Study Medicine in China: 8 Things to Know

In this article, we will be looking at how to study medicine in China for international students.

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1. Why Study Medicine in China?

China, which is one of the most progressive economies in the world, has become one of the biggest markets for education. It is home to more than 2,900 universities, with 180 specializing in medical education.

With its state-of-the-art facilities and teaching hospitals, China has become a prime destination for those who want to study Medicine. After all, it delivers quality education at a surprisingly affordable cost.

2. In what language is the medical curriculum taught in?

You will study medicine in China in Chinese for most medical schools. However, some schools offer MBBS degrees in English. One example is Fudan University, which requires its applicants to submit IELTS or TOEFL scores as proof of English proficiency.

Even with the availability of English-taught MBBS courses, it pays to learn the Chinese language. After all, this will come in handy during your internship program at local hospitals.

3. Can international students study medicine in China?

Yes. Here, foreign students can apply to any of the medical schools that offer English-taught MBBS degrees.

4. What is required to be enrolled in Chinese medical schools?

The basic requirement for studying medicine in China are the following:

  • High school graduation certificate
  • Transcript of records (in Chinese or English)
  • Identification document

In schools such as Peking University, foreigners need to submit a financial statement as well. Add to that, applicants also need to take a General Knowledge Exam and score at least 180. Students also have to pass the Chinese Language Proficiency Test given by the Chinese Ministry of Education to study medicine in China.

At Fudan University, foreign student requirements vary greatly. SAT holders need to have a score of at least 1,200, while those who have taken the ACT must have a score of at least 25. Students with IB diplomas need to have taken 3 HL and 3 SL courses, while GCE A-level holders must have a minimum of 3 A-level courses.

Fudan University applicants also need to submit a 1,500-word personal statement and two letters of recommendation. They are also encouraged to submit documents that demonstrate their ‘comprehensive abilities’. Such examples include award certificates, admission notices from other universities, published essays, etc.

5. What are the different parts of the Chinese medical program?

Medicine in China is an undergraduate program, meaning that high school students can enter medical school after graduation. Those who intend to take Chinese Language classes need to undergo a preparation year before proceeding to medical school.

The most common track of studying medicine in China is the Clinical Medicine program that lasts for 5 to 6 years. here, the first 4 years are spent studying basic and clinical science courses. The last year is reserved for clinical internship, wherein students rotate in various departments for several months each.

Another track that can be taken is Preventative Medicine, which is offered by schools such as Fudan University. This runs for 5 years and focuses on medical theories and hygiene testing. Graduates of this degree usually specialize in disease control, hygiene, and environmental monitoring.

After finishing any of the 5-year programs, the student can proceed with graduate education. At Peking University, doctors can undergo clinical specialization in Pediatrics, Surgery, Internal Medicine, Anesthesiology, or Ophthalmology. The duration ranges from 3 years (Masters or Doctorate) to 5 years (Combined Masters and Doctorate).

A 3-year Masters/Doctorate program is also available for those who wish to specialize in Pathology, Immunology, and Child, Adolescent & Maternal Health, to name a few.

Half of the curriculum is intended for classroom education. The latter half, on the other hand, is devoted to clinical training and/or research. A successful defense of the thesis is required to obtain a postgraduate medical degree.

Should you wish to obtain comprehensive medical education in one go, you can enroll in an 8-year course offered by schools such as Tsinghua University. This follows a 3+2+3 model, wherein the first 3 years cover foundation education. This is then followed by a 2-year double tutorial system, where students undertake biomedicine research at either the University of Pittsburgh or the University of Melbourne.

The last 3 years cover clinical medicine education, where students train in the practice of various disciplines. This clerkship is primarily held at the Peking Union Medical College Hospital.

6. How many medical schools are in China?

There are about 180 medical universities in China. Of these, there are about 50 medical schools that offer English MBBS programs to international students.

7. How hard is to finish the medical school in China?

While medical education in China is of international quality, its difference from Western programs gives its own set of challenges. For example, with problem-based learning being used in many countries, studying medicine in China remains a passive input of knowledge from the teachers.

In some cases, a shortage of teachers and resources can lead to a limited amount of practical coursework.

Compared to their Western counterparts, students in China may not be able to make as many independent diagnoses as they can. That’s because most teaching methods center on the student ‘shadowing’ a senior doctor.

The quality of education also varies according to location. City or urban-based teaching programs are purportedly ‘better’ than the programs being offered in rural areas. Similarly so, the lack of funding in some areas has resulted in some treatment programs not being updated to newer, modern standards. Although these problems do not affect all students, such issues can make some students a little ‘behind’ to those from other countries.

8. How can you be a doctor in China after your medical studies?

After graduating with a Clinical Medicine degree, a student can function immediately as a clinical practitioner. He/she can then undergo specialized resident training (SRT). This format, which was first adopted in 2014, requires at least 3 years of residency. It is important to note that the field of training should have been decided upon by the student before he/she even starts with medical school.

SRT covers all aspects of patient care, including history taking, physical exam, diagnosis, planning, and interaction.


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