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Everything you need to know about The University of Medical Sciences of Havana / Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de La Habana.

A complete guide to study prospects, registration and admission process, and life in the university!

About the Institution

Acronym: ISCM-H

The University Of Medical Sciences Of Havana, is a non-profit public higher education institution located in the city of Havana and is officially recognized by the Ministerio de Educación Superior, Cuba (Ministry of Higher Education, Cuba). Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de La Habana (ISCM-H) provides many academic and non-academic facilities and services to students. Today, there are many local and international students studying in the University because of the education quality and available scholarships.

The University Of Medical Sciences Of Havana, has an experience of more than 285 years of medical training. More than 100,000 doctors have been trained in the last 50 years, both from Cuba and from 80+ countries. The University has a teaching staff highly qualified and investigative assistance (more than 8000 teachers), and broad experience, both nationally and internationally.


It has 13 Faculties:

– 9 faculties of medicine and other careers of Medical Sciences

– 3 specialized faculties: Stomatology, Nursing and Health Technology.

– The preparatory school of Cojímar

Specialty programs

The specialty programs offered by ISCM-H are:

  • General Dentistry
  • Prosthetics
  • Periodontics
  • Orthodontics
  • Stomatology
  • Maxillofacial surgery
  • In ISCM-H, 12 careers are offered:
  • Medicine (6 Years)
  • Stomatology (5 Years)
  • in Nursing (5 Years)
  • in Psychology (5 Years)
  • in Health Technologies: 8 (5 Years)
  • Imaging
  • Optometry and Optics
  • Clinical Bio analysis
  • Integral rehabilitation
  • Nutrition and diet
  • Logo Phonoaudiology
  • Hygiene and Epidemiology
  • Health Information Systems.


The government of Cuba provides free education for MBBS students in all Cuba Universities. International students who win Cuba scholarship are provided free accommodation in universities in Cuba, free-of-cost education, monthly living expense stipend, airway tickets from their country to Cuban University city. However, other everyday costs must be borne by the students themselves.

Scholarships are offered through the Cuban Medical Services in every participating country and through non-governmental organizations, governments, political parties, and Cuba Friendship Societies, among others. They offer information on how to apply. Visit the Cuban Embassy in your country for more insights.

If you only wish to study at the University Of Medical Sciences Of Havana you should make it notice and indicate it in your mail or request.

If you want to request the possible admission of studies via self-finance then you should know that the entity that launches the call for self-financed studies in Cuba is Marketer of Cuban Medical Services s.a (CSMC). So, to request a place, you must write to docencia@smcsalud.cu or academia@smcsalud.cu. Once you have receive their call, you must complete their required information and documents and return it (with the resume in the cases of postgraduate applicants).

When you are benefited with a seat you will be informed initially by email. After that confirmation, you could be sent an official letter of admission from the University with the specific details of the award.

Criteria: Academic excellence and compliance with the conditions established in the call are basic to obtain a place.

To obtain a scholarship you should be:

– Between 18 and 25 years of age when you apply

– High school graduate or hold a bachelor’s (BS or BA) degree from your country of origin

– Without a criminal record and free from substance abuse or addiction

– From a low-income or under-served community


Registration requirements include:

  • Passport and mandatory references to verify the legality of all documents submitted by the applicant.
  • Photocopy of the degree of Pre-university, Baccalaureate, or the equivalent level legalized in the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba or in the country of origin or home.
  • Ten (10) photos of size 1×1 inches
  • Document certifying not having a criminal record, legalized in the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba or in the country of origin
  • Health Certificate (to be submitted in a period not exceeding three months before starting the studies) legalized in the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba or in the country of origin or residence, proving that the applicant he does not have any illness that invalidates him to study in our country, according to the list of conditions established in ANNEX 1.
  • Health insurance valid in Cuba.

FAQS about the Campus life

If you are already studying in Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de La Habana (ISCM-H) or just going to start, then you might have questions about how to study and survive in the university. Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about The University of Medical Sciences of Havana that most students want to know and we answer them for you.

  • Is Cuba safe?

Cuba is a much safer place as a destination than many of the countries on the way of development and developed countries. The crime rate is low compared to many countries. Good humor, solidarity and informal relationships are a way of life of the Cubans, who always provide hospitality to their visitors.

  • How many specialties can I choose?

You can choose only for a specialty that you consider is right for you and aligns with your interest.

  • When can I do an internship, enroll in a short course or training program?

Short courses, internships, trainings, electives can be held in any time and you can access them both; courses with specific dates as those internships as well as electives that are offered according to the convenience of the applicant on the dates you want, except on the date between 23 July and August 22 of each year, as well as December 23 and January 3, dates when there is a University break.

  • What are the chances of disease or infection outbreaks?

The incidence rate of AIDS and other infectious diseases are low. Sometimes there have been outbreaks of dengue but these they are quickly controlled by the health campaigns that are developed.

  • Is there any discrimination in Cuba of any kind?

There is no racial or religious discrimination. Patient relations with health personnel are very affectionate and sometimes informal.

  • Do I have to know Spanish to study in Cuba?

The official language of Cuba is Spanish as it is stated in the country's constitution.

As a general rule you must know Spanish. Mostly education is provided in Spanish Language. For non-Spanish speakers, it is required to have at least one B2 level (CEFR). The Spanish language preparatory begins in September of each year and its latest edition for those who intend to start long-term courses (to understand careers or specialties) is every December of that academic year.

  • When are applications for careers and specialties submitted?

Applications for careers and specialties are made on the date that the entity Cuban Medical Services decides, usually they are done in the first trimester of the year, the months of January-March to start in the month of September.

  • How to clear medical concepts? I feel like language is a barrier for me / I am not as fluent in Spanish and so my medical concepts are not clear.

If you want to clear medical concepts then stop cramming and save your time by taking help from secondary resources. You can find many free sources. If you are willing to hunt the web for hours then you can find something of your interest. Alternatively, you can look for some detailed and well-explained lectures like Dr. Najeeb's lectures. You can listen to them, and once your concepts are clear you will be whenever you want and you can ace your exam.

  • What is the room capacity in dorms?

8 people average, in bunk beds, with bathrooms out of the room.

  • How are the meals in the hostels like?

The meals are given in accordance with the menu that is offered in the student residences of the universities. Menu is based on traditional Cuban cuisine, following the Cuban norms of feeding today. The student have the option to consume it or not, but you will not receive any adaptation or alternatives.

  • Are vegetarian meals available?

The offer of vegetarian meals or any other type that responds to Religious beliefs and / or cultural factors is not available.

  • I am having trouble adjusting in the student residences? What are some other accommodation variants available to me?

You can opt for either hotels or houses of private tenants duly legalized, but keep in mind you will have to bear the charges by yourself, and also provide the documentation of finances to the authorities.

  • I am having trouble in understanding the lectures and keeping up with the content. What secondary resources are available for me to study medicine?

There are numerous resources that are available to you in case you don’t understand the lecture well. You can search your library or internet and find important secondary resources. However, so many students found it useful to watch video lectures online. There are some very short lectures available but look for some detailed and well-explained lectures like Dr. Najeeb's lectures. They have video lectures covering almost all the main topics of Basic Medical Sciences & Clinical Medicine. You can easily buy them and they will be your best friend and help you whenever you want.


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