Medical schools in USA

Medical Schools in the United States (USA)

Becoming a doctor in the USA can be a very long process. USA does not offer undergraduate programs in medicine.

Students need to first complete their four year undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree and then apply to medical schools where they’d have to spend four years to earn their medical degree.

They need to be successful in passing the various parts of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) and complete the residency which can range from three to seven years depending on the specialty chosen.

Some may undertake a fellowship which would add another year or two of study in a subspecialty area.

Admission Requirements


Bachelor’s degree

No specified major is necessary while doing your bachelor’s, but coursework in biology, physics, chemistry, and mathematics is mandatory.

So is some experience in a healthcare setting, which you, as an aspiring doctor, can earn by volunteering at hospitals.


After completing your bachelor’s degree, you need to pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) for admission to most medical colleges in the US. The MCAT can be taken when you’re in the final year of your undergraduate degree.

The average MCAT score for accepted medical candidates would be around 508-510.

MCAT not only tests your knowledge of biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics, but also verbal reasoning, problem-solving, and writing skills.

You can take the MCAT up to three times a year, but you should take the test a year before: if you plan to start in August 2021, you need to take the test around early 2020.

However, not all applicants with a high MCAT score or GPA make it. Admission also depends on your extracurricular activities and cognitive abilities.

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School will assess your attitude and preparation with questions such as your motivation, what you want to study, your extracurriculars, your views about controversies over abortion, etc.

Avoid anxiety, rudeness, arrogance, or shyness at the interview. Prepare yourself by taking practice interviews.

Also make sure you’ve done enough research about the schools you’re applying to.

Application Process


School selection

You need to choose a school among “safe” schools (where you stand a good chance) and “reach” schools (where you will need some luck to get in).

Primary application

You can apply to medical schools in the US through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) or the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS).

No matter how many schools you apply to, you should submit your primary application through the AMCAS.

You need your grades, personal statement, record of extracurriculars and MCAT score.

Secondary application

After reviewing your primary application, schools may ask for an additional application.

Very rarely do they reject applications at this stage and may simply ask for the admission fee (between $100 average, range $30-$250).

Some schools may ask yes or no questions or for a short essay about why you are interested in the school, what you can add to the school’s culture, which of your skills would make you a good doctor, etc.

Offer or rejection

After the interview, you will either receive an offer or a rejection letter.

If it’s a rejection, you can try again the next time without losing hope, by improving your candidature through voluntary work.

Top schools and tuition

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the average median cost to a US medical student not including residency was $243,902 (Class of 2018) in public schools and $322,767 in private schools.

The top medical schools for international students in the US and the respective annual tuition fees are as follows, according to US news:

Medical School Tuition Fees
Harvard (University) Medical School $61,600
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine $53,400
Stanford (University) Medical School $58,197
Perelman School of Medicine $57,884
UCSF School of Medicine $47,222

The New York University School of Medicine, Baylor School of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, and Washington University School of Medicine are also top schools for students from outside the US.

Medical School Scholarships

Among the main scholarships are those of the American Medical Association Foundation.

The dean nominates candidates, and after nomination, the candidate would need to submit a personal statement, recommendation letters, transcripts, and a financial statement.

Every year, about 1,000 international students receive scholarships of a total of $2 million in the US.

Also read:
Medical Schools
Medical Schools in the UK
Medical Schools in Canada
Medical Schools in Australia
Medical Schools in India
Medical schools in Singapore