21 Medical Schools in Cuba-Cost, REQs, How to Apply

If you’re looking to study medicine in a very great school, there are a lot of schools and countries where you could study that. One of those countries is Cuba. Studying medicine in this country is one of the best decisions that anyone can make; whether you’re a local or an international student. 

It’s well known that the educational system of Cuba is top-notch and their medical schools are known all over the world for the pride they take in the quality education that they offer to their students.

Another reason why students rush to schools in Cuba is due to their level of affordability irrespective of the fact that they offer quality education. 

Everyone knows that the medical profession is in high demand everywhere in the world. That’s the same way that medical doctors in Cuba are in high demand, and this implies that there are better job opportunities for medical doctors in the country and in other countries in the world.

However, students who pursue medical degrees in Cuba are sure of graduating to get a very high-paying job which is dependent on the level of the student’s seriousness with the profession. 

In this article, a comprehensive list of the medical schools in Cuba, as well as everything you need to know about them will be highlighted.

You’ll find out what it takes to study medicine in Cuba, and how long and how much you’ll need to spend for local and international students. Read to see the medical schools in Cuba. 

Overview of Education in Cuba 

Cuba officially called the Republic of Cuba, is a country that comprises the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several other minor archipelagos. The country is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are. 

Cuba, according to the Human Development Index, has a high level of human development. It is ranked 8th in North America, despite being ranked as low as 67th in the world in the year 2014. It also scores very highly on several national performance indicators, like education and health. 

Health care is of high priority in Cuba and that is why the country trains some of the best doctors in the whole world. Several state governments and organizations give medical care of the best quality in Cuba. 

Cuba founded its medical school in 1999 after it sent hundreds of doctors to aid neighboring hurricane-hit countries. Universities in the country are a high priority for the Cuban government and people at large.

Some universities in Cuba have offered free tuition. In addition to that, there are also government-sponsored scholarships that are available for students all around the globe who desire to study medicine or nursing in the country. 

Cuba boasts of the highest number of doctors per capita because of its low to nonexistent fees (67 per 10,000).

This contributes to its healthcare system, which is doing so well, despite its low GDP and shortage of pharmaceuticals and equipment.

The medical institutions in Cuba provide a wide range of undergraduate degrees as well as certification programs. 

Before providing you with the list of the top medical universities in Cuba, let’s take a look at some of the benefits associated with studying medicine in Cuba. 

Why Study in Cuba? 

The medical schools which are in Cuba are ranked among the best in the world. They churn out highly qualified medical doctors from their citadel of learning yearly. 

Cuba’s medical schools provide certificate programs, developmental courses, highly equipped laboratories, functioning libraries, and associate degrees. 

Another thing to note is that Cuba, which is just one hour away from Miami, has risen to become one of the most sought-after destinations for medical students all around the globe. 

Students from all over the world continually flock to the country, all thanks to the fact that some colleges there provide free tuition.

Cuba has the largest number of doctors per capita in the globe, due to the low or non-existent fees. 

Are Medical Schools in Cuba Free? 

Some medical schools in Cuba are completely free. Here, free lessons are offered to their students, including international students.

They do this at the largest medical school in the country, ELAM, which is about 35 km west of Havana. ELAM is the only medical school that offers free tuition in the country. 

It’s important to note that ELAM students study Cuban History and Culture, and Spanish for about a year and then do an in-depth study of the curriculum prepared for health prevention. 

There are some requirements, however, to qualify for free ELAM access.

The applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 25 years and already possess a bachelor’s degree or high school diploma in their home country. 

The school also offers scholarships for medical students. 

How Long is Medical School in Cuba?

The duration of a medical program usually takes more time than other fields of study in the university. 

However, it takes students between four to six years to acquire an undergraduate degree in medicine according to the Cuban Tertiary education System. 

Can Foreigners Study Medicine in Cuba? 

Yes, they can. Universities in Cuba gladly receive international students from every part of the globe for their medical programs.

Medicine programs are offered to these students regardless of their race, gender, religion, etc. 

How Much Would it Cost You to Study Medicine in Cuba? 

The cost and fees to study in medical schools in Cuba are relatively cheap when compared to the same quality of education in other countries like the United Kingdom and the United States of America. 

In Cuba, the total students’ tuition fees range between US$20,000 and US$40,000 and this amount depends on the university and the student’s course of study. 

This total fee covers the entire study duration, which is the whole time the students will spend in school.

You’d agree that it’s quite cheap, won’t you? Cuban medical schools also support low-income students. 

How Much Do Doctors Earn in Cuba? 

The Cuban government through the Cuban Council of Ministers reports that the range of salaries of physicians of first-degree specialists in family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics are 573 Cuban pesos (CUP) to CUP$1,46.

In addition to that, physicians with a second-degree or dual specialties earn between CUP$627 to CUP$1,600 

How Do I Apply to Study Medicine in Cuba? 

Just like every other top school in the world, applying to study medicine in Cuba begins with meeting the requirements for the medical program in the country. 

The application requirements for all top medical schools in Cuba are: 

  • Documents for filling at the Registrar’s Office. 

  • Birth certificate 

  • Certificate of health (HIV test and pregnancy test) 

  • High school diploma/High school transcripts 

  • Scholarship application form if any 

  • No criminal records 

  • Certificate of physical and mental fitness 

  • Passport photographs. Five photos are 3cm by 3cm (International relations) and six photos 2cm by 2cm (Registrar’s Office).

Students who have all the documents mentioned above intact can submit their application on the school’s website while they wait for the processing of their admission. 

Again, international students will need to hold a student visa. In case you are an unfamiliar student, you should contact the Cuban Consulate in your country of origin to know the necessities.

This is because the prerequisites for a Cuban student visa vary from one country to the other. 

Scholarships For Medical School students in Cuba

Many countries provide full scholarships for their students to train in Cuba as physicians.

After the duration of the study, these students go back home to practice in regions that are considered to be the poorest and most medically neglected regions. 

Here are some of the Cuban scholarships for medical school students: 

  • NW Government: Medicine Bursary / Scholarship Program in Cuba 2022: Scholarship Link

  • Nestle Nutrition Institute – Research Training Fellowships, 2022: Scholarship Link 

Top Medical Schools in Cuba for International Students 

The top medical schools for international students in Cuba include: 

  • Universidad de Ciencias Medicas de Cienfuegos 

  • Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM) or Latin American School of Medicine (LASM) 

  • University of Medical Sciences of Sancti Spiritus 

  • Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Villa Clara 

Medical Schools in Cuba That Teach in English 

Spanish is the main language of instruction in Cuban medical schools although some medical schools in Cuba offer learning in the English language to help international students. Those medical schools that teach are: 

  • Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) 

  • Universidad de Ciencias Medicas de Cienfuegos 

  • University of Medical Sciences of Sancti Spiritus 

The List of Medical Schools In Cuba 

  • Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Guantánamo

  • Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Artemisa 

  • Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de La Habana 

  • Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina 

  • Ciudad Universitaria Jose Antonio Echeverria 

  • Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Isla de la Juventud 

  • Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Mayabeque, San José de las Lajas

  • Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Matanzas 

  • Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Villa Clara 

  • Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Cienfuegos 

  • Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Sancti Spiritus 

  • Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Pinar del Río 

  • Universidad de La Habana

  • Universidad de Oriente Santiago de Cuba

  • Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Ciego de Ávila

  • Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Camagüey 

  • Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Las Tunas 

  • Universidad de Cienfuegos Carlos Rafael Rodriguez 

  • Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Holguín 

  • Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Granma 

  • Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Santiago de Cuba 

10 Best Medical Schools In Cuba 

Here are the best ten medical colleges in Cuba in no particular order and all you need to know about each school. 

Universidad de La Habana 

The University of Havana is the oldest in Cuba and was one of the first in America. It was originally founded as a religious institution in 1728. 

The Universidad de la Habana is the highest-ranked Cuban university and it was ranked 51st in the QS Latin American Universities Ranking 2018, compared to the 59th that it ranked the previous year. 

The University of Havana has 16 faculties (Spanish: facultades) and 14 research centers in a diverse range of areas, including sciences, humanities, economics, and social science. 

The university also offers up to 25 different specialties and currently has more than 60,000 degree students enrolled in regular programs. 

Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM)

Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM), also known as the Latin American School of Medicine, is a government-run institution that has been catering to international students since it was founded in 1999.

The university, which is situated in Havana, is believed to be one of the largest medical schools in the world –as it has applicants coming from more than 100 countries around the world and roughly 19,550 students. 

While it is very accepting of international students, it also places preference on students from very poor communities.

After all, the goal of this noble institution is to mold competent doctors who would serve in their marginalized communities. 

Successful applicants get to enjoy ELAM’s scholarship perks, like housing, full tuition, uniforms, meals, Spanish textbooks, and a monthly stipend of $4 (100 Cuban pesos).

ELAM is considered to be one of the best medical schools in Cuba due to these perks. 

Also, ELAM is recognized by the World Health Organisation, the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), and the Medical Board of California. 

The medical curriculum of ELAM involves six (6) years of academic studies which are divided into twelve (12) semesters.

Students spend the first two years at ELAM’s campus during the medical program and spend the remaining years of the medical program at one of Cuba’s 21 other medical schools. 

Ciudad Universitaria Jose Antonio Echeverria 

Ciudad Universitaria Jose Antonio Echeverria (in English, Technological University José Antonio Echeverría or CUJAE) is a public university which is situated in Havana, Cuba, and was founded in 1964.

The institution was founded by Fidel Castro, Cuba’s revolutionary and former prime minister. 

Technological University José Antonio Echeverría has twelve (12) research centers and nine (9) faculties.

Its Academic programs are offered in state-of-art facilities by renowned faculty members. 

The institution boasts of over 1000 professors on staff, so every prospective student is sure to find someone who will help them achieve their academic goals.

They also have 190 assistant teachers and 133 instructor teachers. 

To know more, concerning the school and requirements, check their website.

The Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de La Habana 

The Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de La Habana is a Cuban medical school established in 1976 and located in the capital. It offers several health-related degrees, one of which is a 6-year Medicine program.

The curriculum, which is called PENSUM, strives to produce physicians who have comprehensive skills and knowledge. This includes internships in the departments of Paediatrics, Medicine, Surgery, and Gynaecology.

As such, the graduates of the university do not just specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions but are also well-versed in rehabilitation, disease prevention, and research. 

Apart from giving foundational knowledge to its students, the Medical University of Havana also offers post-graduate training in Gynaecology, Public Health, General Medicine, Paediatrics, Surgery, Diagnostics, and so on. 

The Medical University of Havana is fully recognized by Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health; the Ministerio de Salud Pública, Cuba 

There are currently over 24,200 students enrolled.

Universidad de Oriente Santiago de Cuba 

The Universidad de Oriente Santiago de Cuba is an institution located in the eastern region of Cuba that offers students an education with international standards. 

The Universidad de Oriente Santiago de Cuba is situated in the beautiful seaport city of Santiago de Cuba and was established in 1947, which makes it the second-established university center in the country. 

The university has 13 faculties and three campuses, which are located in the city of Santiago de Cuba. The Universidad de Oriente offers courses in agriculture, natural sciences, social sciences, and so on. 

Universidad de Oriente Santiago de Cuba ranks 191-200 in the QS Latin America University Rankings 2018. 

Universidad Central Marta Abreu de Las Villas 

The Universidad Central Marta Abreu de Las Villas is a public university that is located in Santa Clara, Cuba. This institution was founded on November 30, 1952.

A higher education degree from this University will enable graduates to become professionals in fields such as law, medicine, engineering, or architecture.

The university has about 11497 students and 236 professors! 

They are 12 faculties in the school and within each faculty, 54 professions are studied which include natural sciences, humanistic sciences and techniques,

The Universidad Central Marta Abreu de Las Villas also offers 44 master’s degree programs in academics, 29 doctoral degree programs, and 4 specialties.

This university is very famous among people looking for higher education and is ranked 201-250 in Latin America. 


Universidad de Cienfuegos Carlos Rafael Rodriguez

The Universidad de Cienfuegos Carlos Rafael Rodríguez was founded in 1970 and is currently one of the most prestigious institutions in Cuba, ranked amongst the 300 best universities in Latin America. 

The university offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees to students in different fields which include humanities, engineering, sciences, and social sciences.

UCFR, which has a strong commitment to development and research, has produced some of the top talents in Cuba for various industries. 

Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Santiago de Cuba 

Its first medical faculty, formerly known as the Medical School of the University of the Orient, was opened in February 1962.

The school was then inaugurated in 1964 as it transferred to its new building along with Avenida de Las Americas.

Now, the university trains its students in more than 24 medical specialties. 

On the other hand, Its second medical faculty was established in 1979. It was established to cater to students from Santiago de Cuba, Granma, and other parts of the world.

The school was expanded with the help of additional Caribbean medical faculty through the Comprehensive Health Program of 1998.

To date, it still receives hundreds of students from Malk, Haiti, Djibouti, and other countries. 

Visit their website for further information. 

Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Ciego de Ávila 

The Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Ciego is a public institution which was founded in 1978 and is located in Moron.

The school is located on a vast campus covering 120,000 square meters and received its accreditation from the Ministry of Higher Education 

Its Faculty of Medical Science is reputed as one of the best Cuban medical schools and it finally received recognition as a Medical University in 2009. 

Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Villa Clara 

The University of Medical Sciences of Villa Clara was founded in 1966 and had its simple beginnings at the Provincial Surgical Hospital. Now, the institution is one of the most respected medical schools in Cuba. 

The school began with courses in Radiology, Clinical Laboratory, Pathology, Internal Medicine, Microbiology, and Parasitology, but it has now evolved into a comprehensive, world-class 6-year program. 

Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Villa Clara also follows the PENSUM curriculum, and the students are taught Research, Pharmacology, Genetics, Community Medicine, Morphophysiology, Microbiology, Health Promotion/Prevention, and Psychology. 



How Long Do You Need to Study Medicine in Cuba

6 years. Completing a medical degree in Cuba takes 6 years. 

General Requirements to Study in Cuban Medical Schools

  • Applicants should submit a copy of their high school transcripts and grades.

  • Other requirements include HIV and pregnancy tests, a copy of criminal records, and birth certificates. 

  • Prospective students also need to be younger than 25 years and also be physically and mentally sound during schooling. 

How Much Does It Cost to Study at Cuba’s Top Medical Schools? 

The cost of attending a university in Cuba could range from about $ 20,000 to $ 40,000, depending on the degree being pursued and the institution.

The good news is that this tuition cost doesn’t just cover one year of the degree but the entire program.

Additionally, Cuban medical institutions also support low-income students. 

Is it Difficult to Become a Doctor in Cuba? 

Just like in other countries, becoming a doctor in Cuba requires extensive training, the passing of medical tests, as well as the completion of a residency term.

However, Cuba has traditionally provided accessible education for very bright but low-income medical students. 

How Can I Study in Cuba?

As a foreign student, you must have a student visa to study in Cuba.

To apply, get the necessary details from the Cuban Consulate in your nation.

Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the date of admission to enter Cuba.

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