about 10% of students pass the exam and continue to the second year of their medical studies.

However, there is another opportunity to take the PACES exam. Among the applicants for the second chance, approximately 20% succeed in the exam. Additionally, French medical universities offer preparatory courses for this exam.

What is the PACES medical exam?

The PACES exam, known as the “Première Année Commune aux Études de Santé” in French, is the entrance exam for medical schools in France and the beginning of medical studies.

Language of Studying Medicine in France

To study medicine in France, proficiency in the French language is required. Therefore, applicants to medical schools must obtain the DELF or DALF diploma, which is awarded by the French Ministry of Education to students who demonstrate language proficiency. The common level required for foreigners is C1 (fluent speaker).

Studying Medicine in France in English

Unfortunately, studying medicine in public universities in France is only available in French. Hence, mastering the French language is one of the main challenges for foreign students applying to study in France.

On the other hand, in order to attract international students from around the world, some private universities and medical schools offer educational programs in English. The cost of these programs varies from one university or school to another, depending on the specialization or academic level.

Cost of Studying Medicine in France

According to a study conducted by the National Association of Medical Students in France, students enrolled in the PACES pay an average of 6000 euros as registration fees, also known as annual tuition fees.

After conducting research for you, we found the following prices and costs for studying medicine in France in the following years:

  • Second year costs: 5000 euros
  • Third and fourth year costs: 3800 euros
  • Annual social security fee: 500 euros each year
  • Annual registration fee: 250 euros each year

French Medical Curriculum

The study of medicine in France is divided into three stages referred to as medical courses, and it takes at least nine years to complete.

First Course (PCEM)

The first course lasts for two academic years and is the same for all students studying medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing, and physiotherapy.

It is worth mentioning that students only have two opportunities to pass the first year. To succeed in the second year, they must pass a competitive examination at the end of the first year.

The maximum number of accepted foreign students from outside the European Union is limited to 8% of the total number of students. This is on the condition that the student’s grade is equivalent to or higher than the last accepted French student.

Second Course (DCEM)

The second course lasts for four years. In order to proceed to the third stage, fourth-year students must have successfully completed the second course and passed the theoretical exams.

In addition to verifying all training periods in hospitals and participating in seminars. After their success and based on their grades, students are entitled to pursue the specialization they desire.

Third Course (DES)

The third course includes two study programs: general medicine or other specialties, both of which enable you to obtain a diploma called “Diplôme d’Études Spécialisées” (DES).

After that, ambitious doctors can take two additional years of training in subspecialties. Through this experience, the student will be awarded a certificate called “DESC” or “Complementary Specialized Studies Certificate.”

To obtain a doctorate in medicine from French universities, also known as deep specialization, the student must submit their research thesis and successfully defend it.

Afterward, they can register with the Conseil National de l’Ordre des Médecins to obtain a license to practice medicine.

Top 6 Best Medical School in France

Now that you are familiar with the study requirements, it is time to search for the best French universities where you can enroll. Here is a list of the top medical schools in France along with their official websites.

Paris Descartes University

In fact, Paris Descartes Medical School is one of the foremost medical training and research units in France in terms of student and faculty numbers, research units, and outcomes.

The main mission of Paris Descartes Medical School is training, research, and the dissemination and exchange of knowledge. This is due to the fact that every teacher encourages the students’ curiosity, critical thinking, and creativity throughout their study sessions to enhance their knowledge.

Paris Descartes University website

Sorbonne University

On the other hand, the medical school at Sorbonne University aims to address health issues by promoting research in various specializations. In addition to training future doctors, it educates many healthcare professionals.

Sorbonne University website

Western Brittany University

The role of the Western Brittany University in medicine primarily lies in training healthcare professionals, including doctors as well as biologists.

Western Brittany University website

Montpellier-Nîmes Medical School

Established in the twelfth century, Montpellier-Nîmes Medical School is the oldest medical school practicing medicine in the world. It offers its students a wide range of medical study departments, from orthopedic surgery to speech therapy, in addition to other specializations.

Furthermore, studies in Montpellier or Nîmes continue in a well-equipped campus that combines tradition and modernity.

Approximately 177 degrees have been awarded in various disciplines (surgery, psychiatry, etc.).

Montpellier-Nîmes Medical School website

Strasbourg Medical School

Essentially, Strasbourg Medical School accommodates more than 40,000 students and over 4,000 researchers in several medical fields. The percentage of foreign students at the university is around 19.4% of the total student population.

Strasbourg Medical School website

Marseille Medical School

Since October 2018, it has become the Faculty of Medical Sciences and Medical Assistance (SMPM). The medical school covers various core and sub-specializations in medicine, medical sciences, rehabilitation sciences, as well as nursing sciences.

Research is a strong focus of the Marseille Medical School, which includes 16 research teams in various fields.

These areas include infectious diseases through the University Hospital Institute (IHU), genetics and oncology/immunology, human and social sciences, public health, medical imaging, and anthropobiology.

The medical school also brings together research teams in the field of neuroscience. Therefore, it creates a unique structure in one place and close to hospitals. With state-of-the-art infrastructure, the school aims to be the best in France.

Marseille Medical School website


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