Best universities for medicine

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

Rankings for Students
October 28 2020
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.

Best universities for medicine by country

Best universities for medicine degrees in Canada

Best universities in the United States for medicine degrees

Best universities in Australia for medicine degrees

Best universities in the UK for medicine degrees

Times Higher Education has published a ranking of the top 856 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.

Best universities worldwide

Best universities in the world
Best universities in the United States
Best universities in the UK
Best universities in Canada
Best universities in Australia
Best universities in Europe
Best universities in France
Best universities in the Netherlands
Best universities in Germany

Top five 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. In the course’s 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.

how to choose a university

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, as well as working 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, that 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 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.


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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 will 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 at 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.

Student experience of a medicine degree

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A Canadian student studying at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Finding my family at a small medical school
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Experiencing student nursing in the UK and the US
Student life at a medical university with a high staff-to-student ratio
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Nine truths about student nursing
International perspective: a Trinidadian medical student in Ireland

Best universities for medicine 2021

Click each institution to view its World University Rankings 2021 profile

Medicine Rank 2021 Medicine Rank 2020 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   6  University of Toronto Canada
 7   9  Yale University United States
 8   7  Johns Hopkins University United States
 9   8  UCL United Kingdom
 10   =12  Karolinska Institute Sweden
 =11   26  McMaster University Canada
 =11   14  University of Melbourne Australia
 13   =12  University of California, Berkeley United States
 14   11  University of California, Los Angeles United States
 15   10  Columbia University United States
 16   17  King’s College London United Kingdom
 17   15  University of Pennsylvania United States
 18   19  National University of Singapore Singapore
 19   18  Duke University United States
 20   16  University of Washington United States
 =21   24  University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
 =21   =21  University of Michigan-Ann Arbor United States
 23   27  Kyoto University Japan
 =24   25  The University of Chicago United States
 =24   23  McGill University Canada
 26   20  Washington University in St Louis United States
 27   =21  The University of Tokyo Japan
 28   28  University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 29   31  Peking University China
 30   29  University of California, San Diego United States
 31   42  Monash University Australia
 32   33  Tsinghua University China
 33   32  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States
 34   36  Northwestern University United States
 35   39  University of Sydney Australia
 36   =34  Heidelberg University Germany
 37   47  Seoul National University South Korea
 38   38  Boston University United States
 39   30  University of British Columbia Canada
 40   40  ETH Zurich Switzerland
 41   37  Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) South Korea
 42   =34  Emory University United States
 43   44  Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin Germany
 44   =53  Fudan University China
 45   48  LMU Munich Germany
 =46   41  KU Leuven Belgium
 =46   43  New York University United States
 48   52  National Taiwan University (NTU) Taiwan
 49   46  Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 50   51  University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campus United States
 51   64  University of Southern California United States
 =52   50  Brown University United States
 =52   62  University of Manchester United Kingdom
 =54   56  University of Glasgow United Kingdom
 =54   66  The University of Queensland Australia
 56   49  Technical University of Munich Germany
 57   59  UNSW Sydney Australia
 58   =60  Vanderbilt University United States
 59   57  University of Liverpool United Kingdom
 60   58  University of Amsterdam Netherlands
 61   68  Yonsei University (Seoul campus) South Korea
 62   45  Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands
 63   75  University of Bristol United Kingdom
 64   63  Queen Mary University of London United Kingdom
 65   55  University of Montreal Canada
 =66   65  University of Cape Town South Africa
 =66   =60  Sorbonne University France
 =68   =77  University of Minnesota United States
 =68   =53  University of Paris France
 =70   67  Maastricht University Netherlands
 =70   83  University of Zurich Switzerland
 72   =72  Leiden University Netherlands
 73   71  Australian National University Australia
 74   82  University of São Paulo Brazil
 75   88  University of Tübingen Germany
 76   80  University of Copenhagen Denmark
 77   76  University of Ottawa Canada
 78   70  University of Alberta Canada
 79   74  Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) Japan
 80   69  University of Wisconsin -Madison United States
 81   101–125  Zhejiang University China
 82   81  Ohio State University (Main campus) United States
 83   =72  University of Groningen Netherlands
 =84   89  University of Florida United States
 =84   101–125  Wageningen University & Research Netherlands
 =86   =96  University of California, Davis United States
 =86   87  Case Western Reserve University United States
 =86   =85  Tufts University United States
 89   =77  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign United States
 =90   84  Howard University United States
 =90   93  Korea University South Korea
 92   101–125  University of Bern Switzerland
 93   =94  University of Sheffield United Kingdom
 =94   =94  University of Helsinki Finland
 =94   =85  University of the Witwatersrand South Africa
 =96   101–125  Northeastern University United States
 =96   101–125  Shanghai Jiao Tong University China
 =98   91  Dartmouth College United States
 =98   79  Utrecht University Netherlands
 =100   101–125  University of Freiburg Germany
 =100   126–150  University of Nottingham United Kingdom
 101–125   101–125  Aarhus University Denmark
 101–125   101–125  University of Adelaide Australia
 101–125   =96  University of Alabama at Birmingham United States
 101–125   101–125  Auckland University of Technology New Zealand
 101–125   176–200  University of Barcelona Spain
 101–125   100  University of Basel Switzerland
 101–125   101–125  University of Birmingham United Kingdom
 101–125   101–125  Brighton and Sussex Medical School United Kingdom
 101–125   126–150  Cairo University Egypt
 101–125   101–125  University of Canberra Australia
 101–125   101–125  Ghent University Belgium
 101–125   101–125  University of Illinois at Chicago United States
 101–125   101–125  University of Iowa United States
 101–125   101–125  University of Leicester United Kingdom
 101–125   90  Lund University Sweden
 101–125   =98  Medical University of Vienna Austria
 101–125   101–125  Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore
 101–125   101–125  Osaka University Japan
 101–125   176–200  University of Rochester United States
 101–125   126–150  St George’s, University of London United Kingdom
 101–125   126–150  University of Southampton United Kingdom
 101–125   126–150  Sun Yat-sen University China
 101–125   151–175  Tohoku University Japan
 101–125   101–125  Uppsala University Sweden
 126–150   126–150  University of Aberdeen United Kingdom
 126–150   126–150  Anglia Ruskin University ARU United Kingdom
 126–150   126–150  University of Auckland New Zealand
 126–150   126–150  University of Bologna Italy
 126–150   151–175  University of Calgary Canada
 126–150   126–150  University of California, Irvine United States
 126–150   151–175  University of Geneva Switzerland
 126–150   126–150  University of Gothenburg Sweden
 126–150   126–150  Jordan University of Science and Technology Jordan
 126–150   126–150  Université Catholique de Louvain Belgium
 126–150   126–150  Mahidol University Thailand
 126–150   176–200  Mansoura University Egypt
 126–150   126–150  Newcastle University United Kingdom
 126–150   101–125  University of Oslo Norway
 126–150   151–175  University of Otago New Zealand
 126–150   NR  Paris-Saclay University  France
 126–150   126–150  University of the Philippines Philippines
 126–150   126–150  Stellenbosch University South Africa
 126–150   151–175  Taipei Medical University Taiwan
 126–150   92  University of Texas at Austin United States
 126–150   176–200  Tulane University United States
 126–150   =98  University of Virginia (Main campus) United States
 126–150   126–150  Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands
 126–150   101–125  University of Warwick United Kingdom
 126–150   126–150  The University of Western Australia Australia
 126–150   126–150  Western University Canada
 151–175   126–150  University of Bergen Norway
 151–175   151–175  University of Canterbury New Zealand
 151–175   NR  Catholic University of Portugal Portugal
 151–175   126–150  University of Cologne Germany
 151–175   151–175  University of Dundee United Kingdom
 151–175   201–250  University of Erlangen-Nuremberg Germany
 151–175   126–150  George Washington University United States
 151–175   NR  Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences Iran
 151–175   201–250  La Trobe University Australia
 151–175   126–150  Université Laval Canada
 151–175   151–175  Metropolitan Autonomous University Mexico
 151–175   101–125  Michigan State University United States
 151–175   126–150  University of Milan Italy
 151–175   101–125  Nanjing University China
 151–175   176–200  University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan Japan
 151–175   NR  Oklahoma State University United States
 151–175   NR  University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka
 151–175   151–175  Pontifical Javeriana University Colombia
 151–175   151–175  Queen’s University Canada
 151–175   151–175  Queen’s University Belfast United Kingdom
 151–175   126–150  Trinity College Dublin Republic of Ireland
 151–175   126–150  Ulm University Germany
 151–175   151–175  United Arab Emirates University United Arab Emirates
 151–175   176–200  University of Würzburg Germany
 151–175   151–175  University of York United Kingdom
 176–200   251–300  Ain Shams University Egypt
 176–200   101–125  Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
 176–200   201–250  University of Bonn Germany
 176–200   201–250  China Medical University, Taiwan Taiwan
 176–200   151–175  University of Cincinnati United States
 176–200   201–250  University of East Anglia United Kingdom
 176–200   176–200  George Mason University United States
 176–200   176–200  University of Hamburg Germany
 176–200   201–250  Kyung Hee University South Korea
 176–200   126–150  University of Leeds United Kingdom
 176–200   176–200  Macquarie University Australia
 176–200   176–200  University of Malaya Malaysia
 176–200   151–175  University of Miami United States
 176–200   201–250  University of Newcastle Australia
 176–200   176–200  Nova Southeastern University United States
 176–200   176–200  Oregon Health and Science University United States
 176–200   NR  Qatar University Qatar
 176–200   201–250  Queensland University of Technology Australia
 176–200   176–200  Radboud University Nijmegen Netherlands
 176–200   151–175  Sichuan University China
 176–200   201–250  Swansea University United Kingdom
 176–200   201–250  TU Dresden Germany
 176–200   151–175  University College Cork Republic of Ireland
 176–200   201–250  Western Sydney University Australia

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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