Medical studies in Poland, part I: not only a doctor

Everyone who at least once considered the path of studying medicine or related fields probably wondered about a structure of medical studies and how they look like in reality. How long do they last, what does the choice of speciality look like, what does the practice look like? Since medical studies in Poland are getting more and more recognition, we decided to create a little handbook. Let’s go!

You don’t have to be a doctor after medical studies

The undisputed winners in the race for first places, among the most popular fields of education, for many years are medical majors. They owe their popularity to the reputation they bring with them. But at the very beginning, every student-to-be need to ask himself a question: is he gonna go full medic? Apart from classical medicine, where the student masters the knowledge of anatomy, genetics and ethics in the medical profession, medical faculties provide a wide range of related studies, such as dietetics, audiophonology, medical analytics, pharmacy and many more.

The participant of classes in medical faculties will learn how to plan and prepare dishes included in particular diets following the current classifications, use laboratory algorithms of diagnostic procedures in various clinical conditions, perform laboratory tests with the use of automated techniques and manual methods. Hospitals and medical centres are not only places of employment for graduates of medical faculties. You will also find work possibilities in clinics operating in the field of laboratory medicine or in rehabilitation centres, sanatoriums and wellness centres. But all of that depends upon decision, from which perspective you want to study medical studies.

Rocky beginnings

Medical faculties are perceived as elite, challenging, requiring a high school diploma and hard work during studies. You don’t have to rely necessarily on a doctor’s degree to find out that in most medical courses, biology and chemistry are absolutely essential. Without these skills – and great results after graduating from high school – you have nothing to compete for in dentistry, cosmetology, medical rescue and practically everything related to medicine.

Every year a dozen or so willing people compete for one place in medical studies. Recruitment struggles and gained indexes are only the beginning of systematic and tedious work, which students of medical faculties have to do. These are some of the most responsible and demanding fields of study. The study here lasts all year round and is mainly of a memorable character. A medical student has to master theory to go into practice.

Medical studies and subsequent professions are exceptional not only in terms of difficulty but also in terms of the character and personality traits that are essential to the pursuit of the job. Empathy and sensitivity to human suffering are the most crucial features of a physician. It doesn’t mean, however, that you have to cry in front of every patient who is ill. You have to get yourself together because you are the person responsible for reducing this suffering. Sure, a cosmetic procedure differs in its emotional involvement from a heart transplant, but empathy and a natural desire to help should be the foundation of the candidate’s medical faculties. Besides, there is also the responsibility that goes with this profession. Insufficient knowledge and mistakes in medical art can result in tragic consequences.

What do medical studies in Poland look like?

Studies in Poland are still the traditional and most desirable way to achieve higher education and the status of high-class specialists. Medical studies are always at the forefront of the most crowded faculties, and there are many candidates for one place. Only those who achieved the highest results in high school in biology or mathematics can apply for a seat at the university. Many universities organize internal medical exams, thanks to which they can even better select candidates for future doctors. Many medical universities offer their best students paid internships and internships in large medical institutions. This is one of the most exciting academic options for young doctors.

The popular opinion is that there is no time for life at all in medical studies, but it is only an excuse. There is no straight answer as to how to “should” learn in medicine. It all depends on who you are and what you want to achieve, as well as what style is most effective for you. Some people get up at 5 a.m. to learn, while others learn every day at standard times. Yes, you can go to medicine and have 6 years out of life. You can also finish these studies meeting hundreds of people, having a great time and only sometimes not getting enough sleep.

What development opportunities does a medical student have? Excellent time management allows participating in scientific circles, research projects, etc. A lot of people take part in scientific activities outside the classroom because it provides a lot. You can go on extra duty, where you can learn a lot more than in large groups of students. Students write their first scientific papers there, which they exhibit at student conferences organized at various medical universities. They are a kind of competition for the best scientific research in a given field of medicine. This is a great way to prepare for further scientific careers. You can also write articles and try to publish them, so you can start to accumulate our scientific achievements.

As far as the education of medical students is concerned, compared to other EU countries, the level of knowledge in Poland is comparable. In Western European countries, there are different teaching systems and conditions for studying. Each state has a distinct specificity and puts different emphasis on something. In Italy, for example, studying dentistry takes 6 years, while in Poland it takes 5 years. There are many such differences if we consider the subjects themselves, their division, etc.


The year of study at a non-stationary medical faculty is a considerable expense from about 32 thousand to over 40 thousand zlotys. Despite such high tuition fees, there is no shortage of applicants, because each year from a few to even a dozen candidates seek one index. That’s why you need to ask yourself a couple hard questions and find even harder answers. There is no shame in taking less engaging fields, such as cosmetology, emergency medical services, forensics, dentistry and much more. But if you got what it takes to be a fully educated practitioner and live-saving doctor… you need to read the second part of this handbook, entirely dedicated to the Doctor’s Degree!

This article is also available in: Russian Ukrainian

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