Studying Medicine in the Netherlands in English


The Netherlands is unlikely to be the answer if you are looking to study medicine abroad. About eight times as many people visit this page every day than there are places to study medicine in English every year. There are a number of more likely options in Europe and you can find information about these on the Study Medicine Abroad page of our A Star Future website. We can also point you in the direction of options in Italy or Croatia. You might want to watch our recent video about studying medicine in Europe in 2022.



Studying 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, 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 international students. The University of Groningen offers a BSc degree in medicine in global health. Maastricht University has a similar programme in English. Both of these degrees would constitute the first step to becoming a doctor.There are a total of 410 places for medicine in Groningen every year but from 2021 only about 100 of these are available to non-Dutch-speaking students. This is fewer than in previous years. It was already hard to get a place on an English-taught programme. From 2021 it will be even harder.

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.

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.

How much does it cost to study medicine in the Netherlands?

A further complication for British nationals is that tuition fees for non-EU nationals are significantly higher for medicine at around €32,000 per year instead of €2,209 (2022/23) for EU nationals. This is close to the price international students pay to study medicine in the UK. British nationals who were not already resident in the Netherlands before Brexit will have to pay these higher fees.

How to apply to Dutch medical schools?

You can only apply to one of the two medical schools in any one year. The deadline for doing so is 15th January. Admission for British students is made even harder by the fact that you will have to have studied maths, physics, biology and chemistry until the end of school, ie to A' level. If you haven't done that, you will need to take an exam in the Netherlands to demonstrate competency in these subjects. For each subject that you need, you will probably have to allow between 200 and 300 hours of self-study before you are ready to take the exam. (University of Groningen insists on Maths A level for all science subjects and this additional exam will not help you if you don't have A level Maths.)

Assuming you meet the entry requirements you will then have to take part in the university's own selection process. Details of these will be communicated to you once your application has been judged to meet the minimum entry requirements. This selection process will involve additional tests and assessments. These have been conducted online during the pandemic but you cannot assume that this will be true in the future. Once you have completed the assessment process you will need to wait until 15th April to find out if you have been accepted. All candidates are ranked against each other and the highest-ranked students will be made offers. it is possible that that you will get a place slightly later if you are just outside the required rank.


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.