Studying in the Philippines can be a great choice for the combination of good-quality schools, cheap tuition, and overall quality of student life. The weather allows students to take full advantage of their time off, while the academic quality of the medical schools is considered to be top-notch.
The Philippines benefit from a combined heritage of Spanish and American styles of teaching, from their colonial days before independence. It is a welcoming country for international students, and it is popular with foreign students from India as well as the US. Moreover, English is the main language of instruction, so there are no potential language barriers.
Let’s have a look at the top medical schools in the Philippines, ranked as of latest years’ overall board exam performance and student satisfaction.
How much does it cost to study Medicine in the Philippines?
Depending on your country of origin, medical school is not expensive in the Philippines. Tuition at private schools can range from $1,600 to $5,620 in total. However, public universities, the Philippines have passed a Free Tuition Fee Law which means you can study there completely free of charge. There are many ways to study medicine in the Philippines for free, and if you are interested, visit How to Study in the Philippines for Free (8 Steps).
How long does it take to complete a Medicine degree in the Philippines?
To become a doctor, you’ll need an M.D. degree (Doctor of Medicine). This takes five years of studying in the Philippines. Typically, the study program is split into three years of academic tuition, one year of clinical clerkship, and one year of post-graduate internship. This sets you up with great experience before you obtain your M.D.
How do I Study Medicine in the Philippines?
To study medicine in the Philippines, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree as well as have all the required application documents. This process can be difficult, so we’ve prepared a guide on How to Study in the Philippines for International Students. If you are feeling lost, read that guide!
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Top Medical Schools in the Philippines
1. University of Santo Tomas, Manila – Faculty of Medicine and Surgery
The University of Santo Tomas is the oldest Catholic university in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. It is also the largest university in the country and the medical school specifically was established in 1871 and is part of a Commission of Higher Education Center of Excellence. The University of Santo Tomas, Manila Faculty of Medicine and Surgery is considered the best medical school in the Philippines. Many of its notable alumni have gone on to be significant historic figures in Philippines society, such as Jose Rizal, an ophthalmologist who is considered the country’s national hero.
To apply to study at UST, you will need to fill out the online form which asks international students to prove their academic results from undergraduate study, NMAT test scores, references, as well as photocopies of certificates referencing extra-curricular activities. Admission is quite competitive and you will also need to show that you are proficient in English (TOEFL and ESL results are accepted to this end).
2. University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, Manila
After World War II, the University of the East slowly began to be built to develop a center for the education of Filipino youth. It started out as the Philippine College of Commerce and Business Administration, followed by other colleges gradually between 1946 and 1948. The Medical Center was eventually built after acquiring the building of the Instituto de Mujeres and the college of medicine was established in 1956.
This non-profit foundation respects the memory of President Ramon Magsaysay. This medical school in the Philippines is also part of the Centers of Excellence as awarded by the Commission on Higher Education in the Philippines.
With an innovative curriculum and high passing rates at the licensing exams for new doctors, the UERM College of Medicine is highly respected nationally and internationally. There is also a College of Nursing, Physical Therapy, and Allied Rehabilitation Sciences.
3. University of the Philippines, Manila – College of Medicine
As one of the oldest medical schools in the Philippines, the College of Medicine with the University of the Philippines has been operating since 1905. It has a claim to fame in that it continued to operate unchanged throughout the World Wars, and as a result, the then Dean of the College became the University of the Philippines’ overall President.
The medical school is a great place to train because it is affiliated directly with the Philippine General Hospital, which offers students an opportunity to have hands-on experience with patients during their instruction. There is also an inter-university joint collaboration system with cross-studies available with the College of Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, Allied Medical Professions, and the National Training Center for the Health Professions, all based in Manila. A significant number of Philippine Secretaries of Health have graduated from here.
4. Far Eastern University – Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation
Dr. Nicanor Reyes, Sr., was the founder and first president of the Far Eastern University. He had plans for developing a world-class institute of medicine before World War II but was unfortunately killed in battle. However, in 1952, the Institute of Medicine opened its gates within the Far Eastern University, bearing his name in his memory.
This Institute of Medicine also gets the Center of Excellence seal of approval and has consistently presented graduating classes with high-achieving medical students entering the profession. Based in Quezon City, the institute’s vision is ambitious, to be a world-class academic and training institution.
It offers students a Doctor of Medicine program alongside many other specializations such as Nursing and Physical Therapy. Student life takes an important place here too, with many activities and organizations present on campus.
5. De La Salle University – Health Science Institute
Established in 1979 in Dasmarinas, De La Salle University’s Health Science Institute offers an academic division as well as a teaching hospital and research facility. Much like the other Medical Institutes, it offers a range of study avenues beyond the Doctor of Medicine, such as Physical Therapy, Nursing, etc.
In terms of Medicine, however, De La Salle University’s program also is an official member of the ASEAN University Network-Quality Assurance. This confers its authority in the whole group of ASEAN countries, which is worth noting.
To gain admission to this Filipino medical school, you have to present scores at the national exam – National Medical Admission Test. As a private university, costs of tuition are higher than those at a state institution, however, scholarship options are available.
6. Cebu Institute of Medicine
Located in Cebu City, the Institute of Medicine is part of the bigger Velez College. Since 1957, the CIM delivers training to create “Physicians with a Heart” according to its motto.
They offer a first-rate medical degree along with research that has been conducted in collaboration with world-renowned institutions such as Cornell University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Pennsylvania State University, etc. Since 1996, the CIM enjoys the statute of Center of Excellence awarded by the Philippines Center for Higher Education.
7. St Luke’s College of Medicine – William H. Quasha Memorial
Next on our list of best medical schools in the Philippines is the College of Medicine at St Luke’s Medical Center. It was established in 1994 and offers medical students an intensive 5-year M.D. program including a hospital internship in St. Luke’s Medical Center as well.
It is based in Quezon City and covers five buildings alongside the hospital. With a small number of students (c. 500 maximum per year), the St Luke’s College of Medicine is an ideal place to have a great student/faculty ratio during your medical studies.
In order to gain admission, the NMAT results are required, however, students are encouraged to submit their application before taking the NMAT in order to ascertain that their current course of study meets all the preliminary requirements.
If you are an international student who has been educated in a language other than English, you’ll also need to take an English proficiency test.
8. Ateneo de Manila University School of Medicine and Public Health – Pasig
The Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health is a private Roman Catholic university, part of the University Ateneo de Manila. It is located in Pasig and has a partner hospital next door, The Medical City.
The latest Physician Licensure Examination in the Philippines places ASMPH on the top spot for its 100% passing rate, which is of course exceptional. Moreover, graduates have the option of studying for a joint MD-MBA degree with the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.
9. Saint Louis University-International School of Medicine
Based in Baguio, Saint Louis University is also a private Catholic institution that offers a range of programs up to the post-graduate level, including the MD degree. Its International School of Medicine was founded in 1975, followed a year later by the opening of its partner hospital, the Saint Louis University-Hospital of the Sacred Heart.
10. Davao Medical School Foundation
The final medical school in the list of the Philippines ‘ best medical schools in the Davao Medical School, which is based in Davao del Sur. It aims to support the development of doctors in rural communities, and especially in the urban centers of Mindanao.
Founded in 1976, the Medical School boasts a vast campus outside of Davao City, with students living in close proximity to a range of hospitals where they can do their practical training (Davao Medical Center, the Davao Doctors Hospital, and San Pedro Hospital, as well as Brokenshire Memorial Hospital). They are proud to welcome international students who have passed the NMAT and meet their admission requirements.
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