France is not only the home of the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, it is a historic place for medical studies as well. The first pre-historic trepanning and amputation were said to be done in Ensisheim and Buthiers-Bulancourt, respectively.
By the 13th century, France opened universities that would be home to some of the most distinguished medical institutions in the world. If you want to be part of this long, illustrious tradition, then you should consider applying in any of the 10 best medical schools in France.
How long does it take to study Medicine in France?
Medical schooling in France is one of the longest in the world, as it usually takes 9 years to become a physician in the country.
It is divided into three cycles, namely:
- First cycle – 2 years of education, where a concour (competitive final exam) is done by the end of the first year to determine who can proceed to the next track.
- Second cycle – 4 years of training, with 1 for bio-clinical sciences and another 3 years for externship.
- Third cycle – involves a classifying national test, which is then followed by hospital training. The diploma is given after a successful thesis defense.
What are the requirements to study in French medical schools?
International students need to submit a transcript of records, GRE results, and a language proficiency test as needed. You may be required to submit proof of financial capability as well.
Top Medical Schools in France
1. Sorbonne Universite Faculty of Medicine
As per US News Rankings, Sorbonne holds the distinction of having the top-ranked medical school in France. Established in 1257 as the College de Sorbonne, it is the result of the 2018 merger between the Paris-Sorbonne University, Pierre et Marie Curie University, and other smaller schools.
One of its 3 departments is the world-famous Faculty of Medicine, which is the home of many Nobel laureates and many more esteemed physicians. A powerhouse in Medicine, it continues to rank high in the fields of Biology, Biochemistry, Cardiac Medicine, Immunology, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Neuroscience, Oncology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Psychiatry, and Surgery.
Sorbonne is also known for its Clinical Medicine research, with its papers included in the top 1% of the most-cited journals in the world.
Sorbonne students may rotate in any of its two teaching hospitals, namely the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital and Hôpital Saint-Antoine.
2. Université de Paris – Paris Diderot University Faculty of Medicine
Université de Paris is a public university, a result of the 2019 merger between the Paris Descartes and Paris Diderot universities. It is under the Universite Sorbonne Paris Cite-USPC (ComUE), an organization of 14 French educational institutions.
One of its most distinguished departments is the Faculty of Medicine, which is under the Faculty of Health. It serves as a remnant of one of the merged universities – Paris Diderot.
As with most schools, aspiring physicians need to complete 3 cycles of studies in Paris Diderot to obtain a diploma in Medicine.
This medical school in France has several teaching hospitals, including the Lariboisière, which was built in the 19th century in response to the second cholera pandemic.
3. Université Paris-Sud – University of Paris-Saclay MMOP Health Studies
Paris-Sud is a research university that has 5 campuses in Southern Paris. Established in 1971, the institution has been renamed to the University of Paris-Saclay just this 2020.
Paris-Sud is an institution famous for its science programs, including that of medicine. It is included in the MMOP (Medicine, Midwife, Odontology, Pharmacy) track.
As with other French medical schools, the curriculum is divided into three cycles. The first cycle ends with a General Training Diploma in Medical Sciences. The successful completion of the second track comes with a Diploma of In-depth Training in the Medical Sciences.
By the third cycle, students can choose their medical specialty. Upon passing the internship and thesis defense, he/she will be awarded by the University with a Diploma of Specialized Studies and the Diploma for Doctor of Medicine.
4. Aix-Marseille University – Faculty of Medical and Paramedical Sciences
Located in Provence, Aix-Marseille University is a respected public university in France. It traces its roots back in 1409 when Louis II of Anjou established it as the University of Provence.
Presently, Aix-Marseille University is an amalgamation of three institutions – the University of Provence, the University of the Mediterranean, and the Paul Cézanne University. This has made Aix-Marseille the largest school in the French-speaking world with its 80,000+ enrollees.
Its former Faculty of Medicine is now part of the Faculty of Medical and Paramedical Sciences. Ranked as one of the top medical schools in France, this faculty was established in 1930 and was transferred to the Center Sector of Timone in 1958.
Much has changed since then, with Aix-Marseille University establishing sophisticated medical centers in and around the campus. They include the Timone Neuroscience Institute, the European Center for Medical Imaging, and the Institut hospitalo-universitaire Méditerranée infection, to name a few.
5. Universite de Lyon – Claude Bernard University Lyon 1 Faculty of Medicine
The Universite de Lyon is a collection of 12 members and 25 associated institutions. Its campuses are dispersed throughout the regions of Lyon and Saint-Étienne.
Its Faculty of Medicine is housed in the Claude Bernard University Lyon 1 campus, which is home to as much as 45,000 students. Named after the noted French physiologist Claude Bernard, the campus was created in 1971 after a merger of two faculties.
Students who pass the third cycle get to rotate in the Hospices Civils de Lyon or the Université Hospital of Lyon. Established in 1802, the latter is the second-oldest teaching hospital in the country. It has an immense medical system, with 13 centers in Lyon and another one in Southern France.
6. Universite de Lorraine (Nancy) Faculty of Medicine
Universite de Lorraine, also known as UL, is a public university system based in Northeastern France. It is a result of the merger between Paul Verlaine University – Metz and Nancy-Université, the latter of which is a collection of 3 institutions.
UL’s beginnings can be traced back to 1572, with its forerunner being the University of Nancy. Its Faculty of Medicine is located in the Nancy campus, together with the schools of Biological Sciences, Computer Science, Administration, and Management.
After the third cycle of schooling, medical students can choose from several specialties, which can take anywhere from 3 to 5 years.
As with most medical schools in France, Universite de Lorraine focuses on clinical research. This has helped pave the way for graduate physician-researchers who are highly-cited in many studies.
7. Languedoc-Roussillon Universites – University of Montpellier Faculty of Medicine
Languedoc-Roussillon Universites is another ComUE, or association of universities and higher educational institutions. Created in 2014, its member schools include the University of Montpellier, which houses the school’s illustrious Faculty of Medicine.
The University is one of the oldest in France, as it was established way before the papal bill of 1289. It is said that in as early as 1137, its medical school was already staffed by excellent Spanish-trained physicians.
Nostradamus even enrolled in the prestigious Montpellier medical school but dropped out right after.
True to tradition, Montpellier continues to be one of the top-ranked medical schools in France. It dominates in the fields of Biology and Biochemistry, Cardiac Medicine, Immunology, Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Oncology, Pharmacology, Public Health, and Surgery.
8. Communaute d’Universites et Etablissements d’Aquitaine – University of Bordeaux Medical School
Communaute d’Universites et Etablissements d’Aquitaine, or the Community of universities and higher education institutions of Aquitaine, is based in Southwestern France. It has seven members, one of which is the reputable University of Bordeaux. Established in 1441, it is home to one of the most prestigious medical schools in France.
The University of Bordeaux offers a Specialist Medical Training Diploma not only for local students but for foreign students as well. These aspiring doctors can specialize in the Bordeaux University Medical Hospital System, which is one of the top three hospitals in France. It has a 3,000+ bed capacity, which is a combination of the Pellegrin, South Hospital, and St. Andre branches.
9. Universite Lille-Nord-de-France ComUE – University of Lille 2 Henri Warembourg Faculty of Medicine
This ComUE, with its 70,000 students, is one of the biggest university organizations in France. Based in Northern France, it has the University of Lille as the flagship campus.
The University of Lille is a descendant of the University of Douai, which was established in 1559. The Faculties of Medicine and Law are stationed in Lille 2, a campus located in the commune of Ronchin.
The Henri Warembourg Faculty of Medicine is home to 12,000 students, which makes it one of the biggest medical training centers in the country. It boasts of excellent facilities, including an advanced anatomy laboratory, medical simulation center, surgery simulation classes, and language laboratories, to name a few.
10. Universite Paris-Est (ComUE) – Université Paris-Est Créteil Faculty of Medicine
We end our list of best medical schools in France with the University of Paris-Est. It was established in 2015 through the merger of 7 institutions, which includes Université Paris-Est Créteil. Previously known as Val de Marne University, it is the home of one of the best medical schools in France.
Its Faculty of Medicine offers a 9-year degree in the Henri Mondor campus. Internships can be done at the Albert Chenevier Hospital, Center Hospitalier Intercommunal de Créteil, and Henri Mondor Hospital.
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