Top Medical Universities in the World

Making the decision that you want to study medicine is a very serious task. Making the decision of where you want to study medicine is perhaps as serious, if not more, of a task that every medical school applicant needs to consider prior to starting their application.

The institution’s academic excellence is often the leading factor for many prospective medical students when they pick what school they want to attend for the next 4-6 years and they often do that with the help of university rankings lists and subject guides.You can use multiple ranking resources to help you pinpoint the best schools in the world for medicine, as each ranking might take different factors into consideration and so the results might vary slightly, though the very top schools usually are the same across all rankings.


Some of the resources you can use are the Times Higher Education University Rankings and the QS World University Rankings. If you choose to do some further research, don’t forget to look for university rankings by subject, as you don’t want to yield university results that might well be the best in the world but do not offer medicine as a subject. 

Many of the rankings websites you can use have a course matching tool so make sure you select Medicine to see only relevant matches. You can further tweak your search to show you which medical schools offer the best pre-clinical courses or which ones are particularly strong in their clinical studies, perhaps because they are affiliated with leading hospital departments or have world-renowned research facilities.  

While academic excellence is very important, many of you might put a lot of value on other factors, such as the student experience, i.e. is the place you’re going to known as a student city, with life largely revolving around the university and its students, or will it be a metropolitan area? Perhaps you want to know if the university is strong in a particular sport that you might have been practising on a semi-professional level and want to get affiliated with that university’s sports club?


Those are all important things that you need to keep in mind when making this decision and certainly play a big role in how you will spend the next half a decade of your life. While this post views the best medical schools as an overall score of all factors taken into account when creating the table, if you have any particular curiosities about your chosen school, it is a good idea to follow those through in your research.

Also, don’t forget that, as a world rankings list, this post includes medical schools from all over the world, meaning that each one will have a wildly different application process than the others. It is therefore important to make a decision early as to whether you want to focus on just one country to apply to schools to or if you want to keep your options open. It is important that you keep track of deadlines and important dates and are aware of the requirements of each school of interest.

For example, this post includes several US medical schools, but what you need to know before applying, is that US medical schools always require a previous degree, whether that has been obtained in the US or abroad. This type of degree is widely known as “pre-med” in the States but if you come from the UK or anywhere else, it can essentially be anything from a BSc in Biochemistry to Anatomy to Neuroscience, as long as you have taken the prerequisite subjects that a pre-med includes.

Also, you might have graduated with a scientific degree but you might not have covered all required subjects in it - so you might want to double-check that and take extra courses or qualifications prior to applying. While this is a brief overview of how the system works in the USA, this is by no means an exhaustive explanation of what the application entails and is neither representative of what a top medical school in, e.g. Hong Kong or Canada, might expect of you. Therefore, to reiterate once again - make sure you do your research and make sure you do it early.

Here we have used QS World University Rankings, which rates the top universities in the world for medicine as follows:  


Harvard University

Harvard University is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was founded in 1636, which makes it the oldest university in the US. It is further part of the Ivy League schools, which include some of the most prestigious universities in the world. The programme lasts four years but, as previously mentioned, requires a previous college degree and, among other things also requires the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), which is a mixture of UK’s UKCAT and BMAT exams.

As the best medical school in the world currently, Harvard Medical School (HMS) is very selective, with 6,197 applicants for the class in 2022 and only 889 interviews, with a current class of 165. Amongst the majority of American students on the course, they also have representatives of 8 different countries, so while extremely competitive, Harvard is open to outstanding applicants from all around the world.

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is the second-oldest university in the world, with evidence of teaching dating all the way back to 1096. It is also currently ranked as the best medical school in the UK and Europe. The medical course takes 6 years to complete, with 3 pre-clinical years of little patient contact and 3 clinical years, and consists of approximately 150 students. There is a further opportunity to apply for the accelerated course, which only takes 4 years, if you have a previous degree, but you need to take caution to ensure that your degree will be accepted.

University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is another old institution, founded in 1209 in Cambridge, England and often rivals with University of Oxford for the best university of the UK, not only in medicine, but overall. Similarly to the University of Oxford, the course at Cambridge takes 6 years, with the first half focusing on pre-clinical content and the second half on clinical rotations. Both University of Oxford and University of Cambridge require you to take the BMAT as part of their application.

Stanford University

Located in close proximity to San Francisco and the Silicon Valley, Stanford University has been dubbed the “billionaire factory” for its strength in tech and subsequent production of very affluent and successful alumni, however, that is not all - the university is also amongst the top 5 medical schools in the world and being located in the Golden State of California, it is surely a very lucrative option to those interested in going abroad for their medical degree.

Johns Hopkins University

The Johns Hopkins University was founded in 1876 and is considered the first research university in the US, currently putting more money into research than any other academic institution in the country. Like the rest of the US universities in this list, Johns Hopkins too requires a previous college degree and the MCAT in its application process.

Many a famous and influential scientists and physicians have graduated from Johns Hopkins University, as well as a large number of Nobel laureates; amongst the most notable alumni was Wilder Penfield, the neurosurgeon who mapped the functional homunculus on the cortex of our brains! In fact, no other than the father of medicine, William Osler, was one of the four founding professors of Johns Hopkins Hospital. Talk about attending a school with history!
We hope you found this information on the top universities in the world for medicine useful. Choosing a university where you will pursue your medical education is a very important decision that requires a lot of consideration and a lot of factors to account for, so if you have any further concerns and questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at

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