Studying to be a doctor is not only difficult but expensive as well. Source: MARK WILSON / AFP

Studying medicine is expensive. 2023 fees at a top Australian uni costs 349,223 Australian dollars (US$224,026); in the UK, it is 39,158 pounds (US$43,729) per year and comes up to 195,790 pounds (US$218,647).

That means aspiring doctor from India, the Philippines and the US each needs to fork out 18.01 million Indian rupees, 12.87 million Indonesian rupiahs, and US$218,647 for a UK medical degree respectively.

For many international students, these figures make up the entire retirement saving of their parents — if there is even one.

But though finding an affordable medical school is rare, it is not impossible. Certain countries are home to cheap medical schools for international students, with no compromise on quality. Below we have compiled the five cheapest ones for you.

Here are the four cheapest countries for medical degrees: 


1. Russia 

Russia comes in first as the cheapest country in the world to pursue a medical degree. Studying for a medical degree in Russia can go as low as US$1,750 per year. Some of the cheapest educational institutions where one can study medicine in Russia are the Vitebsk State Order of Peoples’ Friendship Medical University and Volgograd State Medical University.

Besides being affordable, Russia offers a quality education that is comparable to studying in Europe. Every year, the Russian government provides scholarships for international students looking to study in Russia — as many as 15,000 scholarships in 2020.

Universities in Russia reportedly have the best medical practitioners in the country and are equipped with top facilities. As a result, many graduates are now working in leading hospitals around the world.

2. China

In recent years, China’s educational institutes have been gaining recognition and climbing up the rankings. China Medical University is ranked 1,072 in US News and World Report’s Best Global Universities in 2022

With programmes recognised around the world and degrees accepted in major countries such as US and UK, it’s no surprise that China is a top option for international students looking to study medicine.

The tuition fees to study medicine in China can go as low as US$2,500 per year. Southwest Medical University, Ningxia Medical University and Yangzhou University are some of the medical schools in China that offer medical degrees with low tuition fees.

3. Kyrgyzstan

In recent years, Kyrgyzstan has become a popular destination for international students looking to pursue a medical degree. From affordable tuition fees to state-of-the-art facilities, they are well-prepped to produce future doctors of the world.

Famous for its walnut-fruit forests (the largest in the world) and picture-perfect picnic spots, Kyrgyzstan is where you can study to become a doctor while exploring the allures of a country where 90% of the land lies above 4,000 feet.

There are a number of universities offering medical degrees, but some of the cheapest and most popular include Osh State University and Jalal-Abad State University Medical Faculty. The average tuition fee per year ranges from US$3,500 to US$6,500 per year.

If you’re worried about not speaking the local language, don’t. Medical courses offered here are in English. On top of that, international students are not required to sit for an entrance exam before studying in Kyrgyzstan.

4. The Philippines 

The Philippines is a beautiful and culturally diverse country that has so much to offer students. Cagayan State University, AMA School of Medicine (AMA) and  University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (UPHS) are among the top institutions to study medicine in the Philippines. AMA’s tuition fees start at US$4,830 for the first and second year,  US$2,900 for the third year and US$1,930 for the final year.  

Studying medicine here is an excellent choice as the country has one of the best medical education systems in Southeast Asia. Once you graduate, you can work in other countries like the US, the UK and the Middle East too. Besides being affordable, the Philippines is an ideal choice for studying medicine as teaching will be conducted in the English language.