Study medicine in Estonia: All you need to know

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Estonia is 1 of 3 countries making up the baltic states. It is located at the eastern bank of the baltic sea in northern Europe. After centuries of successive rule by Germans, Danes, Swedes, Poles, and Russians the country gained its independence in 1920. This only lasted until the country fell under authoritarian rule during the second world war, after which it was incorporated into the soviet union.

Modern-Day Estonia gained its independence in 1991 and har enjoyed peace and prosperity ever since. In 2004 it joined both NATO and the EU as one of its smallest members with a population of just 1 300 000. Currently, the University of Tartu offers medical studies in English.

Medical school in Estonia

Medical school in Estonia is a 6-year undergraduate program that leads to an M.D degree. Students are eligible to apply for enrollment if they have or will have a high school diploma before enrollment. Students should have good grades in natural sciences, especially biology. Furthermore, students should be proficient in the English language.

The final decision for which applicants are accepted is determined by their application. Once enrolled, students typically follow a module that starts out with basic science subjects, from which students are gradually introduced to clinical subjects and clinical rotations. After successfully passing the final examination, students earn an M.D degree. The degree is recognized across the European Union, as well as in North-America (and more).


University of Tartu

The city of Tartu is the second-largest city in Estonia. Its university is the nation’s oldest and most renowned, which has contributed to the city being considered the intellectual center of Estonia.

The University of Tartu was founded back in 1632. It currently enrolls more than 13 000 students. More importantly, it is the principal medical university in Estonia, from which 99% of Estonian medical doctors got their degrees. In addition to the Estonian program, the university also offers an English program open to international students.

Admission requirements

In order to be eligible for enrollment, you have to have completed secondary school/high school, and be eligible for higher education in your home country. Also, you have to have taken an SAT subject test in biology E or M and achieved a minimum score of 680. In addition to certifying your competency in natural sciences, it also serves as your proof of English language proficiency.

Application process

The application period is from 2. January to 15. March. As an applicant, you have to put together a complete application that has to consist of the following.

  • Application form (found on the university website)
  • Motivation letter
  • Copy of secondary school/high school diploma and grade transcript and certified English translations if the original language is not English. 
  • Copy of result of SAT test in biology with a minimum score of 680.
  • Copy of passport ID page
  • Proof of payment of 50 EUR application fee.

Once complete your application is submitted electronically via the university’s online application system. Keep in mind that you are still able to apply even if you haven’t taken the SAT test or completed secondary school yet. 

If you are to sit for the SAT test after the application deadline, you can upload a confirmation of the test registration until you can send the results once completed. When still in high school, but due to graduate, you can submit your most recent official grade transcript after which you will send the final diploma and grade transcript upon completion.

All applications are evaluated based on the SAT test score (counts 70 %) and motivation letter (counts 30%). Each application is given a score between 0-100. Only students who get a score of 66 or higher are considered for admission.

If you are selected, you will receive an offer for admission in the middle of June. Upon receiving this, you have 7 days to accept the offer. After accepting, you have to send hard copies of your application papers (listed above) to the university by mail for final review before receiving an official admission letter.

Keep in mind that All copies of your educational documents (secondary school certificate and grade list/transcript) must be officially certified. This means that they should bear an original signature and seal of an authority certifying that they are true copies of the original. The documents can be certified by the issuing institution or by a notary with an attached apostille.

Follow this link to the University website to read more about the application process. Here you can also find more information about the required SAT subject test in biology. You can also check out the university’s promo video below.

Tuition fee

In addition to the one-time application fee. Students have to pay a yearly 12 000 EUR tuition fee (6000 EUR per semester).

Recognition of degree

The University of Tartu is registered in the world directory of medical schools. Due to Estonia’s membership in the EU, the degree should be recognized and accepted across all member states. This means that graduates are eligible to apply for a license to practice and work as doctors in any EU country.

Students are eligible to practice in North America and Canada upon graduating, granted they pass all necessary examinations. The university is listed in the world directory of medical schools as meeting ECFMG requirements. This means that students are eligible to sit for the USMLE Step 1 and 2 exams and apply for an ECFMG certification before being able to complete the US certification process by passing the USMLE Step 3.  

Degrees from the university are also accepted by the medical council of Canada. This means that graduates are eligible to practice medicine in Canada granted they pass the required examination (MCCQE part 1 and 2). 

The degree is accepted in many more countries across the globe, however, most countries have their own requirements for foreign medical graduates before they can start practicing medicine. Before applying, make sure to contact the appropriate regulatory body in your country with regards to recognition of the degree upon completion.

Cost of living in Estonia

The cost of living in Tartu is somewhat cheaper than most western European and North American countries. Students can find accommodation for anywhere between 200-450 EUR per month. On average, apartments are less expensive if you move away from the city centers and if students rent together.

The cities have cheap and efficient public transportation networks with buses. A monthly student travel pass usually only costs about 7 EUR when ordered online. Food is cheap, especially if you cook at home. Depending on how much you eat a student spends anywhere between 100-200 EUR on food per month.

 Every once in a while you can enjoy a dinner at a restaurant which will cost anywhere between 20-35 EUR depending on the restaurant and the food. A big mac menu costs around 6 EUR, and most importantly, a regular size (0,5L) beer will cost around 2 EUR.

Overall, the cost of living is comfortable for most international students, but everything depends on your budget.

Closing remarks

Overall, medical studies in Estonia offers a prestigious program in the university city/town of Tartu. The opportunity is especially enticing for European students, as the degree is accepted in most (if not all) member states without the need for extra examinations.

If you are interested in the possibility to study medicine in Estonia, make sure to check out the links provided above. Here you can get additional information about the application process. 

I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any experience with studying medicine in Estonia, feel free to share your experience in the comments below. If you have any unanswered questions, comments or other inquiries, please leave it in the comment section.