Countries with affordable medical schools for international students
Source: Matthew Henry/Burst

Do you have your heart set on becoming a doctor?

Medical schools are known for their sky-high tuition fees. For example, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) says the average first-year medical student paid US$36,755 for tuition, fees and health insurance to attend a public medical school during the 2018-2019 academic year. The average fees rose to US$59,076 for students who attend private school.

For tuition fees alone, public university-going students can expect to pay US$31,905 and US$53,901 for private medical schools for the same academic year.

However, these figures only apply to students with resident status at their respective institutions; fees are higher for those with non-resident statuses.

So how can you avoid a mountain of debt in your journey towards becoming a medical professional? One option is to choose an affordable medical school.

Here are three countries that offer affordable medical programmes for international students:


There are some English medical programmes offered in Russia. Source: Shutterstock

Russia, which borders European and Asian countries, offers quality medical programmes at competitive prices. For example, tuition fees for the 2018-2019 academic year at Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University (RNRMU) is RUB385,000 (US$6,000).

Another university, the First Moscow State Medical University (FMSMU), notes on its website that its 2018-2019 tuition fee for general medicine is US$11,000 for students’ first year, and US$10,000 from students’ second year and onward. The programme is taught fully in English.

Students may need approximately US$300-US$400 for their monthly expenses, according to Study in Russia. You can get an estimated breakdown here.


Poland is home to some quality medical institutions. Source: Shutterstock

Poland is a relatively affordable country to pursue medicine if you’re keen to study in Europe.

For example, first-year tuition fees are €11,000 (US$12,000) and €10,000 (US$11,000) from the second year onward at the Medical University of Bialystok, which offers a six-year medical programme in English. Meanwhile, annual tuition fees for the Jagiellonian University medical programme is €14,000 (US$16,000) – still remarkably less than the US.

Ready, Study, Go! Poland notes that the estimated average costs of student living can range from €350 up to €550 per month.


China serves as a unique place to study medicine with its rich history and culture. Source: Shutterstock

China, one of the world’s largest economies, is growing in popularity for its medical programmes thanks to its low tuition fees and cost of living.

For a benchmark of fees, China’s University and College Admission System (CUCAS) notes that the annual tuition fees for students is RMB42,000 (US$6,000) per year at Dalian Medical University, while it is RMB75,000 (US$11,000) per year at Fudan University. Both universities offer medical programmes in English.

CUCAS notes that the estimated cost of living for students is RMB600 (US$90)-RMB1,000 (US$150) per month.

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