Best International Medical Schools in Italy (2024 comparison)

What are the best international medical schools in 2024 in Italy? How much does it cost to study medicine in Italy?

Which Italian medical school has the best admission chances? Which are the highest ranked? Is Italy good for international students?

Different schools are suitable for different people.

We, therefore, gathered all the most important and relevant facts and numbers about all international medical schools in Italy for you here, so that you could make the most educated choice to 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 suited medical schools for you.

After you’re done reading, you should also consider checking out our university guides to see what current students say about each university! The page is continuously being updated, so come back now and then to see if someone else wrote something new.

On 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!

Minimum IMAT admission scores

There are considerable 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 into one medical school yet not even scratch the bare minimum passing threshold for another. So, choosing the right Italian medical school in English can make the difference between getting in or skipping a year!

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 because it all depends on how many students apply to the same university as you, how many places the university offers, and how well the candidates perform on the IMAT.

What follows from this is that, firstly, you cannot foresee the exact minimum IMAT entry score for each med school next year because it constantly changes as a function of these factors. Second, with the same IMAT score, you may or may not pass, depending on your chosen university. But we’ll say more about this later.

The following table shows the number of seats available at each university for EU and non-EU students, respectively.

The figures are 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%.

There is an important exception in this trend, however, in some of the southern universities: the University of Messina reserves about the same amount of spots for EU and non-EU students (55-56). Napoli Federico II and Poli Marche are the only two universities to reserve more non-EU spots than EU!


Number of seats available for Public International Medical Schools in Italy:

# Places 2023-24EU studentsnon-EU students
University of Bari6911
University of Bologna9720
University of Catania60 for all
University of Messina5556
University of Milan (IMS)5525
University of Milan Bicocca3018
University of Naples “Federico II1525
University of Naples “Luigi Vanvitelli”6050
University of Padova8020
University of Parma7545
University of Pavia10340
University of Rome La Sapienza for Medicine4513
University of Rome La Sapienza for Dentistry196
University of Rome “Tor Vergata”4015
University of Poli Marche2555
University of Siena for Dentistry2212
University of Turin7032

Number of seats available for Private International Medical Schools in Italy:

# Places 2023-24EU studentsnon-EU students
Vita-Salute San Raffaele University (MD Program)8664
Cattolica University of Rome3070
Hunimed – Humanitas University14050
MEDTEC – Humanitas University7010
UniCamillus University of Rome425 for all
Campus Biomedico University of Rome7836
“MedTech” Campus Biomedico University of Rome6812
Cattolica University of Bolzano60 for all

However, the total number of seats doesn’t say much about how competitive each medical school in Italy is. So what does?

The minimal entry score. Your IMAT score, relative to the other candidates’ scores in the ranking, is the sole determinant of whether you’ll get a spot or not.

These numbers change every year, so you can never know the IMAT minimum score for the following year. For example, you can look at the 2020 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 specific position in the ranking.

First-round IMAT entry scores for EU and Non-EU:

First-round entry scores 2023EU studentsnon-EU students
University of Bari36.231.2
University of Bologna43.959.1
University of Catania34.9
University of Messina35.236.9
University of Milan (IMS)47.660.2
University of Milan Bicocca46.354.2
University of Naples Federico II45.252
University of Naples Luigi Vanvitelli3747.3
University of Padua41.149.5
University of Parma37.650.1
University of Pavia39.853.3
University of Rome La Sapienza for Medicine46.750.8
University of Rome La Sapienza for Dentistry40.359.1
University of Rome “Tor Vergata”40.253.4
University of Poli Marche37.543
University of Siena for Dentistry37.551.3
University of Turin3949

*Turin University announced 32 Non-Eu places (of which 2 are reserved for Marco Polo students). Usually when there are no Marco Polo candidates, the university fills these 2 places with other Non-Eu students. Turin, however, kept their 2 places empty and so, the minimal Non-Eu score is 44 points (the score of the 30th candidate in the ranking list, not the 32nd).

Keep in mind that EU and non-EU ranking lists are organized differently. This is because non-EU candidates have one choice of university, while EU candidates can choose to apply to all universities.

Therefore, first-round entry scores of non-EU ranking are a realistic predictor of a minimal entry score, while first-round entry scores for non-EU applicants are much higher than those for Europeans.

Since EU applicants can apply to so many universities, depending on their score, at first, they may be offered a spot in one of the less desired universities they applied for. In this case, they need to decide whether to take the spot or to resign it, and wait to get into some of their top choice universities.

The updated ranking is released weekly and continues for months until all spots are filled. Yes, your maths is right: an EU candidate could get accepted way after the beginning of the 1st year … even sometimes at the end!

So, the 1st EU ranking score is way higher than the final minimal score for acceptance. Down below, you’ll find last year’s ranking progression to get an idea:

IMAT EU ranking scores progression:

EU rankings 20231st ranking6th ranking10th ranking
University of Bari39.335.835
University of Bologna43.942.742.6
University of Catania34.934.233.9
University of Messina35.243.233.9
University of Milan (IMS)47.646.646.6
University of Milan Bicocca46.343.343.3
University of Naples Federico II45.245.245.2
University of Naples Luigi Vanvitelli3735.835
University of Padua41.139.938.7
University of Parma37.636.636.2
University of Pavia39.938.738.4
University of Rome La Sapienza for Medicine46.746.646.6
University of Rome La Sapienza for Dentistry40.338.738.7
University of Rome “Tor Vergata”40.238.738.5
University of Poli Marche37.536.136
University of Siena for Dentistry37.537.136.2
University of Turin3937.937.7

Furthermore, you should base your choice on something other than how easy it is to get in. Several other variables are involved, and we’re here to guide you through deciding which are the best medical schools in Italy – for you!

Scroll down to look at the different cities you might study in soon.

If everything we’ve said so far made you think that IMAT can be really competitive and you wish to expand your choices, perhaps you’d like to consider the private international medical schools in Italy, like UniCamillus, Humanitas, the Cattolica, or San Raffaele!

Italian medical schools – the cities

Choosing a university is not only about 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 tiny bit of information there is.

First of all, what are the options?

Two 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.

Say you want to live in a large city, with museums and 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, Bologna, and Padova. Turin is known for its Baroque architecture and spacious squares, while Bologna offers an impressive balance between thriving student life, gastronomic heaven, and a delightful outlook. Padova is the last city to have offered an English medical program but intriguingly was the one to open the first-oldest medical university in Italy, all the way back in 1222!

The newest additions to the list of Italian universities offering medical degree courses in English are the University of Catania, which opened its doors to the first students only last year, and the Polytechnic University of Marche, which offers a joint course in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering (Med-TECH) in the city of Ancona. Both cities are on the sea: Catania is in Sicily, next to the Etna volcano, and offers wonderful traditional architecture and great fried foods, while Ancona is a relatively small city, full of beautiful parks, beaches and caves to explore in your free time.

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 University Guides to read about personal experiences from different universities.

Or just keep reading here! We still have a lot of exploring to do.

International Medical School in ItalyApproximate city populationRegion of ItalyGDP per capita
University of Bari320.000Apulia (South) € 20.000
University of Bologna390.000Emilia-Romagna (Center)€ 39.000
University of Catania313.000Sicily (South)€ 17.400
University of Messina230.000Sicily (South)€ 21.500
University of Milan (IMS)1.350.000Lombardy (North)€ 50.000
University of Milan Bicocca120.000Lombardy (North)€ 30.500
University of Naples Federico II960.000Campania (South)€ 18.000
University of Naples Luigi Vanvitelli75.000Campania (South)€ 15.000
University of Padua214.125Veneto (North)€ 28.500
University of Parma100.000Emilia-Romagna (Center)€ 25.00
University of Pavia70.000Lombardy (North)€ 24.000
University of Rome La Sapienza for Medicine2.850.000Lazio (Center)€ 34.500
University of Rome La Sapienza for Dentistry2.850.000Lazio (Center)€ 34.500
University of Rome “Tor Vergata”2.850.000Lazio (Center)€ 34.500
University of Poli Marche99.000Marche (Center)€ 29.000
University of Siena for Dentistry55.000Tuscany (Center)€ 30.500
University of Turin870.000Piedmont (North)€ 30.000

 

How much does it cost to study medicine in Italy: Tuition fees, costs of living, and financing

Which are the cheapest medical schools in Italy?

What are the costs of studying medicine in Italy for international students?

If you’re still deciding whether to apply to medical school in Italy, our next table may help you decide. 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 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 would spend, 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. We like Italian universities very much because they make studying medicine accessible to a large slice of the population, regardless of their economic situation.

Education is not free, but very few countries with English-language medical courses are less expensive than this.

One little heads up: currently, there are very few rooms available in Bologna, 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 wait several weeks 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’s economic status ( is that it includes meals at the university canteen – or, as they’re called in Italian, mensa.

Prices and details vary between universities, but you can have a full meal every day for a few euros (4-5 in most cases). And if you have obtained a scholarship, the meal is often free.

When deciding which are the best medical schools in Italy, consider the cost of living and fees. You can also find more information about financing your studies on one of our pages. However, the following section might be right for you if you’re all about rankings.

Note: the “average expenses” per month indicate how much you will spend for living, rent included.

International Medical School in ItalyTuition fee minimum (€/year)Tuition fee maximum (€/year)Accomodation(€/month)Food (€/month)Public transport (€/month)Employment rate (%) 2020Regional poverty (%) 2021
University of Bari€ 336€ 1912€ 250-500€ 100-200€ 40-8056.8%27.5%
University of Bologna€ 157€ 3472€ 300-600€ 200-250€ 3077.6%6%
University of Catania€ 156€ 2350€ 250-500€ 100-200€ 4043%18.3%
University of Messina€ 236€ 2285€ 250-400€ 100-200€ 4044.8%18.3%
University of Milan (IMS)€ 156€ 3940€ 400-700€ 250-300€ 20-3073.8%5.9%
University of Milan Bicocca€ 156€ 3756€ 400-700€ 250-300€ 20-3073.8%5.9%
University of Naples Federico II€ 156€ 1600€ 250-300€ 150-200€ 35-6041.4%22.8%
University of Naples Luigi Vanvitelli€ 137€ 2700€ 250-300€ 150-200€ 35-6041.4%22.8%
University of Padua€ 156€ 2622250-500€ 150-20069.4%7.9%
University of Parma€ 156€ 2625€ 250-500€ 150-200€ 4074.1%6%
University of Pavia€ 156€ 4845€ 250-600€ 150-200€ 2569.6%5.9%
University of Rome La Sapienza for Medicine€ 156€ 3000€ 200-600€ 150-250€ 35-5067.1%6.7%
University of Rome La Sapienza for Dentistry€ 156€ 3000€ 200-600€ 150-250€ 35-5067.1%6.7%
University of Rome “Tor Vergata”€ 156€ 6105€ 200-600€ 150-250€ 35-5067.1%6.7%
University of Poli Marche€ 156€ 2869€ 200-400€ 150-250€ 4068.8%6.8%
University of Siena for Dentistry€ 156€ 4496€ 300-500€ 150-250€ 35-5073.3%6.7%
University of Turin€ 196€ 2800€ 500-700€ 150-250€ 35-5068.1%7.5%

Italian medical schools rankings

What is the No. 1 medical school in Italy?

This next section considers some domestic and international rankings updated to 2023. We at MEDschool.it advise you against making your choice solely based on 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

According to domestic (Censis) rankings, the medical school in Pavia is the best in Italy, whereas QS World University Rankings puts the university of Bologna in the first position. Some universities, like Milan, are near the top on all lists.

The variance in these lists is given by the different parameters considered: domestic rankings tend to focus on services, facilities, employability, digitalization and internationalization, while the worldwide rankings, specifically the American ones, tend to focus on things like global research reputation, publications, citation impact… It’s important to keep this in mind when looking at the scores for each university.

We believe 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 teaching in the various medical schools in English in Italy.

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

International Medical School in ItalyDOMESTIC Censis 2023 – medicine and surgeryDOMESTIC
Censis 2022 – medicine and surgery
INTERNATIONAL
US News & World Report, 2023 – clinical medicine
INTERNATIONAL
QS World University Rankings, 2022 – life sciences and medicine
INTERNATIONAL
QS World University Rankings, 2022 – life sciences and medicine
INTERNATIONAL
Shanghai Ranking of World Universities, 2023 – all subjects
 
University of Bari24 in Italy25 in Italy351 worldwide374 worldwide360 worldwide301-400 worldwide
University of Bologna2 in Italy3 in Italy81 worldwide96 worldwide107 worldwide101-150 worldwide
University of Catania21 in Italy21 in Italy451 worldwide451-500 worldwide451-500 worldwide301-400 worldwide
University of Messina14 in Italy17 in Italy529 worldwidenot rankednot rankednot ranked
University of Milan (IMS)4 in Italy5 in Italy55 worldwide102 worldwide97 worldwide191-150 worldwide
University of Milan Bicocca3 in Italy2 in Italy137 worldwide274 worldwide308 worldwide101-150 worldwide
University of Naples Federico II20 in Italy22 in Italy219 worldwide251 worldwide256 worldwide201-300 worldwide
University of Naples Luigi Vanvitelli22 in Italy23 in Italy520 worldwidenot rankednot ranked401-500 worldwide
University of Padua5 in Italy4 in Italy100 worldwide129 worldwide123 worldwide151-200 worldwide
University of Parmanot rankednot ranked429 worldwidenot rankednot ranked401-500 worldwide
University of Pavia1 in Italy1 in Italy251 worldwide302 worldwide309 worldwide301-400 worldwide
University of Rome La Sapienza for Medicine11 in Italy12 in Italy105 worldwide137 worldwide123 worldwide101-150 worldwide
University of Rome La Sapienza for Dentistry11 in Italy12 in Italy105 worldwide137 worldwide123 worldwide101-150 worldwide
University of Rome “Tor Vergata”12 in Italy11 in Italy329 worldwide354 worldwide349 worldwidenot ranked
University of Poli Marche14 in Italy15 in Italy641 worldwidenot rankednot rankednot ranked
University of Siena for Dentistrynot rankednot ranked377 worldwidenot ranked451-500 worldwide451-500 worldwide
University of Turin€ 196€ 2800€ 500-700€ 150-250€ 35-507.5%

 

Medical Education in Italy

Let’s say you have decided which cities you would like to live in, made sure that you can afford to study there for six years, and then, in September, you take the IMAT and 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 prefer to assess students’ knowledge via oral examinations rather than written ones. If you do not like that sort of testing method, the universities with fewer oral exams 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 in class is in most cases compulsory, with on average 70% of presence required, so take this into account when you plan your future studies in Italy. Truth 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 it is possible to study anatomy on cadavers in Italy, and the wildest hypotheses are made about why it is prohibited and why it isn’t. That’s why we interviewed medical students from all universities about 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.

 Class sizeOral or written exams?How many chances at tests?Mandatory attendance at lectures?Possibility for cadaverWhich hospitals for clinical rotations?Foreign research affiliations
Naples Fed. IIabout 40MixedunlimitedYes; 75% Policlinico Federico II 
Padovaabout 60Mostly written, some oral5Yes, 70% Policlinico Universitario,
Ospedale Giustinianeo,
Ospedale Sant’Antonio
 
Siena (dentistry)about 30Mixed3Yes, 75%NoneMost likely in Hospital Le ScotteCoimbra and several others
Rome-Tor Vergataabout 35Mostly oral with few writtenunlimitedYes; 66%Autopsy observation only, independent of academic programPoliclinico of Tor Vergata, Bambin Gesù hospital, and othersNetwork of Universities from the Capitals of Europe
Naples, Campania Vanvitelliabout 80Mostly oral with few writtenunlimitedOften; 75%NonePoliclinico Vecchio,
Caserta Civil Hospital
Only Erasmus+
Bariabout 50MixedunlimitedYes; 66%Some demonstrations as part of AnatomyMostly Policlinico Giovanni XXIIIOnly Erasmus+
Turinabout 100Mixed?Yes, 75%None, but there’s a simulation lab??
Bolognaabout 90MixedunlimitedYes, 66%Extensive and ntegrated in course (Year 2)Not yet availableCoimbra and several others
Bergamo-Bicoccaabout 30Mostly written, some oralunlimitedYes, 70%Nothing so farClinica San Francesco and hospital Papa Giovanni XXIIIUniversity of Surrey
Messinaabout 75Mostly oral, some writtenunlimitedYes, 75%There is a Skills LabSo far, Policlinico G. MartinoOnly Erasmus+
Harvey-Paviaabout 110Mostly oral with few written3Yes; 75%Autopsy observation only, independent of academic programMostly at 1 hospital (San Matteo) with a few rotations at 2 other hospitals in PaviaCoimbra Group
IMS-Rome-La Sapienzaabout 50Mostly oral with some writtenunlimitedYes; 66%Some demonstrations as part of AnatomyMostly at Umberto I with some rotations at St. AndreaNetwork of Universities from the Capitals of Europe
IMS-Milanabout 60Mostly written and oralunlimitedYes; 66%Yes (Year 1) – didactical post-mortem, integrated into academic programSpread around about 9 hospitals, mostly at PoliclinicoLeague of European Research Universities

Conclusion

We just gave you a 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 2020

 
 

Graph: Minimal and maximal tuition fees (€/year)

Legend: Minimal , Maximal

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 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 Facebok page and ask us or the rest of the community. If you know something we don’t, contact us through the link below.

Study well, and good luck!

2 thoughts on “Best International Medical Schools in Italy (2024 comparison)”

  1. Hi, thank you for plenty of useful information.

    Could you give an advice please, if there is any commercial consulting body (company or individual) who can help us with the process of submitting the application on one of the Italian Medschool ?

    Thank you very much

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