The rule of Numerus Clausus – which countries use it in their medical school admissions

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Medicine is a tough field of study. It requires requires constant dedication, a lot of willpower for students to ace each course of it and a whole lot of consistency to ensure that they pass it diligently. High school and pre-med graduates must be congratulated for making it to medical school because this field of study is tough

Whether students intend to apply for John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Oxford School of Medicine, University of Sydney Medical School, St. Kitts Medical School and the like; requirements of admission into medical school are not universal.

As a matter of fact, each country around the world has different systems, criterion and methods for admission to medical school.

Which countries follow the numerus clausus?

Countries following the Numerus Clausus (NC) rule for medical school admissions are as under:

Federative Republic of Germany

Medical schools in Germany follow the Numerus Clausus (NC) rule (which limits the available seats). It also determines the number of places available in the programs too.

The number of places also differs from one semester (or year/state) to the other. Students are also required to have a certain grade when applying for medical programs (because they also need to determine a student’s ability in medicine too).

The medical degrees in Germany can take around 6 years and 3 months to complete. They are not segregated into bachelor’s or master’s degree programs. For students to graduate, they must take the state examination after completing the final semester and practical year.

The following stages determine the medical program in Germany:

  • Studies of stage 1 comprise 4 semesters (first three sections are of the state exam).
  • Studies of stage 2 consist of 6 semesters.
  • Completing a practical year (PJ) at a hospital, clinic or another medical setup.
  • The second and final state examination takes place. When students clear it, they officially obtain a license to practice medicine in Germany.

It is important to understand that students be fully fluent in Germany because most lectures and exams will be in that language.

Republic of Italy

Italian Universities follow the Numerus Clausus System when it comes to admissions for medical degrees and the professional training upon graduation.

Medical schools in Italy require students to clear the International Medical Admissions Test (IMAT) or an exam which is its equivalent. It tests the applicant’s skills in logic, their knowledge of English, Chemistry, Biology and other Science related subjects.

The degree of medicine in Italy takes 6 years to complete which is then followed by a 6-month clinical placement. Graduates of this degree must pass a national exam so they can become registered physicians. After passing the examination they can start the specialization training, which takes 3-6 years (depending on their area of expertise and specialization).

Kingdom of the Netherlands

The Dutch are very stringent when it comes to medical school admission and associated criterion. If applicants cannot prove that they have studied biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics, then they must take an exam that will test their competency in these fields.

Students also need to be fully fluent in Dutch as all studies, examinations and communication between patients & doctors will be in the Dutch. Though 90 percent of the Dutch people in The Netherlands understand English, they still prefer speaking their national language and since it resembles English in many ways, those who study medicine there must learn it diligently.

Dutch Medicine Degrees follow the categories of Numerus Clausus and Numerus Fixus (Decentralized Selection Programs). This means that the number of places in Dutch medical schools is also limited. Students can only apply for two programs under the Numerus Fixus rule.

These are the stages of medical education in the Netherlands:

  • Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in medicine of 3 years. Students will be attending lectures and preparing assignments.
  • Finishing a master’s degree in Medicine – Another 3 years. Here students take part in different internships. Students also need to write a master’s degree thesis.
  • To start working as a medical specialist, students must register with the Royal Dutch Medical Association.

Finland

In Finland, students need to be fluent in Finnish or Swedish for both studies and postgraduate training. The seats in medical schools there are also limited (Numerus Clausus). The only way for students to enrol in medical schools is to pass the entrance examination, which is held annually in May (can be in either Finnish or Swedish).

The medical degree in Finland is a 6-year degree program, which is a unique combination of both bachelor’s and Masters degrees and courses into a complete Licentiate degree. Upon graduation, medical students can continue their education with postgraduate specialization programs. Then they give licensing exams in their area of specialty in order to become exceptional physicians.

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