UNIL and EPFL offer students a gateway to a medical degree

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The University of Lausanne (UNIL) introduced a gateway program that gives EPFL students in Life Sciences and Technology as well as university students in biology the opportunity to earn a Master’s degree in medicine. With this initiative, EPFL aims to prepare graduates for the digital and technology-driven healthcare of the future.

«EPFL hopes that this initiative will quintuple the number of its students enrolled in medical-degree programs that train them for tomorrow’s digital, personalized and technology-driven healthcare.»

UNIL and EPFL have coordinated their efforts to create a one-year gateway program for students with a Bachelor’s degree in biology or bioengineering to join the Master’s in medicine program at UNIL. This initiative comes in response to the new healthcare challenges arising from rapid advancements in technology and biology as well as to the Swiss government’s 2017–2020 program to increase the number of medical graduates in the country.

EPFL hopes that this initiative will quintuple the number of its students enrolled in medical-degree programs that train them for tomorrow’s digital, personalized and technology-driven healthcare.

A highly selective program

The gateway program is highly selective and not a shortcut to a medical degree. Students must invest a great deal of time and energy to take the prerequisite courses, acquire the knowledge needed for medical studies and stay committed for the full length of the program.

Students who enter the gateway program, which is run by UNIL’s School of Biology and Medicine (FBM), follow many of the courses regularly taken by students in the third-year of their Bachelor’s in medicine, as well as specific courses to get them up to speed in preclinical matters and clinical methods. Then they take the same final exams as third-year Bachelor’s students; if they pass, they can enter UNIL’s Master’s program in medicine.

Once in the Master’s program, the gateway students are able to keep their close ties with engineering and biology – they can do their Master’s project at an EPFL lab or at a fundamental sciences lab at UNIL.

Looking ahead

After completing their university courses and obtaining a Swiss federal diploma in medicine, these freshly minted doctors are fully qualified medical professionals. The gateway program is designed to produce a new generation of doctors trained in the latest advancements in biomedicine so they can respond to future challenges in areas such as personalized medicine, epidemiological big-data analysis and the many new developments in biotechnology.

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