Should you study MBBS in China?

Not all courses are created equally, and Medicine is one such splendid example. With China opening its doors, more and more international students have infiltrated Chinese universities. Science related courses seem to be the preferred choice and one such course is the MBBS. This is usually a 6 year course and it is offered in a number of Universities around the country. MBBS is a tricky course to study abroad simply because a lot more is needed to practice medicine than just a mere degree.

This article will help shine a light on the areas you should look into if you have chosen to embark on the road to being a doctor.

I should also state this from the onset; China is not short on doctors. It, however, welcomes qualified, specialized and experienced doctors who have something to bring to the table. A fresh graduate does not fall into this category.

– Sponsored program: MBBS at Shantou University Medical College – 

Is China My MBBS Study Destination?

I would like to say it is a personal choice but this article is all about informed, practical choices.

We shall start off with the good and then the not so good:

For an MBBS, you cannot beat the overall cost that China offers. It is a cheaper option and most universities that offer this course are well equipped. China has the technology and what it does not have, it will very soon. China is a progressive country and, therefore, a very exciting place to be. But not all decisions in life can be based on the feel good factor alone.

MBBS in china

One thing to keep in mind is that the language is a huge barrier and the one year of Mandarin classes offered to students is barely enough. Of course they do offer the said course in English but if you will be interning in a Chinese hospital, Mandarin is essential. If your Mandarin language skills are good enough, and you want to do the lesser year then you can always try to gain entry into the Chinese language program – the problem with that is it’s very competitive and continues to be so throughout the entirety of the program. I have met a few overzealous people who love a challenge but I would suggest you pick your battles wisely.

Also having 3500 common Mandarin characters while useful and a good foundation… a native speaker/linguist it does not make. Additionally, medicine has a specialized language all of its own, which will take time to learn, even in a person’s first language let alone a second language.

Find some suggestions on Chinese language courses here

It is to be noted that there are only two language options; Mandarin or English. If you cannot function in either or both languages, China is definitely not your study destination. If you struggle with the English Language to begin with, then it will be a challenge. As much as the program is offered in English that is not to say that all your lecturers will have a good command of the language. Some will but most will not. You will probably need to decipher what is taught in some classes and that will take a toll on you if you do not understand the language.

I was made to understand that one advantage in choosing China to undertake an MBBS was that there was plenty of self- studying time and most students seem to appreciate that. The down side to this is that there is less clinical exposure. If you do your homework, which I strongly suggest you do, then you will soon realize that some boards do recognize the Chinese program and not the English program. The reason being less medical topics are taught in the English program unlike its Chinese counterpart, hence all the free time to study on your own.

I Hear You, But China Is My Dream Country. What Should I Do?

Firstly you should seek information from your relevant states medical licensing board, to determine if a medical degree gained from a Chinese based school is acceptable for licensing purposes. You would also be best advised to make yourself aware of just what process you’ll need to complete for said licensure, so that you can get prepared with enough time, and resources.

xian china wild goose pagoda

Secondly, it is usual for medical students to do their clinical rotations and their intern year in the same country as the medical school attended, however, it is sometimes possible to do part of the practicum in another location/country but this should be prearranged at the outset, or well in advance, this might be worth considering.

Thirdly, if you have no arrangement set in place to complete the intern year elsewhere then it must be done in China before you will be awarded the medical degree. Intern years are done in Chinese public hospitals, where Mandarin is the working language. If you enroll in an English language MBBS/MD program then all your lectures and faculty will use English, however, you will be required to speak Mandarin to be able to function in hospitals. Start learning the language with your program in mind.

Fourthly, once the intern year has been completed satisfactorily then one becomes eligible in China to sit the Chinese medical license exam, which is conducted in Mandarin. It would also be at this point in the whole process that a FMG/IMG would make the decision to make the relevant application to sit the medical licensure requirements in another locale/country as required, as opposed to sitting the licensing exam in China, having completed the intern year. You will need to clarify the requirements of this to confirm the number of hours/rotations etc. required by your relevant states medical board.

I’d advise to take a moment to evaluate the purpose to which you wish to pursue medicine, what your goals in the longer term might be and then consider fully all the requirements and implications of doing so in China.
So you have done your homework and had a heart to heart with yourself and decided that Medicine is indeed for you. Which University should you choose? There are a number of Chinese Universities that are allowed to enroll foreigners. If you, however, are looking to get a place in right this moment, then Dalian Medical University or Jinzhou Medical University should be in your radar.

Dalian Medical University.

As the name suggests, this medical university is situated in the coastal city of Dalian. Don’t let the word “coastal” fool you, winters can be quite harsh. International students are admitted to take the Bachelor’s degree programs taught in English, Chinese or Japanese which covers Clinical Medicine, Oral Medicine, and Nursing. Clinical Medicine is their strongest discipline in the list. The program has two options; a 6 year bachelor’s program or a 5 year bachelor’s program with a 2 year master’s program in clinical medicine.


Open in each spring and autumn, this particular program is now open for applications and the deadline is on January so don’t let this boat sail without you being on board. According to the framework agreement on degree accreditation between MOE of China and other countries, the degree awarded by DLMEDU is recognized in 31 countries. You can check with your country’s medical board to see if you fall under this list.


Upon graduation, there isn’t a HSK exam requirement for students to get the diploma. Some schools have this requirement, but as we mentioned earlier on, if you are on the English program, this means you have to study for the HSK exam on your own and you might not have time to do that. The degree conferred after successfully meeting all the requirements is a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.

China Studies Summer School at XJTLU


Jinzhou Medical University

Jinzhou Medical University is located in the province of Liaoning in the north-eastern part of China. In terms of location both Dalian and Jinzhou Medical University are located in the province of Liaoning.

Just like Dalian, applications are ongoing and the programs have more similarities than differences. That said, Jinzhou Medical University has way more affiliated hospitals to choose from for your internship and a better university social life. Mandarin is also offered all through your study period so this might be an added advantage. The fee is also slightly cheaper than Dalian Medical University. However, there is only one option that is the 6 year program unlike Dalian Medial University that offers two different options.

For the specifics such as School fees, curriculum, application process, qualifications and so forth, China Admissions will sort you out in all the above areas. Make sure to ask all the questions you can fathom and do not be shy even if it sounds petty in your mind. The more information you have, the easier it is to make a wiser choice.

Someone once said that the purpose of a doctor should not be to simply delay the death of the patient, but to increase the person’s quality of life. Start with yourself and get quality information so that you can get quality education.

Apply Now

If you want to start your journey to study MBBS in China, have a look at the update for 2021 admissions here, and choose a program from the list below.

Founder and CEO at China Admissions. Originally from UK🇬🇧, based in Beijing. Studied at Peking University & BLCU. Preparing for HSK 6. Hope we can help more talented international students have the same amazing experiences and opportunities that I have had
Richard Coward

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