Cost of MBBS in the USA for international students: Pre-arrival cost, tuition fees, scholarships, accommodation, and cost of living
The USA is one of the greatest places to pursue an MBBS. In most countries, the MBBS degree is an undergraduate degree in medicine but in the USA, it is a postgraduate degree known as a Doctor of Medicine (MD). Hence before applying for a four years MD degree in the USA, candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree in science or any other field.
The USA is famed for its high-quality medical education, unfortunately, medical studies are quite expensive in the USA. The average annual tuition fees for an MD degree at top universities range from 52,456 to 84,996 USD/year. Even the living costs and accommodation are a bit on the higher side compared to the other countries around the world. But the good news is that many universities in the USA offer scholarships and need-based financial aid for international medical students to reduce their study burden.
Students therefore should be aware of the cost of an MBBS in the USA so that they can be financially prepared for it. The following article is a comprehensive guide on the cost of MBBS study in the USA, especially considering international students. It includes in-depth information on pre-arrival costs, tuition fees, scholarships, accommodation, and other living expenses that are incurred by the students.
Note: For the sake of international students, we shall use the term MBBS instead of MD throughout the article.
Overview of the cost of MBBS in the USA
Take a peek at the brief highlights before reading the complete article to gain a better sense of the costs involved.
|Annual tuition fees
|52,456 to 84,996 USD*/year
|Cost of living
Pre-arrival costs for MBBS studies in the USA
Although negligible, the pre-arrival cost in the USA for an MBBS degree should also be considered under the expenses. It can be classified into the following categories:
- Flight tickets
- Entrance exams
- Medical insurance
- Application fees
- Student visa fees
The cost of a flight ticket varies depending on the airline and the country from which a student is departing. A one-way ticket from India to the USA, for example, costs between 696 and 1,483 USD*. Many airline companies provide discounts, and if student books early, it can be a lot cheaper.
Entrance exams for MBBS programs in the USA do come with fees. English proficiency exams such as TOEFL cost 180 to 325 USD* and IELTS can cost 245 to 255 USD*. Students also need to clear the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), which is a standardized, multiple-choice, computer-based test that has been a part of the medical school admissions process in the USA for around 90 years. It costs 320 USD* for registration and an additional international fee of 115 USD* for test locations outside the USA. All of the exams have additional late registration fees, plus, the students have to pay more for multiple attempts.
Most American universities require international students enrolled at their schools to have health insurance. Some universities have their insurance policies for students, which can range anywhere from 4,000 USD* to 6,500 USD*/year. There are outside agents through which students can purchase their health insurance plans, but students should beware that sometimes they can be scammed. Students should choose a health plan that can adequately cover their medical expenses and should not go for the cheapest one.
The AMCAS application service is a centralized medical school application service in the USA for international students. The application fee charged by AMCAS is 170 USD* for the first school and 43 USD* for each additional school. But not all universities use this service, so students should check the websites of the respective universities for their admission processes. In that case, students might have to pay university application fees, which can range from 90 to 100 USD*. Some universities also accept secondary applications in addition to AMCAS applications, so students have to pay both the AMCAS application fee and a secondary application fee of 90 to 100 USD*.
Student visa fees
An international student wanting to pursue higher education in the USA should have a valid student visa. There are generally two types of student visas, F and M. The F visa is required for admission to medical schools. The first step is to apply to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System by paying the SEVIS I-901 fee of 350 USD* followed by the payment of the visa application fee of 170 USD*.
MBBS fees at the top 10 universities in the USA
Although there are numerous colleges in the USA offering MBBS degrees, getting admission to top MBBS schools in the USA is quite difficult and expensive. Their acceptance rate is quite low and their admission criteria are tough. The following table contains a list of the top 10 universities in the USA offering admission to their MBBS degree programs along with their annual fees.
|QS Ranking (Medicine)
|US News Ranking
|Tuition fees (USD*/year)
|Duration of MD Program
|Johns Hopkins University
|University of California, Los Angeles
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|University of California, San Francisco
|University of Pennsylvania
Gyanberry also has affiliations with accredited American universities offering MD programs for international students, such as
Applying through Gyanberry will surely increase the chances of student admission and will make the process smoother and less time-consuming.
Note: Although the Massachusetts Institute of Technology does not own a medical school, it has a collaboration with Harvard Medical School known as Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology, and offers an MD program. It gives preference to students from historically underrepresented groups in STEMM, students with non-traditional academic backgrounds, and students from academic institutions that send few or no students to Harvard and MIT.
Many universities in the USA also offer integrated MD programs of five years duration and students can engage in a one-year research study at the university.
MBBS scholarships and financial aid for international students in the USA
Despite being one of the most expensive places to study, the USA remains one of the greatest study destinations for international students. One of the reasons is the scholarships and financial aid available to international students. Government aid is mostly accessible to citizens or permanent residents of the United States, therefore international students who come to the USA to study MBBS are not eligible. Most American medical schools provide international students with merit-based scholarships, bursaries, and student loans. Students can also seek financial assistance via their embassy’s cultural department or the education minister’s office. There are also some government and non-government organizations which offer scholarships for international students studying MBBS in the USA. Students should look at the following scholarships listed by eduPASS before applying to medical schools:
- The Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship
- The American Association of University Women
- The Civil Society Leadership Awards
- The Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program
- Foreign Fulbright Student Program
- MPOWER Financing
- The P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship
Housing and Accommodation for MBBS students in the USA
There are two options for housing and accommodation in the USA: on-campus housing and off-campus housing. Many universities offer on-campus housing/dormitories to international students and mostly include shared rooms (often two to three students per room) with large bathrooms and toilet facilities. On-campus housing is convenient as students do not have to pay extra for transportation as it is located on campus. The off-campus accommodations can either be apartments or homestays and costs more in comparison to the on-campus housing options. The cost of these can range from 1,400 to 2,416 USD*/month (16,800 to 29,000 USD*/year).
Cost of living for MBBS students in the USA
The USA is a large country, and depending on the region, the cost of living varies greatly. For example, states like California, New York, and Massachusetts have higher costs of living as compared to other states. Outside of campus, food can be expensive, but on-campus canteen food is less expensive, and students usually have coupon services. There are options available for students to work part-time after college hours, but it is not feasible for students pursuing MBBS studies as the course is highly extensive. Students, therefore, should smartly budget their expenses. The living costs of students studying MBBS in the USA can be summarized as below:
|Type of Expense
|Cost in USD*/month
|Cost in USD*/year
|Books and medical supplies for college