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Best International Medical Schools in Italy (2019 comparison)

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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 curricular design – 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 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!

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 the IMAT is never easy. Not all medical schools are the same. 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 in or not, just based on which medical school you have chosen.

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

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, but it all depends on how many students apply to the same university as you, and how well they perform on the IMAT.

What follows from this 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. Secondly, with the same 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%; one important exception is Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, which reserves 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 admission round of 2018. As you can see, scores differ wildly among schools for non-EU, while relatively similar for EU applicants. 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.

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

If you’re an EU student, we found that the three universities with the lowest entry scores are Messina (44.2), Bari (44.7), and Campania Luigi Vanvitelli (45.6). If you’re looking for some challenge, the ones with the highest entry score are IMS Milan (52.2), Milan-Bicocca (Bergamo) (50.3) and the 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 Campania Luigi Vanvitelli (18.7), followed by Bari, Napoli-Federico II, and Rome-Tor Vergata (all tied at 30.8). The highest scores required are for Bologna (48.6), IMS-Milan (45.7) and Rome-La Sapienza (44.0).

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 don’t lose hope, and keep checking the rankings as they proceed!

Now you’re probably thinking that you just have to score more points than shown 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 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.

Oh, and one last thing! If everything we’ve said so far made you think that IMAT 2019 will 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!

CriteriaPavia HarveyIMS MilanRome SapienzaRome T.V.Napoli Federico IINapoli SUN/ Campania LVBariTurinBolognaBergamo (Bicocca)MessinaSiena (dentistry)Padova
Places for EU (2018)70343825154042707522302654
Places for non-
EU (2018)
401610101040831151330129
Minimal IMAT score EU, first-round entry 201849.152.247.446.646.245.644.747.349.250.344.245.8N/A
Minimal IMAT non-EU, first-round entry 201843.845.74430.830.818.730.831.348.633.634.715.90N/A

 

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 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.

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 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 and Bologna.

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.

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 to read about personal experiences from different universities.

Or just keep reading here! 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 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!

Inexpensive, right?

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.

The 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.

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 cafeteria – 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 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.

 

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
1456
1156
5250
356?
2710
1580
2805
3407
756
750
variable
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 (%) 20176.86.59.59.523.923.915.49.45.14.224.89.4
Regional poverty (%)5.55.58.28.224.424.421.66.84.65.529.05.9

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.

If you are considering taking the 2019 IMAT, 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 the teaching in the various medical schools in English in Italy.

Scroll down to learn more about the Italian curricular design, in practice.

 

Ranking OrganizationPaviaMilanRome - La SapienzaRome - Tor VergataNaples - Federico IICampania Luigi VanvitelliBariTurinBolognaMilan-Bicocca (Bergamo)MessinaU. of Siena (dentistry)
DOMESTIC

Censis-La Repubblica newspaper 2019 - medicine and surgery

2 in Italy3 in Italy18 in Italy16 in Italy33 in Italy29 in Italy31 in Italy17 in Italy3 in Italy1 in Italy27 in Italynot ranked
INTER-NATIONAL

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
INTER-NATIONAL

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
INTER-NATIONAL

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)
INTER-NATIONAL

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
INTER-NATIONAL

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, 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 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, 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-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? ??????/

 

 

Conclusion

 

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 2019 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!

 

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

Stefano Doria (Pavia)

Blogger
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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