What Is the Typical Process for Becoming a Doctor in China?

To become a doctor in China, a student must pass standardized national exams in high school, complete seven years of undergraduate medical studies, and go through an internship. Students undertake basic science, liberal arts and clinical science courses in the program. The program also requires mandatory hours of volunteer work.

Chinese medical students tend to be younger than their American counterparts because they enroll in medical courses right after high school. Standardized national exams administered in the final year of high school determine the students who are eligible to join medical school. Students who fail to qualify enter nursing schools by default. Students who get to medical school can choose between five-, seven- and eight-year programs. A few universities offer four-year programs similar to the U.S. medical school program.

Medical students spend the first two years of the typical seven-year program studying liberal arts and basic science courses. Medical schools compress clinical science courses into a two-year program that spans the third and fourth years of study. After that, students must undertake compulsory hours of volunteer work. The duration of the internship differs across different universities. However, students must complete an internship and a clerkship before they graduate in the seventh year.