What is MBBS?
MBBS stands for Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery. It is a dual degree that usually takes six years for students to complete, and enables graduates to work as doctors afterwards.
However, MBBS degrees are not offered or recognized in every country. MBBS degrees are primarily offered in Asian countries: China, Russia, India, Malaysia, Nepal and Pakistan, as well as the UK and Australia.
In addition, some countries do not accept an MBBS degree as a valid certification to practice as a doctor since they have their own separate standards. MBBS degrees are not recognized as valid certificates to be a doctor in Germany or the US, for example.
With our guide, you can compare global MBBS degrees from some of the top countries and destinations around the world.
|Location||Average Yearly MBBS Tuition||Pros||Cons|
|Russia||$3000-$6000 USD||State scholarships, affordable quality, programs support many international students
|Cold weather and cultural differences, Russian language, some outdated technology|
|China||$3,000 USD to $10,000 USD||Affordable and high-quality, increasing prestige and ranking
|China closed to international students since 2020 due to COVID|
|Germany*||Free public university tuition, $57,000-$115,000 USD at a private university||Free public university tuition, highly ranked and reputable, friendly policies to students
|Expensive cost of living, must learn German, competitive admissions|
|United Kingdom||From $13000 to $50000 USD, UK/EU students could get cheaper tuition||Top tier unis, high quality programs and technologies, high earning potential in future careers
|Competitive admissions process, high cost of living|
|Ukraine||$4,500 to $7,000 USD||Recognized degrees, low cost of living, high quality education
|Only largest cities and top universities have advanced technology and facilities, cold weather|
|United States*||Yearly tuition for out-of-state and international students for medical school ranges from $30,000USD to $90,000USD||World’s best medical schools, rigorous and high-quality, high salaries for doctors
|High cost of tuition and living, high admissions standards, over a decade of schooling required|
*This country does not actually offer an MBBS curriculum. This table describes the closest equivalent.
MBBS in Russia
Russia has a history of excellent and affordable MBBS education. Thousands of international students are able to afford studies in Russia through receiving state scholarships. Each year, about 15,000 international students win a scholarship to study in Russia. Cost of living and tuition fees are far lower compared to Australia, the UK, and the US.
As a transcontinental country, straddling the geographies and cultures of Asia and Europe, a Russian degree is ideal for students who plan to work in either location. Russian Medical degrees are valuable around the world: they are recognized by the Medical Council of India (MCI), the Medical Council of Canada (MCC), the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDOMS), the WHO, and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Russia.
Culture in Russia
Aside from Russia’s infamously cold weather and having to learn the language, Russian culture can be quite unique. Russian people generally do not express emotions in public. Though after getting to know someone, Russians have a reputation for being extremely generous and helpful. In Russian universities, students typically take more classes (9-11) that meet less frequently. Professors are less available and treat students more like colleagues. Universities can feel quite empty since classes meet infrequently, but in the wider city there are always many clubs, community events, and organizations for students to join easily. Drinking alcohol is a central part of Russian culture, though students should always prioritize their safety and not overdrink. Russians also love to give gifts! Showing up to a party empty-handed or not giving a helpful colleague a thank-you gift is considered quite impolite.
MBBS in Germany
Germany is globally known for its friendly policies towards international university students. Studying medicine at German public universities is typically tuition-free for international students (aside from a contribution fee at some universities). Private universities, however, can be quite expensive. International students are also allowed to work for 20 hours a week, allowing you to get work experience and earn money as you learn.
In Germany, MBBS is not an actual degree format. Instead, you will study for the state examination: Staatsexamen in German. This is because becoming a doctor is regulated by the state in Germany, hence it falls under a different format than Bachelor’s or Master’s. The Staatsexamen has three parts spread out over multiple years of study. Passing the Staatsexamen allows you to be fully licensed in Germany.
German Staatsexamen and degrees from medical universities are recognized by the following authorities:
- Medical Council of India
- New Zealand (if your university is listed on the World Directory of Medical Schools)
- The World Directory of Medical Schools
- You can register for a Full registration with a license to practice with a Zeugnis über die Ärztliche Prüfung (the State examination certificate in medicine) (read more here)
- To get your medical degree recognized in other EU countries, it might be necessary to get it compared by contacting the ENIC-NARIC institution in the EU country where you are moving to.
Culture in Germany
Germany has a large population of expats and students from around Europe and the world. German food places heavy emphasis on meat and carbohydrates, so expect to see plenty of currywurst, schnitzl, sauerkraut, and sausages. Germans lead healthy, active lifestyles. Students may be surprised to see most stores and businesses closed early, or that the cities have quiet hours. This contributes to Germany being a safe, clean place to live–the rules and public order (like recycling and traffic rules) are taken very seriously! Germans also have a reputation for being very direct, so don’t consider it rude when a German classmate speaks candidly to you.
In addition, many of the ways young people make friends in new cities (bars, clubs, parties, other big public social events) are not so common in Germany. Students can focus on making friends through classes or joining public clubs and organizations around the city.
MBBS in China
China offers the most competitive and best value English-medium MBBS programs in the world. For this reason, it is now one of the fastest-growing destinations for international students who want to study medicine.
There are 45 medical colleges authorized to offer English-taught MBBS programs in China. However, there are fewer scholarships available for MBBS students, though the cost of tuition is generally quite low compared to the US and UK. Most medical universities in China offer the MBBS program for 6 years. You will spend 5 years of classroom training to have solid medical knowledge. The remaining 1 year is spent on hospital internship to strengthen your clinical skills. Each program has 50-100 seats available, meaning it is quite competitive.
China is a global leader in the field of modern medicine. Many of its medical universities are also ranked among the top 500 medical universities in the world. MBBS programs in China are designed based on international standards and are therefore on par with Western MBBS degrees.
Learn more about applying to MBBS in China here with China Admissions.
Culture in China
Chinese culture is quite different from almost anywhere else in the world. In addition to the language barrier, students will face a host of new experiences. Instead of Whatsapp, Instagram, Amazon, and Google, Chinese use WeChat, Xiaohongshu, Taobao or Pinduoduo, and Baidu.
In addition, China is a largely homogenous country with above 94% of the population being Han Chinese. If you are a foreign student, you might get lots of curious looks and questions, especially if you live in a smaller city. As a foreign student, you will also need to use your passport as a form of ID when you buy train tickets, set up a bank account, or verify your WeChat account.
Chinese culture has a vibrant history that reaches back thousands of years, and you will have the perfect opportunity to examine the fusion of ancient and modern cultures. From temples and tea ceremonies to towering skyscrapers and high-speed trains, China is a country that has something for everyone, from adventurer to shopaholic! There is no place on earth quite like it.
Chinese people may be curious about foreigners and their lives, but in general, they are incredibly kind, welcoming, and hospitable to guests in their country. They will be very excited to hear you speak Chinese with them and will give you plenty of advice and encouragement as you learn about each other’s cultures.
MBBS in the UK
MBBS courses in the UK are among the most competitive! With advanced classroom technology and modern facilities, recognized universities and prestigious career advancement opportunities, and professional training in NHS (National Health Service) hospitals, UK MBBS graduates will emerge globally certified to practice medicine. UK universities offering MBBS have strong ties with local hospitals and healthcare practitioners, so students can take advantage of this network to learn from experts and build a career.
To enroll, students will have to take either the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) or BioMedical Admission Test (BMAT), as well as have excellent scores in the sciences and mathematics. With high standards for MBBS admissions, it is no surprise that enrolment into UK MBBS programs is quite competitive. To become a practicing physician, students must register with the General Medical Council (GMC) of the UK. Then, UK doctors can earn around 200,000 GBP a year, making it worthwhile to study an MBBS here.
MBBS degrees from the UK are recognized by NMC and The World Directory of Medical Schools.
Culture in the UK
Britons can be quite polite: they love to wait in lines (or “queues”), “sorry” is a popular word, people are very punctual and on-time, and laws are quite strict about places where you can or cannot smoke in public. However, pubs are also the backbone of UK culture, so expect to go out for special occasions or no reason at all! The British are also known for a dry, sarcastic sense of humor, which could seem rude to some students.
UK culture is influenced by its long and unique history and major cultural forces like Christianity, the British Empire, European history, and modern cultural icons like the Beatles, Harry Potter, and symbols like the red phone box. British food can also be quite unique: fish and chips, Yorkshire pudding, Scotch eggs, Shepherd’s Pie, and of course tea are British culinary staples.
MBBS in Ukraine
Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe, next to Russia. The country gained popularity due to the high-quality education offered in many of its government universities. Students who enroll in an MBBS program and graduate are able to work anywhere in the world. There are more than 800 universities in Ukraine, hosting approximately 64,000 foreign students. The quality of education offered at Ukraine’s top universities is of high quality. Students who graduate with a medical degree from such institutions can practice medicine almost anywhere in the world. In addition, the admissions procedure to Ukrainian MBBS programs is quite simple and not as competitive. Likewise, the cost of living in Ukraine is very low compared to the excellent quality education you will receive.
However, only Ukraine’s top universities in the biggest cities will have all the modern facilities and technology for MBBS students. If you study at a smaller university in a lower-tier city, it may be hard for you to find employment if you don’t have the relevant experience with new medical technologies.
Culture in Ukraine
Ukrainian culture is like Russian in some ways–the food, for example, is similar. Ukraine is a very traditional country that holds its rituals and customs very dearly. In Ukraine, you may encounter famous vyshyvanka (a traditional embroidered shirt), paint Easter eggs, eat 12 traditional dishes at Christmas, and celebrate the New Year twice! Like Russians, Ukrainians love to give gifts–unlike Russians, they have a reputation for being loud, friendly, and chatty.
Ukrainian culture places a lot of emphasis on the family, which is taken quite seriously (as is dating culture). The country has a long and proud history of culture that it will be happy to share with you. A long history of literacy in the country has led to generations of excellent literature and the preservation of folk culture. Potatoes, chicken, pork, peppers, eggplant, fish, cabbage, and mushrooms are popular food ingredients.
MBBS in United States
US universities do not offer MBBS degrees. Instead, this is the path students who want to be doctors will take in US universities:
- Earn a Bachelor’s degree (can be in a related field like Biology or Pre-Med or even something quite different like Sociology) and get good grades, particularly in the sciences.
- Take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). This is key for admissions into medical school.
- Apply to and attend medical school (4 years), then complete a residency (3-7 years)
- Before you can get your Medical Doctor degree in the United States, you will have to pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) test, also known as the Board exam
You can see that the process of becoming a doctor in the US cannot be completed in just one Bachelor’s degree. The entire process can take ten to fifteen years of continuous education. This is one reason why competition, quality, and standards at US medical schools are so high, but this also puts international and US students alike at a disadvantage due to the long schooling time and high costs of education.
However, for students who are willing to put in the money and work, benefits can be huge. Out of the top 30 medical schools in the world in 2021, 24 of them are US universities. The average doctor’s salary in the US is six figures: In 2021 it was $224,190 USD per year, and average pay rates are $100,000 to $300,000 USD. American physicians and medical doctors can also practice medicine in Australia, Belize, Bermuda, Canada, China, India, Israel, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, UAE, UK, etc. A US Medical Degree is thus highly valued and prestigious in most of the world due to the incredibly difficult process it takes to earn it.
Culture in the US
American culture is well-known around the world due to the cultural exports of Hollywood movies and social media. But living there can be quite a different experience. Americans love “small talk”–saying polite phrases like “How are you? How is your day?” to even total strangers without expecting a long or honest answer in response. This can sometimes come across as quite chatty, since it is normal to make small talk with your waiter or cashier. Americans will also tip after a meal or other service, like a taxi ride or hotel room cleaning (usually 15%-20% of the total bill). Not leaving a tip is considered disrespectful to the worker who helped you.
American culture is big and bold–big food portions, big concerts, loud sports events. Expect plenty of your new American classmates to have strong opinions about their favorite sports team or which state is the best! Americans are also “politically correct” quite often. Since there are so many cultures and peoples in the US, it is standard to avoid expressions or words that could be considered offensive or insulting to someone. Jokes or comments about someone’s appearance, for example, are not appropriate in US culture.