Sofia vs. Plovdiv Medical University: Differences

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Comparison between Sofia and Plovdiv Medical University

Comparison between Sofia and Plovdiv Medical University

Students who want to study Medicine, Dentistry or Pharmacy in English in Bulgaria often wonder which university to choose – Sofia Medical University or Plovdiv Medical University. In the following, we will compare both universities but also both cities, Sofia and Plovdiv, so that you have a better idea of what living and studying in both cities would be like. 

1. Traveling to Sofia or Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Both cities have an international airport (Sofia Airport and Plovdiv Airport). However, Sofia Airport is the biggest airport in Bulgaria so there are many flights and a lot of international airlines offer direct flights to Sofia. This makes the Bulgarian capital city very convenient for people who want to travel during their studies or fly back home very often.
Do not worry if there is no direct flight from your home town to Plovdiv. Plovdiv is located only one hour and a half away from Sofia, so many students fly to Sofia and then catch a bus, train or taxi to Plovdiv!
2. Traveling within Sofia or Plovdiv: Public transport
If you choose to live in Sofia, it is very likely you will have to use public transport. Of course, many students live walking distance to the university, but from time to time you would want to visit your friends, go to the shopping mall or simply travel to university or to the airport. There are bus, metro, trolley and tram lines in Sofia. One-way ticket is 1.60 BGN (around 0.80 EUR), whereas a student transportation card for a whole month for all public transport lines is around 12 EUR – public transport in Sofia is very cheap!  Of course, traveling by taxi is also an option, but Google Maps does provide a lot of information about public transport in Sofia, so do not worry.
In comparison, there are bus lines in Plovdiv, but most students in Plovdiv live walking distance to the university or buy a bike to go to lectures. This makes it suitable for people who prefer to live in a city where everything is located nearby.
We help our students find an apartment in Bulgaria – close to Sofia Medical University or Plovdiv Medical University, so that they do not have to travel much!
3. Living costs in Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria
When it comes to food, restaurants or even clothing shops, there is not much difference between Sofia and Plovdiv. There are many restaurant chains but also famous international clothing shops in both cities, so the price is the same in Sofia and Plovdiv. Of course, small local shops in Plovdiv may be cheaper in comparison to Sofia.
When it comes to rent of apartments, Sofia is the most expensive city in Bulgaria, so you will definitely pay more if you choose to live in Sofia. Usually, international students in Sofia pay around 400 EUR per month for rent, whereas students in Plovdiv pay around 300 – 350 EUR. The prices are valid for a nice modern private flat, but the rent may vary depending on the location, the size of the apartment and also if you choose to go for a two-bedroom apartment and share the flat with another student. Bills are usually not included in the rent, but they are usually quite cheap and similar in both cities.
We have made two useful videos: Tour of an apartment of a student at Sofia Medical University and tour of an apartment of a student at Plovdiv Medical University!
4. Student life and things to do in Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Sofia is the capital city and Plovdiv is the second biggest city in Bulgaria, so both of them offer many things to do. A lot of students usually go to the cinema or to the shopping mall, go karting, visit the gym or enjoy an escape room with their friends. Close to Plovdiv you can also go skiing (to the winter resort of Pamporovo), whereas Sofia is located right next to Vitosha mountain where you can go hiking and skiing. You will definitely not be bored whatever city you choose! Of course, being the capital city, Sofia does offer more things to do in comparison to Plovdiv as well as the bus station and the airport are bigger, so if traveling is something you would like to do more often, maybe Sofia is a better option.
Here you can watch a video – students share how life in Sofia is!
5. International atmosphere in Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Both, Sofia and Plovdiv, are very international and both universities welcome around 400-500 foreign students each year. Most international students come from the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, India, Pakistan but also many other countries such as Brazil and Canada. You will definitely have the opportunity to make friends with people from all over the world.
Also, tourists visit both cities – Plovdiv used to be the European Capital of Culture so it is a famous destination among foreigners. Sofia, being the capital city, is of course one of the most common places to visit in Bulgaria, so you will meet many foreigners there too. Of course, Sofia is more international given the higher number of big international universities located in the city but also the international companies in Sofia where many foreigners work.
When it comes to food, you will find many international restaurants in Sofia and Plovdiv. Of course, Sofia, being the biggest city in Bulgaria, has a bigger number of international restaurants, but in both cities you will be able to find different places to eat and try Italian, Spanish, Indian, Turkish, Mexican, German or Chinese cuisine. Both cities also have halal food places and a mosque in the city center, so Sofia and Plovdiv do welcome Muslim students from abroad.
6. City vibe of Sofia and Plovdiv
This is probably the biggest difference between Sofia and Plovdiv. Being the capital city, Sofia has a lot to offer to every foreigner moving to Bulgaria, but also has all the disadvantages of a big city – traffic jams, higher rent, expensive meals, etc. 
In comparison, Plovdiv is much more family-friendly and romantic – the Old Town, the long pedestrian street and the parks and hills in the city center present a great option for leisure activities after work and university. The city is also very suitable for artists, because of Kapana, the creative district of Plovdiv, and also because of the interesting museums, galleries and small cozy streets and coffee shops. 
7. University life and facilities in Sofia and Plovdiv
Sofia Medical University and Plovdiv Medical University are considered two of the best and most prestigious medical universities in Bulgaria. Both of them offer Medicine (8000 EUR per year), Dentistry (8000 EUR per year) and Pharmacy (6000 EUR per year) in English. Tuition fees are the same for both universities and you graduate with a Master’s degree at both universities which allows you to study or work abroad after graduation in Bulgaria. 
At both universities you will study Bulgarian language as a subject (watch an interview with an Inter HECS’ student who shares tips on learning Bulgarian language). The course structures and subjects are pretty much the same for both universities.
8. Application process for Sofia and Plovdiv Medical University
People who want to apply for admission at Sofia or at Plovdiv Medical University must collect a set of application documents and sit an entrance exam. Both aspects are different for both universities. For instance, at Sofia Medical University applicants who want to study Medicine, Dentistry or Pharmacy must sit an entrance exam in Biology, Chemistry and English, whereas applicants for Plovdiv Medical University must sit an entrance exam in Biology and Chemistry. The universities also differ when it comes to date and format of the exam. Keep in mind that exam results are very important for admission results and getting a university spot – this is why we provide our students with excellent exam preparation. The confirmation of a study place at both universities comes out around mid-September.
The academic year for first-year students at Plovdiv Medical University starts in the beginning of October, whereas in Sofia – mid-October. Usually, the end of the academic year is around the end of June and both universities do not have a huge difference when it comes to holidays. Also, the duration of the studies at both universities is the same – six years for Medicine, five years and a half for Dentistry and five years for Pharmacy. 
Of course, it is possible to apply for admission in Sofia Medical University and in Plovdiv Medical University at the same time. This is what many students do, in case they cannot make a decision and prefer to wait until September. We offer this service to our students, so do not hesitate to contact our admission team at [email protected] for assistance!
We take applications for both universities and we currently offer a discount, so contact our team for more information!

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