Best universities for medicine 2019

Find the best universities for medicine using Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data

November 7 2018
Doctors in surgery

The study of medicine varies greatly around the world. In the US, medicine is studied in graduate school after completing an undergraduate degree that is not directly related to medicine.

Elsewhere, such as in the UK, students can enrol for undergraduate clinical degrees.

Wherever you study, almost all clinical degrees span a good number of years – more than non-clinical courses.

So it’s best to ensure that you make a wise choice when you commit yourself to an institution for such a long period of time.

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Times Higher Education has published a ranking of the top 721 universities for clinical, pre-clinical and health studies, featuring colleges in more than 50 countries worldwide.

The ranking uses the same methodology as the World University Rankings, but with more weight on citations and slightly less on teaching and research metrics. The full methodology can be found here

Scroll down for a full list of degrees included in the clinical subject ranking of top universities, and a guide on what you can do with them. 

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Top 5 universities for clinical studies and health sciences

1. University of Oxford

Medicine at the University of Oxford is a traditional course, split into pre-clinical and clinical stages.

In the first few years, students are taught theoretically with little patient contact, and in later years they move to the clinical phase, spending much more time at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

About 150 students are admitted on to the course each year, and another 30 on to a graduate course that condenses medical studies into just four years.

The university has two main libraries for medicine and clinical studies, one providing resources for the pre-clinical elements of the course and another focusing on healthcare.

In addition to its distinctive course, Oxford offers students the experience of college life, where social events and small tutorials take place.

2. Harvard University

The graduate medical school of Harvard University has three missions: to educate, research and provide clinical care.

Founded in 1782, it is the third-oldest medical school in the US.

Faculty of the school also teach in other science departments at Harvard, and work in clinical departments at some of the hospitals affiliated to the university.

There are four main teaching hospitals, all around the Boston area.

Harvard has introduced problem-based learning to the curriculum. There is also a specialised programme, accepting only 30 applicants each year, which focuses on biomedical research.

Medical students at Harvard belong to one of five societies named after alumni. Students work in small groups within the society, compete in sports competitions and attend social events.

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3. University of Cambridge

As at the University of Oxford, students can enrol in an undergraduate medicine degree at the University of Cambridge

Graduates also have several options to study medicine, either on an accelerated graduate programme or a condensed version of the pre-clinical and clinical courses.

There are six applicants per place on the medical courses, and about 260 are accepted overall.

Half the graduates of Cambridge’s medical degrees become general practitioners, and almost all will work in the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.

Entrance to the medicine degree requires excellent secondary qualifications and high scores on the BMAT test.

Cambridge students, particularly medical students, have a busy schedule, juggling studies, college social events and a variety of recreational activities.

4. Imperial College London

The medical programme at Imperial College London offers a range of teaching approaches, from traditional theoretical classes to innovative and hands-on experience.

From the very first term, students have direct contact with patients, unlike at other more traditional universities in the UK.

The six-year undergraduate qualification in medicine also includes a bachelor of science, in addition to the MBBS.

Like both Oxford and Cambridge, Imperial’s courses are heavily scientific, with an emphasis not only on clinical practice but on research techniques.

Entry requirements are high; most accepted students will have top grades in chemistry, biology and a third subject, and achieve a high score in the BMAT exam. The application process also includes an interview.

Imperial is one of the most international institutions in the UK, but only a few overseas students are accepted on to the medical programme each year.

5. Stanford University

The graduate school at Stanford University provides master’s and PhD programmes to students who wish to further their medical training. 

Seven Nobel prizewinners, 31 members of the National Academy of Sciences, and 42 members of the Institute of Medicine are among the current faculty at the school. 

Researchers across Stanford Medicine are undertaking research across a number of different areas including cancer, immunology, genetics and neuroscience, among others. 

The school also provides healthcare for adults and children, with a dedicated centre for children. 

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Best universities for medicine 2019

Click each institution to view its World University Rankings 2019 profile

Medicine Rank 2019  Medicine Rank 2018 University Country/Region
 1  1 University of Oxford United Kingdom
 2  =2 Harvard University United States
 3  =2 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
 4  =4 Imperial College London United Kingdom
 5  =4 Stanford University United States
 6  6 Johns Hopkins University United States
 7  7 University of California, Berkeley United States
 8  12 UCL United Kingdom
 =9  8 Columbia University United States
 =9  9 University of Melbourne Australia
 11  =13 Yale University United States
 12  16 University of California, Los Angeles United States
 13  19 University of Toronto Canada
 14  15 Karolinska Institute Sweden
 15  10 University of Pennsylvania United States
 16  11 Duke University United States
 17  =17 King’s College London United Kingdom
 18  20 University of Washington United States
 19  =17 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
 =20  21 University of California, San Diego United States
 =20  =13 Washington University in St Louis United States
 22  22 University of Chicago United States
 23  23 McMaster University Canada
 24  24 University of Michigan United States
 25  27 McGill University Canada
 26  28 National University of Singapore Singapore
 27  26 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States
 28  30 Heidelberg University Germany
 29  31 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 =30  34 University of British Columbia Canada
 =30  NR ETH Zurich Switzerland
 32  36 Emory University United States
 33  37 University of Sydney Australia
 34  32 The University of Tokyo Japan
 35  25 Tsinghua University China
 36  =40 Kyoto University Japan
 37  29 Northwestern University United States
 38  =40 Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands
 39  43 KU Leuven Belgium
 40  35 LMU Munich Germany
 41  57 Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) South Korea
 42  39 New York University United States
 43  33 Boston University United States
 44  38 Brown University United States
 45  =46 Monash University Australia
 46  55 Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin Germany
 47  42 University of Pittsburgh United States
 48  =46 Technical University of Munich Germany
 49  54 Seoul National University South Korea
 49  63 Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 =51  53 University of Glasgow United Kingdom
 =51  50 Peking University China
 53  44 Vanderbilt University United States
 54  45 University of Manchester United Kingdom
 =55  48 University of Amsterdam Netherlands
 =55  NR Sorbonne University France
 57  73 Australian National University Australia
 58  59 University of Montreal Canada
 59  81 National Taiwan University Taiwan
 60  51 Leiden University Netherlands
 61  67 University of Bristol United Kingdom
 =62  72 University of Liverpool United Kingdom
 =62  52 University of Queensland Australia
 62  62 Fudan University China
 65  56 Utrecht University Netherlands
 66  60 University of Wisconsin-Madison United States
 67  74 Queen Mary University of London United Kingdom
 68  =78 Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
 69  65 Ohio State University United States
 70  66 Dartmouth College United States
 71  77 University of Alberta Canada
 72  70 University of Cape Town South Africa
 =73  64 Uppsala University Sweden
 =73  =86 University of Zurich Switzerland
 75  75 University of Texas at Austin United States
 76  61 University of Copenhagen Denmark
 77  58 University of Southern California United States
 78  =89 University of Groningen Netherlands
 =79  49 University of Minnesota Twin Cities United States
 =79  68 Tufts University United States
 =81  80 University of Leicester United Kingdom
 =81  69 Maastricht University Netherlands
 83  101–125 University of the Witwatersrand South Africa
 84  =78 University of Tübingen Germany
 85  101–125 University of Alabama at Birmingham United States
 86  101–125 University of Virginia United States
 =87  101–125 Case Western Reserve University United States
 =87  =95 University of Sheffield United Kingdom
 89  151–175 University of Warwick United Kingdom
 90  84 Wageningen University & Research Netherlands
 91  =82 University of New South Wales Australia
 92  101–125 Auckland University of Technology New Zealand
 93  =86 University of Florida United States
 =94  76 University of Basel Switzerland
 =94  =95 Paris-Sud University France
 96  =89 Lund University Sweden
 =97  =82 University of Auckland New Zealand
 =97  101–125 University of Birmingham United Kingdom
 =99  94 University of Southampton United Kingdom
 =99  101–125 University of York United Kingdom
 101–125  101–125 Aarhus University Denmark
 101–125  126–150 University of Aberdeen United Kingdom
 101–125  151–175 University of Bergen Norway
 101–125  85 University of Bern Switzerland
 101–125  126–150 University of Bologna Italy
 101–125  =95 University of Calgary Canada
 101–125  71 University of California, Davis United States
 101–125  151–175 University of Canterbury New Zealand
 101–125  =86 University of Dundee United Kingdom
 101–125  93 University of Freiburg Germany
 101–125  101–125 University of Gothenburg Sweden
 101–125  101–125 University of Helsinki Finland
 101–125  101–125 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign United States
 101–125  100 University of Kiel Germany
 101–125  126–150 Université Catholique de Louvain Belgium
 101–125  101–125 Medical University of Vienna Austria
 101–125  91 University of Nottingham United Kingdom
 101–125  126–150 University of Oslo Norway
 101–125  151–175 University of Ottawa Canada
 101–125  126–150 University of São Paulo Brazil
 101–125  101–125 Trinity College Dublin Republic of Ireland
 101–125  126–150 Ulm University Germany
 101–125  101–125 Western University Canada
 101–125  151–175 Yonsei University (Seoul campus) South Korea
 101–125  126–150 Zhejiang University China
 126–150  126–150 University of Adelaide Australia
 126–150  151–175 Anglia Ruskin University United Kingdom
 126–150  201–250 Brighton and Sussex Medical School United Kingdom
 126–150  126–150 University of California, Irvine United States
 126–150  =95 Cardiff University United Kingdom
 126–150  101–125 University of Cincinnati United States
 126–150  101–125 University of Cologne Germany
 126–150  101–125 University of Geneva Switzerland
 126–150  151–175 George Washington University United States
 126–150  =95 Ghent University Belgium
 126–150  101–125 University of Iowa United States
 126–150  126–150 King Abdulaziz University Saudi Arabia
 126–150  126–150 University of Leeds United Kingdom
 126–150  NR Nanjing University China
 126–150  126–150 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore
 126–150  101–125 Newcastle University United Kingdom
 126–150  151–175 Northeastern University United States
 126–150  101–125 Oregon Health and Science University United States
 126–150  92 Osaka University Japan
 126–150  101–125 University of Otago New Zealand
 126–150  201–250 University of the Philippines Philippines
 126–150  101–125 Pompeu Fabra University Spain
 126–150  151–175 Queen’s University Belfast United Kingdom
 126–150  101–125 St George’s, University of London United Kingdom
 126–150  176–200 Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) Japan
 126–150  101–125 University of Western Australia Australia
 151–175  NR Arizona State University United States
 151–175  126–150 University of Barcelona Spain
 151–175  251–300 University of Bath United Kingdom
 151–175  201–250 University of Canberra Australia
 151–175  151–175 University of Crete Greece
 151–175  151–175 University of Duisburg-Essen Germany
 151–175  126–150 Georgetown University United States
 151–175  176–200 Grenoble Alpes University France
 151–175  126–150 University of Hamburg Germany
 151–175  176–200 Jordan University of Science and Technology Jordan
 151–175  201–250 Korea University South Korea
 151–175  151–175 Université Libre de Bruxelles Belgium
 151–175  101–125 University of Miami United States
 151–175  126–150 Michigan State University United States
 151–175  176–200 University of Milan Italy
 151–175  176–200 Paris Diderot University – Paris 7 France
 151–175  101–125 Radboud University Nijmegen Netherlands
 151–175  126–150 University of Rochester United States
 151–175  126–150 Shanghai Jiao Tong University China
 151–175  201–250 Sichuan University China
 151–175  176–200 University of St Andrews United Kingdom
 151–175  201–250 Stellenbosch University South Africa
 151–175  126–150 Technical University of Denmark Denmark
 151–175  201–250 United Arab Emirates University United Arab Emirates
 151–175  126–150 University of Utah United States
 151–175  151–175 Vita-Salute San Raffaele University Italy
 151–175  151–175 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands
 151–175  126–150 University of Würzburg Germany
 151-175    201–250 Sun Yat-sen University China
 176–200  126–150 University of Bonn Germany
 176–200  176–200 University at Buffalo United States
 176–200  176–200 University of East Anglia United Kingdom
 176–200  151–175 University of Erlangen-Nuremberg Germany
 176–200  176–200 University of Exeter United Kingdom
 176–200  176–200 George Mason University United States
 176–200  151–175 University of Illinois at Chicago United States
 176–200  151–175 University of Lausanne Switzerland
 176–200  151–175 Laval University Canada
 176–200  176–200 University of Lorraine France
 176–200  301–400 Metropolitan Autonomous University Mexico
 176–200  201–250 University of Navarra Spain
 176–200  NR Pennsylvania State University United States
 176–200  201–250 Pontifical Javeriana University Colombia
 176–200  151–175 Queen’s University Canada
 176–200  201–250 Swansea University United Kingdom
 176–200  126–150 TU Dresden Germany
 176–200  201–250 Tulane University United States
 176–200  151–175 Umeå University Sweden
 176–200  251–300 University College Cork Republic of Ireland

Editor's note: This page was updated on 22 November 2018 to reflect minor changes in the positions of a small number of universities. More information can be found here.

Click here to view the top 721 universities for medical degrees 

Read more: The most detailed subject guide you will ever see to help you pick your degree

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