6 Top Medical schools in Switzerland: Details&Ranking

Here are the things to look out for in Medical schools in Switzerland:

What is a Medical School?

A medical school is a tertiary educational institution or sometimes a part of an institution that is known for teaching medicine and consequently awards a professional degree for physicians and surgeons.

Medical schools such as Medical schools in Switzerland can also carry out medical research and operate teaching hospitals.

The teaching methodology, criteria, structure, and nature of medical programs of medical schools, vary from country to country

Medical schools are often highly competitive with standardized entrance examinations as well as grade point averages and leadership roles, to narrow the selection criteria for candidates. 

In most countries, the study of medicine is completed as an undergraduate degree not requiring prerequisite undergraduate coursework.

In countries such as Switzerland, some medical degrees are second entry degrees and require several years of previous study at the university level.

An increasing number of places are emerging for graduate entrants who have completed an undergraduate degree including some required courses. Read on to see the medical schools in Switzerland.

What is a medical degree?

Medical degrees are awarded to medical students after the completion of their degree program, which typically lasts five or more years for the undergraduate model and four years for the graduate model.

A medical degree can be defined as a professional degree that is admitted to those who have passed the coursework particularly in the fields of medicine and/or surgery from an accredited medical school(Medical schools in Switzerland).

why do you need a medical degree?

Obtaining a medical degree in medicine from the Medical schools in Switzerland allows for the recipient to continue into specialty training with the end goal of acquiring a license to practice in their respective jurisdiction.

Medical graduates, however, may also pursue a non-clinical career including those in basic research and positions within the healthcare industry. Some of the undergraduate medical degrees to look out for includes:

Undergraduate medical degrees to look out for in a medical school

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS, BMBS, MBChB, MBBCh)
  • Bachelor of Medicine (B.Med)
  • Bachelor of Surgery (B.S)/(B.Surg)

 The MBBS is also awarded at the graduate level, meaning the applicant already has a 4-year degree prior to commencing their medical studies (graduate entry). 

Graduate medical degrees medical degrees to look out for in a medical school

  • Doctor of Medicine (MD, Dr.MuD, Dr.Med)
  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)

Post-graduate medical degrees to look out for in a medical school

  • Doctor of Medicine by research MD(Res), DM
  • Master of Clinical Medicine (MCM)
  • Master of Medical Science (MMSc, MMedSc)
  • Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • Master of Medicine (MM, MMed)
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
  • Master of Philosophy in Ophthalmology (MPhO)
  • Master of Public Health and Ophthalmology (MPHO)
  • Master of Surgery (MS, MSurg, MChir, MCh, ChM, CM)
  • Master of Science in Medicine or Surgery (MSc)
  • Doctor of Clinical Medicine (DCM)
  • Doctor of Clinical Surgery (DClinSurg)
  • Doctor of Medical Science (DMSc, DMedSc)
  • Doctor of Surgery (DS, DSurg)

What are the requirements to study medicine in Switzerland?

The requirements for Medical schools in Switzerland are similar to that of other Swiss university courses.

Generally speaking, international students need to possess a degree (at least 3 years in duration) from a state-recognized university.

Language proficiency is also required – with the vernacular depending on the university At the University of Bern, for example, knowledge of German is required.

Since slots at Swiss medical schools are very limited (numerus clausus) due to the admissions restrictions of 1998, competition is strict.

To narrow the field of applicants, the Universities of Geneva, Lausanne, and Neuchâtel observe a strict internal selection process.

Other universities hold a qualifying examination. To take this test, you need to apply through the Swiss Universities website and pay a fee of CHF 200.

The qualifying test for aspiring physicians is administered yearly starting July.

It is rendered in the German language at the Universities of Basel, Bern, Chur, Lucerne, St. Gallen, Suhr, and Zurich.

It is given in French at Fribourg and Italian at Lugano.

In some cases, schools may require pre-course aptitude tests as well.

List of Medical schools in Switzerland

Here is the list of the top Medical schools in Switzerland:

  • University of Basel
  • University of Berne
  • University of Geneva
  • University of Fribourg
  • University of Lausanne
  • University of Zurich

University of Basel-Faculty of Medicine

The University of Basel’s faculty of medicine is one of the Medical schools in Switzerland that was founded in the year 1460.

It is one of the world’s oldest surviving universities.

This university is counted among the leading institutions of higher learning in the country.

It is 92nd on the Times Higher Education World University Ranking and 87th according to the ranking of world universities.

The admissions capacity for new students is decided each year.

If this capacity is exceeded based on the number of applications received, candidates must take an entrance examination.

This has always been the case in recent years. The process is handled by swissuniversities and requires that applications be submitted by the February 15 deadline. 

University of Berne -Faculty of medicine

This is the home of one of the medical schools in Switzerland that is broad and offers a wide variety of programs and courses. It is the third-largest university in Switzerland.

The University of Berne is one of the top 150 universities in the world. It is 139th in the QS World University rankings. It is also ranked 110th by the Higher Education World University Rankings.

The Medical Faculty is one of the largest in Switzerland with about 2,100 students in Bachelor, Master and further education programs (CAS, DAS, MAS).

It consists of University clinics and institutes from 3 organizations (University of Bern, University Psychiatric Services UPD and Insel Hospital).

The Medical Faculty actively promotes research and teaching in the area of human medicine and has an important contribution in scientific knowledge transfer and its progress.

University of Geneva -Faculty of Medicine

This university is a Centre for public research and enlightenment scholarship.

Its medical school is one of the Medical schools in Switzerland that was founded in the year 1559 with over 40% of its students coming from foreign countries.

In 2016, it was ranked 53rd worldwide by the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities It is 89th on the QS World University Rankings and 131 on the Times Higher Education World University Ranking.

Medicine is primarily taught at Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) or affiliated institutions.

Theoretical and practical courses are integrated into clinical training modules and focus on clinical procedures and on learning and applying skills in a variety of disciplines, such as internal medicine and primary care, paediatrics, surgery, psychiatry or obstetrics and gynaecology.

Some disciplines are crosscutting and studied throughout the programme (e.g. radiology, pathology, clinical pharmacology, forensic medicine and ethics). 

University of Fribourg-Facuty of Medicine

This university has one of the best medical schools in Switzerland.

It is Switzerland’s only bilingual university and offers full curricula in both French and German, two of Switzerland’s national languages.

Students number about 10,000; there are about 200 tenured professors and 700 other academic teachings and research personnel.

At the Faculty of Science and Medicine of the University of Fribourg, they teach the next generation of scientists and doctors, with a particular focus on life sciences, biomedicine, and nanomaterials.

They train them to face the future challenges of our society.

University of Lausanne-Faculty of medicine

This is the second oldest in Switzerland, and one of the oldest universities in the world to be in continuous operation. Its faculty of medicine is one of the top Medical schools in Switzerland.

Approximately 1,500 international students attend the university (120 nationalities), which has a wide curriculum including exchange programs with world-renowned universities.

The 2011 Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked the University of Lausanne 116th globally.

The CWTS Leiden Ranking 2015 ranks the University of Lausanne 11th in Europe and 41st globally, out of 750 universities.

The research and teaching of the Faculty of Biology and Medicine cover three distinct disciplines that share the same interest in living beings, thus offering three complementary approaches and cultures.

Biology studies nature in all its forms and focuses its academic activity on fundamental research.

Medicine and Nursing Science focus on human beings in their entirety, whether in good health or suffering physically or mentally. Their activities are oriented towards care for the sick and clinical research.

Teaching in these three fields offers many opportunities for inter-disciplinary collaboration.

Holders of a BSc in Biology interested in human biology and the biology of diseases now have the possibility of studying these areas with a medical orientation as part of a Master’s degree.

Conversely, holders of a Master of Medicine degree interested in fundamental research can develop their knowledge of the fundamental disciplines of biology by studying for a PhD in Medicine or a PhD in Medicine and Sciences (MD-PhD). There is so much more.

University of Zurich

It is the largest university in Switzerland, with 28,000 enrolled students. It was founded in 1833.

The university offers the widest range of subjects and courses of any Swiss higher education institution.

Qs Work University Rankings places this university as 76th globally and 14th in Europe.

Shanghai Jiao Tong University Ranking places the university at 54th globally and 15th in Europe.

The Faculty of Medicine has about 4000 students – every year about 400 young doctors graduate in human, dental or chiropractic medicine. Over 700 academic lecturers are available for the education of the students.

Their entire academic staff is fully committed to competent and responsible medical research and teaching.

With their four University‘s hospitals, we operate in an internationally renowned and dynamic environment.

Thanks to its location in the research hub of Zurich, the Faculty of Medicine has unique opportunities to engage in collaborations with other UZH faculties, other universities, ETH Zurich, and the private sector.

For international students

As an international student planning to attend the Medical schools in Switzerland, according to the Higher Education Council, only a select category of foreigners can be admitted. These include:

Liechtenstein citizens.

Foreign nationals (or their spouses/partners) with Swiss or Liechtenstein residence permit.

Foreign citizens of EU nations, Iceland, and Norway who hold a Swiss work permit.

Foreign nationals of any citizenship, whose parents are citizens of EU nations, Iceland, and Norway, and with a Swiss residence permit.

  • Foreign citizens who have:
    • A Swiss work permit that has been uninterrupted for 5 years
    • A Swiss or cantonal baccalaureate.
    • A federal vocational baccalaureate, Liechtenstein baccalaureate, or nationally-recognized specialized baccalaureate.
  • Spouse or partner of:
    • A Swiss citizen
    • A foreign national with a Swiss or Liechtenstein residence permit.

Foreign nationals with parent/s who hold a Swiss residence permit or work permit that is uninterrupted for 5 years.

Foreigners with diplomatic status.

Foreign nationals are categorized as refugees in Switzerland.

Check out the:

Special provisions governing the access of non-Swiss applicants to study medicine or dental medicine.

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