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
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.
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.
What can you do with a medical degree?
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.
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.
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|
|=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|
|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|
|24||24||University of Michigan||United States|
|26||28||National University of Singapore||Singapore|
|27||26||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||United States|
|29||31||University of Hong Kong||Hong Kong|
|=30||34||University of British Columbia||Canada|
|32||36||Emory University||United States|
|33||37||University of Sydney||Australia|
|34||32||The University of Tokyo||Japan|
|37||29||Northwestern University||United States|
|38||=40||Erasmus University Rotterdam||Netherlands|
|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|
|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|
|53||44||Vanderbilt University||United States|
|54||45||University of Manchester||United Kingdom|
|=55||48||University of Amsterdam||Netherlands|
|57||73||Australian National University||Australia|
|58||59||University of Montreal||Canada|
|59||81||National Taiwan University||Taiwan|
|61||67||University of Bristol||United Kingdom|
|=62||72||University of Liverpool||United Kingdom|
|=62||52||University of Queensland||Australia|
|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||=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|
|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|
|=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||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||151–175||Yonsei University (Seoul campus)||South Korea|
|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||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||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||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||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||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||201–250||Swansea University||United Kingdom|
|176–200||201–250||Tulane University||United States|
|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.