Best universities for medicine 2020

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

November 19 2019
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 a course of study for such a long period of time.


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Times Higher Education has published a ranking of the top 775 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 across 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

Like 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 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 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. 

Six 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. 

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


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Best universities for medicine 2020

Click each institution to view its World University Rankings 2020 profile

Medicine Rank 2020  Medicine Rank 2019 University Country/region
 1   1  University of Oxford United Kingdom
 2   2  Harvard University United States
 3   3  University of Cambridge United Kingdom
 4   4  Imperial College London United Kingdom
 5   5  Stanford University United States
 6   13  University of Toronto Canada
 7   6  Johns Hopkins University United States
 8   8  UCL United Kingdom
 9   11  Yale University United States
 10   =9  Columbia University United States
 11   12  University of California, Los Angeles United States
 =12   7  University of California, Berkeley United States
 =12   14  Karolinska Institute Sweden
 14   =9  University of Melbourne Australia
 15   15  University of Pennsylvania United States
 16   18  University of Washington United States
 17   17  King’s College London United Kingdom
 18   16  Duke University United States
 19   26  National University of Singapore Singapore
 20   =20  Washington University in St Louis United States
 =21   24  University of Michigan-Ann Arbor United States
 =21   34  The University of Tokyo Japan
 23   25  McGill University Canada
 24   19  University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
 25   22  University of Chicago United States
 26   23  McMaster University Canada
 27   36  Kyoto University Japan
 28   29  University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 29   =20  University of California, San Diego United States
 30   =30  University of British Columbia Canada
 31   =51  Peking University China
 32   27  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States
 33   35  Tsinghua University China
 =34   32  Emory University United States
 =34   28  Heidelberg University Germany
 36   37  Northwestern University United States
 37   41  Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) South Korea
 38   43  Boston University United States
 39   33  University of Sydney Australia
 40   =30  ETH Zurich Switzerland
 41   39  KU Leuven Belgium
 42   45  Monash University Australia
 43   42  New York University United States
 44   46  Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin Germany
 45   38  Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands
 46   49  Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 47   49  Seoul National University South Korea
 48   40  LMU Munich Germany
 49   48  Technical University of Munich Germany
 50   44  Brown University United States
 51   47  University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campus United States
 52   59  National Taiwan University Taiwan
 =53   62  Fudan University China
 =53   NR  University of Paris France
 55   58  University of Montreal Canada
 56   =51  University of Glasgow United Kingdom
 57   =62  University of Liverpool United Kingdom
 58   =55  University of Amsterdam Netherlands
 59   91  UNSW Sydney Australia
 =60   =55  Sorbonne University France
 =60   53  Vanderbilt University United States
 62   54  University of Manchester United Kingdom
 63   67  Queen Mary University of London United Kingdom
 64   77  University of Southern California United States
 65   72  University of Cape Town South Africa
 66   =62  University of Queensland Australia
 67   =81  Maastricht University Netherlands
 68   101–125  Yonsei University (Seoul campus) South Korea
 69   66  University of Wisconsin-Madison United States
 70   71  University of Alberta Canada
 71   57  Australian National University Australia
 =72   78  University of Groningen Netherlands
 =72   60  Leiden University Netherlands
 74   126–150  Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) Japan
 75   61  University of Bristol United Kingdom
 76   101–125  University of Ottawa Canada
 =77   101–125  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign United States
 =77   =79  University of Minnesota United States
 79   65  Utrecht University Netherlands
 80   76  University of Copenhagen Denmark
 81   69  Ohio State University (Main campus) United States
 82   101–125  University of São Paulo Brazil
 83   =73  University of Zurich Switzerland
 84   NR  Howard University United States
 =85   =79  Tufts University United States
 =85   83  University of the Witwatersrand South Africa
 87   =87  Case Western Reserve University United States
 88   84  University of Tübingen Germany
 89   93  University of Florida United States
 90   96  Lund University Sweden
 91   70  Dartmouth College United States
 92   75  University of Texas at Austin United States
 93   151–175  Korea University South Korea
 =94   101–125  University of Helsinki Finland
 =94   =87  University of Sheffield United Kingdom
 =96   85  University of Alabama at Birmingham United States
 =96   101–125  University of California, Davis United States
 =98   101–125  Medical University of Vienna Austria
 =98   86  University of Virginia (Main campus) United States
 100   =94  University of Basel Switzerland
 101–125   101–125  Aarhus University Denmark
 101–125   126–150  University of Adelaide Australia
 101–125   92  Auckland University of Technology New Zealand
 101–125   68  Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
 101–125   101–125  University of Bern Switzerland
 101–125   =97  University of Birmingham United Kingdom
 101–125   126–150  Brighton and Sussex Medical School United Kingdom
 101–125   151–175  University of Canberra Australia
 101–125   101–125  University of Freiburg Germany
 101–125   126–150  Ghent University Belgium
 101–125   176–200  University of Illinois at Chicago United States
 101–125   126–150  University of Iowa United States
 101–125   =81  University of Leicester United Kingdom
 101–125   151–175  Michigan State University United States
 101–125   126–150  Nanjing University China
 101–125   126–150  Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore
 101–125   126–150  Northeastern University United States
 101–125   126–150  Osaka University Japan
 101–125   101–125  University of Oslo Norway
 101–125   176–200  Penn State (Main campus) United States
 101–125   151–175  Shanghai Jiao Tong University China
 101–125   =73  Uppsala University Sweden
 101–125   90  Wageningen University & Research Netherlands
 101–125   89  University of Warwick United Kingdom
 101–125   101–125  Zhejiang University China
 126–150   101–125  University of Aberdeen United Kingdom
 126–150   126–150  Anglia Ruskin University United Kingdom
 126–150   201–250  University of Arizona United States
 126–150   =97  University of Auckland New Zealand
 126–150   101–125  University of Bergen Norway
 126–150   101–125  University of Bologna Italy
 126–150   251–300  Cairo University Egypt
 126–150   126–150  University of California, Irvine United States
 126–150   126–150  University of Cologne Germany
 126–150   126–150  George Washington University United States
 126–150   101–125  University of Gothenburg Sweden
 126–150   151–175  Jordan University of Science and Technology Jordan
 126–150   176–200  Laval University Canada
 126–150   126–150  University of Leeds United Kingdom
 126–150   101–125  Université Catholique de Louvain Belgium
 126–150   251–300  Mahidol University Thailand
 126–150   151–175  University of Milan Italy
 126–150   126–150  Newcastle University United Kingdom
 126–150   101–125  University of Nottingham United Kingdom
 126–150   126–150  University of the Philippines Philippines
 126–150   126–150  St George’s, University of London United Kingdom
 126–150   =99  University of Southampton United Kingdom
 126–150   151–175  Stellenbosch University South Africa
 126–150   151–175  Sun Yat-sen University China
 126–150   101–125  Trinity College Dublin Republic of Ireland
 126–150   101–125  Ulm University Germany
 126–150   151–175  Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands
 126–150   126–150  University of Western Australia Australia
 126–150   101–125  Western University Canada
 151–175   201–250  Autonomous University of Madrid Spain
 151–175   101–125  University of Calgary Canada
 151–175   101–125  University of Canterbury New Zealand
 151–175   126–150  University of Cincinnati United States
 151–175   101–125  University of Dundee United Kingdom
 151–175   126–150  University of Geneva Switzerland
 151–175   201–250  Huazhong University of Science and Technology China
 151–175   101–125  University of Kiel Germany
 151–175   176–200  Metropolitan Autonomous University Mexico
 151–175   151–175  University of Miami United States
 151–175   126–150  University of Otago New Zealand
 151–175   =94  Paris-Sud University France
 151–175   176–200  Pontifical Javeriana University Colombia
 151–175   176–200  Queen’s University Canada
 151–175   126–150  Queen’s University Belfast United Kingdom
 151–175   151–175  Sichuan University China
 151–175   201–250  Taipei Medical University Taiwan
 151–175   201–250  Tohoku University Japan
 151–175   151–175  United Arab Emirates University United Arab Emirates
 151–175   176–200  University College Cork Republic of Ireland
 151–175   151–175  University of Utah United States
 151–175   =99  University of York United Kingdom
 176–200   151–175  University of Barcelona Spain
 176–200   251–300  Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté (UBFC) France
 176–200   176–200  University at Buffalo United States
 176–200   301–400  Claude Bernard University Lyon 1 France
 176–200   151–175  University of Crete Greece
 176–200   151–175  University of Duisburg-Essen Germany
 176–200   176–200  George Mason University United States
 176–200   151–175  Grenoble Alpes University France
 176–200   151–175  University of Hamburg Germany
 176–200   201–250  Indiana University United States
 176–200   176–200  University of Lausanne Switzerland
 176–200   151–175  Université Libre de Bruxelles Belgium
 176–200   201–250  Macquarie University Australia
 176–200   251–300  University of Malaya Malaysia
 176–200   251–300  Mansoura University Egypt
 176–200   201–250  University of Maryland, College Park United States
 176–200   NR  Nova Southeastern University United States
 176–200   NR  University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan Japan
 176–200   126–150  Oregon Health and Science University United States
 176–200   151–175  Radboud University Nijmegen Netherlands
 176–200   151–175  University of Rochester United States
 176–200   201–250  Suez Canal University Egypt
 176–200   176–200  Tulane University United States
 176–200   251–300  Wuhan University China
 176–200   151–175  University of Würzburg Germany

Click here to view the full medicine ranking 

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

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