Have you been looking for the best medical schools in Iceland? We have all you need to know in this article. Iceland is a beautiful island country in the North Atlantic Ocean and the most sparsely populated country in Europe. It’s capital and largest city is Reykjavík.
Iceland is graced by the warm Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, and most of its islands have a polar climate.
But Iceland’s stunning scenery not the only fascinating thing about it. It’s also home to an internationally celebrated higher education system and the medical schools in Iceland are top-notch.
A major reason why so many students from all over the world are drawn to “the land of fire and ice” for enriching and unforgettable study abroad experiences.
Iceland remains one of a handful of countries still offering free tuition to public universities for all, especially for medical students.
How to Become a Medical Doctor in Iceland
The University of Iceland offers a 6-year medical course that can be taken right after high school. The first three years cover undergraduate or baccalaureate education.
Compulsory courses in the first year include Chemistry, Anatomy, Medical Physics, Introduction to Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, Cell Biology, and Cell Physiology.
Clinical Method courses in Communication Science, psychology and physician. Students also have the option to take a course in Science Literacy.
Second-year subjects include Physiology, Molecular Biology, Pathology, Virology, Immunology, Passion, and 2 Clinical Method courses.
As for the third year, classes in Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Pathology, Pharmacology, Epidemiology, Biometrics, Research, and Clinical Method are administered.
After this BS degree, the student may proceed with the 3-year Medical Program. The course starts with subjects in Pathology, Pharmacology, Surgery, Neurology, and Imaging.
These are then followed by courses in Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, Genetics, Psychiatry, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, and Venereology.
The last year features subjects in Preventive Medicine, IT in Health Science, Forensic Medicine, Clinical Toxicology, Rehabilitation Studies, Emergency Medicine, Management, Oncology, Anesthesia & Critical Care, and Family Medicine.
After studying medicine in Iceland, the student can apply for a 12-month internship. This usually consists of a 4-month exposure (at the very least) in General Practice, another 4+ months in Internal Medicine, and 2 months of Surgery or Emergency Medicine.
After this, the intern will be given an operating license by the Directorate of Health. With this license, the physician can now apply for residency training.
Compulsory Medical Examination for Medical Students in Iceland
Students are exposed clinically through the National University hospital, which is the only tertiary medical center in Iceland.
Some other areas include district/ regional hospitals and primary health centers before the end of the sixth year, students must take the computerized Comprehensive Clinical Science Exam (CCSE) that is given to prepare the students for the clinical discipline final exam.
About the National Board of Medical Examiners(NBME) CCSE
The Comprehensive Clinical Science Exam (CCSE) follows sometime between the third and fourth year, during clinical rotations, and is representative of Step2 performance.
This Clinical Sciences comprehensive NBME exam tests the same content and follows the same score as the USMLE Step2CK exam.
There are 200 questions broken into 4 blocks of 50 in each exam. Although challenging, they are a great method to measure your preparedness.
The Comprehensive Clinical Science Self-Assessment is a practice test designed for students planning to take the USMLE Step 2 CK.
It features multiple-choice questions on content typically covered during the core clinical clerkships.
In addition to helping you gain a familiarity with NBME-style questions, the Comprehensive Clinical Science Self-Assessment enables you to:
- Evaluate your readiness to take the USMLE Step 2 CK.
- Target your studies using diagnostic feedback highlighting areas of strength and weakness.
- View answer explanations to reinforce your knowledge and maximize study time.
- Use your self-assessment score to estimate your approximate score on the USMLE score scale.
Overview of the USMLE
The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the U.S.
The USMLE assesses a physician’s ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles, and to demonstrate fundamental patient-centered skills, that are important in health and disease and that constitute the basis of safe and effective patient care.
The USMLE is Divided Into Three Steps.
Step 1 is a one-day test, usually taken at the end of the second year of med school.
It emphasizes knowledge of basic sciences, including anatomy, biochemistry, behavioral sciences, microbiology, immunology, pathology, pharmacology and physiology.
Topics such as nutrition, genetics and aging are also covered. All questions are multiple-choice.
Step 2 is a two-day test, usually taken in the fourth year of med school. It has two components.
The first (called Clinical Knowledge, or CK), requires you to answer multiple choice questions on clinical sciences like surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology.
The second (called Clinical Skills, or CS) requires you to examine and diagnose actors posing as patients. For the Step 2 CS, students must travel to one of five testing centers around the country.
Step 3 is a two-day test, usually taken after the first year of residency.
This is the final assessment of whether or not you’re prepared to practice general medicine in an unsupervised setting.
Like Step 2, Step 3 focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of patients. It includes both multiple choice questions and computer simulations of patient care.
Accreditation Body For Medicine in Iceland
The Joint Royal College of Physicians Training Board (JRCPTB) is the accreditation body for medicine in Iceland.
It is a training board, which represents the three medical Royal Colleges in the UK: the Royal College of Physicians of London, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.
Among many other functions, the JRCPTB oversees the Core Medical Training program and International Programme Accreditation.
Recently, the JRCPTB started its international accreditation program. Through this program, the JRCPTB grants recognition to an institution, an organization or even a country, that their postgraduate medical education meets the standards set by the JRCPTB.
Following a pilot program in 2014, Core Medical Training (CMT) was formally introduced in Iceland in August 2015.
Designed as a three-year program, trainees follow the majority of the JRCPTB-owned CMT curriculum.
The CMT program in Iceland is delivered at Landspitallin (National University Hospital of Iceland).
Requirements to Enroll in Medical School in Iceland
Apart from having an Icelandic matriculation exam (stúdentspróf) or equivalent, applicants must take an entrance test given every June. Interested students must register for this through the University of Iceland website as early as May.
The test is administered in six (two hours) sessions for 2 days. It covers subjects such as reading comprehension, informational skills, verbal reasoning, and problem-solving.
The questions are usually multiple-choice, but essay items are included in the Ethical Consideration chapter. For the latter, the student must achieve a minimum grade of 5.0.
The results of the exam help determine placement in the University as slots for the program are only limited to 60.
Apart from this stringent test requirement, the University prefers applicants who are competent in 2 to 3 major subjects (choices of English, Icelandic, Math, Chemistry, and Biology).
At the same time, it will also help if the applicant is also proficient in 1 or 2 other minor subjects, including History, Psychology, Sociology, Natural Science, and Physics.
Since the course is taught in Icelandic, students must demonstrate proficiency in the language to study medicine in Iceland.
Even so, those who don’t have English as their first language must submit a TOEFL or IELTS result upon application.
The List of Medical Schools in Iceland
- University of Iceland
- Reykjavik University
- University of Akureyri
University of Iceland
The University of Iceland is a public research university in Reykjavik, Iceland and the oldest and largest institution of higher learning.
The institution was established in 1911 and provides instruction for about 14,000 students in 25 faculties.
The faculty of medicine in the university of Iceland is a leading teaching and research institution in the field of medical science in Iceland.
The university constantly gives students the opportunity for excellent training and work experience through its connection to the university teaching hospital.
Ranking: for medicine, the university of Iceland is ranked:
- #1 best university in Iceland
- #242 best university in Europe
- #710 best university in the world
Programs offered: the university of Iceland is the best medical school in Iceland.
The faculty of medicine offers four Bachelor’s degree programs and one undergraduate diploma program, they include health information management (diploma), biomedical science(BS), medicine(BS), physical therapy sciences(BS) and radiography (BS). These programs are taught in Iceland.
Graduate programs taught in English include but not limited to health science, medical sciences, public health sciences (MPH), epidemiology, health sciences, medical life sciences, medical sciences, and public health sciences (PHD).
Admission requirements: university of Iceland medical school is considered admission friendly with an acceptance rate of 85%.
Students who wish to enroll in the university of Iceland should have completed a matriculation examination (stúdent próf) or an equivalent examination.
For the faculty of medicine and physical therapy science, a special admission examination is held in June each year.
Admission requirements for master’s study in the faculty of medicine is a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iceland or an equivalent degree or examination with a minimum GPA of 6.5 on the scale of 0-10 and a GPA of 7.5 for PhD program with confirmed research experience.
Tuition: there are no tuition fees in Iceland for medical school just an annual registration fee of C.$550. The cost of living can only be the finances required for candidates.
How to apply: to apply, visit the school’s website
Reykjavik University is the largest private university in Iceland. It was founded in 1998 and is situated in Reykjavik, in the heart of Iceland’s capital. The university provides students with a strong academic foundation, cutting-edge practical experience and extensive connections with various industries.
Ranking: in medicine, Reykjavik University has the following rankings:
#2 best university in Iceland
#597 best university in Europe
#2412 best university in the world
Programs offered: Reykjavik University offers an array of programs in the medical faculty and they include: medicine, psychology, psychiatry, child psychology, health management, public health, nursing and pharmacy.
Admission requirements: the Reykjavik university admission is competitive with an acceptance rate of 45%. To be eligible for entry to an undergraduate program in the medical faculty of Reykjavik university, you must have completed a matriculation examination or another comparable education or possess equivalent maturity and knowledge in opinion of administrators in the department.
At MSC level, a minimum GPA of 7.0 is required, minimum English language proficiency scores, TOEFL: 577(PBT) or 91(IBT) and above or IELT 6.5. See other English language exemption requirement and equivalent here .
Tuition: Only a registration fee of 75,000 ISK is paid for the academic year.
How to apply: students who wish to enroll at Reykjavik university need to apply online using the school application website.
University of Akureyri
University of Akureyri was established in 1987 with the inception of the health sciences and industrial management studies in the town of Akureyri in the northeastern part of Iceland, the fifth largest municipality in Iceland.
The university is today known for its impact in health sciences and is one of the best medical Schools in Iceland.
Ranking: in medicine, the university of Akureyri is ranked:
- #3 best university in Iceland
- #677 best university in Europe
- #2884 best university in the world
Programs offered: university of Akureyri medical school offers undergraduate studies in the faculty of nursing and occupational therapy.
Admission requirements: university of Akureyri has an acceptance rate of 85% with the following requirements: icelandic matriculation examination (stúdentspróf: school leaving examination after three years of secondary school) or equivalent or at least 60 ECTS from recognized University.
Students who apply for admission to graduate programmes must have completed a BA or BSc degree or comparable three-year university studies with a first-class grade (7.25).
Tuition: Only a registration fee of 75,000 ISK is paid for the academic year.
How to apply: visit school website to apply.
Can I Study Medicine in English in Iceland?
Studying medicine in Iceland requires knowledge of the Icelandic language. Majority of undergraduate (and graduate) courses in Iceland are taught in Icelandic Language except few that are taught in English.
Is Iceland Good for Medical Students?
The University of Iceland is the best medical school in Iceland. The medical degree offered at the university is a 3-year BS degree, which lays the foundations for further education in medicine.
Is it Free to Study in Iceland?
Public universities in Iceland do not charge tuition fees, only small application and registration fees.
Even private universities like Reykjavík University have comparably modest fees in international comparison.
Can You Be a Doctor in Iceland?
Yes! A general license to practice as a medical doctor is issued by the Directorate of Health. Once the trainee has acquired a license, he or she can apply for residency.