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Guide to Medicine and Surgery
at Bologna University

Are you a non-Italian student dreaming of studying Medicine and Surgery in Bologna? Find out if the University of Bologna is the right choice for you.

The University of Bologna, also known as Alma Mater Studiorum or UniBo, is a public Italian university. Many consider it the oldest university in the world, as it was founded in 1088.

Over these nine centuries, it has had numerous illustrious alumni, including the poet Petrarch, the astronomer and mathematician Copernicus, the writer and director Pier Paolo Pasolini, and prestigious professors such as Nobel Prize winners Giosuè Carducci and Umberto Eco, the poet and professor of Greek and Latin grammar and Italian literature Giovanni Pascoli.

Here’s an essential guide about Medicine and Surgery in Bologna, including how to apply, costs, study opportunities, and useful information for living in this lovely town.

Tables of contents

General information about University of Bologna

UniBo has more than 3,000 professors for around 97,000 students, over 8,000 of whom are international.

The university offers 260 study programs, including Medicine and Surgery.

Teaching and extracurricular activities take place in multiple locations: Bologna, Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna, and Rimini.

The university system includes 98 libraries and facilities that provide bibliographic and documentary services to support study, teaching activities, research, professional, and cultural activities.


Every year, several rankings are published to measure the quality of universities. Here’s where the University of Bologna stands in the most important international and national rankings:

  • QS – Rankings by Subject. This global ranking analyses 55 subjects. The University of Bologna ranks in the top 100 worldwide in 28 disciplines, 87th for Medicine, and ranks first in Italy in 18 subjects;
  • THE WUR – World University Rankings. The University of Bologna is 155th in the world and 1st in Italy;
  • QS – World University Rankings. The University of Bologna is among the top 200 universities, ranked 154th, 3rd in Italy but 1st for the academic reputation indicator, 73rd in the world;
  • QS – World University Rankings Europe. The University of Bologna is in the top 12%, ranked 78th in Europe and 3rd in Italy;
  • Censis. In the Italian Censis ranking, the University of Bologna is ranked 1st among the large Italian universities.

The degree in Medicine and Surgery Bologna

The degree in Medicine and Surgery in Bologna is a single-cycle master’s degree course. It is multidisciplinary and uses a mix of innovative and traditional teaching methods. The focus is on medical humanities and patient-centred care, aiming to understand health and disease in the context of the individual, family, and society.

The course is taught in English, a crucial language for participating in international exchanges and expanding post-graduation opportunities. The program employs a practical, problem-solving approach, involving the presentation and resolution of problems with integrated clinical internships starting from the first year.

The degree program offers the following types of clinical internships:

  • Curricular clinical clerkships. These are integrated into the program and mandatory for all students. The curricular internship includes various activities scheduled throughout the entire program;
  • TPV evaluation clerkship (TPV). This is the qualifying clinical clerkship regulated by Ministerial Decree 81/2008. It is mandatory, and students must pass all the activities scheduled in the first four years and pay a special tax for professional licensing to access it;
  • Thesis preparation project. This starts in the 5th year. Students can apply for a thesis preparation project if they plan to attend the hospital ward where they will carry out their thesis preparation in addition to their curricular clinical clerkships. The thesis preparation project can last up to 12 months and must be agreed upon with the thesis supervisor.

University classrooms and facilities

Lectures and labs of the faculty of Medicine and Surgery take place in the following locations:

  • “Pasquale Montagna” Hall, via Ugo Foscolo 7;
  • “Murri” Hall, Polo Murri, 1st floor, via Massarenti 9, Bologna (nearest entrance: viale Ercolani 4), within Sant’Orsola Hospital.

Enroled students have access to all libraries and study rooms.

The location of the Clinical clerkships is Sant’Orsola Hospital. However, there is the chance to choose clerkships at Ospedale MaggioreOspedale Bellaria and Orthopaedics Rizzoli Institute.

Available places

The places are limited. The number is decided each year by the Ministry of Education in agreement with the Regions and the National Health Service.

In 2023, the available places were:

  • 97 places for Italian, EU, and equivalent non EU citizens;
  • 20 places for non EU citizens residing abroad.

Course Programme

The duration of the degree program is 6 years and allows students to earn 360 ECTS credits. Of these, 64 are dedicated to clinical internships.

Attendance at learning activities is mandatory and the minimum attendance requirement to be admitted to the final exam is 60% of lessons. Students who fail to meet the minimum attendance requirement will not be admitted to the final exam of the course and will have to attend the relevant classes again during the next academic year.

Professors may authorise excused absences upon receipt of proper justifying documentation in case of illness or serious reasons. Excused absences do not count against a student’s attendance record in determining their minimum attendance requirement.

This is the degree programme:

  1. during Year 1, students are introduced to the basic concepts of the medical profession; basic knowledge of biochemistry, physics, tissue and molecular organization of organs; and a basic life support clinical clerkship to begin their approach to clinical training;
  2. Year 2 focuses on the morphology and normal functioning of organs; anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry are taught as integrated disciplines, progressing towards semiotics and the development of basic clinical skills;
  3. from Year 3 to Year 5, teaching focuses on clinical skills through the attendance of formal lessons, seminars, and clinical clerkships which integrate diagnosis, clinical and surgical skills, pathological anatomy, and pharmacology;
  4. Year 6 focuses on clinical reasoning based on previously acquired knowledge and the scientific method; this is applied also in emergency situations. Finally, the elaboration of a thesis represents an important educational opportunity for students to demonstrate their critical thinking skills and their ability to apply the scientific method.

The first semester starts at the end of November and ends in mid-February. The second semester runs from mid-March to early June.

The exam sessions are in February (1st session), late March (extra session), June-July (2nd session), and September (3rd session).

Here is the list of first-year exams for the Medicine and Surgery degree in Bologna, which may change depending on the academic year of enrolment:

Cellular Molecular Biology and Genetics (I.C.)

  • Cellular Biology and Genetics – 7 CFU
  • Cellular Biology and Genetics Laboratory – 1 CFU
  • Molecular Biology – 2 CFU

Chemistry and Biochemistry (I.C.)

  • Biochemistry Laboratory – 1 CFU
  • Chemistry – 4 CFU
  • General Biochemistry – 4 CFU

Humanities and Scientific Methods (I.C.)

  • Determinants of Health and Disease – 2 CFU
  • Ethics and Behavioural Sciences – 2 CFU
  • History of Medicine – 1 CFU
  • Medical Statistics and Epidemiology – 2 CFU
  • Scientific Research Methodology – 1 CFU

Clinical Clerkship – Basic Life Support – 1 CFU

Medical Physics – 4 CFU

Morphology and Development (I.C.)

  • Embryology – 2 CFU
  • Histology – 4 CFU
  • Histology Laboratory – 1 CFU

Stem Cell Biology – 1 CFU

Signaling Pathways in Health and Disease (I.C.)

Cell Signaling – 4 CFU

Metabolic Biochemistry – 6 CFU

Physiology – 4 CFU

Elective learning activities


What do you need to get into Bologna Medical and Surgery? The admission requirements for the Medicine degree in English at Bologna are:

  • to hold a secondary school diploma, meaning a five-year secondary school program or an equivalent qualification;
  • students must also meet the knowledge and skill requirements defined annually by the decree of the Italian Ministry of Education.

Student knowledge and skills are assessed upon admission to the degree program after passing an admission test called IMAT.

Students admitted with an insufficient assessment are given Additional Learning Requirements, ALR. ALRs are subject to ad hoc assessment and are about “Basic knowledge of chemistry and biochemistry, cellular molecular biology and genetics, medical physics.”

Regarding the assessment of language knowledge and skills, English language knowledge and skills at the required level are assessed during the admission test. English language qualifications are not a mandatory requirement. However, candidates who hold one can use it in case of a tie in their IMAT score.

On the other hand, a B1 level or higher of Italian language knowledge and skills is a mandatory requirement to access the clinical clerkships of the degree program. Italian language qualifications are not required prior to or upon enrolment. Students may choose to attend language courses during Year 1.

For the exact procedure to register for the IMAT test, read the call for admissions published on the university’s website.

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IMAT test Bologna

The IMAT test is the entrance exam for studying medicine in English in Italy. The test consists of 60 multiple-choice questions with 5 answer options, only one of which is correct. The duration of the IMAT test is 100 minutes.

The IMAT test questions are divided as follows:

  • 4 questions on reading skills and general knowledge
  • 5 questions on logical reasoning and problem-solving
  • 23 questions on biology
  • 15 questions on chemistry
  • 13 questions on physics and mathematics

The IMAT scoring is calculated as follows:

  • +1.5 points for each correct answer
  • -0.4 points for each incorrect answer
  • 0 points for each omitted answer

The maximum score is 90 points. The minimum score to be eligible for ranking is 20 points for EU and equivalent non EU candidates. Non EU candidates must achieve a score greater than 0.

EU and equivalent non EU candidates are included in the national ranking. Non EU candidates are included in the local university rankings.

The official merit ranking list is published about 3 weeks after the test.

For complete information about the test, go to the section dedicated to IMAT FAQs.

Tuition fee amounts

Is the University of Bologna free? The University of Bologna is a public university but it is not free. There are costs to be covered for enrolment, but there are also benefits for specific categories of students, including international students.

Tuition fees are calculated based on the ISEE value. First-year students with an ISEE value (your family’s economic situation) up to a certain threshold benefit from full exemption.

If you are an international student, check how your tuition fees will be calculated based on your country of origin and the country where your family has income and assets.

In 2024, the minimum fee to be paid to enrol in a degree program is €157.04, while the maximum fee varies depending on the program.

The fee consists of:

  • a fixed amount of €157.04 that you have to pay even if you are fully exempt;
  • a variable amount calculated according to ISEE.

If you are a citizen of particularly poor or developing countries or non-OECD countries and your family has income and/or assets only outside of Italy, you are entitled to a reduced fixed fee.

Specific financial aid is available for international students:

  • International Talents @Unibo, scholarships for deserving international students enroling in first, second cycle, or single cycle degree programs;
  • reduced fixed fee for citizens of particularly poor and developing countries or non EU and non-OECD countries;
  • Unibo for Refugees, benefits for asylum seekers and refugees;
  • 100 scholarships for refugees from the Italian Ministry of the Interior – CRUI. Those who have been granted international protection can participate in the competition;
  • Italian Government (MAECI) scholarships for international students and Italian students residing abroad.

For more information, visit the section dedicated to costs on the University of Bologna’s website.

Services for international students

International students attending the University of Bologna can benefit from several opportunities.

First of all, they can count on financial support at every stage of their studies.

Furthermore, the Medicine degree program in English offers its students the opportunity to participate in an experience abroad through internships in international organizations and by participating in exchange programs. These initiatives are very interesting because they allow students to get to know international realities and increase their opportunities in the job market.

Study grants for international learning experiences abroad are available if you are a UniBo student currently enroled in one of the Degree Programs that refer to the School of Medicine, Bologna or Imola campuses.

You can spend a period abroad of min. 30 days and max. 6 months. The study grant is a partial contribution to your expenses abroad.

Finally, “Overseas” allows you to spend time studying at a university outside Europe that is part of the Program.

Discover all the benefits reserved for you on the University’s website.

How to contact the university

For information on enrolment, changes and transfers, degree certificates, and diploma supplements, you should contact the Student Administration Office. This office is located at Via Massarenti, 9 in Bologna, but it is accessible only by appointment for document submission.

You can contact the office in several ways:

  • by booking an appointment on the Virtual Help Desk. Direct access is available on Monday from 9am to 12pm and Friday from 9am to 12pm or by appointment on Tuesday from 2pm to 3:30pm and Thursday from 2pm to 3:30pm;
  • if you want to write to this office, use the e-mail

For general information on how to enrol for international students, immigration procedures, Unibo Action 2 and International Talents @Unibo study grants, guidance on arrival in Italy, and on the services available at the Bologna Campus, Unibo for Refugees project, contact the International Desk. This office is located at Via Marsala 49/A in Bologna.

To contact the office:

  • direct access is available only on Tuesdays from 2:30pm to 4pm;
  • the e-mail is;
  • the phone number is +39 051 20825. You can call only on Friday from 10am to 11am;
  • you can also access through the Virtual Help Desk on Monday and Wednesday from 10am to 12pm, and Thursday from 2:30pm to 4pm.

Additionally, there is the International Student Administration Office for submitting documents and completion of matriculation to degree programs in Bologna for students with foreign qualifications. This office is also located at Via Marsala 49/A in Bologna.

The office can be contacted:

  • through the Virtual Help Desk, with direct access on Monday from 9am to 11am and Friday from 9am to 11am;
  • you can write to;
  • the office is open by appointment only for document submission on Tuesday from 2pm to 4pm, Wednesday from 9:30am to 12:30pm, Thursday from 9:30am to 12:30pm.

To connect to the Virtual Help Desk read these instructions.

What is student life like for international students

Bologna is a very liveable city. It is small but equipped with all the necessary services, including the airport.

You can get around on foot. University rooms are spread throughout the city, making Bologna a kind of open-air university campus.

The easiest way to get around the city is by public transport. Unibo students can purchase annual public transport passes for Bologna, Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna, and Rimini at subsidized prices.

Another very convenient means of transportation is the bicycle. Bologna has a bike lane of about 8 km that circles the whole city.

The city is very lively. Numerous cultural and musical events are organized, and there are many attractions to visit.

Living in Bologna is not very expensive except for the cost of housing. However, students have various opportunities to find part-time jobs.

Silvio Pelegrin:

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