Universities in Rome and Philadelphia create first dual international medical degree

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and Thomas Jefferson University sign ground-breaking medical degree agreement 

Rome's Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia have created a pioneering international medical degree programme, hailed as the first of its kind in the world.

The agreement will give medical students at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore the chance to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from Jefferson University and Doctor of Medicine degrees from the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, all within six years.

Current medical education requirements differ vastly between the US and Europe. Medical students in the US must earn a four-year undergraduate degree and then a four-year medical degree in order to practice medicine in America. However medical students in Europe have no undergraduate degree requirement and can earn a degree, direct from high school, within six years.

Under the agreement, which was also signed by Rome's Policlino Gemelli Hospital where medical school rotations occur, students of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore will have the opportunity to travel to Thomas Jefferson University to meet the US undergraduate requirements needed to pursue a medical degree.

Dr Steven K. Klasko, president of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health, said that students selected for the programme "will experience two unique academic environments and will study, train and treat patients alongside their US medical peers – giving both groups a broad understanding and appreciation for very distinct healthcare ecosystems."

Dr Mark Tykocinski, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Jefferson and dean of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College, said the agreement would "allow European and US medical students to work side-by-side while expanding their physician-peer network across Europe.”

Thomas Jefferson University is already known to many Romans as the workplace of transplant surgeon and former Rome mayor Ignazio Marino.