Among European countries, Spain offers world-class medical school programs for cheaper than many other countries. The cultural variety, great weather and food, good standard of living, and excellent location for further European travel also make it an excellent destination for studying medicine.
While there are differences between public and private universities, studying medicine in Spain is relatively cheap. The only important point to note is that the full-time medical degree can only be studied in Spanish (English-language courses are just one-off or exchange options).
Most major cities in Spain have a medical school, however, not all are top rated. Below are the best-ranked medical schools in Spain.
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How much does medical school cost in Spain?
The cost of medical school varies between public and private universities in Spain. In public universities, tuition is as low as 500-1500 € per year even for a relatively more expensive degree such as medicine. In private universities, you can expect to pay up to 20,000 € depending on the school.
How long will it take to study medicine in Spain?
The medical program takes six years to complete.
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Top Medical Schools in Spain
1. University of Barcelona Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
The University of Barcelona is generally seen as the best university in Spain overall, ranking 1st in the European Union in 2020. It has been teaching students since 1450, too, which makes it one of the oldest universities in the world. University of Barcelona Faculty of Medicine is also considered the best medical school in Spain.
Given that UB is also one of the main centers for university research in Spain, it’s a great place to study medicine and go on to delve into research in your particular area of interest. The MD program is very well regarded and lasts six years, with a strong practical component including rotations and clinical practice for primary care and specialized care. The University has access to many care institutions and hospitals where this practice can be undertaken.
This is one of the top five medical schools in the world and tuition fees here are significantly lower than you would find in the US, for example. European Union students should expect to pay c. 3000€ a year, while non-EU only need to pay up to 6,000 € a year.
2. Autonomous University of Barcelona
The Autonomous University of Barcelona is located outside the city in Cerdanyola del Vallès and is also a public institution. It was created in 1968 and is considered the second-best place to study medicine in Spain.
The Faculty of Medicine is housed on the Bellaterra Campus and offers the opportunity to conduct clinical practice in large hospitals and primary care centers in the area, as well as a competitive research environment. You will have the option of studying in Spanish or Catalan here.
3. University of Navarra Faculty of Medicine
This private not-for-profit university is located on the southeast of Pamplona. University of Navarra Faculty of Medicine is known as one of the best private medical schools in Spain and has an international exchange program in medicine alongside its main MD program. They also run a teaching hospital, CUN, and a medical research center, CIMA, where medical students can practice and also delve into research areas that they are interested in. The CIMA center has four areas of specialization: oncology, neuroscience, cardiovascular sciences, and gene therapy and hepatology.
The medical degree intake is 200 students per year, Spanish students having to take an entrance exam after completing their high school degree preferably with a focus on the sciences. For international students, various options exist depending on your background. As it is a private university, the cost of tuition is 16,000 € per academic year at the University of Navarra, but a number of scholarships and financial aid options are offered as well.
4. University of Valencia Faculty of Medicine
The University of Valencia is one of Spain’s oldest universities and a leading academic institution in the country. Founded in 1499, it is based in the city of Valencia and has three campuses, of which the Faculty of Medicine is based at the Avenida de Blasco Ibanez campus.
The degree in medicine here is taught full-time over six years and classes use a combination of Spanish, Valencian and English languages. It places great emphasis both on understanding the essentials of biology and the importance of humans’ relationship with their physical and social environment, on the one hand, and on acquiring a great degree of clinical practice, on the other hand.
5. Autonomous University of Madrid Faculty of Medicine
Located in the Spanish capital, this public university was founded in 1968, at the same time as the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the University of the Basque Country. There is a dedicated Medicine campus north of Madrid near the La Paz teaching hospital – one of the many hospitals used for clinical practice by students.
This medical school in Spain teaches in Spanish, but there are some courses taught in English especially for exchange students. The Faculty of Medicine accepts international students for clinical rotations and also visiting students in the Master’s program. However, if you are looking to obtain the MD degree, you will need to enroll in the six-year Spanish-language course.
6. Complutense University of Madrid Faculty of Medicine
One of the oldest universities in the world, Complutense University was founded in Alcalá in 1293 before relocating to Madrid in 1836. It is a massive university with over 86,000 students and multiple specializations offered in a huge campus in the Ciudad Universitaria district of Madrid.
The School of Medicine operates the Hospital Clinico Universitario de San Carlos, Hospital Gregorio Maranon and Hospital 12 October. There are numerous specialized clinics on campus as well, operated jointly with the Ministry of Health or performing specific research for the Ministry. As such, the School of Medicine works very closely with the government and enjoys significant funding in return.
In order to attend Complutense University, there are multiple entry options depending on where you’ve completed your high school degree. There are entrance exams and a requirement to speak fluent Spanish in order to complete the full-time degree.
7. Pompeu Fabra University
Another prestigious medical school in Spain located in Barcelona, Pompeu Fabra is a public university created by the Autonomous Government of Catalonia in 1990. Its name is an homage to the linguist Pompeu Fabra who was an expert on the Catalan language. This university is very highly regarded across the world and is known and one of the top three overall universities in Spain, next to the University of Barcelona and Complutense University of Madrid.
The degree in medicine is offered jointly with the Autonomous University of Barcelona, in a multidisciplinary environment. It is based in the campus at Parc de Salut Mar which has important research facilities such as the Hospital del Mar and the Parc de Recerca Biomedica de Barcelona.
A relatively low number of students is admitted into this program – c. 60 every year.
8. University of Granada Faculty of Medicine
Next on our list of top medical schools in Spain is the University of Granada Faculty of Medicine. Located in the city of Granada, the University of Granada was founded in 1531 by Emperor Charles V and is the fourth largest university in Spain. It offers a wide array of courses and welcomes a large number of visiting European students through the Erasmus program, making it one of the most popular European destinations. It is also held in high regard by international students.
The Faculty of Medicine here is focused on general medicine and dermatology as its two core areas. The medicine degree focuses initially on a strong scientific grounding, before moving on to clinical practice from the third year of the degree and progressively evolving until the sixth year, which is exclusively practical. Clinical practice is carried out in the nearby health centers: San Cecilio University Hospital, Virgen de las Nieves University Hospital and the Health Centers of the Granada-Metropolitan Health District.
9. University of Salamanca Faculty of Medicine
Founded in 1134 in the city of Salamanca, this is the third oldest university in the world and the oldest one in the Hispanic world. The history of the University of Salamanca includes illustrious alumni and a strong connection to the ecclesiastical world at the outset, only to become gradually more secular over centuries.
Today, Salamanca has the most students coming from other regions in Spain, and attracts a large number of international students as well. It has a great number of research centers to supplement teaching, such as a Cancer Research Center, the Institute of Neuroscience of Castile and Leon, and the Ultrashort Ultraintense Pulse Lasers Center.
10. University of Seville Faculty of Medicine
Founded as the Colegio Santa Maria de Jesus in 1505, the University of Seville is one of the best medical schools in Spain. It was also immortalized in the opera Carmen by Bizet, as the buildings are where the opera takes place.
The Faculty of Medicine has evolved since 1508 in many iterations. Today, it welcomes a very large number of Spanish students looking to prepare a career in medicine. Its clinical teaching opportunities are in three large university hospitals: Virgen Macarena, Virgen del Rocio and Virgen de Valme. The university also hosts many research groups.
I hope that this article on the top medical schools in Spain was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Medical Schools Category!