Best International Medical Schools in Italy (2019 comparison)


What are the best international medical schools in 2019 in Italy? Knowing how the top medical schools in Italy compare is crucial if you are planning to take the IMAT in 2019. We therefore gathered all the most important facts and numbers for you here, so that you could make the best choice when it comes to medical school ranking, minimum entry IMAT score, tuition fees and living expenses and even the teaching activity – to see which are the best medical schools for YOU.

After you’re done reading, you should also consider checking out our students’ review page to see what current students say about each university! The page is continuously being updated, so come back every now and then to see if someone else wrote something new.

In this page you will find, for each Italian Medical School offering an English course, a list comparing IMAT rankings, tuition fees and costs of living in Italy, the medical education offered and the international rankings!

The best part?

All the info is updated to 2019 so it even includes the new dentistry course in English at the University of Siena, making this the most complete source of data online. Read further for all the tips and news.

Minimum IMAT admission scores


Understanding how to prepare for IMAT is never easy. Not all medical schools are born the same – there are huge differences in how difficult it can be to enter one medical school in Italy compared to another. The difference in competition levels between each university is large, making it so that with the same IMAT score you can get a sure place or fail entering altogether – just based on which medical school you have chosen.

Confusing, isn’t it? Stay with us and it won’t be.

One thing you must know before sending in your application is how competitive the university you have chosen is, especially for non-EU students. There is no fixed IMAT passing score, but it all depends on how many students apply to the same university as you, and how well they perform at the IMAT.

What follows is that, firstly, you cannot foresee what the minimum IMAT entry score will be next year, because it always changes as a function of these two factors; and secondly, if you score the same number of points you may or may not pass depending on which university you chose. But we’ll say more about this later.

In the next table you can find the number of seats available at each university, for EU and non-EU respectively: the figures are all different but the main feature is that almost all universities offer slighlty more seats to EU citizens than they do for non-EU, with ratios on average between 60%-40% and 75%-25%; one important exception is Napoli SUN which reserved 52 places out of 60 to non-EU students!

The number of seats however doesn’t say anything about how competitive each Medical School in Italy is. So what’s the real deal?

The last two rows of the table tell you which IMAT scores would have been sufficient for you to be admitted at each university during the first round of IMAT 2018. As you can see, scores differ wildly for non-EU, while they’re quite similar for EU students. The fact that non-EU students can choose only one university while the EU can express more choices makes the matter even more complicated.

Practically speaking, what are the easiest and hardest med schools in Italy to get in?

If you’re a EU student, we found that the 3 universities with the lowest entry scores are the University of Messina (44.2), Bari medical school (44.7), and Napoli SUN (45.6). If you’re looking for some challenge (or you chose one medical school in particular) the ones with the highest entry score are IMS Milan (52.2), University of Bergamo – Bicocca (50.3) and the University of Bologna (49.2).

If you’re non-EU, the ranking doesn’t present a lot of differences: the university with the lowest IMAT minimum score is Napoli SUN (18.7), followed by Bari medical school, Napoli Federico II and the University of Rome – Tor Vergata (all tied at 30.8). The highest scores required are for the University of Bologna (48.6), IMS Milan (45.7) and the university of Rome – La Sapienza (44).

What does this all mean?

Once again, the numbers refer to the minimum score required to be admitted on the first round. If you applied for the 2018 IMAT test and you scored 50 points as a non-EU, you could be certain that you would be accepted in any medical school of your choice.

Otherwise, if you scored less than the figures you see on the table, you could still be admitted, but only if the people who are above you in the IMAT ranking list gave up their seats. It happens, so never lose hope, and keep checking the rankings as they proceed!

Now you’re probably thinking that you just have to make sure to score more points than showed in the table in order to obtain a seat, aren’t you? But here’s the catch:

As we already said, these numbers change every year, so you can never know what the IMAT minimum score will be next year. For example, you can take a look at the 2016 scores and see how different they are! The difficulty of the test and questions can’t be known in advance, therefore you cannot be sure that a certain number of points corresponds to a certain position in the ranking.

Furthermore, you should not base your choice entirely on how easy it is to get in. There are several other variables involved, and we’re here to guide you through the process of deciding which are the best medical schools in Italy – for you!

Scroll down to take a look at the different cities where you might be studying one year from now.

Oh, and one last thing! If everything you said so far made you think that IMAT 2019 will be really competitive and you wish to expand your choices, perhaps you’d wish to take a look at the private international medical schools in Italy, like Unicamillus!

CriteriaPavia HarveyIMS MilanRome SapienzaRome T.V.Napoli Federico IINapoli SUN/ Campania LVBariTurinBolognaBergamo (Bicocca)MessinaSiena (dentistry)
Places for EU (2018)60343520158227050253526
Places for non-
EU (2018)
Minimal IMAT score EU, first-round entry 201849.152.247.446.646.245.644.747.349.250.344.245.8
Minimal IMAT non-EU, first-round entry 201843.845.74430.830.818.730.831.348.633.634.715.90


Italian Medical Schools – the Cities


Choosing a university is not only about which are the best international medical schools in Italy. You’re choosing a city where you’ll live for the next six years of your life, so you need to think about the kind of place that suits you best. Luckily for you, we at MEDschool.it are always here to give you every small bit of information there is.

First of all, what are the options?

Three words: Italy, beautiful Italy. This country is characterized by huge differences between the North and the South, the plains and the seaside, the mainland and the islands; and you can find an international medical school in each of these sites!

Our next table gives you an overview of the different cities where the Italian medical schools are located. Now think of your ideal destination, and we’ll take you there.

Do you see yourself in a small, student-friendly city? Then Pavia might be your thing, with its 70.000 souls, of whom almost one third are students; this university was the first one to offer the chance of studying medicine in English.

Perhaps you’d rather live in a big, metropolitan city: the International Medical School in Milan is in the pulsating heart of the Italian economy, Lombardy. It’s one of the richest and more advanced cities in Italy. If on the other hand you want a more “classic” feeling, there are two universities (La Sapienza and Tor Vergata) in Rome, the Italian capital and most populous city, with its beautiful monuments and history.

But that’s not it:

Say you want to live in a large city, with museums and a plenty of sightseeing spots… but on the seaside! Impossible, right?

Wrong! Moving South, there are two med schools in the Naples area (Federico II and SUN/Luigi Vanvitelli); you may want to consider it if you’re more accustomed to warmer climates and going to the beach during the weekend.

You’ll find similar landscapes, but in smaller, more accessible cities, if you send your application to other universities such as Messina and Bari Medical School. Among the newer cities hosting medicine in English courses you can find also Turin, Bergamo and Bologna.

As a final note, if your goal is to study dentistry in Italy in English, the only course available so far is at the University of Siena, a small student city surrounded by the picturesque hills of Tuscany.

Bottom line:

The best international medical schools in Italy are also the ones where you can live a happy and rewarding life. Take some time and explore the alternatives and make sure you also know something about the city you will move to. If you wish to have some “inside information”, you may also wish to check our students’ blogs, where some of the students from different universities post their personal experiences from the different Italian universities.

Or just keep reading! We still have a lot of exploring to do.


CriterionPavia HarveyIMS MilanRome La SapienzaRome Tor VergataNaples Federico IINaples SUNBariTurinBolognaBergamo (Bicocca)MessinaSiena (dentistry)
Approximate city population70,0001,350,0002,850,0002,850,000960,000 (Naples)75,000 (Caserta)320,000870,000390,000120,000 230,00055,000
Region of ItalyLombardy (north)Lombardy (north)Lazio (middle)Lazio (middle)Campania (southwest)Campania (southwest)Apulia (southeast)Piedmont (north-west)Emilia-Romagna (north-east)Lombardy (north)Sicily (south)Tuscany (center-north)
GDP per capita (2018)€24,000€50,000€34,500€34,500€18,000€15,000€20,000€30,000€39,000€30,500€17,000€30,500
European Regional Human Development Index Ranking 2012146146184184255255243169148146258156

Tuition Fees, Costs of Living, and Financing


If you’re still wondering whether you should apply for a medical school in Italy, our next table may help you settle the matter. With respect to several other universities offering medicine in English courses, studying in Italy is ridiculously cheap.

On one hand, not only are tuition fees at most of a few thousand euros per year (Rome Tor Vergata and the University of Pavia being the highest, at 5,200 and 4,500 respectively), but actually the taxes you pay are almost always lower than the maximum because they’re adjusted on the basis of your family’s income and possessions.

The minimum fee, on the other hand, is even less than 200 euros for most of the universities. These actually are no tuition fees but a regional tax that everyone has to pay, because several students will be able to obtain a scholarship while at the same time not paying any fee.

And check this out:

Some of the univerisities offer different tax regimens to Italian and foreign students, with the foreign students’ taxation being generally lower than for Italian students. Furthermore you will most likely have even greater chances of winning a scholarship and paying next to no taxes! Everything is based on an indicator named ISEE; you can find more information on this page by the University of Milan.

You can find the maximum amount of taxes you can pay in our table just below, only take into account that the actual data are quite hard to find so they might not be 100% correct – but they shouldn’t be too far from the truth either!

Is this all?

No, it’s not! Because if you read through our table you will notice another great perk of studying medicine in Italy. Forget London, Dublin, New York: accommodation in Italy is not at all expensive when compared to other countries.

Prices are of course variable depending on your needs, but if you were to rent a student room in a shared apartment (which is the most common type of accommodation for students here) in Rome, which is the capital of Italy, you will end up spending on average less than 500 euros per month!

Neat, right?

Furthermore, smaller cities like Pavia or Bari offer rooms for 200-250 euros. Also in Siena, where you can study Dentistry in English, the cost for a room per month is around 300 euros. This is something we like very much about the Italian universities, because it makes studying medicine accessible to a large slice of the population irrespectively of the economic conditions.

It’s not free, but very few countries do better than this.

One little heads up we feel like we have to give you is about the situation in Bologna: currently there are very few rooms available in the city and the students are having a hard time finding one. Our advice is to look for accommodation as soon as possible, otherwise you might have to spend several weeks waiting for a room to become free.

Finally, another nice feature about this system which offers reduction in tuition fees on the basis of the income (you can find more info here), is that it includes meals at the university canteen – or, as they’re called in Italian, mensa.

Prices and details vary between the different universities, but for a few euros (4-5 in most of the cases), you can have a full meal every day. And if you have obtained a scholarship, the meal is often free.

Take some time to consider also the cost of living and the fees when deciding which are the best medical schools in Italy in your opinion; you can also find some more information about financing your studies one of our pages. However, if you’re all about rankings and education quality, the next section might be the right one for you.

Note: the “average expenses” per month indicates how much you’re going to spend for living, rent included


CriteriaPavia HarveyIMS MilanRome SapienzaRome T.V.Napoli Federico IINapoli SUNBariTurinBolognaBergamo (Bicocca)MessinaSiena (dentistry)
Tuition fee minimum (€/year)156156400156510137136196156156236156
Tuition fee maximum (€/year) - Italians446037352925525026002710202528053410352019052690
Tuition fee maximum (€/year) - Foreigners 4656
Rent of a room (singola) (€/month)260400450450300350220300400300240300
Average expenses (€/month)700800800800650650450750800700500500
Mensa full meal (€/meal)3-7 (income-based)3.302.20-7.70 (income-based)2.20-7.70 (income-based)2-3 (income-based)2-3 (income-based)3-6 (income-based)2.50-5.60 (income-based)5.801.05 (hospital canteen)1.50-6 (income-based)2.80-4.50 (income-based)
Buses etc (€/year)15200 if <26y
300 if >26y
250 (income-based)250 (income-based)180 (income-based)180 (income-based70158-258 (income-based)18020030200-250 (income-based)
Beer in Bar (€/0.5L)44.50554.54.53.554.54.543
Unemployment (%) 20176.
Regional poverty (%)

Italian Medical Schools Ranking


This next section takes into account a number of domestic and international rankings updated to 2019, trying to define which are the best medical schools in Italy. We at MEDschool.it advise you against making your choice solely on the basis of one of these rankings because, as you can see, the results and the methodologies differ vastly for every institute.

If you wish, you can read more regarding this in one of our posts.

For example, according to domestic (Censis) rankings, Pavia medical school is the best in Italy, whereas QS World University Rankings puts the IMS Milan in the first position with Pavia several positions behind. Obviously there are some universities which are recognized unanimously to be among the top ones, such as the University of Bologna or Bergamo Bicocca, but a clear-cut decision cannot be made on this basis.

If you are considering sitting for the IMAT 2019, we believe that you’d be better off making a choice according to other parameters, but we’re here to give you all the information you might need and guide you through this process step by step.

For that, the next section will take you inside the practical aspects of the teaching in the various medical schools in English in Italy.

Scroll down to know more about the Italian teaching activity, in practice.


Ranking OrganizationU. of PaviaU. of MilanU. of Rome - La SapienzaU. of Rome - Tor VergataU. Naples - Federico IISecond U. of NaplesU. of BariU. of TurinU. of BolognaU. of Bergamo (Bicocca)U. of MessinaU. of Siena (dentistry)

Censis-La Repubblica newspaper 2018 - medicine and surgery

1 in Italy10 in Italy24 in Italy27 in Italy35 in Italy36 in Italy19 in Italy14 in Italy3 in Italy2 in Italy23 in Italynot ranked

US News & World Report, 2018 - clinical medicine

13 in Italy, 263 worldwide1 in Italy, 71 worldwide5 in Italy, 141 worldwide14 in Italy, 279 worldwide6 in Italy, 178 worldwide28 in Italy, 520 worldwide20 in Italy, 390 worldwide3 in Italy, 123 worldwide2 in Italy, 94 worldwide8 in Italy, 194 worldwidenot ranked18 in Italy, 349 worldwide

QS World University Rankings, 2018 - life sciences and medicine

10 in Italy, 291 worldwide1 in Italy, 79 worldwide4 in Italy, 139 worldwide11 in Italy, 295 worldwide8 in Italy, 229 worldwidenot ranked19 in Italy, 401-450 worldwide6 in Italy, 189 worldwide2 in Italy, 101 worldwide13 in Italy, 361 worldwidenot ranked21 in Italy, 451-500 worldwide

Academic Ranking of World Universities, 2018 - clinical medicine and pharmacy

201-300 worldwide101-150 worldwide151-200 worldwidenot ranked201-300 worldwidenot ranked201-300 worldwide151-200 worldwide101-150 worldwide201-300 worldwidenot ranked151-200 worldwide (dentistry)

Academic Ranking of World Universities, 2018 - all subjects

301-400 worldwide151-200 worldwide201-300 worldwidenot ranked201-300 worldwidenot rankednot ranked201-300 worldwide201-300 worldwide401-500 worldwide701-800 worldwide701-800 worldwide

Times Higher Education, 2019 - all subjects

401-500 worldwide301-350 worldwide251-300 worldwide401-500 worldwide401-500 worldwidenot ranked401-500 worldwide401-500 worldwide180 worldwide401-500 worldwidenot ranked351-400 worldwide

Medical Education in Italy


Let’s say now that you decided which cities you would like to live in, you made sure that you can afford to study there for six years, then in September you take the IMAT and you pass.

Wow, congratulations! Now what?

Many students reasonably focus only on IMAT; they wonder which are the exam dates, they want to look at past papers, they want to know how the scrolling works; in the end they know so much about the exam that even we don’t really know how to tell you something new.

And that’s fair, because you need to pass the IMAT to get into med school in Italy. However, just so you can make your decision an even more informed one, we present you with this last table, trying to describe how medical education in Italy works.

We interviewed students from several med schools and we managed to answer some of the questions which might influence your choice, such as:

  • …what is the class size?
  • …do students take oral or written exams?
  • …is attendance in lectures mandatory?
  • …do students have the possibility for cadaver work?
  • …has the school announced it is applying for California accreditation, to facilitate US residencies after graduation?

One thing you might want to know is that unlike many other countries, Italian professors like to assess the knowledge of students via oral examinations rather than written ones. The universities with fewer oral exams, if you do not like that sort of testing method, appear to be Pavia, Milan, and Bicocca.

Most of the universities in Europe provide a maximum number of shots at an exam, after which students must repeat the year. This is on average not true in Italy, where often you can repeat an exam as many times as you wish. Only in Pavia medical school there is an actual limit of three times per examination.

Attendance to class is in most of the cases compulsory, with on average 70% of presence required, so take this into account when you plan your future studies in Italy. Truth to be told, not all professors apply this rule, so it’s a case-by-case situation.

Now things get interesting:

On a regular basis we are asked if there is the possibility of studying anatomy on cadavers in Italy, with the wildest hypotheses being made about why it is prohibited and why it isn’t. That’s why we went and interviewed medical students from all universities with respect to this topic.

What’s the real deal?

It depends. Some Italian universities, such as IMS Milan and the University of Bologna, do in fact integrate anatomic studies into their curriculum. As opposed to these, Napoli SUN or Bergamo Bicocca make no mention of it throughout the course (at least so far).

Most other faculties allow students to assist to dissections made for legal or other purposes in their forensic medicine departments, but it will be up to you guys to understand where, when and how you can do it.


 IMS-MilanHarvey-PaviaIMS-Rome-La SapienzaRome-Tor Vergata Naples Fed. IINaples SUNBariTurinBolognaBergamo-BicoccaMessinaSiena (dentistry)
Class sizeabout 50about 100about 50about 30about 30about 60about 30about 100about 60about 30about 60about 30
Oral or written exams?Mostly written and oralOnly written*Mostly oral with some writtenMostly oral with few writtenMostly oral with few writtenMixedMixedMixedMostly written, some oralMostly oral, some writtenMixed
How many chances at tests?unlimited3*unlimitedunlimitedunlimitedunlimited?unlimitedunlimitedunlimited3
Mandatory attendance at lectures?Yes; 66%NoYes; 66%Yes; 66%Often; 75%Yes; 66%Yes, 75%Yes, 66%Yes, 70%Yes, 75%Yes, 75%
Possibility for cadaverYes (Year 1) - didactical post-mortem, integrated into academic programAutopsy observation only, independent of academic programSome demonstrations as part of AnatomyAutopsy observation only, independent of academic programNoneSome demonstrations as part of AnatomyNone, but there's a simulation labExtensive and ntegrated in course (Year 2) Nothing so farNothing so farNone
Which hospitals for clinical rotations?Spread around about 9 hospitals, mostly at PoliclinicoMostly at 1 hospital (San Matteo) with a few rotations at 2 other hospitals in PaviaMostly at Umberto I with some rotations at St. AndreaPoliclinico of Tor Vergata, Bambin Gesù hospital, and othersVecchio and Nuovo Policlinico, Cardarelli, Monaldi, MarcianiseMostly Policlinico Giovanni XXIII?Not yet availableClinica San Francesco and hospital Papa Giovanni XXIIISo far, Policlinico G. MartinoMost likely in Hospital Le Scotte
Foreign research affiliationsLeague of European Research UniversitiesCoimbra GroupNetwork of Universities from the Capitals of EuropeNetwork of Universities from the Capitals of EuropeOnly Erasmus+Only Erasmus+?Coimbra and several othersUniversity of SurreyOnly Erasmus+Coimbra and several others
Applying for California accreditation?YesNoNo? ??????/





We just presented you with a whole lot of information about IMAT and living in Italy, but what is the take-home message?

To wrap everything up, we want to show you a few graphs putting together some data regarding the most important points of this page, notably “What are the entry cutoffs for medicine in Italy in English?” and “What is the cost of living in Italy?”. Take a look.


Graph: Minimal IMAT score necessary for first-round entry into a medical school in 2018
Legend: EU-Candidates, Non-EU Candidates
Graph: Minimal and maximal tuition fees (€/year)

Legend: Minimal , Maximal

Graph: Price (€/month) of a room in a shared apartment


That was it, everyone! We hope you managed to find all the information you needed to find the best international medical schools in Italy for you. If you liked this page remember to subscribe to our newsletter in order to receive all the IMAT 2019 updates directly on your email and take one step further towards passing the IMAT.

Did we miss something? Do you have any request? Come to our Facebook page and ask us or the rest of the community. And if you know something we don’t, make sure to contact us through the link just below.

Study well, and good luck!


Can you help us complete some details above? Have corrections or ideas? Make sure to contact us!

Stefano Doria (Pavia)

Emergency medicine physician, graduated in Pavia. After going through six tough years of med school, I know how valuable information and encouragement can be; so here I am, trying to provide a bit of both with my posts.
Stefano Doria (Pavia)

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