Affordable MBBS Abroad Education for Indian Students: Every year, around 25,000 Indian students choose to Study MBBS Abroad, opting for more cost-effective destinations that are not as well-known.

Due to the limited availability of seats in Indian medical colleges, an increasing number of Indian students are choosing to pursue medical education abroad. In 2024, approximately 24 lakh students registered for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) Undergraduate (UG) examination, while India has only 10.89 lakh Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) seats available in over 700 medical colleges.

Every year, around 20,000 to 25,000 Indian students choose to study medicine abroad, seeking alternative options for medical education beyond the traditional English-speaking countries.

Mamta Purbey, Associate Vice President of Student Acquisition – International at Manipal’s American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine, and Dr. Partha Sarathi Ganguli, a well-known educationist, discuss alternative options for medical students outside of India in an exclusive interview.

Which countries provide Affordable MBBS Abroad Education?

A growing number of students are now considering alternative, budget-friendly study destinations outside of the usual options such as the US, UK, and Germany. Places like the Philippines, China, and the Caribbean are becoming popular choices due to their affordable tuition fees and living expenses.

How much do tuition and living costs vary when Studying MBBS in the UK compared to the US and other countries?

In the UK, international students can expect to pay between £20,000 and £50,000 per year for tuition, with living expenses ranging from £500 to £1,500 per month. In the US, medical school costs average $38,000 annually for in-state students and $62,000 for out-of-state students, with living expenses typically between $2,000 and $4,000 per month.

China offers more affordable tuition fees of $3,000 to $10,000 per year, with living expenses around $1,000 per month in major cities. Caribbean medical schools may charge $16,000 to $25,000 per semester for tuition, with living costs ranging from $1,200 to $1,800 monthly. In the Philippines, medical school tuition is approximately ₹30 to 40 lakhs for the entire course, with living expenses estimated at ₹2 lakhs per year.

What’s the selection criteria?

In order to pursue an MBBS degree abroad, students must meet the National Medical Commission (NMC) guidelines, which require them to qualify for NEET and be a minimum of 17 years old.

In order to apply to medical schools in China, Indian students must have achieved a minimum of 60% in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology (PCB) during high school and be at least 18 years old. Necessary application materials include a completed international student application form, a personal statement, a curriculum vitae, transcripts, and a physical examination record.

Each university in the Philippines has its own admission requirements, but typically, students must have achieved a minimum of 50% in PCB during high school. Additionally, passing the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) is usually mandatory, and some universities may also require a NEET score and demonstrate English proficiency through TOEFL or IELTS.

Indian students applying to Caribbean medical schools must have completed their higher secondary education (10+2) with PCB, usually with a minimum aggregate score of 50-60%. Some universities may also require NEET scores or their own entrance exams. Proficiency in English is a must, with some schools requesting TOEFL or IELTS scores. Additionally, students must provide letters of recommendation, a letter of intent, and successfully pass a personal interview.

What is the duration of their programs?

Most medical universities in China provide a 6-year MBBS program consisting of 5 years of classroom education and a 1-year hospital internship. In the Philippines, the MBBS program lasts for 6 years, including 5 years of medical education and a 12-month rotating internship. In the Caribbean Islands, students can pursue a US-based MD program (Doctor of Medicine) that typically ranges from 4 to 6.5 years in duration.

How can someone acquire a MBBS License in these countries?

Students enroll in Caribbean medical schools with the goal of working as medical professionals in the US, UK, and Canada because of the reputable programs and easier admission requirements. In order to practice in the US, graduates must successfully pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). In the UK, they must pass the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test and participate in supervised practice. For Canada, International medical graduates (IMGs) are required to complete the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE) and the National Assessment Collaboration (NAC) Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

In order to practice medicine in China, individuals must pass the Chinese Medical Licensing Examination (CME), finish a one-year internship at an accredited hospital, and show proficiency in Mandarin. Similarly, physicians seeking to practice in the Philippines must pass the Physician Licensure Examination (PLE).

What makes these countries good options for Indian MBBS Students?

When it comes to studying medicine, China stands out due to its large population, which ensures an abundance of patients; it also offers affordable tuition fees and high-quality education.

Each year, over 2,000 Indian students choose to pursue medical studies in the Philippines due to its top-notch English-medium education, reasonable tuition fees, and curriculum that meets global standards. Indian students can take advantage of the benefits offered by Caribbean medical schools, including access to clinical rotations in esteemed teaching hospitals in the U.S., UK, and Canada by selecting accredited schools that adhere to a U.S.-based curriculum. Furthermore, Caribbean medical schools often have lower tuition fees compared to other international options, simple admission procedures, and multiple enrollment periods throughout the year.

Can students come back to India to practice medicine after studying abroad?

Indian medical students who have completed their MBBS abroad studies are eligible to practice in India according to specific criteria set by the NMC. These criteria include completing a foreign medical degree program lasting at least 54 months, followed by a 12-month internship at the same foreign medical institution where English was the medium of instruction.

Additionally, they must be registered with the professional regulatory body in the country where they obtained their degree, allowing them to practice medicine there as local citizens do. Upon returning to India, they must undergo a supervised 12-month internship after applying to the NMC and pass the National Exit Test (NEXT) or other required tests administered by the NMC. The entire foreign medical program must be completed within ten years of enrollment.

Also Read | How To Study MBBS Abroad For Indian Students