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Studying Medicine in Italy: Language Requirements

Studying Medicine in Italy in English

Studying Medicine is the dream of many ambitious students around the world, and with medicine being one of the most competitive fields to enter, many students consider going international. When it comes to studying medicine abroad, it is hard to find a better option than Italy.

Studying medicine in Italy for international students is one of the cheapest, easiest and most enjoyable ways to obtain a degree in medicine. The university tuition is close to free, scholarships are plentiful, and the entry requirements are fair and simple compared to other international options. On top of this, spending 6 years in Italy is an experience hardly anyone will regret. 

Language is often a barrier when studying medicine abroad and many students wonder if they can study medicine in Italy with just English.

Can You Study Medicine in Italy in English?

The short answer is… yes absolutely! Italy has plenty of public universities that conduct their entire education in the English language. To gain entry into these universities you need to have 12 years of schooling (for most this means completing high school), speak English and pass the entry exam known as the IMAT. Assuming you meet these requirements, you should have no problem securing a seat. 

Language Requirements When Studying Medicine in English in Italy

Many students ask if they need to speak or learn Italian to study Medicine in Italy. The short answer is no, you require absolutely no Italian skills or any Italian language certificate to study medicine in Italy or gain admission to the program provided the degree you apply for is in English. 

For the first few years, you will also not need to speak Italian even at university. In later years, usually after the second year of medical studies, you will have clerkships where you will communicate with patients. It is very beneficial to speak Italian here, and even if many students have said that they have been able to get by without speaking Italian even here, it is far more beneficial to know the language at this stage. It will also help with your living experience in the country itself. 

However, in terms of simply securing a place in an Italian medical school in English, there is absolutely zero Italian required!

English Language Certificate Requirements for Medicine in English in Italy

While you need no Italian language skills or certificates, you do need to be fluent in English to study medicine in Italy in the English language. You will also likely need a language certificate to prove your competence in the language. 

There is an exception to this rule, and that is that if you have completed at least one year of schooling in English then you require no certificate. So if you studied high school in an institution where studies were conducted in English for a year or more, you will be exempt from the language certificate requirements. Please note, that studying in English for one year is not the same as studying English as a subject for one year. The actual school itself must have conducted all its studies in English for this to count.

English Language Certificate for the IMAT

Do you need an English language certificate to register for the IMAT? No. To register for the IMAT and sit the test itself you require no certificate, so if you do not obtain one in time you will not be prevented from taking the test. You need to get one in time for enrolling to the university itself, but the IMAT registration itself has no such requirements. 

However, you will be given the opportunity to upload an English Language certificate when registering for the IMAT, and there are potential benefits to doing so. While it is unlikely, there could be instances where you and another student get the exact same scores on the IMAT for all the sections of the test. If this should happen, and there is only space for one of you, the one with an English language certificate will be granted the place. While it is unlikely to determine whether you get a place in medical school, we still recommend you do this, since any benefit in admissions is worth obtaining.

Acceptable English Language Certificates for Medicine in Italy

Below you can find the acceptable language certificates for enrolling to medical school in Italy.

How to Choose a Public Medical School in Italy

The selection of a suitable public medical school in Italy is a crucial decision that requires a thorough examination of various aspects. It requires careful consideration of various factors such as the availability of educational and administrative support, the quality of life in the city that you will live in, and the reputation of the institution. The selection process requires a systematic approach, including an analysis of a school’s academic and research profile, accreditation status, and clinical opportunities. The utilization of objective criteria, such as curriculum structure and clinical rotation programs, can provide a useful framework for comparing different institutions. Most importantly, what it is like living in the city of your university is what should guide your choice, since you will be there for 6 years.

The choice of a public medical school in Italy is an essential step towards a career in medicine. IMAT Buddy has compiled a list of available Italian Public Medical Universities and their full profiles to aid you in deciding which universities you may be interested in.

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