What are the best international medical schools in 2021 in Italy? Which med-school has the best admission chances? Which are the highest ranked? Did COVID-19 affect the admission process?
Different schools are right for different people. We, therefore, gathered all the most important and relevant facts and numbers about all international medical schools in Italy for you here, so that you could make the most educated choice to when it comes to medical school ranking, minimum entry IMAT score, tuition fees and living expenses, and even curricular design – to see which are the best suited 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 lists comparing IMAT thresholds, tuition fees and costs of living in Italy, the medical education offered, and independent rankings for all the English-language Italian med schools!
COVID-19 – How are Italian universities getting along?
In the wake of the worldwide pandemic, a serious issue arose – a large portion of IMAT applicants and students accepted to English-taught Italian med schools are international students and most of them do not have the possibility to reside in Italy or even in Europe at the moment of writing this update.
Two major questions came up among candidates:
- Would IMAT be held? (for the year of 2020)
- In case you got accepted, would the academic year of 2020/2021 be affected by the COVID-19?
Lo and behold, the 2020 IMAT exam did indeed take place without any delay on September 10th, 2020 like every other year. The necessary sanitary precautions such as masks and distancing were taken and students who could not attend last minute were offered a full refund.
As per possible changes through out the academic year, the situation was incredibly quickly dealt with and in a matter of weeks – an efficient online modality was implemented which allowed for lectures, exams, and even practical cases to be conducted from the comfort of your home! Currently a mixed modality is taking place – students are free to choose between online and on-premises lectures.
Here’s what this means for IMAT 2021: based on the quick reaction the Italian authorities displayed last year, COVID-19 is unlikely to affect this year’s entrance exam. So buckle up and start preparing!
Minimum IMAT admission scores
There are huge differences in how difficult it can be to enter one Italian medical school compared to another. The difference in competition levels between each university is large, making it so that with the same IMAT score you can be sure to get into one medical school yet not even scratch the bare minimum passing threshold for another. So choosing the right medical schools can make the difference between getting in or having to skip a year.
One thing you must know before sending in your application is how competitive the universities you have chosen are, especially for non-EU students. There is no fixed IMAT passing score, because it all depends on how many students apply to the same university as you, how many places the university offers and how well the candidates perform on the IMAT.
What follows from this is that, firstly, you cannot foresee what the exact minimum IMAT entry score for each med-school will be next year, because it always changes as a function of these factors. Secondly, with the same IMAT score, 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 takeaway is that almost all universities offer slightly more seats to EU citizens than non-EU, with ratios on average between 60%-40% and 75%-25%. There is an important exception in this trend, however, in some of the southern universities: Campania Luigi Vanvitelli reserves an equal number of seats for EU and non-EU (40 each), as well as Messina (38 each). Napoli Federico II, on the other hand, is the only university to reserve more non-EU (25) spots than EU (15)!
The total number of seats, however, doesn’t say much about how competitive each medical school in Italy is. So what does?
The last two rows of the table tell you which minimal IMAT score would have been sufficient for you to be admitted at each university during the first and sixth admissions round of 2019. The fact that non-EU applicants can effectively choose only one university (although they list three), while EU applicants can put down more choices, makes the matter even more complicated.
These numbers change every year, so you can never know what the IMAT minimum score will be for the 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 soon.
If everything we’ve said so far made you think that IMAT can be really competitive and you wish to expand your choices, perhaps you’d like to take a look at the private international medical schools in Italy, like UniCamillus, Humanitas, the Cattolica, or San Raffaele!
|Criteria||Pavia Harvey||IMS Milan||Rome Sapienza||Rome Tor Vergata||Napoli Federico II||Napoli SUN/ Campania LV||Bari||Turin||Bologna||Bergamo (Bicocca)||Messina||Padua||Siena (dentistry)|
|Places for non-EU, 2019||35 (+5 Marco Polo)||16||10||10||10||40||9||30 (+1 Marco Polo)||15||13||30||9|
|Minimal IMAT EU, 1st round entry 2020||54.5||57.8||53.7||52.9||56.4||51.9||51||53.4||55.3||57.5||50.4||55||51.2|
|Minimal IMAT EU, 1st round entry 2019||51.3||53.9||49.6||48.4||48.9||46.8||46.6||49.0||51.0||53.1||46.3||50.4||47.4|
|Minimal IMAT EU, 10th round entry, 2020 (December 18)||45.4||45.4||46.7||43.6||43.5||42.1||42.1||43.9||47.2||46.2||41.4||45.4||41.7|
|Minimal IMAT EU, 10th round entry 2019 (December 19)||40.7||42.1||43.6||39.9||39.3||38.2||38.7||39.8||41.4||41||37.6||40.6||27.7|
|Minimal IMAT non-EU 2020||41.8||49.2||42.3||34||31.7||30.8||27.8||44||50||43.7||28.5||27.5||41|
|Minimal IMAT non-EU 2019||46.6||54.2||45.4||36.9||34.3||33.1||30.4||48||43.3||37.1||17.9||48||31.4|
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?
Two 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 a population of 70,000, of whom almost one-third are students; this university was the first to open an English-language medical school.
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 cities in Italy. If on the other hand, you want more old architecture, there are two public universities (La Sapienza and Tor Vergata) in Rome, the Italian capital and most populous city, with its beautiful monuments and history.
Say you want to live in a large city, with museums and 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 Campania Luigi Vanvitelli); you may want to consider these if you’re more accustomed to warmer climates, and going to the beach on weekends.
You’ll find similar landscapes, but in smaller, more accessible cities, if you send your application to other universities such as Messina and Bari. Among the cities hosting new medicine in English courses, you can find also Turin, Bergamo, Bologna, and Padova. Turin is known for its Baroque architecture and spacious squares, while Bologna offers an impressive balance between thriving student life, gastronomic heaven, and a delightful outlook. Padova is the last city to have offered an English medical program but intriguingly was the one to open the first-oldest medical university in Italy, all the way back in 1222!
As a final note, if your goal is to study dentistry in Italy in English, the only course available so far is in Siena, a small, medieval city surrounded by the picturesque hills of Tuscany.
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 to read about personal experiences from different universities.
Or just keep reading here! We still have a lot of exploring to do.
|Criterion||Pavia Harvey||IMS Milan||Rome La Sapienza||Rome Tor Vergata||Naples Federico II||Naples SUN||Bari||Turin||Bologna||Bergamo (Bicocca)||Messina||Padua||Siena (dentistry)|
|Approximate city population||70,000||1,350,000||2,850,000||2,850,000||960,000 (Naples)||75,000 (Caserta)||320,000||870,000||390,000||120,000||230,000||214,125||55,000|
|Region of Italy||Lombardy (north)||Lombardy (north)||Lazio (middle)||Lazio (middle)||Campania (southwest)||Campania (southwest)||Apulia (southeast)||Piedmont (north-west)||Emilia-Romagna (north-east)||Lombardy (north)||Sicily (south)||Veneto (north)||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||€28,500||€30,500|
|European Regional Human Development Index Ranking 2012||146||146||184||184||255||255||243||169||148||146||258||146||156|
Tuition fees, costs of living, and financing
If you’re still wondering whether you should apply to medical school in Italy, our next table may help you settle the matter. Compared with other universities offering English-language medical courses, studying in Italy’s public med schools 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 Pavia being the highest, at 5,200 and 4,500 respectively) but what you actually pay is almost always lower than the maximum, because tuition is adjusted on the basis of your family’s income and net worth.
The minimum fee, on the other hand, is less than 200 euros for most of the universities. These actually are not tuition fees, but a regional tax that everyone has to pay.
And check this out:
Some of the universities 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 fees! Everything is based on an indicator named ISEE; you can find more information on this page by IMS-Milan.
You can find the maximum amount of fees in our table just below. 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 (the most common type of accommodation for students) in Rome, you end up spending on average less than 500 euros per month!
Furthermore, smaller cities like Pavia or Bari offer rooms for 200-250 euros. 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 Italian universities, because it makes studying medicine accessible to a large slice of the population, regardless of their economic situation.
Education is not free, but very few countries with English-language medical courses are less expensive than this.
One little heads up: 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.
A lot of international students were afraid of how would COVID-19 affects the rent prices but as of now, no significant changes have taken place. We’ve even noticed that apartment owners have shown great understanding, especially to foreigners, allowing students to leave their accommodation without the usual 3-months notice if need be.
Finally, another nice feature about this system, which offers a reduction in tuition fees on the basis of the family economic status (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 the best medical schools in Italy are, in your opinion. You can also find more information about financing your studies in one of our pages. However, if you’re all about rankings, 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.
|Criteria||Pavia Harvey||IMS Milan||Rome Sapienza||Rome T.V.||Napoli Federico II||Napoli SUN||Bari||Turin||Bologna||Bergamo (Bicocca)||Messina||Siena (dentistry)|
|Tuition fee minimum (€/year)||156||156||400||156||510||137||136||196||156||156||236||156|
|Tuition fee maximum (€/year) - Italians||4460||3735||2925||5250||2600||2710||2025||2805||3410||3520||1905||2690|
|Tuition fee maximum (€/year) - Foreigners||4656||1456||1156||5250||356?||2710||1580||2805||3407||756||750||variable|
|Rent of a room (singola) (€/month)||260||400||450||450||300||350||220||300||400||300||240||300|
|Average expenses (€/month)||700||800||800||800||650||650||450||750||800||700||500||500|
|Mensa full meal (€/meal)||3-7 (income-based)||3.30||2.20-7.70 (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)||5.80||1.05 (hospital canteen)||1.50-6 (income-based)||2.80-4.50 (income-based)|
|Buses etc (€/year)||15||200 if <26y|
300 if >26y
|250 (income-based)||250 (income-based)||180 (income-based)||180 (income-based||70||158-258 (income-based)||180||200||30||200-250 (income-based)|
|Beer in Bar (€/0.5L)||4||4.50||5||5||4.5||4.5||3.5||5||4.5||4.5||4||3|
|Unemployment (%) 2017||6.8||6.5||9.5||9.5||23.9||23.9||15.4||9.4||5.1||4.2||24.8||9.4|
|Regional poverty (%)||5.5||5.5||8.2||8.2||24.4||24.4||21.6||6.8||4.6||5.5||29.0||5.9|
Italian medical schools rankings
This next section takes into account a number of domestic and international rankings updated to 2019. 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. Furthermore, you should choose a school for the city and the educational program, rather than just by its rankings
If you wish, you can read more regarding this in one of our posts.
According to domestic (Censis) rankings, Milan-Bicocca (Bergamo) medical school is the best in Italy, whereas QS World University Rankings puts the IMS Milan in the first position. Some universities, like Bologna, tend to be near the top on all lists.
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.
So, the next section will take you inside the practical aspects of teaching in the various medical schools in English in Italy.
Scroll down to learn more about the Italian curricular design, in practice.
|Ranking Organization||Pavia||Milan||Rome - La Sapienza||Rome - Tor Vergata||Naples - Federico II||Campania Luigi Vanvitelli||Bari||Turin||Bologna||Milan-Bicocca (Bergamo)||Messina||Padua||Siena (dentistry)|
|DOMESTIC||2 in Italy||3 in Italy||18 in Italy||16 in Italy||33 in Italy||29 in Italy||31 in Italy||17 in Italy||3 in Italy||1 in Italy||27 in Italy||5 in Italy||not ranked|
|DOMESTIC||2 in Italy||4 in Italy||17 in Italy||15 in Italy||30 in Italy||31 in Italy||33 in Italy||16 in Italy||3 in Italy||1 in Italy||26 in Italy||5 in Italy||not ranked|
|INTER-NATIONAL||13 in Italy, 273 worldwide||5 in Italy, 164 worldwide||2 in Italy, 114 worldwide||12 in Italy, 243 worldwide||7 in Italy, 192 worldwide||53 in Italy, 1056 worldwide||22 in Italy, 378 worldwide||8 in Italy, 217 worldwide||1 in Italy, 112 worldwide||15 in Italy, 281 worldwide||43 in Italy, 750 worldwide||2 in Italy, 114 worldwide||21 in Italy, 367 worldwide|
|INTER-NATIONAL||13 in Italy, 263 worldwide||1 in Italy, 71 worldwide||5 in Italy, 141 worldwide||14 in Italy, 279 worldwide||6 in Italy, 178 worldwide||28 in Italy, 520 worldwide||20 in Italy, 390 worldwide||3 in Italy, 123 worldwide||2 in Italy, 94 worldwide||8 in Italy, 194 worldwide||not ranked||not ranked||18 in Italy, 349 worldwide|
|INTER-NATIONAL||301 worldwide||83 worldwide||135 worldwide||315 worldwide||227 worldwide||not ranked||389 worldwide||180 worldwide||94 worldwide||348 worldwide||not ranked||114 worldwide||not ranked|
|INTER-NATIONAL||296 worldwide||74 worldwide||130 worldwide||279 worldwide||216 worldwide||not ranked||401-500 worldwide||177 worldwide||96 worldwide||360 worldwide||not ranked||112 worldwide||451-500 worldwide|
|INTER-NATIONAL||401-500 worldwide||151-200 worldwide||151-200 worldwide||501-600 worldwide||301-400 worldwide||701-800 worldwide||401-500 worldwide||601-700 worldwide||201-300 worldwide||301-400 worldwide||801-900 worldwide||201-300 Padua||601-700 worldwide|
|INTER-NATIONAL||301-400 worldwide||151-200 worldwide||151-200 worldwide||501-600 worldwide||301-400 worldwide||not ranked||501-600 worldwide||201-300 worldwide||201-300 worldwide||401-500 worldwide||801-900 worldwide||201-300 worldwide||501-600 worldwide|
|INTER-NATIONAL||301-400 worldwide||101-150 worldwide||151-200 worldwide||401-500 worldwide||301-400 worldwide||401-500 worldwide||201-300 worldwide||201-300 worldwide||76-100 worldwide||201-300 worldwide||not ranked||151-200 worldwide||301-400 worldwide (dentistry)|
|INTER-NATIONAL||301-400 worldwide||151-200 worldwide||201-300 worldwide||not ranked||201-300 worldwide||not ranked||not ranked||201-300 worldwide||201-300 worldwide||401-500 worldwide||701-800 worldwide||201-300 worldwide||701-800 worldwide (dentistry)|
|INTER-NATIONAL||401-500 worldwide||351-400 worldwide||201-250 worldwide||401-500 worldwide||401-500 worldwide||not ranked||401-500 worldwide||401-500 worldwide||167 worldwide||351-400 worldwide||501-600||251-300 worldwide||401-500 worldwide|
|INTER-NATIONAL||401-500 worldwide||301-350 worldwide||251-300 worldwide||401-500 worldwide||401-500 worldwide||not ranked||401-500 worldwide||401-500 worldwide||180 worldwide||401-500 worldwide||not ranked||201-250 worldwide||351-400 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, and then in September you take the IMAT and you pass.
Wow, congratulations! Now what?
Many students, with good reason, focus only on the IMAT. They wonder what the exam dates are, they want to look at past papers, and 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 them 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 a more informed decision, 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 European universities outside Italy provide a maximum number of attempts at an exam. If you fail all these exams, you have to repeat the year. This is generally not true in Italy, where often you can repeat an exam as many times as you wish. Only in Pavia is there an actual limit of three attempts per examination.
Attendance in 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, Campania Luigi Vanvitelli or Milan-Bicocca (Bergamo) make no mention of it throughout the course (at least so far).
Most other faculties allow students to participate in dissections, made for legal or other purposes, in their forensic medicine departments.
|IMS-Milan||Harvey-Pavia||IMS-Rome-La Sapienza||Rome-Tor Vergata||Naples Fed. II||Naples SUN||Bari||Turin||Bologna||Bergamo-Bicocca||Messina||Siena (dentistry)|
|Class size||about 50||about 100||about 50||about 30||about 30||about 60||about 30||about 100||about 60||about 30||about 60||about 30|
|Oral or written exams?||Mostly written and oral||Mostly oral with few written||Mostly oral with some written||Mostly oral with few written||Mostly oral with few written||Mixed||Mixed||Mixed||Mostly written, some oral||Mostly oral, some written||Mixed|
|How many chances at tests?||unlimited||3||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||?||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||3|
|Mandatory attendance at lectures?||Yes; 66%||Yes; 75%||Yes; 66%||Yes; 66%||Often; 75%||Yes; 66%||Yes, 75%||Yes, 66%||Yes, 70%||Yes, 75%||Yes, 75%|
|Possibility for cadaver||Yes (Year 1) - didactical post-mortem, integrated into academic program||Autopsy observation only, independent of academic program||Some demonstrations as part of Anatomy||Autopsy observation only, independent of academic program||None||Some demonstrations as part of Anatomy||None, but there's a simulation lab||Extensive and ntegrated in course (Year 2)||Nothing so far||Nothing so far||None|
|Which hospitals for clinical rotations?||Spread around about 9 hospitals, mostly at Policlinico||Mostly at 1 hospital (San Matteo) with a few rotations at 2 other hospitals in Pavia||Mostly at Umberto I with some rotations at St. Andrea||Policlinico of Tor Vergata, Bambin Gesù hospital, and others||Vecchio and Nuovo Policlinico, Cardarelli, Monaldi, Marcianise||Mostly Policlinico Giovanni XXIII||?||Not yet available||Clinica San Francesco and hospital Papa Giovanni XXIII||So far, Policlinico G. Martino||Most likely in Hospital Le Scotte|
|Foreign research affiliations||League of European Research Universities||Coimbra Group||Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe||Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe||Only Erasmus+||Only Erasmus+||?||Coimbra and several others||University of Surrey||Only Erasmus+||Coimbra and several others|
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.
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 IMAT updates directly in 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!