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For Students

Studying Medicine in Italy

Studying medicine in Italy provides an exceptional opportunity to receive quality medical education and enjoy the Italian lifestyle that never sleeps, day or night. As with any major decision, it is important to conduct comprehensive research and ensure that studying in Italy aligns with your long-term career and personal goals.

Italy boasts a large number of internationally recognized medical universities renowned for their quality and research focus. The oldest continuously operating university in the world, the University of Bologna, is located in Italy and houses a reputable medical college.

Other prominent institutions include the University of Milan, Sapienza University of Rome, and the University of Padua. These universities offer rigorous medical study opportunities in Italy, advanced research prospects, and practical experience in well-equipped hospitals.

Language of Studying Medicine in Italy:

Traditionally, the language of instruction in Italian universities has been Italian. However, with the recognition of medical internationalization, many universities now offer medical degrees taught in English, particularly at the postgraduate level.

Therefore, while knowledge of the Italian language may enhance your overall experience, it is not necessary for your studies.

See Also: Study Medicine in France

Admission Process:

Gaining admission to study medicine in Italy can be highly competitive. Students are required to take the International Medical Admissions Test (IMAT), a subject-specific exam designed to assess the competence and skills of medical students.

The test covers a range of subjects, including biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and general knowledge.

Applications are typically submitted online through the university portal, managed by the Ministry of Education, Universities, and Research (MIUR). Additionally, many universities may have specific application requirements, so it is essential to check the guidelines of each university.

Medical Curriculum in Italy

The medical curriculum for obtaining a degree in medicine in Italy is similar to the structure of medical programs in many other European countries. Typically, the bachelor’s degree in medicine, known as “Laurea in Medicina e Chirurgia,” takes six years to complete and includes a combination of theoretical studies, practical sessions, and internal training. After the six-year degree, students must complete the state exam to obtain full medical licensure.

Specialization in medical studies usually continues in postgraduate education, such as residencies, which can range from three to six years depending on the field of study. This period includes both theoretical education and practical training.

Tuition Fees and Cost of Living

Compared to countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, or Australia, the cost of studying medicine in Italy is reasonable. Tuition fees vary in government universities and range from around 900 euros to 4,000 euros per academic year. Private universities can be more expensive, with tuition fees reaching up to 20,000 euros annually.

The cost of living in Italy can vary depending on the city, with major urban areas like Rome and Milan being more expensive. On average, students may spend between 700 to 1,000 euros per month on accommodation, food, transportation, and other personal expenses.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Many universities in Italy offer scholarships for international students, either based on merit or need. The Italian government provides several scholarships for foreign students. Additionally, European Union students may qualify for the same student funding available to Italian students.

Life and Culture in Italy

Studying in Italy not only offers high-quality education but also provides a rich cultural experience. Italy is renowned for its love of life (“la dolce vita”) and is home to a variety of UNESCO World Heritage sites, world-class arts, museums, and a captivating history spanning thousands of years. Not to mention, the experience of tasting Italian cuisine is bound to captivate any international student.

Pros and Cons of Studying Medicine in Italy

Studying medicine in Italy, like any other country, has its advantages and disadvantages. Below, we will outline some of the key pros and cons to help prospective students make an informed decision.


Quality of Education: Italian universities are globally recognized for their high educational standards. Medical programs often include extensive practical experience, and many universities are leaders in medical research.

Affordability: Compared to countries like the United States or the United Kingdom, studying medicine in Italy can be significantly more affordable. This extends to tuition fees and the cost of living, especially in smaller cities.

Culture and Lifestyle: Italy offers a rich cultural experience, with an abundance of history, art, and world-renowned cuisine. This can greatly enhance the overall study experience.

Language: While Italian remains the primary language of instruction, many universities now offer courses in English, making it easier for international students to study there.

International Recognition: A medical degree from Italy is usually recognized and respected worldwide, making it easier to find employment or pursue further educational opportunities globally.


Competitive Admission: Securing a place in an Italian medical school can be highly competitive, especially for international students. The required International Medical Admissions Test (IMAT) is notoriously challenging.

Language Barrier: While there are programs taught in English, a significant number of courses are taught in Italian, particularly at the university level. This can be a hurdle for those who do not have proficiency in the language. Additionally, daily life and clinical experiences can be difficult without a basic understanding of Italian.

Duration of Study: Medical programs in Italy are longer compared to some other countries. A Bachelor’s degree typically takes six years, and specialization can add an additional three to six years.
Bureaucracy: Italy is known for its complex bureaucracy, which can make processes like application, visa procurement, and finding accommodation for international students somewhat challenging.

Variable Cost of Living: Despite being generally affordable, the cost of living can vary significantly. Major cities like Rome or Milan can be expensive.

Balancing these pros and cons is essential for any student considering studying medicine in Italy. It is important to evaluate personal preferences, career goals, and financial considerations in light of these factors.

Best Medical Universities in Italy

Italy is renowned for its high-quality medical education, and many of its universities are globally recognized for their academic excellence and research contributions. Here are some of the best medical universities in Italy based on global rankings and reputation in the field:

University of Bologna

Founded in 1088, the University of Bologna is the oldest university in the Western world. It offers high-quality medical and healthcare education with a focus on research and practical experience.

Sapienza University of Rome

One of the largest universities in Europe, Sapienza offers a variety of courses in medicine and psychology. The university collaborates with several hospitals in Rome for clinical training.

University of Milan

As one of the most prestigious universities in Italy, the Medical School at the University of Milan is known for its rigorous medical programs and innovative research.

University of Padua

The Medical and Surgical School at the University of Padua is highly esteemed, particularly for its research contributions. It offers a 6-year medical and surgical course taught in English, designed for international students.

University of Pisa

This university is renowned for its research focus in medicine. The Medical and Surgical School offers a variety of programs, including a single-cycle degree in medicine and surgery taught in English.

University of Turin

This university has a good reputation in medical education. The Medical and Surgical School offers programs that combine theory, specialized medical training, and internal training in healthcare facilities.

Study medicine in Italy in English

With the increasing demand for medical programs taught in English over the years, many Italian universities have started offering such courses, especially for international students. Here are some Italian universities that offer medical programs in English:

  1. University of Bologna
  2. Sapienza University of Rome
  3. University of Milan
  4. University of Padua
  5. University of Pisa
  6. Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan

It is important to note that although these programs are taught in English, learning the Italian language can be beneficial for your clinical practice and overall living experience in Italy. Many universities offer Italian language courses to assist international students.

Private Universities in Italy

Italy is home to a number of private universities that offer medical education in English and attract students from around the world. Here are a few of them:

  1. Humanitas University in Milan
    Humanitas University, also known as Hunimed, offers a degree in Medicine and Surgery taught in English. They focus on integrating clinical and scientific education. The university is part of the larger Humanitas Group, one of Italy’s renowned healthcare providers.
  2. Catholic University of Rome
    The Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore offers a program for obtaining a degree in Medicine and Surgery in Italy, which is taught in English. The course is designed to prepare students for a career in medicine, with a particular focus on European and international contexts.
  3. Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan
    This university provides an international medical program in Italy, which is entirely taught in English. Their teaching methods emphasize direct contact with patients from the first year of study.
  4. International Medical School at the University of Naples Federico II, Naples
    Private universities generally impose higher tuition fees compared to public universities. However, they often provide additional resources, facilities, and sometimes smaller class sizes.

The costs of studying medicine in Italy in the English language

Here are the approximate Italy medical university fees for medical programs taught in English at various Italian universities:

Average Tuition Fees (per year):

  • University of Bologna: 3,000 – 5,000 euros
  • Sapienza University of Rome: 1,000 – 2,500 euros
  • University of Milan: 600 – 4,000 euros
  • University of Padua: 2,600 – 5,600 euros
  • University of Pisa: 2,500 – 5,000 euros
  • Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan: 15,000 – 20,000 euros

You should also consider additional costs such as living expenses, books, and health insurance when budgeting for your medical education in Italy. It’s always advisable to check the specific tuition fee information on the official websites of the universities for the most accurate information.

Costs of studying medicine in Italy in Italian

Here are the approximate Italy medical university fees for medical programs taught in the Italian language at various Italian universities.

Average Tuition Fees (per year):

  • University of Bologna: 900 – 3500 euros
  • Sapienza University of Rome: 1000 – 2800 euros
  • University of Milan: 900 – 3900 euros
  • University of Padua: 900 – 3500 euros
  • University of Pisa: 900 – 3500 euros
  • University of Turin: 1000 – 2800 euros

What is the IMAT admission test for medical schools in Italy?

The International Medical Admissions Test (IMAT) is a proficiency test used as part of the admission process for some Italian universities, particularly those offering medical degrees in English. The test was developed by the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) in collaboration with the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing service.

Here are some key features of IMAT:

Content: The test assesses knowledge and skills in areas such as biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, general knowledge, and logical thinking. It consists of 60 multiple-choice questions divided into four sections:

  • Section 1: Logical Reasoning and General Knowledge (12 questions)
  • Section 2: Biology (18 questions)
  • Section 3: Chemistry (12 questions)
  • Section 4: Physics and Mathematics (18 questions)

Duration: IMAT lasts for 100 minutes. It is a paper-based test usually conducted once a year, typically in September.

Scoring: Each correct answer is awarded 1.5 points, each incorrect answer deducts 0.4 points, and unanswered questions receive 0 points. The maximum possible score is 90 points.

Registration and Fees: Registration for IMAT is done online, usually from late June to late July. The test administration fee is 165 euros, but it is always advisable to check the official website for current information.

Test Centers: The test can be taken in several countries around the world, not just in Italy. This makes it convenient for international students to take the test.

Preparation: The best way to prepare for the IMAT test is to review recommended textbooks and practice previous papers. There are also many online resources and courses available to assist with preparation.

Remember that achieving a high score in IMAT is crucial to ensure admission to Italian medical schools. It is recommended to prepare well in advance to increase your chances of success. Always check the official IMAT and university websites for the latest and most accurate information.

Test Venue and Costs:

The International Medical Admissions Test (IMAT) is usually conducted at multiple test centers worldwide, including Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. This wide range of locations makes it convenient for candidates regardless of their geographical location.

The registration fee for IMAT is typically 165 euros. However, the costs may vary slightly depending on the test center’s location due to local taxes or currency exchange rates.

It should be noted that the fees and test centers are subject to change each year, so it is important to check the latest information on the official IMAT website or the university you are applying to.

Remember to register for the test on time as test centers can fill up quickly, and late registration is usually not allowed. Also, prepare thoroughly for the test to increase your chances of securing a place at your desired university.

Medical Specialization

The process of medical specialization in Italy involves a complex and highly organized journey that spans several years of study and training. This article will outline the general process of medical specialization in Italy, providing insight into the program structure, application process, lifestyle, and expectations of the trainee.

Structure of Medical Specialization

The process of medical specialization in Italy, known as “Residenza medica,” typically takes between four to six years, depending on the chosen specialization. This period of specialized training follows a six-year university medical program. The Italian medical specialization system offers a wide range of options, including over 50 different specialties ranging from general surgery and internal medicine to more specialized fields such as sports medicine and nuclear medicine.

During this period, graduates of medicine, now referred to as residents, receive practical training under the supervision of experienced specialists in their chosen field. They divide their time between patient care, conducting research, and participating in academic courses. The academic courses usually include lectures, seminars, and workshops that provide theoretical understanding of the specialization, while the practical training exposes residents to a variety of medical cases.

Application and Admission

The journey towards medical specialization begins with the state examination, also known as “abilitazione alla professione,” which grants medical graduates the license to practice medicine. After that, aspiring specialists must compete in a national competitive exam (“concorso”) to gain admission to specialized schools.

The competitive exam consists of multiple-choice questions, testing general medical knowledge and specific knowledge related to the chosen specialization. The ranking in this exam is highly important as it determines the possibility of choosing among different schools and specialties.

Training and Lifestyle

Medical specialization in Italy is rigorous and demanding, but highly rewarding. Residents typically work long hours, including frequent night shifts and on-call duties. However, they gain invaluable experience by closely working with patients and managing complex medical cases.

In addition to their hospital duties, residents are expected to engage in research and contribute to scientific publications in their field. These research efforts often culminate in the publication of papers in peer-reviewed medical journals.

Despite the intensive workload, resident doctors in Italy receive compensation for their efforts. The compensation increases with each year of specialization, and although it may not compare to the earnings of a fully qualified physician, it helps alleviate financial pressures during this training period.

The process of medical specialization in Italy is an intense journey of academic study, practical training, and personal development. It provides an excellent opportunity to learn from some of the best minds in medicine and gain hands-on experience in patient care. However, it requires a high level of commitment, flexibility, and dedication.

Upon successfully completing the program, medical specialists in Italy are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to provide high-quality care to patients in their chosen field. The path may be challenging, but the personal and professional rewards are profound.


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