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The University of Pavia – Studying Medicine in Italy

Table of Contents

The City


Pavia is a small town of about 70,000 people just outside of Milan. If you dislike big cities and prefer quiet village life then this might be a great pick for you. If on the other hand you need the convenience of big shopping centres, multiple restaurants and entertainment venues and enjoy the big city, then this might not be for you.

The University Location

Due to the small size of the town, it is not going to be hard to get to the campus. While you will be close to the university campus, the drawback is that you are around 1 hour away from the closest big city, Milan (although trains can be used to halve this time). Make sure you are comfortable with a slow-paced town life for 6 years before signing up for Pavia


Travelling by bus is the most affordable way around town, and thanks to UNIPASS you can get an annual pass for €25,00. The process to get the pass is found here also offers 10% off to university students, which can come in handy if you want to travel around Italy or Europe by bus.

A bicycle can also come in handy for less structured trips around the town


Similar to Milan you can expect yearly fluctuations from 30 degrees Celsius in summer to 0 degrees in winter at the extreme ends. The town is quite rainy by Italian standards, with fog being much more likely than snow in the winter months. 

Cost of Living

While day-to-day expenditures and amenities are about the same price as in Milan the average rent is much cheaper since it is a small town. Expect around 250-270 euros for a room in a three-bedroom apartment for example. If you prefer your own apartment in a more central location this price will, of course, be higher. 


Pavia is safe. You can pretty much walk around the city at any time of day/night. Of course, you should still always exercise caution and be street-smart. Nevertheless, pickpockets, scammers and crime, in general, are much lower than in the big cities. 


The downside with a small town is you are not going to have as much choice in where you wish to eat out and what to do in your free time. The town is not short of restaurants, bars and cafes but you will definitely not have the same variety as in a bigger city like Rome or Milan. 

Despite its small size, Pavia has a long and impressive history, so you will have plenty of old cultural buildings to enjoy.

The University

Founded in 1361, Pavia is one of the oldest universities in the world, giving you quite a heritage-endowed place of study. On top of this Pavia was the first university in Italy to offer medical schools in English, meaning they have the most experience regarding English-taught medicine. However, this does not necessarily mean they provide a better university experience than other universities. 

The Campus

Polo Cravino is where you will start your journey. Like most medical schools in Italy, the campus is quite basic. You will also be doing clerkships in various hospitals (Policlinico San Matteo, The Neurological Institute of C. Mondino, and Fondazione San Maugeri). 

The Students

Pavia has the largest class size of all Italian medical schools in English, with 103 European candidates and 40 non-European spots. If you like a large class where the potential to meet new friends is the largest, then this is a great fit. If you prefer to have lecturers know you by name and have a very tight community, maybe this is not right for you. 

Exam Structure

In the first year, there are only written exams (mainly multiple choice), which is quite different from most Italian universities. The aim here is to have a more international format. In the second year there is one oral exam, and going into the third year and beyond, more oral exams show up.

Unlike many other universities, you need to obtain a certain amount of credits in order to pass the to the next year. In the first year, this means passing 42 credits to move on to the second year. 

The nice thing about exams at Pavia is they are more in line with what you would expect from an international format. However, the downside is that this comes with more pressure and stress as compared to other universities. For instance, at the University of Turin, you can be more flexible, and progress to the next year despite not having completed many credits and retaking old exams in your own time. There is also a greater ability to resit exams at other universities than in Pavia. 


Various university ranking agencies give different rankings for Pavia, ranging all the way from 2nd best in Italy to the 13th. However, do not worry too much about official rankings, they can change every year, have very little to almost no importance regarding employment opportunities, and are in general not an indication of university quality.

Having said that, Pavia is well renowned in Italy, and being the first Italian medical school in English definitely gives Pavia more experience than some of the other choices. 

Tuition Fees

The tuition fee will depend on a number of factors. The minimum amount can in fact be €0 and can range to an approximate maximum of €4463 per year. This does not include the application fee (€35) and the fixed fee of €156. 

You can reduce your fees if your family income is considered low, depending on how low it is it can be reduced all the way to €0. There is also an option for those of you with parents residing abroad to base your fees on your country’s GDP per capita. 

For more information on how the fees work at Pavia, check out their dedicated page here 

Competitiveness (IMAT Score)

Pavia has historically been one of the more competitive university choices. However, as they recently increased their number of seats to 143 total, the competition has decreased. Overall, this university is considered very popular, and more difficult to enter on average. Here are the past IMAT scores required for entry

Past IMAT test scores required for entry to the University of Pavia to study medicine in Italy


Anyone can apply for a scholarship based on family income. Your eligible amount can range from 0 to 7000 euros per year. This is available to both European and Non-European students. Furthermore, canteen meals are available for a very low price for eligible applicants. There are also subsidised dormitories. 

Scholarships are handled by Edisu: 

You can find more information on the university’s dedicated scholarship page: 

Check out the university’s official page regarding scholarships here

Canteen Facilities

There is a Mensa (state-sponsored fee-reduced canteen) as well as a bar, café and restaurant at the university campus.

Educational Facilities

You will have access to many educational facilities such as lecture halls, simulation rooms, labs and of course hospitals to perform your clerkships. For a more detailed look, check out the following page

Attendance Requirements

Officially, attendance of 75% is mandatory, however, this is generally not enforced. 

What Subjects Will I Study?

Below you will find a list of all subjects you will take at this university (excluding electives and clerkships)

Year 1

  • Maths
  • Chemistry
  • Biophysics
  • English
  • Bio Molecules
  • Statistics
  • Epidemiology
  • History of Medicine
  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Cytology
  • Embryology
  • Social Roots of Health

Year 2

  • Ethics and Society
  • Physiology
  • Pathology
  • Immunology
  • Laboratory Medicine
  • Microbiology

Year 3

  • Drug Discovery and Actions
  • Pathology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical Foundations 
  • Blood Diseases
  • Disease of Endocrine System and Metabolism

Year 4

  • Heart Disease 
  • Lung Disease
  • Psychiatric and Neurological Diseases
  • Sensory System Diseases
  • Soft Tissue Diseases
  • GI And Urinary Tracts

Year 5

  • Childhood and Woman Health
  • General Surgery I
  • General Surgery II
  • Pathology
  • Genetics
  • Clinical Pharmacology

Year 6

  • Family Medicine 
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Geriatrics
  • Internal Medicine
  • Occupational Medicine
  • Degree Thesis
  • Practical Evaluation General Practice

Throughout these years you will also have electives and of course practical activities

You can find a complete list of all the subjects you will study over here

More Information

Course page

University homepage

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Further Articles on Choosing a University in Italy

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