Medicine in the Netherlands

Medicine in the Netherlands is taught differently than in the United Kingdom, both in terms of the approach to the subject and the timeline to qualification. While a Dutch medical degree will be afforded the same respect as one from a British medical school (GMC recognition is not a problem), the way in which students are educated means that transferring between the two countries midway through your studies will be almost impossible.

The route to qualification as a doctor in general practice in the Netherlands consists of three main phases:

  • BSc in medicine (3 years)
  • MSc in medicine (an additional 3 years)
  • Training (one year)

The first three years can be taught in English at Dutch universities but only two have this option and very few of the places are available to British students. The University of Groningen offers two BSc degrees in medicine, one in global health, the other in molecular medicine. Maastricht University has a similar programme in English. All of these degrees would constitute the first step to becoming a doctor. While these degrees are taught in English it is imperative that you learn Dutch alongside your other studies; Dutch language is an integral part of the degree and you must pass exams in the language if you are to graduate.

The Dutch language is not just important for when you are dealing with patients. It is necessary because you cannot complete the MSc phase of your studies in English anywhere. There are Masters degrees in medical research and technology that are taught in English but these are not designed for you to qualify as a doctor. An example of such a degree would be the MSc in Medical Biology at Radboud University.

The final training year requires future doctors to work in Dutch hospitals and here, communication in the Dutch language will be of vital importance.

In summary, studying medicine in the Netherlands is possible but can only be done partly in English. You would need to commit to not just learning Dutch but studying in Dutch. The entry requirements are high as the universities are not struggling to recruit. Deadlines are earlier than for other subjects (typically 15th January) and, because of the high number of applicants already in receipt of their high school diploma, A' level students can be disadvantaged if applying with predicted grades.

The Netherlands is unlikely to be the answer if you are looking to study medicine abroad. There are a number of more likely options in Europe and you can find information about these on the Study Medicine Abroad page our A Star Future website.

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About Study In Holland is an information service designed to assist British and Irish students in pursuing their university education in the Netherlands.

We have extensive knowledge of English-taught degrees in Holland and we also work with careers advisory services. is owned by A Star Future Ltd and is not affiliated with the Dutch government.


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