🇩🇪 Stages to become a medical doctor and specialist in Germany

• Introduction

In this article, we explain the stages to become a medical doctor and specialist in Germany for foreign doctors.

• Steps

(1) Study the German language until at least B2 level

(2) Apply for medical school

• Non-EU doctors

In most cases, a high school certificate from non-EU countries is not sufficient to start medical studies directly. Therefore, there are two methods to compensate for that.

(A) The preparatory college (das Studienkolleg)

Do a preparatory college (🇩🇪 das Studienkolleg) in Germany for one year. The preparation for studying medicine in Germany takes place within the preparatory college. In order to be able to study medicine, you need the M-course qualification (a type of course within the preparatory college). The following subjects are taught in the M course:

Biology, German, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry

If you did not study these subjects (= have these qualifications), you cannot apply for medical faculties.

(B) Direct application

Firstly, begin studying medicine in another country of the world. After 1 or 2 years of studying medicine , you can directly apply to study medicine in Germany. But you require a C1 certificate (or C1 certificate for universities – Deutsch C1 Hochschule) and your university should be recognized in Germany (use Anabin website to check that).

💡 Getting a place to study medicine in Germany is highly competitive 🥹. Some Germans do a firstly a training as nurses or paramedics for three years 😱 to increase their chances of being accepted.

(3) Study medicine

The study lasts five years. But in Germany, they calculate it with semesters. Each year is divided in 2 semesters. There is an exam in the middle of it which is called the first state exam (M1 exam) and one at the end of it is called the second state exam (M2 exam). After the medical studies of five years, the graduates need to do an internship year for 1 year. After it, they need to do the M3 exam.

StageSemesterExam at the end of it
(🇩🇪 Vorklinik)

M1 exam (🇩🇪 1. Abschnitt der ärztlichen Prüfung – Physikum)
(🇩🇪 Klinik)

M2 exam (🇩🇪 2. Abschnitt der ärztlichen Prüfung – Hammerexamen)
Internship year
(🇩🇪 Praktisches Jahr)

M3 exam (🇩🇪 3. Abschnitt der ärztlichen Prüfung)
The state exams (🇩🇪 die M3-Examen) for medical students and graduates in Germany

(4) Do an internship year

In German, it is called 🇩🇪 “das Praktische Jahr (PJ)”. After this year, doctors need to do the third state exam (M3 exam). Without passing it, you are not allowed to work as a medical doctor because you do not have a medical license. Here is an article about the importance of internship year:

(5) Do a medical specialization

There are no exams to begin a medical specialty (🇩🇪 eine Facharztausbildung). There is only one exam at the End of the residency period (🇩🇪 die Facharztprüfung). So, if you do not want to study, no one would force you to do that. You should only learn how to work in the hospital. For thinking about the diagnosis and therapy, the specialists will tell you what to do. Your salary will nonetheless keep each year increasing until the 6th level of salaries for residents (you can read the salaries here).

The duration of residency varies according to the specialty. We wrote all specialties and their durations in the following article:

Want to learn more? Questions?
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Further readings:
• “Studying medicine in Germany”, German medical residency website, link.



  1. […] The duration of medical studies in Germany is 5 years. You need to finish the internship year too (1 year). Only after doing the exam after the internship year (called the M3 exam), you are a fully licensed doctor in Germany. So, in total, you need 6 years.Details about studying medicine in Germany are in this article: “🇩🇪 Stages to become a medical doctor and specialist in Germany“ […]

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