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How Much Does it Cost to Study at the World's Top Medical Schools?

Singapore recently limited the number of schools on its list of approved medical programmes. This made us wonder how much it would cost for Singaporeans to become doctors at various schools around the world.

With the increased enrollment in local medical schools, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Singapore Medical Council (SMC) have limited the list of approved international medical schools from 160 to 103. Given that many medical schools overseas are quite attractive given their reputations and prospects for earning potential.

How Much Does it Cost to Attend the World's Top Medical Schools?

We estimate that it costs approximately S$470,000 on average to attend one of the world's top medical schools. This figure includes tuition, fees and housing costs. However, based on the varying curriculum structures of medical schools, it is necessary to break this figure down to fully understand the expense of becoming a doctor.

U.S. Med Schools Are Among the Highest Ranked & Most Expensive

Many medical schools in the United States are well regarded and also expensive compared to other top schools. The majority of the the top medical schools are located in the United States, including Harvard University, which holds the top spot.

Estimated Cost of Top-Ranked U.S. Medical Schools

These schools charge a premium for their strong reputations. We estimate that the average cost of attending a medical school in the U.S. that is on Singapore's approved list is about S$435,000, while schools in the top 20 cost about 10% more, at approximately S$477,000.

Medical School Costs in Other Regions

We estimate that the average cost of tuition, fees and housing costs about S$636,000 at the top medical schools in the United Kingdom, such as Cambridge, Oxford, University College London, Imperial College London and King's College London. However, given that students in the U.K. begin their medical training at university (rather than following university studies), the entire medical programme typically takes 6 years. Therefore, medical school prices between the United Kingdom and other countries are not directly comparable. For this reason, we calculate that schools in the United Kingdom tend to cost more in total than in the United States, but less on an annual basis.

Estimated Cost of Top-Ranked Medical Schools Australia & Canada

While the cost of attending medical school in the U.K. and U.S. is quite high, programmes in Australia and Canada are slightly more affordable, even at highly regarded universities. This is especially true in Canada, where the average cost of top medical schools averages about S$248,000.

How Do Singapore's Schools Compare?

We found that medical schools in Singapore are relatively affordable compared to those overseas. NUS's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine tuition for graduate students that are Singaporean Citizens is S$14,100 annually (S$56,400 for 4 years). In terms of prestige, NUS's medical school was ranked 23rd overall by QS. Nanyang Technological University's Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine also offers a 6-year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree, which costs S$34,200 per year or S$205,200 in terms of total tuition. Students at these universities can save a significant amount of money, especially if they are able to live at home or with roommates. On the other hand, Duke-NUS's MD medical program charges S$47,000 in tuition per year (S$188,200 full tuition cost), putting it closer to the price of medical schools overseas. However, the Duke-NUS PhD program is tuition-free for those accepted.

What Kind of Returns Can Medical School Graduates Expect?

The high cost of medical school is offset by high salaries for doctors around the world. In Singapore, general practitioners can expect to earn salaries of about S$100,000 on average, while specialists can earn up to S$300,000 annually. Those that need help financing the upfront cost required for this massive investment will find that there are many scholarships available both locally and overseas for medical school. Additionally, those studying in Singapore and abroad may find it helpful to turn to education loans. We recommend that interested prospective students carefully review their options before applying for loans as rates can vary significantly. This means that choosing the right loan can save you thousands of dollars over the course of your studies.

William Hofmann

William is a Product Manager at ValueChampion Singapore, helping consumers and SMEs find the best banking products through comprehensive analysis of data. He previously was an Economic Consultant at Industrial Economics Inc, where he conducted a variety of research and economic analyses. He graduated from University of Vermont with degrees in Economics and Psychology. His work has been featured on a variety of major media such as the Straits Times, the Business Times, the Edge, DailySocial, the Entrepreneur and more.