Studying medicine overseas can be intimidating, but how can you begin to learn about your options and the associated costs and requirements? These fundamentals about studying medicine in the US will help you get started with the necessary planning steps.
In the US, where can I study medicine?
Many options are available if you’re considering studying medicine in the US: 154 medical schools offer MD degrees, while 38 medical schools offer osteopathic medical degrees.
The universities with the best rankings for medical research are as follows:
- Harvard University
- Johns Hopkins University
- University of Pennsylvania
- Columbia University
- Tie between Duke University, Stanford University, University of California (San Francisco), Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis
- Tie between Cornell University, New York University, Yale University
What Qualifications Are Needed to Study Medicine in the US?
Confirming the prerequisites before applying to medical schools is advisable as they can vary. All US medical schools, however, demand that you show your scientific proficiency in biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry in addition to having completed a four-year pre-med undergraduate degree in a related field. In contrast, you can study medicine as your first degree in a medical college in the United Kingdom.
Because of this, many individuals choose to enroll in undergraduate degrees in chemistry or biology, which also benefit them on the MCAT.
In almost all US medical schools, the MCAT is the entry exam. There are four sections of the eight-hour multiple-choice MCAT exam. An improved likelihood of being accepted for an interview stems from having a strong MCAT score, which is crucial for your application.
The number of times you can take the MCAT exam is limited to:
- Three times in one testing year
- Four times during two years.
- Seven times in a lifetime
This is why practicing the MCAT beforehand is crucial; you may find resources here.
Universities demand varying degrees of familiarity with pertinent scientific topics. The University of California, for instance, requires that students have finished one year of laboratory courses in Biology, Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry, as well as one semester each of Biochemistry and Physics. Additional prerequisites include a minimum college GPA of 2.94 and taking the MCAT within three years of entry.
What Is the Process for Applying to US Medical Schools?
You must use the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS) to apply to Texas University’s MD programme instead of the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), which is used for applications to most US medical schools.
AMCAS will forward your application to the medical schools of your choosing, along with information about your work experience, transcripts of education, and extracurricular activities. The UK’s UCAS application process is similar to this.
Letters of recommendation or essays are among the extra materials that some medical schools need. A separate charge can apply for what is referred to as a subsequent application.
The cost of applying to one medical school through AMCAS (2024) is $175 (£143), and the cost of each additional medical school after that is an extra $45 (£37). Students can receive assistance with these and MCAT fees through the Fee Assistance Programme.
Applications typically open in the first week of May and remain available until the deadline in June, so be sure to monitor the precise date!
In contrast to the US, where there is no cap, students in the UK are limited to applying to a maximum of four medical schools per year. To maximize their chances of being accepted, many applicants select to submit their applications to as many as 15–30 different universities. The drawback is that because each institution has an application fee, this can get very expensive.
Are Medical Studies in the US Open to Students from the UK?
Yes, it takes much longer and costs more than studying in the UK.
First, all US medical programmes are postgraduate, as mentioned above, meaning you must have already earned an undergraduate degree. This is different in the UK, where undergraduate programmes predominate. However, the great majority of US medical schools will only accept an undergraduate degree from the US because their curricula differ from those of other nations. This is a minor warning. Completing your undergraduate studies in the US is required if you wish to pursue medicine there.
Remember that tuition costs for overseas students are typically higher than for domestic students. The overall price will be relatively high when you add that you will study in the US for at least eight years! Below is a more thorough analysis of US tuition prices.
Furthermore, most US medical schools have an international student quota, even if the curricula are competitive. As a UK student, your chances of attending a US medical school are significantly lower.
Lastly, to study in the US, you will require a visa; the J-1 visa is the most popular type. This increases the administrative prerequisites to learn in the United States.
How Much Does Medical School Cost in the US?
Students must first obtain an undergraduate degree, most likely from the US as well, to study medicine in the US. American undergraduate programmes last four years on average, while medical programmes last four years for a total of eight years. In the US, tuition varies from university to university, while in the UK, all courses are the same and cost £9,250 annually. It is important to remember that financial aid and scholarships are frequently offered.
While tuition costs at private US universities are the same for domestic and international students, they differ for students attending public schools, which have two different fee categories:
- For state residents
- The cost for non-residents (which includes overseas students) might be up to three times greater than that for state residents.
The average annual cost of undergraduate degrees in the US is between $25,000 (£20,460) and $45,000 (£37,000). This may cost you anything from $100,000 (£81,849) to $180,000 (£147,200) over four years.
The annual cost of postgraduate US medical programmes ranges from $52,000 (£42,500) to $85,000 (£69,500). This may cost you anything from $208,000 (£170,000) to $340,000 (£278,000) for four years.