Apr
25
2011

Medical School in Egypt

With all the recent news coverage about Egypt and their revolution it’s sometimes easy to forget that there are people just like you over there still managing to live their day-to-day life, which is exactly why I was so excited to find @RaghdaElkattan on Twitter. Raghda is a 21 year old medical student from Maadi, Cairo and she is in her 5th year of medical study. As I’ve said in the past I am incredibly impressed with the English & writing abilities of the med students and doctors who have helped me with this series, and Raghda is definitely no exception. Now, a quick peek into the Egyptian Medical Education system.

Campus of Kasr Al-Ainy Medical School in Garden City, Cairo. Photo Courtesy of Facebook.

Getting In:

How old is one when they begin medical school?
Students join the medical school or “The Faculty of Medicine” -as we call it in Egypt- right after they are done with high school. The average age for a first year student is 17-18 years.
What exams does one have to take to get in?
The selection process totally depends on the scores of final exams in high school. Since joining the faculty of medicine is highly desired in Egyptian culture, those who get accepted are the top students around the state. Acceptance depends on final exams scores, SATs or International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) system. The exam subjects include physical sciences (like chemistry and physics), biology, mathematics and languages.

Being In:

How long is it?
Six years
How are the years broken down?
Three years of basic science and three years of clinical training. In the first 2 years we study Physiology, Histology, Anatomy and Biochemistry. The third year subjects are Pathology, Microbiology, Pharmacology and Parasitology. In the last 3 years we start the clinical section and do rounds in Ophthalmology, ENT, Forensic medicine, Public health, Pediatrics, Gynaecology, General Surgery and Internal Medicine.
Describe your typical day.
In the first 3 years it’s all about lectures, practical classes and exams. In the last 3 years we do rounds in the hospital departments and have theoretical lectures and evaluation end round exams.
If you choose a specialty when do you have to decide by?
Students pick their specialty and apply for residency following their intern year, which would be the 7th year of study. 
What are you called at this stage of training?
Medical Student

Getting Out:

What exams do you have to take?
We have to pass the end year exams every year until the sixth year, then we start an internship year in the college hospital doing clinical rotations in its departments for 2 months each and finally we graduate at the end of that year with a bachelor degree in medicine. We are officially called doctors, GPs “general practitioners,” following this graduation.
Do most people graduate?
I think yes. If you happen to fail something you have to do repeats during Summer vacation or else you will have to spend another year to go through the exam again, but eventually most of students do graduate.
Do you have additional training or do you start working immediately?

The internship year is supposed to help us pick our specialty based on the clinical experiences we have. After this year we apply for a 5 year residency program in the specialty we are interested in – acceptance is dependent on grades during which we are supposed to be studying for the master’s degree in that specialty and on competitiveness of the specialty. I have no Idea about the weekly working hours, but I believe it’s around 14 hours a day besides the night shifts. 
What’s the average debt for attendance?

Medical schools in Egypt belong to the public national education. This means that getting into school depends only on your high school scores and the fees are considered nothing compared to the private medical schools, which are not any better than the national schools. So, there is basically no debt for attending school. I’m not sure about the fees for residency programs, but I don’t think they cost a lot.
What are you called at this stage of training?
Resident Physician

Being Out:

What’s the average salary?
Lots of changes are being carried out following the revolution that took place in Egypt on January 25th of this year. A comprehensive reform in physician salaries is being discussed. There is a suggestion introduced to the government to increase the doctors monthly salaries as follows:

  • Residents: 3000 EG.P ($500 USD) – Currently they make about 1500 EG.P
  • Specialists: 4000 EG.P ($670 USD) – Includes all who have masters degree
  • PhD Holders: 6000 EG.P ($1000 USD) 

This is not yet confirmed, but is probable. Doctors are not highly paid In Egypt, but compared to other governmental jobs they are considered in a high salary rank and they can also have their own private clinics.
Is the job security good?
I don’t think most doctors struggle to find a job, but lots of doctors prefer to find a job out side the country at the beginning since the salary rates are great.
Can you go back and choose a different speciality?
I think you can, but you would have to go through the residency application system again and do another residency if whatever you were switching to.
Other post graduation options: Some doctors prefer to apply for the USMLE exams after they have completed school and then follow the American System. Others apply for Membership of the Royal College and follow the UK System. 

Past Medical Education Monday Posts:

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

10 Comments + Add Comment

  • This is such an interesting feature!! Love it!

  • Wonderful absorbing Thanks!

  • This has been very helpful. Thank u for your effort. I am currently starting first year of medical school here in Egypt and I was wondering if you might have some advice for me on how to study, organize a schedule and the books I should buy and study from. If you could answer me, I would really appreciate it. :)

    • Glad it was helpful, Yara! I don’t know much about the Egypt system, this post was written for me by Raghda. You can find her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/RaghdaElkattan/ if you want to ask her any questions, I’m sure she’d be happy to help you!

      As far as schedules and books and stuff that’s probably pretty dependent on your school’s schedule and what classes you’re in. Here’s a link to a post I wrote about finding your study style, maybe that will help some: http://mindonmed.com/2011/02/studying-in-med-school-find-your-study-style.html, but really I’m betting someone from your school that’s a year ahead of you would be the best to ask about books and stuff!!

      Good luck!

  • hi everybody I’m a medical student in egypt … in tanta university
    I’m 20 years old and still in 2nd year
    i’ve failed 2 years in a row … I wanna say that i didn’t fail because iam dumb
    i failed because the system of my college promotes the best memorizer to be number one
    let me put it this way…(copy and paste the exact same paper of the book in your final exam … memorize the subject overheart … it’s really not important if you don’t understand it).
    well this is how we learn medicine
    nobody attends lectrues because lecturers are so old, boring, ignorant and have no time for students….
    there is no such a thing called practical lessons unless you remove the word practical because we sit in theese lessons donig nothing listening to facts we can’t see or understand or even imagine…:D
    we find ourselves forced to take private courses outside the college which little bit expensive and very big waste of time ….
    final exams measure how well can write papers from the book and how many papers can you write in 3 hours(duration of the exam)

    finally i don’t believe this how you study to be a doctor….when i first got into the faculty of medicine i was full of hope and motivation but now iam very disappointed and disperate …

    • That what I’m afraid of,actually. But do you think that Cairo University would be better?. I’m on the verge of entering university and I’m planning to enter Medicine in Cairo University.

  • hi..i’m a filipina nurse and now im leaving here in egypt with my husband egyptian,and he want me to study as a doctor but i dont have any idea how i will start,can you give me an idea about it? thank you and God bless you

  • I am a peruvian medical doctor graduated in peru i would like to know what can i do to become a resident in egypt

  • iam 14 years old i hope to be a doctor in the future i know that is very difficult i think that iam not qualified for this but i will do everything to be a doctor

  • This article was really beneficial to me. Thanks bro for answering such intriguing questions.

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About The Author

I’m a Medical Student (that means I'm in school to become a doctor). My life story can be viewed here. I started this blog in hopes of landing a role in a Lifetime movie so I could quit school and move to Hollywood, so if you wouldn't take medical advice from Angelina Jolie, you shouldn't take it from me. I may not even be a real person. In fact I'm probably a spambot. Or a 15 yo boy blogging from a dingy basement. If you're really interested you can read more about me here. If you have any questions or want to guest post contact me.

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