Applying in Medical SchoolMedicine Education

Lateral Entry into Medical Studies: A Detour to The Goal

It is no secret that it is incredibly difficult to get a place at medical school. For this reason, as an applicant you should broaden your horizons a little. In addition to studying medicine, there are countless subjects in healthcare with unrestricted admission. There you can usually start a medical-related course of study without a waiting period and without an additional university selection process. A lateral entry into a higher semester of medicine is still possible. We will explain to you how lateral entry works and what you should keep in mind.

Lateral entry from a related field of study

Anyone studying a medical-related subject can apply for a lateral entry into a higher semester in the field of medicine. This means that as a career changer you have the opportunity to get a place at medical school even without a good high school grade.

In recent years, the option of lateral entry has become increasingly popular. Unfortunately, this also reduces the applicants’ chances of getting a place at medical school using this method.

Whether lateral entry into a higher semester in the field of medicine is possible or not varies depending on the university/college. In general, however, the following applies: A student from a medical-related course of study needs two “large” and two “small” certificates in order to have one semester credited. In exceptional cases, the student can also present four “large” notes, as one “large” note replaces two “small” notes.

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Which subjects are counted as “large” bills?

These subjects are credited to students as “big” credits:

  • Chemistry internship for medical professionals
  • Internship in biology for medical professionals
  • Physiology internship
  • Internship in biochemistry (molecular biology)
  • Physics internship for medical professionals
  • Course in macroscopic anatomy
  • Course in microscopic anatomy (histology)
  • Course in Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology

Which subjects are counted as “small” certificates?

These subjects are credited to students as “small” credits:

  • Clinically relevant seminars lasting at least 56 hours,
  • Seminar Physiology
  • Anatomy seminar
  • Seminar Biochemistry
  • Seminar of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology
  • Internship for an introduction to clinical medicine (with patient introduction)
  • Internship in career field exploration
  • Practical course in medical terminology

Which subjects can enable lateral entry?

  • Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry
  • pharmacy
  • Dentistry

Lateral entry from abroad

Anyone who has decided to start studying medicine abroad after graduating from high school has the opportunity to come back to the America as a career changer and finish their studies here. In order to be enrolled at an American university/college, the student must present a certificate of recognition.

In order for your study achievements from abroad to be credited to your medicine degree program, you must contact the state examination office in the federal state in which you were born. There is an exception for applicants from Brandenburg, Bremen or abroad. The North Rhine-Westphalia State Examination Office is responsible here. To get the most up-to-date information on this topic, it is best to visit the Institute for Medical and Pharmaceutical Examinations website.

The state examination office determines whether the study achievements achieved abroad are equivalent to those in the USA. In principle, within the USA, recognition of academic achievements completed abroad is already automatic. However, in some cases the study structure may differ. Does a specific course at an American university/college take e.g., two semesters, but the same course abroad only lasts three months, then the student may have to take this course again in the USA.

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For this reason, the state examination office must have as detailed information as possible about the scope and content of the courses taken abroad. The documents will then be forwarded to the specialist representative at the relevant university/college. He/She then decides whether the services provided abroad correspond completely or partially with the services expected in the USA.

If you want to change from a foreign to a American university/college, it is best to do this before taking the physics exam. Due to the high number of applicants, there may otherwise be long waiting times. Most of the time, the number of available study places is much lower than the number of applicants.

General tips

  • It is advisable to find out in advance from the responsible state examination office about the current requirements for lateral entry.
  • Applying for a place at university can also help with lateral entry.
  • Apply to as many universities/colleges as possible. Please note the different deadlines and documents.
  • The application for a lateral entry is not made via the American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS®), but always directly with the university/college in question.
  • In order to be able to apply for a credit transfer, you need a certificate of equivalence. This is issued by the dean of studies at the university/college where you have previously studied. If the equivalence certificate has been successfully issued, you must send this certificate to the state examination office with the application for a credit recognition notice. A certificate of equivalence issued by the specialist representative is not legally binding.
  • The accreditation notice is issued by the responsible state examination office. The processing is subject to a fee. Only the accreditation notice issued by the state examination office is legally binding.
  • The accreditation notice can also be submitted after the application deadline has expired.

A successful lateral entry requires a lot of initiative and effort from the students. We wish you all the best with your career change and hope that our article was able to answer all your questions on this topic.