What is it like to study in Ukraine?

Medical degree in Ukraine

Again and again, numerous high school graduates whose big dream is to study medicine fail at the Numerus Clausus that applies to this course of study at all universities in Germany, because depending on the federal state, an average grade of 1.2 or even 1.0 is here expected. High school graduates who dream of studying medicine, but have a poorer Abitur average, are then often forced to reorient themselves or have to prepare for numerous waiting semesters before they can take their desired course in Germany. Medical courses abroad can be a real alternative here.

For example, anyone who has always had a talent for languages ​​and / or is willing to work on their language skills (in particular English, but also in some cases the corresponding national language) and to constantly expand them can follow their own course wishes by studying medicine abroad, because Entry here is usually possible without any number or waiting times. Ukraine, which belongs to Eastern Europe and is a study country, which borders on the southern side of the Black Sea and the Sea of ​​Azov, is one of the best places to study. Ukraine is particularly known for its picturesque landscapes, which include mountain ranges as well as lowlands, as well as for several national parks and nature reserves.

Since the country is relatively sparsely populated, the Ukraine has also grown into one of the largest grain producers in the world thanks to its extensive agriculture. But the country not only has a lot to offer in this area; international students can also look forward to a growing range of courses aimed at them. Ukraine also offers cities worth seeing, such as the port city of Odessa, which has numerous great beaches and a picturesque opera house. Despite all these peculiarities, the cost of living in Ukraine is comparatively comfortable, so that from a financial point of view there is no reason against studying medicine in Ukraine.

Universities in Ukraine with medical degrees

All universities

Agencies that arrange medical courses in Ukraine

All agencies

Structure of medical studies in Ukraine

Medical studies in Ukraine follow - as is common in other (European) cities - the Bachelor-Master system, adapted to the Bologna Process. Nevertheless, a post-Soviet character can still be seen within the system as well as within the teaching staff. The standard period of study for studying medicine in Ukraine is six years, with the academic year usually starting in September and ending in June. The curriculum includes both theoretical and practical content. Psychology and communication skills for dealing with patients are also trained. In addition, diagnostic and treatment procedures can be practiced on simulators so that the prospective doctors are well equipped for the practice.

Admission requirements for international students

The admission requirements for studying at universities that offer medical studies for international students in Ukraine are very straightforward. For the National Medical University of Odessa, the Abitur qualification is decisive. It is also helpful if, for example, the subjects biology, physics and / or chemistry have been taken at least as a basic course, with grades playing a rather subordinate role. At the Medical University in Kiev, on the other hand, it is a must that the subjects biology, physics, chemistry and English have been taken at least as a basic course within the Abitur and have been completed with an overall grade of at least 65%. For all those who need a little more preparation, appropriate preliminary courses are offered. Here, linguistic skills can and should be improved in advance. The admission deadline for all courses at Ukrainian universities is usually March 1st of each year.

It is important to know that a visa must be applied for at the Ukrainian embassy as soon as it becomes foreseeable that the stay will exceed 90 days. An invitation from the Ukrainian Ministry of Education is required for this. Future students will receive everything they need as soon as the application is rated as positive at the respective university. An issued visa is valid for one year and can then be extended on site. The Ukrainian embassy can also provide information about any work permits that may be required, and this should also be noted by interested parties and students.

Application process to universities in Croatia

The application process for studying medicine at Odessa National Medical University is quite straightforward. All you need to do is provide the usual evidence and documents, such as your high school diploma, identity card or passport, a health certificate and passport photos, as well as proof of payment of the tuition fees for the first year. It is similar at the Medical University in Kiev. Nevertheless, the respective websites of the universities should always be visited and checked for more precise or possibly added requirements in order not to delay the process. Universities usually provide appropriate lists for international students.

University landscape in Ukraine

In Ukraine, vocational training has also been largely assigned to higher education, although a distinction is made between universities, institutes and academies on the one hand and colleges (kolledžy), technical schools (učilišča) and technical schools on the other. Only the first-mentioned group can be regarded as equivalent to the classic German universities, because universities as well as institutes and academies have the right to award doctorates and habilitation, whereby the institutes usually only represent a single subject (e.g. law or art).

The colleges, technical schools and technical schools, on the other hand, are dedicated to vocational training in the narrower sense - a decision will probably be made within the next few years as to which of the institutions mentioned can retain their respective status within the tertiary sector and which will instead be assigned to the secondary school sector. The number of universities, institutes and academies (according to the old nomenclature, this includes the universities that belong to accreditation levels III and IV) is currently 282, of which 209 are state or municipal and 73 are privately funded.

A total of 14 universities also have the title of “Research University” and 118 of the state universities have the title of “National University”. It is true that the so-called “comprehensive universities” are overall in the minority; However, certain subjects such as medicine or agricultural sciences are almost always offered at universities that have corresponding names. In addition, engineering is taught almost exclusively at technical universities (formerly also called polytechnic institutes). According to the status of 2019, the rate of international students was around 4.63 - more precisely 77,219 students from abroad were enrolled to study in Ukraine. India, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Morocco and Nigeria proved to be important countries of origin. Two universities offer medical studies for international students in Ukraine, the Medical University of Kiev and the National Medical University of Odessa.

Cost of studying medicine in Ukraine

For all international students there are tuition fees in Ukraine, the amount again depending on the respective university. In Kiev the costs are around € 3,200 a year, in the port city of Odessa a slightly higher fee is due, it is around € 4,000. The cost of living also varies between the two cities. This is mainly due to the fact that Kiev is a little more popular as the capital of Ukraine, but the university offers its students its own inexpensive student dormitory, which is located in the immediate vicinity of the campus and can be easily reached by public transport.

Grocery stores and supermarkets are also in the immediate vicinity. In general, students in Kiev should expect around € 750 per month for rent, meals and leisure activities. The capital Kiev also has an airport that can be reached quickly and cheaply from Germany. The port city of Odessa also offers students space in a student dormitory, with costs amounting to around € 1000 per year. In comparison, a 1-room apartment costs around € 220 a month in rent. Otherwise, the cost of supporting life in Odessa turns out to be a little lower. However, around € 650 per month should also be budgeted for here.

Recognition of academic achievements in Germany

Whether the degrees from the medical universities in Kiev and Odessa are recognized in Germany can unfortunately not be reliably confirmed in principle. Although the courses are structured in the sense of the Bologna process, since Ukraine is not part of the EU, it may be necessary in some cases to complete a so-called equivalency test, which determines whether the students have the necessary knowledge. Ideally, the respective State Examination Office for Medical Health Professions (LPA) should be contacted for any questions. Important information can be obtained here even before starting medical studies in Ukraine.

Advantages and disadvantages of studying medicine in Croatia


  • easy admission through rather relaxed admission requirements and a comparatively uncomplicated application process, especially in the port city of Odessa
  • relatively low cost of living compared to other European countries
  • cheap and uncomplicated flight connections to Germany
  • cultural diversity


  • Collection of tuition fees
  • Recognition of the degree in Germany partly uncertain despite the Bologna regulations

Conclusion on studying medicine in Ukraine

As a place to study medicine, Ukraine offers an excellent alternative for all those who cannot get admission to a medical degree in Germany due to the numerus clausus or an insufficient high school graduation mark or who would otherwise have to accept numerous waiting semesters. Although the number of Ukrainian universities that offer medical courses for international students is still very low in comparison, it is precisely for this reason that the country can also be considered an insider tip for all those who are looking for less distraction and hustle and bustle, albeit the cities of Kiev and Odessa can definitely be described as busy.

Of course, the comparatively low cost of living is also to be seen as a real advantage. Interested high school graduates should not ignore the fact that completing a medical degree in Ukraine is not necessarily internationally recognized and therefore an additional examination may be necessary for admission in Germany.