Study Medicine in Ukraine: 6 Things You Should Know

Ukraine is not a popular destination amongst many international students, but it should be. After all, it is home to affordable medical schools that don’t require much from its applicants. Although this is the case, studying medicine in Ukraine is just as strenuous, as the licensure exam starts right in the middle of schooling.

If you’re interested in the unique experience that Ukraine offers, there here are some things you should know about studying medicine in Ukraine.

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1. In what language do you study in Ukrainian medical schools?

There are 3 language options for foreigners who wish to study medicine in Ukraine. These are Ukrainian, Russian, and English.

While many schools offer English medical curriculums, those who enroll still need to learn the Ukrainian language. Such language lessons can be done during the one-year preparatory program.

Learning Ukrainian is particularly beneficial during the latter years of schooling when the students rotate in hospitals. This is because many patients – and hospital staff – don’t know how to speak English.

2. Can you study medicine in Ukraine as an international student?

Yes. Schools such as the Zaporizhzhia State Medical University offer Medical programs specifically for foreigners. These are available in both Ukrainian and English.

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

Admittance is usually dependent on grades. In the case of Kharkiv National Medical University, for example, good grades in Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and English are preferred.

Although medical schools have varying requirements, a typical student must possess the following to study medicine in Ukraine:

  • Age less than 25 years old
  • High school record (or equivalent)
  • Good scores in related subjects (i.e. Biology, Chemistry, Physics) and English
  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Color photographs
  • Academic references
  • Invitation letter and/or visa support letter

Compared to most European countries, Ukrainian medical schools do not require a written entrance test as a means for admission. An oral test may be required, which is the case with Zaporizhzhia State Medical University. The same school requires proof of emergency medical insurance as well.

4. What are the components of the medical curriculum in Ukraine?

Ukrainian medical education runs for 6 years. This degree is equivalent to an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery). It follows the European Higher Education Region and European Commission systems. However, it is not recognized by all European Economic Area countries. Despite this, the Ukrainian MD is valid in India, Pakistan, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, and the United States.

All medical schools follow a syllabus that focuses on professionally-oriented subjects, fundamental/general science lessons, humanitarian subjects, socio-economic lessons, and elective courses.

The first year includes subjects in anatomy, biology, histology, chemistry, and biophysics.

The second and third years of studying medicine in Ukraine cover lessons in medical cybernetics, pathological anatomy, microbiology, pharmacology, general hygiene, and general surgery, to name a few. Clinical education starts early on in Ukraine – with an immersion beginning in the second year at the Kharkiv National Medical University.

Fourth year education includes endocrinology, sports medicine, faculty therapy, neurosurgery, etc. Fifth year subjects feature outpatient care, clinical genetics, hospital therapy, gynecology, and hospital pediatrics, to name a few.

The last year is mainly comprised of practical classes in hygiene, outpatient care, immunology, oncology, pharmacology, infectious disease, obstetrics & gynecology, physiatry, reanimology, and surgical disease.

5. How difficult is the medical curriculum in Ukraine?

It can be hard to study Medicine in Ukraine because the licensing exam commences right in the middle of medical school. This is known as the KROK exams, with the first test being KROK-1. This is taken during the third year of schooling. It is composed of 200 questions and runs for 3.5 hours (4 hours for FMGs).

KROK-1 aims to assess the student’s knowledge of Anatomy, Biology, Biochemistry, Histology, Microbiology, Physiology, Pathophysiology, Pathomorphology, and Pharmacology.

There are only two opportunities to pass this exam. In case of failure during the third try, the student will be expelled from the school. The passing percentage for KROK-1 is about 80%.

KROK-1 is followed by the KROK-2, which is a 200-minute, 200-item test. This integrated exam is given after the sixth year of study, before the internship rotation.

KROK-2 covers questions in the following fields:

  • Therapeutic Profile – Endocrinology, Immunology, Pharmacology, Psychiatry, Dermatology, etc.
  • Surgical Profile – Surgery, Oncology, Anesthesiology, Critical Care, Orthopedics, Neurosurgery, etc.
  • Pediatric Profile – Neonatology, Infectious Diseases, etc.
  • Hygiene Profile – Health Care Organization
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology

Like the KROK-1, the passing rate for this is 60.5%. Those who fail need to retake this within 1 year as the KROK-2 certificate is needed for a medical school diploma.

The language barrier is also a concern amongst international students. While the faculty speaks in English, the way they do so may be hard to understand for most.

Exams and the language barrier aside, many international students in Ukraine find medical schooling relatively easy. This, however, can make a student slack off – which can be detrimental since the KROK-1 is right around the corner (third year).

6. After studying, how do you become a doctor in Ukraine?

International students, as well as foreign medical graduates (FMG), need to take the 2-part KROK exam before they can take the state graduation exams after studying medicine in Ukraine. This licensing test is not only given to aspiring physicians, but dentists and pharmacists as well.

Both tests are rendered by the Testing Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

As mentioned, the passing grade for KROK-1 and KROK-2 is 60.5%.

Those who fail the KROK-2 are still eligible to take the state graduation exam. However, these students will not be given a KROK certificate. They also won’t be able to receive their medical school diploma as the KROK-2 certificate is necessary for this.

After passing such exams, the student can opt for clinical specialization (residency). This is done under the tutelage of experienced professor-clinicians. Depending on the student’s preferred specialization, it may take 3-6 years to complete the residency program.


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