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Study Medicine in the USA

Study Medicine in the USA
Shishant KumarNov 11, 2022

Medical Study in the USA: Best Colleges, Requirements, and Costs for International Students

A medical degree from the USA is referred to as an MD or Doctor of Medicine. MD programs are graduate-level courses. Students can study for an MD only after completing their bachelor’s.

Studying medicine in the USA is unlike in Europe, where students enroll right after high school. American medical universities list a range of eligibility criteria and admission requirements. It can be challenging for international students to figure out the best action plan for studying medicine in the USA.

This article will guide you through everything you need to know about studying medicine in the USA. 

Study Medicine in USA- Overview

Programs Offered M.D or Doctor of Medicine
Program Duration Four years
Average Annual Tuition Cost USD 61,699
Eligibility Criteria Four-year undergraduate degree in relevant field
Entrance Exams MCAT
English Proficiency At least IELTS 7.0 or equivalent
NEET-UG Requirement Required for Indian students
Application Deadline 15 October
Application Fees USD 170 and above


Why study medicine in the USA?

The US is at the forefront of many medical advancements in the world. Getting educated in a country best known for innovation is an opportunity not to miss.

Moreover, several top medical universities in the world are in the US. QS Ranking lists 100+ American universities. US News Ranking lists close to 200 out of 1000 best.

Med school aspirants can even access the best pre-medical programs in the US. Several universities offer preparation programs for future med school students known as pre-med. These pre-med courses include a bachelor’s degree, pre-clinical work experience, and MCAT preparation.

Career opportunities after education are plenty. The advanced healthcare system of the US provides an excellent start for graduates. People from all over the world migrate to work in the country. That means a multicultural environment and interaction. 

Doctors in the US are paid well. In fact, physicians and surgeons are among the highest-paid professionals.

Best universities for medical studies in the USA

The US is known to be home to several top-ranking medical universities. QS Rankings lists 121 American medical schools among the 670 best ones globally. Below are some universities ranking within the top 20 in the world.

QS Ranking University Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
1 Harvard University Click here Click here
3 Stanford University Click here Click here
5 Johns Hopkins University Click here Click here
6 University of California, Los Angeles Click here Click here
9 Yale University Click here Click here
11 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Click here Click here
13 University of California, San Francisco Click here Click here
14 Columbia University Click here Click here
15 University of Pennsylvania Click here Click here
17 Duke University Click here Click here

The US also has several less competitive universities than those mentioned above. Below is a list of well-ranking and less competitive universities for medicine-related and pre-medical courses.


Requirements to study medicine in the USA for international students

The eligibility criteria for US medical schools is a bachelor’s degree. 

Medical schools do not mention any specific majors for bachelors. But many pursue degrees in relevant subjects. 

Students choose their majors relevant to the MCAT curriculum—the other criteria for admissions. MCAT scores determine which schools a student can get into. Higher MCAT scores mean better colleges. 

In addition to the above two, international students must prove their English skills. IELTS, TOEFL, and other popular exams are generally accepted. International students should aim for a score of 7.0 or above in IELTS. 

To summarize, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • MCAT scores
  • English proficiency

Applications to med schools are done through the AMCAS portal.

Students should ensure they have completed the coursework before applying for MD. Barely meeting the basic criteria does not guarantee a seat. Due to the competitive nature of medical schools, students must work towards a rich profile.

Read more about the admission requirements to US medical schools.

Cost of studying medicine in the USA

The United States is expensive when it comes to medical education. The average annual tuition fee for the MD program is USD 61,699. And this figure is not considering other relevant expenses. 

International students incur other charges for university fees, books, related equipment, insurance, etc. Read more on the cost of MD in the US.

Below is a summary of the tuition fees at some of the best universities for MD. The cost is for one academic year.

University Annual Tuition Fees in USD
Harvard University 67,610
Stanford University 63,747
Johns Hopkins University 59,700
University of California, Los Angeles 50,168
Yale University 64,864
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 67,610
University of California, San Francisco 55,036
Columbia University 61,146
University of Pennsylvania 61,586
Duke University 65,526


Scholarships for international students

The high tuition fees and living costs can deter well-deserving candidates from studying in the US. Scholarships are a great way to lessen the financial burden.

International students can try for scholarships directly from the universities. Some independent organizations offer scholarships as well. Federal and state-funded scholarships are not available for international students.

Here is a brief list of scholarships for international students

University-funded scholarships

American universities provide merit and need-based scholarships. These are either funded by the university or along with an external entity. 

Most universities have scholarships for first-year and first-time students. Students with an exceptional academic record are considered. Here is a list of some universities offering scholarships to international students

  • University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Scholarly Awards
  • Kent State University Global Scholarships
  • Arizona State University‘s New American University Scholarship
  • The David Geffen Medical Scholarships

External funding sources

Many organizations fund higher education abroad to encourage local talent. Academic merit is often the required criteria.

Some need-based scholarships need students to prove their financial status. 

Below is a list of such scholarships.

  • King Abdullah Scholarship Program
  • JN Tata Endowment For The Higher Education Of Indians
  • Narotam Sekhsaria Scholarship
  • Ambedkar Overseas Vidya Nidhi


Career prospects for medical graduates in the USA

Physicians and surgeons top the list of the best healthcare professionals in the US. Doctors are among the most earning. The national average salary of doctors is USD 223,000.

States paying doctors the highest salaries are:

  • Maine: USD 279,700
  • Montana: USD 271,560
  • South Dakota: USD 269,100
  • Alaska: USD 266,200
  • Wyoming: USD 263,540

Top five earning specializations in medicine are:

  • Plastic Surgery: USD 576,000
  • Orthopedics: USD 557,000
  • Cardiology: USD 90,000
  • Otolaryngology: USD 469,000
  • Urology: USD 461,000

Practicing in the US is subject to clearing USMLE. The path to obtaining a license begins during the third year of MD. The final exam for USMLE is taken after completing residency.

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No. Medicine programs in the US are not of undergraduate level. The American MD program is a graduate-level program. Students must complete a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field to study medicine in the US.

Pre-med in the US refers to preparation for the MD program. This preparation includes completing the required coursework via undergraduate degree. Pre-med also includes preparing for the MCAT and gaining work experience. Premed students receive application assistance through mentorship.

No. Most medical universities in the US prefer an undergraduate degree from the US and Canada. Some universities may also accept degrees from the UK. Prestigious universities, like Harvard, do not consider bachelor’s obtained from other countries.

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