International students can study programs in General medicine or Dentistry in one of the most tourist places in Europe – Croatia. Apart from beautiful sceneries and hotels, Croatia has a lot to offer – and medical education for international students is one of the rich offers. We will describe options for medical education in Croatia, recognition of the degree abroad and living costs.
There are 3 medical universities offering study programs for international medical students: the University of Zagreb (among the best 1200-1500 best universities worldwide as per Times Higher Education), the University of Split (among the best 1000-1200 best universities worldwide), and the University of Rijeka (among TOP 1500 best universities worldwide according to Times Higher Education). The universities are implemented in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), and the European Research Area (ERA) which means that medical degree from these universities is automatically recognized in the European Union and in most countries of the world.
The grading system at Croatian medical schools is different from other countries. Mark A stands for 5 (excellent), B stands for 4 (very good), C stands for 3 (good), D/E stands for 2 (sufficient) and finally F stands for 1 (failed).
The Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek is not offering study programs in the English language for international students.
Eligibility of applicants for studies in Croatia
While the University of Zagreb and the University of Split require only completed secondary education with a final exam, the University of Rijeka requires at least 4 years studies of secondary school and students must have taken courses in Biology, Chemistry and Physics for at least two years during secondary school education. Applicants for the University of Zagreb and the University of Rijeka must also pass the entrance exam, while applicants for the University of Split only submit documents and have an oral interview (over Skype or Zoom) with the Faculty.
Admission process for Croatian medical schools
While the University of Split does not conduct a typical entrance examination (the decision is based on the submission of the documents and oral interview), the University of Zagreb and the University of Rijeka organize entrance exams from chemistry, biology, and physics. The system of admission for the University of Rijeka is special, as it is organized in a hybrid form – it is organized on-site in Rijeka as well as partners places at the same time. Applicants for the University of Zagreb must submit documents (part of the evaluation is based of secondary school grades) and write entrance exam from biology, chemistry and physics.
There is also the possibility of getting admitted based on MCAT result (minimum score 125 from each section), Bachelor degree in natural sciences in Biology, Physics or Chemistry, BMAT and Meditest-EU with over 70% at the University of Rijeka.
Medical schools offering programs of General medicine in Croatia
Medical studies in Croatia take 6 years and graduates obtain a degree dr. Med (doctor of medicine). Students need to get 360 ECTS credits to complete their studies. There are 30-50 seats offered for international students at each of the faculty.
The University of Zagreb – the School of Medicine
The Faculty of Medicine is part of the University of Zagreb and offers programs in General medicine, Dental medicine, and Veterinary medicine. The faculty was founded in 1917, the university was founded in 1669. The university is the public type and has over 72.500 students enrolled. According to Round University Ranking, it is among the best 600 universities worldwide and has over 100 bilateral agreements signed with partner universities in Europe, Australia, Asia, and North and South America. There are already over 700 international graduates from all over the world.
There are the following documents to apply for the English program of General medicine: application form, copy of passport, CV, sworn translations of academic documents, 200€ application fee, medical certificate, sworn translation of birth certificate, bank statement confirming that ability of the student to cover tuition fees (e.g. from parents), English language proficiency. The admission is granted based on marks from secondary school as well as results from entrance exams in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. The entrance exam has an online format. Students with these achievements might be exempted from the entrance exam: a) applicants who have completed a pre-medical college or passed internationally recognized exams (MCAT – with a minimal score of 125 for each section) b) applicants who have earned a BA/BSc degree in natural sciences with good credits in Biology, Physics, Chemistry c) Applicants who have taken the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) – terms November 2021 and February 2022 (for 2023/24 intake).
The tuition fees are 12.200€ per year (paid in 2 installments with 6100€ per semester) or 12.000€ (if the tuition fees are paid in single payment). Students with completed secondary education (or equivalent education to proceed to the university) are eligible to apply. Students who pass the entrance exam should pay 2500€ after the acceptance letter within 10 days. The faculty offers 50 places for students of General medicine in English. There is only one intake, in September (Winter semester). The deadline for submission of the application is mid of June.
Find more details about Zagreb medical faculty
the Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka
The University of Rijeka is a public university with over 17.400 students (including 222 international students in 2022) that was founded in 1973. It is listed among the TOP 1000-1200 universities worldwide according to QS ranking.
The medical program of General medicine takes 6 years (360 ECTS credits) to complete and is automatically recognized in all countries of the European Union. The cost of studies is 10.000€ per year (2 semesters). The faculty offers also a preparatory course at the price of 800€. The admission is awarded based on 2 criteria: results from the secondary school (overall average over the continuum of all four years of the secondary school education comprising all the grades and the final exam, together with the specific evaluation of grades in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics) and the result of the entrance exam from biology, chemistry and physics. Entrance exams will be organized in May, July, and September. Applicants who have completed a premedical college or passed internationally recognized exams (MCAT – with a minimal score of 125 for each section), or earned a BA/BSc degree in natural sciences with good credits in Biology, Physics, and Chemistry may be exempted from the entrance exam. Furthermore, applicants with good results in SAT, BMAT or MediTest-EU might be also exempted from the entrance exam. There are 50 seats for international students of General medicine. Only September intake is offered.
Potential applicants should submit the following documents for application: application form, secondary school documents with sworn translations to Croatian, CV, photos, application fees, medical certificate, a sworn translation of birth certificate, sponsorship letter confirming adequate financial support to cover studies and English language certificate. There are 50 seats offered for international students.
Medical faculty, University of Split
It was founded in 1997 and the English program started in 2011/2012. The program takes 6 years (360 ECTS credits), USSM is recognized by the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER), incorporated as a foundation of ECFMG, and is registered in its International Medical Education Directory (IMED). Tuition fees for the year (2 semesters) are 12.000€. The university is listed among TOP 1200 universities worldwide and has over 18.000 students.
There is cooperation with German medical clinics and hospitals as part of the seats (30 seats out of 70 seats) is reserved for students from the cooperation between the School of medicine in Split and Regiomed Kliniken in Germany (3 years of education are completed in Split, remaining 3 years at partnering institutions of Regiomed Klinik). The remaining 40 students have their education in Split for 6 years. The faculty has formal partnerships with the University of Ottawa in Canada and the Medical College of Wisconsin in the USA.
Here are the documents to apply for medical faculty in Split: completed and signed application form, passport or ID card photocopy (for foreign citizens), birth certificate, Originals or certified copies of degrees i.e. secondary school diplomas and the final exam diploma, Proof of knowledge of English language, CV with photography and a motivation letter for applying to the Medical Studies in English Program, Proof of payment of the application fee in the amount of 100 EUR (counter value in Kuna) paid to the University of Split School of Medicine and recognition of secondary education confirmation (nostrification). After the preselection, candidates will be invited for an interview in front of the Selection Committee. If the interview is not possible in person, skype interviews with candidates will be organized. The deadline for submitting an application in 2023 is 20.6.2023.
Find more information about Split medical faculty: https://neuron.mefst.hr/docs/medicina/medicine_engl/mefst-brosura-125×176%20-%203mm%20napust%20corr.pdf
Dentistry schools offering programs of Dental medicine in Croatia
The program of Dental medicine is offered by the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Zagreb and the University of Rijeka. The program takes 6 years and students need to obtain 360 ECTS credits.
The School of dental medicine, The University of Zagreb
The university provides a program of Dental medicine in the English language. The program has been accredited since September 2017 and takes six years to complete (360 ECTS credits). The school is practically oriented, as students will attend a total load of 5500 hours of education, including 1,001 hours of preclinical and 2,099 hours of clinical practicals, and 2,000 hours of lectures and seminars, which include 59 compulsory and 30 elective courses during their studies. During the 12th semester, last year students will complete 500 hours of practical training in the school’s outreach community dental offices. Clinical training starts in 4th year. The entrance exam includes questions in biology, chemistry, maths or physics. There are 24 seats offered for international students in 2023/24.
All applicants will sit the written entrance exam, consisting of 40 multiple choice questions each from physics, chemistry, and biology, i.e. 120 questions in total. An applicant who has completed a university Bachelor’s degree corresponding to the Pre-Med curriculum may be exempt from taking the written entrance exam. Completed secondary education is required for all applicants (at least 4 years of secondary school education is required). Students need to submit an application form, passport, photos, nostrification document (recognition of secondary school education from abroad), medical certificate, CV, translation of academic documents to Croatian, financial support confirmation (eg from parents), 200€ application fee for onsite exam or 400€ for online exam. More details about the program and admission: https://www.sfzg.unizg.hr/en/admission
University of Rijeka
The University of Rijeka has offered a program of Dental medicine since 2019 (the Croatia program runs since 1973). The program takes 6 years (360 ECTS credits) to complete. Dental medicine in English is arranged along the lines of theoretical, preclinical, and clinical studies in preclinical departments, clinical departments and institutes. The clinical part takes place in the Clinical Hospital Center Rijeka – a complex of 33 clinics and clinical departments with 1069 beds and a staff of 3252 doctors and nurses, complemented by Health Center Rijeka, state, and private institutions. The admission is granted based on secondary school results (overall average over the continuum of all 4 years of secondary school education comprising all the grades and the final exam, together with the specific evaluation of grades in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics) and entrance exam from biology, chemistry, and physics. There are approximately 12 seats offered to international students. Tuition fees are 10.000€ with 2 installments possible. More details: https://uniri.hr/dental-medicine/
Study program Veterinary medicine in Croatia
Students can study also Veterinary medicine at the Faculty of veterinary medicine, the University of Zagreb. The faculty exists since 1919, the English program runs since 2016/2017. The program takes 6 years (12 semesters) and tuition fees possesses 9000€ per academic year. Applicants must submit the following documents: proof of payment of the application fee, original or notary copies of secondary school certificates and their final school certificates, proof of knowledge of English language. Certificate proving experience in veterinary field before can positively influence the admission. There are totally 35 places for international students.
Accommodation for international students
Students might arrange private accommodation (with a price range of 300-500€ per flat plus energy) or get a place at the dorm. Dorms are offered by the University of Rijeka and University of Zagreb. The price of dorms is approximately 250-300€ per month. Another interesting alternative is renting private accommodation – you might use for example website rentola.hr.