Study Medicine in the Philippines: 9 Things You Should Know

Doctors are professionals who are very respected and are very honorable because of their duties and obligations to save lives and to help their patients cure their illnesses and diseases. Many have dreamt of having this profession thinking that it would be amazing if they were the ones saving lives and helping others but, learning the wisdom, gaining the abilities, and getting the eligibility to be a doctor is a very long and tiring process.

Medical students spend relatively several years longer periods of studies compared to other courses or professions just to get their Bachelor’s degree in Medicine. They also take many shift duties at the hospital to train their mind and body and spend additional time studying because they know that their profession will be taking care of the lives of people. In this article, we will be going over some things that you should consider if you want to study medicine in the Philippines.

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1. Do the Philippines have a good medical curriculum?

Yes, the Philippines offers a great education in medicine. Aspiring and committed medical students who want to get the best quality of education that they could receive from a university look for countries that offer globally-competitive medical courses. One of the countries with these qualities is a country from Southeast Asia, the Philippines.

The Philippines is known to most of the world as a country that offers good education at the cheapest prices. Many international students pursue different courses in the country because of the quality of education and the hospitality of the people. So, if you are one of the students who are just starting to pursue medical courses and not sure where to apply, the Philippines is the best choice.

2. How many medical schools are in the Philippines?

Approximately, from the current list of the Accredited Philippine Medical Schools, there are 38 APMC members. Each of these universities not necessarily specializes in medical courses because some focus on some fields of studies but you will have the assurance that most of these universities could offer you good and high-quality education. It is expected that the number of medical institutions will grow as the demand for medical courses is still rising.

3. What are the requirements to study medicine in the Philippines?

The requirements to study medicine in the Philippines is almost the same as other course requirements needed to apply at a university in the Philippines. A Bachelor’s degree in medicine in the country needs documents supporting your identity and nationality such as birth certificate and passport, academic background and records such as NMAT scores, good moral character, and transcript of records, and lastly, other requirements for application such as application forms, health insurance, and application fees.

Moreover, if you are from a non-English speaking institution before pursuing your studies in the country, you will need to take an IELTS or a TOEFL to test your proficiency in English.

4. Is it difficult to get into medical schools in the Philippines?

First and foremost, the competition for getting into the most prestigious medical schools in the Philippines is very tight because many students aspire to be doctors but only a few are selected. Moreover, the entrance exams of some universities are relatively hard compared to other universities and this is another reason why it is difficult to get into medical studies.

5. What is the average drop rate for students in the medical program?

Once you got accepted into the program, many practical activities will be held once you are done discussing the theoretical parts of your curriculum. On average, the dropout rate of medical students in the Philippines is at most 10% because of several reasons but at most 4% drop out because of the difficulty of the program.

6. Can you study medicine in the Philippines as an international student?

Of course! The Philippines has always opened its doors to any foreign or international people who wanted to study medicine in the Philippines All its major universities in its capital and cities accept international students or at least have student-exchange programs. The country has established many international connections especially with educational institutions that focus on research and technology development.

Some known universities in the Philippines who accept international students that wish to study medicine are the University of the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas, and Ateneo University.

7. What are the components of the medical curriculum in this country?

The curriculum in the Philippines for medical studies is similar to other country’s curriculum. However, some students choose different undergraduate courses for their pre-medical studies before getting their proper medical studies. In summary, the medical curriculum of an undergraduate student in the Philippines is at most 8 years to get a degree in medicine.

The curriculum composes at least two years of pre-medical studies, four years of medical studies, and one to two years of clinical internship. The four years of medical studies include actual studies in the hospital and the primary knowledge of being a doctor. The last one or two years of the curriculum which is the clinical internship challenges the students by giving them shifts and tasks like a real professional.

8. In what language do you study?

Another good thing when you plan on studying medicine in the Philippines is that the locals have at least the basic knowledge of understanding and speaking the English language because it is the country’s secondary language and is required to study from a young age. This is the reason why all universities in the Philippines, especially those that accept international students and have student exchange programs, have courses that are taught in the English language.

For example, in the official website of the University of Santo Tomas, it is included in their admission policy that the official medium of instruction of the faculty is English and non-English speakers must take a TOEFL/ESL. They must have an average score of 93 and above to be admitted.

9. What do you need to become a doctor in the Philippines?

Getting your Bachelor’s degree after finishing your 7- to 8-year curriculum does not mean that you are already a physician or a doctor. You just finished the conditions that you need to fulfill to take the Physician Licensure Exam in the Philippines along with National Medical Admission Test (NMAT). After passing these two exams or assessments, you will be officially an M.D. and could pursue your specializations in specific medical fields.


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