The University of Nicosia: Study Abroad in Cyprus’ Largest City

October 1, 2022

The University of Nicosia (UNIC) offers excellent programs for students interested in studying abroad in the capital of Cyprus, the country’s largest city. Whitney Retzer, Director of Enrolment Services at UNIC Health including the Medical School, School of Veterinary Medicine and Medical Centrel, spoke with The National Herald about the programs and courses available at the largest university in Southern Europe with all Medical School and School of Veterinary Medicine courses taught in English.

TNH: What makes University of Nicosia the best choice for students interested in studying abroad?

Whitney Retzer: Here at the University of Nicosia (UNIC) we have more than 14,000 students coming together in an innovative and transformative learning space. In 2022, UNIC has recently been ranked by Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings (WUR) within the top 250 institutions in Europe and among the top 3% of universities in the world.

UNIC is the largest university in Southern Europe with all Medical School and School of Veterinary Medicine courses taught in English, notably ranked 47th globally in International Outlook, by THE WUR. In 2021, UNIC was ranked number 32 in the world in the core area of Quality Education by the THE Impact Rankings.

Students and parents are comforted by the overall safety of living in Cyprus which, in 2017, was ranked as the safest country in the world for people aged 15 to 29 by the World Health Organization.

Whitney Retzer, Director of Enrolment Services at UNIC Health.

TNH: What programs and courses are available and most popular with students?

WR: Our undergraduate medical programs are very popular. Graduates can qualify as doctors after five years of study for the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree or after six years of study for the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree. This is a significantly shorter amount of time and money spent in tuition fees and cost of living compared to the North American pathway of first completing an undergraduate degree in sciences and then applying for entry into medicine or veterinary medicine studies, thus spending another four years before training or practice, after graduation.

The six-year Doctor of Medicine (MD) program for high school graduates is highly competitive, with a USA clinical placement option for the last two years of study. It is officially listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools and is an EU-accredited medical degree, which provides licensing and practice pathways worldwide following graduation. Students are supported through a specialized United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) team and by our Careers & Alumni team which tailors support through individual meetings and pathways to practice. Our 99.9% graduate placement rate in over 300 medical centers internationally is a testament of the success of our students and the support of our teams.

UNIC Medical School Blocks A-B.

The five-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) is similarly attractive for high school graduates. It is an EU accredited veterinary degree allowing veterinary practice pathways worldwide. This program provides early exposure to animal care during the first year of studies with training in our advanced Anatomy and Clinical Skills Laboratories, as well as at antibiotic-free farms and quantitative genetics training for farm animals. The curriculum has been aligned with Day One Skills and Competences as required by the AVMA, EAEVE, RCVS, and World Organization for Animal Health to ensure students have global practice opportunities.

The Graduate Entry Doctor of Medicine (GEMD) has been designed for those holding university degrees in any field. This program has been accredited against the World Federation for Medical Education standards and like the MD program, it offers a USA clinical placement option for the last two years of study. With six projects running throughout the first years of study, students have greater opportunities for critical inquiry and research prior to their clinical years.

All of our programs are student-centered. All students are provided with personal tutor(s) from Year 1 for one-on-one meetings and support and in addition our Career Advisors facilitate the student journey from student to becoming a doctor.

TNH: What is the best or most surprising lesson students learn from studying abroad in Nicosia?

WR: At UNIC Health we have a student population from over 80 countries. This diversity provides students with a rich opportunity for growth, networking, and exposure that will carry them into their professional careers. Students are often surprised by the depth that comes from peer-to-peer learning, and from a Medical School perspective this intercultural communication is critical in working and diagnosing patients, considering cultural or religious beliefs, and also from a leadership perspective in understanding the various approaches to national healthcare systems.

As our top international outlook (#47 WUR) ranking demonstrates, we value our international partnerships with leading institutions to provide students with opportunities to gain international research and clinical experience. Our current clinical training agreements are with clinical sites in Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Switzerland, UK, and the USA.

TNH: The University of Nicosia started the first School of Veterinary Medicine in Cyprus. What are the advantages of the program for students coming from abroad?

WR: This is an exciting new School of Veterinary Medicine launched by global faculty with diverse expertise in small and large animal medicine. Our Program Director for the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Professor Michael Herrtage has more than 30 years of experience at the University of Cambridge including a period as Dean of the Cambridge Veterinary School.

In comparison to many other vet schools, our School embraces the One Health concept, recognizing that the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment. Thus, we aim to address significant challenges such as climate change and the threats posed by pathogens on animals and humans. Students will access innovative facilities as part of our teaching infrastructures, including antibiotic-free, organic farms.

Graduates will be well-prepared for practice following the required intramural and extramural of skills that are developed during their studies in the DVM.

TNH: What can students look forward to in the program?

WR: There is so much to look forward to for students’ professional and personal development.

Our high-quality medical education is offered within state-of-the-art facilities. As a result of the synergies between the School of Veterinary Medicine, the Medical School and other health-related departments of the University of Nicosia, students are provided a well-rounded medical education to meet the collective health and safety needs of the modern world through inter-professional learning opportunities. The goal is to bring together students from various health fields to improve patient health outcomes.

Furthermore, students have an enriching personal life whether exploring the island’s golden beaches, hiking in the green forests, or joining a School club or society like the Field Emergency Wilderness Medicine Society or the Hellenic Friends Club. There is something to offer to every preference and our Student Services host many events throughout the year to provide a variety of student engagement opportunities within the local community.

By living in Nicosia (the capital of Cyprus and the country’s largest city), students discover the blend of lifestyles, culture, and history. The Financial Times recently ranked Nicosia as the #1 city with a population under 500,000 in Europe for lifestyle and education.

TNH: What is the application procedure? When is the deadline to apply?

WR: Admissions are rolling, so we accept applications throughout the year. It’s best to start preparing early for your new journey from student to doctor.

Students can begin the process of applications by completing an enquiry on the program’s page they’re seeking entry for:

For the six-year Doctor of Medicine (MD) program for high school leavers apply here: https://bit.ly/3dDPsGI.

For the five-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program for high school leavers apply here: https://bit.ly/3SfIJSA.

For the Graduate Entry Doctor of Medicine (GEMD) program for those holding university degrees in any field apply here: https://bit.ly/3R8bRJO.

Following the start of an application, an Admissions Adviser will reach out to discuss and review the applicant’s academic qualifications.

If the applicant meets Admissions requirements, they will be invited for an online interview.

Following the interview, the applicant will be informed of the Admissions Panel’s decision for an unconditional or conditional offer, or rejection.

Students with an offer will be contacted by our Migration services to arrange student visas, if they do not hold an EU passport.

Arrival and orientation at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus!

For more information about our Medical School visit our website: https://www.med.unic.ac.cy/ and for more information about our School of Veterinary Medicine visit our website here or send Admissions an email: [email protected].


University of Nicosia Testimonials


Rita Bad.

Rita Badr, Class of 2023, Canada

“Studying in a multicultural environment helps build an international network with mentors and peers and provides students an opportunity to bring their experiences and knowledge from different cultures. We learn to remove cultural barriers and stereotypes when dealing with each other and with patients. The diversity and cultural insight are the core of what makes this learning environment so exceptional.”

Dr. Alexandros Lykos.

Dr. Alexandros Lykos, Class of 2022, USA & Greece, Internal Medicine Residency, Flushing Hospital Medical Center, New York, USA.

“Cyprus has given me the opportunity to develop myself further. It provided me with a safe environment in which I was able to be consistent with both my studies and athletic training, a major part of my personality and growth. It has provided balance for my social needs through University activities, clubs, and society despite the extensive study and training hours required as a medical student. Throughout my studies, there have been many faculty and administrators that have assisted me in achieving my initial career aspirations – I was very excited to learn that I was able to secure a residency position as a categorical Internal Medicine resident in Flushing Hospital Medical Center, New York! The USMLE team and Careers & Alumni team have been invaluable in providing ongoing advice and a community of support to build my future with my medical education as well the solid foundation.”

Dr. Alaa Diab.

Dr. Alaa Diab, Class of 2020, Lebanon & Syria, Internal Medicine Residency, Baltimore Medical Center, Maryland, USA.

“Choosing where to go for medical school can greatly impact your career aspirations and path in medicine. I’m glad that I chose the University of Nicosia (UNIC) Medical School, which opened the door to unlimited career opportunities throughout the UK and U.S. I had the chance to volunteer with the Mobile Clinic for community outreach, learn about the latest ultrasound technologies through workshops delivered by the Medical School, participate in the European Public Health Week, train in the U.S., and so much more! The academic and personal support I received was limitless. Whenever I showed enthusiasm, the administration worked to facilitate achieving my aspirations. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Careers Office of the University of Nicosia Medical School worked hand-in-hand with me towards getting my ECFMG certification, allowing me to sit my OET exam at the University, and successfully matching in the U.S. in Internal Medicine. At the same time, I secured an F1 position in the UK! In closing, I say that the resources and support at UNIC Medical School are limitless, but it all depends on you – How do YOU want to utilize them?”



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