Medical doctors perform crucial roles not only to ensure a sound mind, body, and overall health. More importantly, these highly trained professionals keep societies together, particularly amidst global health crises. Such is their value that medical doctors are the most respected professionals in the United States! Doctors, or physicians, have consistently been rated “excellent” in their willingness to listen, answer questions, and explain treatment options to patients.
Being a medical doctor has its perks too. They are well compensated and experience job fulfillment by saving lives through medical care and research. That said, medical doctors don’t have it easy as far as education and training are concerned. For starters, getting into one of the best Doctor of Medicine graduate schools isn’t that easy! It is a rough journey for them.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are the typical duties of Physicians?
Doctors are usually part of a larger healthcare team, including registered nurses, physician assistants, and medical technologists who bring their specific expertise to prevent, diagnose, and treat illnesses and injuries. While doctors are usually the designated team leaders since the final decision is theirs to make, the professional judgment of their teammates is also valued.
Their typical duties include but aren’t limited to the following:
- Take the patient’s medical history, including underlying medical conditions and genetics
- Perform a physical exam
- Order laboratory tests to gain more information about the symptoms and make an accurate diagnosis of the illness or injury
- Formulate, recommend and implement the best treatment and management plan based on the physical exam, laboratory test results, and other diagnostic techniques
- Address the patient’s concerns, provide family members with the appropriate information, and answer relevant questions about the treatment plan, insurance, and other issues
Doctors can also choose a specialization that will result in specific roles and responsibilities within the healthcare system. The roster of current specializations includes anesthesiology, cardiology, dermatology, emergency medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, general internal medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology. Within these general specialties are sub-specialties, such as pediatric oncology or neurosurgery, which require continuing education.
What’s the typical educational path in becoming a Doctor?
Individuals aspiring to become doctors must be fully committed because of the period it takes to become a full-fledged physician. Depending on your desired specialty, you can spend between 10 and 15 years in school and internship and residency programs! There are four years in an undergraduate program followed by four years in medical school and between three and seven years as an intern and resident.
Most, if not all, medical schools require applicants to possess a bachelor’s degree, although there’s no preferred degree. But aspiring doctors are well-advised to earn a pre-med degree since its coursework establishes a strong foundation in biology, mathematics, and physical science. The recommended pre-med undergraduate degrees are biology, biochemistry, physiology, and molecular biology, even nursing and other healthcare-related degrees.
Medical schools are known for their highly selective admission process. Satisfactory MCAT scores are a must in nearly all medical schools, aside from an undergraduate degree with a satisfactory GPA, letters of recommendation, and personal statement. During interviews, medical schools also evaluate each applicant based on their personality, passion for the profession, and leadership qualities.
Students take courses in physiology and anatomy, pharmacology, biochemistry, medical ethics and laws, and patient management during the first two years. A rigorous med school curriculum emphasizes theoretical knowledge and practical skills.
In the last two years, students have worked under the guidance of clinical supervisors and licensed doctors in healthcare settings like hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. Their clinical experiences and skills are further developed as medical clerks in several specializations, from pediatrics to surgery. Their final year will also see them passing several exams, including the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).
The next step after graduation is a residency program for their desired specialization. The US has a National Resident Matching Program where aspiring residents can match their individual preferences with open residency vacancies.
Every doctor must possess a valid state-issued license. The licensing requirements vary by state, but the typical requirements are:
- A Doctor of Medicine degree obtained from an accredited med school
- Completion of a residency training program
- Passing score in the USMLE
What are the most important attributes of Doctors?
Physicians develop these qualities as early as their elementary years and continue to do so in their careers.
- Compassion and patience
- Problem-solving skills
- Leadership skills
- Organizational skills
- Communication skills
- Attention to detail
- Physical dexterity
- Physical stamina and emotional balance
What’s the typical work environment and hours for Doctors?
In 2020, there were 727,000 jobs held by physicians and surgeons. Their workplaces included clinical and non-clinical settings like hospitals, clinics and medical schools, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and insurance companies.
Such is the demand for physicians that most of them work full-time with overtime, and being on call is a common occurrence. Their days and nights can be hectic, too, between consulting with patients and the healthcare team, attending to administrative matters, and supervising interns. Medical students have a good taste, so to speak, of these professional demands early on.
But physicians are among the highest-paid professionals and, thus, these demands are well worth it! The annual median wage for physicians is $208,000 (May 2020), and anesthesiologists earn as high as $271,400+ per year.
What’s the cost of earning a Medical degree?
Aside from the cost of the undergraduate degree, medical students can spend an average of $54,698 per year on tuition and other fees. The average cost is lower in a public medical school – $48,842 per year – than the $$59,555 per year at a private medical school. In-state students also tend to pay lower tuition and other fees than their out-of-state counterparts.
The cheapest medical school is the New York University Long Island School of Medicine, with a uniform tuition structure for all students regardless of residency status. The most expensive for in-state residents is Dartmouth College Geisel School of Medicine.
Don’t let these costs deter you from pursuing a medical degree! Several schools offer substantial scholarships, if not a tuition-free education, although living and incidental expenses are still the students’ responsibility. Check out NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
M E T H O D O L O G Y
These 20 Doctor of Medicine graduate schools were selected based on the following criteria:
- The medical school must have accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), an accreditation agency recognized by the Department of Education, and sponsorship from the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Medical Association.
- The admission process must be highly selective, meaning that applicants are evaluated based on their exceptional academic record, MCAT scores, and other performance measures.
- The medical school has a reputation for academic excellence, integrity, and honesty that translates to high-performing students.
- The faculty members and non-teaching staff are known for their accessibility toward students, and the faculty members possess excellent credentials and participate in research and primary care.
- The medical school has exceptional student support services, including libraries, career placement, and financial aid packages.
Emphasis must be made that the list consists of both research and primary care medical schools. Research is a crucial aspect in primary care-focused schools, such as the University of Washington. Similarly, there will always be a value placed on primary care in research-centric schools like Harvard University.
20 BEST DOCTOR OF MEDICINE GRADUATE SCHOOLS
Harvard University – Harvard Medical School
: 25 Shattuck Street, Boston, Massachusetts
Harvard Medical School (HMS) has a 200-year history of excellence in medical education that has produced many of the best doctors globally. Students learn the best medical practices and renew their passion, pursue their interests, and find ways of influencing the industry and society.
- Students choose from two tracks – Pathways and Health Sciences & Technology (HST). While there are differences between tracks, all students benefit from the interactive learning and wide range of elective courses.
- The Pathways track combines pedagogical learning that encourages critical thinking and promotes advanced clinical experiences in diverse populations. The innovative learning sequence starts with the core basic/population science, followed by the core clinical year.
- The HST track is a partnership between HMS and MIT, with its target population being students with a strong interest in either biomedical research or physical or molecular science.
- There are two sub-tracks within the HST track – the MD degree from HMS and the Ph.D. degree in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics from either Harvard University or MIT.
- Students are also engaged in several service-oriented programs, including innovative research and community service through HMS partnerships with affiliate institutions, MIT, and other institutions abroad.
- The admission process is among the most selective, with the selection factors encompassing quantitative (GPAs and MCAT scores) and qualitative factors (applicant essays, letters of evaluation, and life experiences). Health-related experiences, such as community work and research, and personal characteristics like maturity, integrity, and leadership are advantages.
HMS offers combined degrees that allow students to expand their horizons while also earning their medical degrees. These combined degrees are in medicine and research (MD-PhD), public health (MD-MPH), business (MD-MBA), and public policy (MD-MPP), among others. Every HMS student benefits from comprehensive student support services, including learning resources, disability services, and financial aid.
HMS is among the country’s oldest medical schools (1782) and continues to be a consistent #1 in rankings of research medical schools. Several institutions have affiliations with HMS, including the Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital. HMS is also the site for many of the world’s breakthrough innovations, including the first smallpox vaccination, surgery anesthesia, and insulin in diabetes management.
Columbia University Irving Medical Center – Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons
: 630 West 168th Street, New York City, New York
The VP&S MD program isn’t just about training the next generation of medical doctors whose contributions to medicine and science will change humanity’s fate. Students also develop soft skills, particularly compassion for others, a confident sense of self, and a commitment underlined by true grit! Every student experience is unique, thanks to the wide range of research projects, electives, and membership in the VP&S Club.
- Due to the highly selective admission process, former medical students aren’t eligible for admission.
- Students aren’t designated by their year of stay in the program but according to the three major phases in the innovative curriculum – Fundamentals, Major Clinical Year, and Differentiation and Integration. The restructured curriculum encourages students to forge their learning path and take ownership of it.
- The 18-month Fundamentals phase consists of preclinical coursework where students learn the fundamentals of medicine and its practice.
- The 12-month Major Clinical Year consists of clerkships in several clinical areas, including pediatrics, internal medicine, and obstetrics-gynecology.
- The 14-month Differentiation and Integration phase consists of the scholarly project and the elective coursework.
- Students earn the MD degree bypassing all the requirements in the three major phases, completing the scholarly project, passing Steps 1 and 2 of the USMLE CK exams, and taking the Step 2 USMLE CS exam.
- Applicants must have completed three full academic years in a bachelor’s degree program and a specific number of years of English and biology, physics, and chemistry with labs.
While exceptional academic achievement is a common trait among students, VP&S looks beyond it. Students must also possess a strong commitment to their goals. VP&S provides students with an abundance of international experiences, service-learning opportunities, and postgraduate training in this regard.
VP&S paved the way for the MD degree by being the Thirteen Colonies’ first medical school to grant it. In 1993, it was also the first medical school to hold the now-famous white coat ceremony. In 2018, it was also the country’s first medical school to offer scholarships instead of loans for students qualified for financial aid.
Stanford University School of Medicine
: 291 Campus Drive, Stanford, California
Stanford’s mission of providing excellent education and life-changing inspiration for the future movers and shakers in medicine and science is among its draws. Students are provided with vital resources to become industry leaders and, more importantly, to enhance human health through education, innovation, and patient-centered care.
The curriculum has several learning pathways and provides world-class medical education. Stanford also offers dual degree programs within the School of Medicine and across Stanford University’s departments.
- Students learn technical and transferable skills, including leadership opportunities at Stanford University and its School of Medicine.
- Every academic year, only 90-100 students are accepted out of thousands who have applied. The small cohort encourages a strong sense of community that extends beyond the classroom, even after graduation.
- Candidates are evaluated using the multiple mini-interview systems where their soft skills are assessed at different times.
- Stanford uses its Discovery Curriculum, where students are encouraged to discover their skills and make scientific discoveries. Students in all pathways are expected to complete the two-year clerkship education on time.
- Notable features of the Discovery Curriculum include new and redesigned courses, excellence in clinical training, and longitudinal scholarship.
- Application requirements include MCAT scores, letters of recommendation with official letterhead, and transcripts. Acceptance into the program is on a highly selective basis.
- Students must participate in the Scholarly Connection program, where faculty-led scholarly experiences are combined with structured coursework. There are 17 areas of study consisting of eight foundation subjects and nine application areas.
In their first two years, students learn broad clinical skills through medicine and patient care in the Practice of Medicine program. Multiple instructional methods are also used to develop their soft skills, including compassionate care, effective communication, and critical thinking. Case studies, computer-based instruction, and videotaped simulations are part of the instruction.
The School of Medicine and the School of Humanities and Science jointly offer the Biosciences Ph.D. The program is among the best in the US. Other top-ranked graduate programs are genetics, bioinformatics and genomics; cell biology; and neuroscience and neurobiology.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
: 733 North Broadway, Suite G-49, Baltimore, Maryland
JHUSOM is a research-centric medical school with the highest number of research grants from the National Institutes of Health. While its rich history in medical education is known worldwide, its contemporary achievements in medical innovations and technology make it among the best in the world. Passion for healing humanity and the practice of medicine drives its MD program and students.
- The Genes to Society curriculum is nationally recognized for its unique view. Instead of using the dichotomy between health and illness, it’s based on the principles of environmental adaptation, genotype variability, and risk stratification.
- Applicants are evaluated based on academic standing, leadership, teamwork skills, and humanism, compassion, and service. These qualitative measures are determined through grades, extracurricular activities, and interviews.
- Applicants must submit MCAT scores and demonstrate proof of completing required academic work from JHUSOM’s list of recognized post-secondary accredited institutions. Letters of recommendation, research and clinical exposure, and personal statements are also bases for admission.
- Premedical course requirements include chemistry, biology, math, physics, social and behavioral sciences, and humanities. These prerequisites attest to the multidisciplinary approach to medical education in JHUSOM’s MD program.
- Candidates accepted into the program are notified between late fall and mid-spring after interviews have been completed.
JHUSOM’s strongest suit isn’t only in exceptional medical education and research, primary care, and surgery, among other medical specializations. Students benefit from its immersive learning experience that combines academic excellence and hands-on research and clinical experiences. The rigorous study-based coursework complements the patient interactions and research projects that make for well-rounded students.
Dual degrees that span six to eight years are also offered at JHUSOM in partnership with other departments. These include MD-PhD, MD-MPH, and MD-MBA degrees.
Considered the quintessential model for medical education in the United States, JHUSOM is also the home of numerous advancements in medicines. The first to admit female medical students and to introduce rubber gloves are among its notable achievements. JHUSOM is also the long-time publisher of the topmost pediatricians’ guide, The Harriet Lane Handbook. Hopkins and Hopkins 24/7, which are ABC documentaries about the life of students and staff at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, are winners of the Peabody Award.
University of Washington School of Medicine
: 1959 NE Pacific St., A-300 Health Sciences Center, Seattle, Washington
UW School of Medicine has consistently ranked #1 among primary care-centric medical schools, but it’s also known for its outstanding research program. Every student has the opportunity to personalize their medical education and its related experiences through electives, service, and research activities. The student body comes from the five-state region known as WWAMI – Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho – and, thus, it’s known for its diversity and inclusivity.
- There’s no preference for undergraduate universities and degrees, provided that applicants meet the pre-med course requirements. Acceptance into the program is determined more by the level and variety of courses taken, the extracurricular experiences, and the life experiences gained during the undergraduate years.
- Applicants with online and community college coursework that meets UWSOM academic standards can apply. Candidates may apply up to three times.
- UWSOM considers each application on a holistic level. Academic ability, particularly in completing medical training and passing the licensure exams, is considered alongside good interpersonal, problem-solving, and analytical skills. Applicants must also demonstrate awareness of current issues in medicine, diverse life experiences, and varied interests.
- MCAT scores are optional for the Fall 2022 application cycle only. But a current casper score is a must for consideration.
- Students interested in serving the rural and underserved communities in the WWAMI region may choose the Targeted Rural Underserved Track (TRUST).
- Students who are interested in medicine and research may want to consider the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). Graduates earn MD and Ph.D. degrees, and alumni come from across the United States.
- Individuals coming from underrepresented populations and who have stopped their medical studies for at least two years can apply for the summer Prematriculation Program.
UWSOM has a flipped classroom model. Students learn clinical skills in the classroom and clinical settings, such as in hospitals and outpatient clinics, even before the start of their academic coursework.
UWSOM is the WWAMI region’s first public medical school and, since its inception, has established a widespread network of affiliates, including teaching facilities.
University of California – San Francisco School of Medicine
: 521 Parnassus Avenue, Room 0104, San Francisco, California
UCSF School of Medicine is a 157-year old institution, California’s oldest medical school known for its outstanding medical programs and its affiliation with the world-renowned UCSF Medical Center. Most of its faculty members render patient-centric medical services and trained residents at other hospitals, such as the San Francisco General Hospital. The School of Medicine is a top-ranked NIH research funding recipient, thus, its high-ranking position among research-oriented medical schools.
- The Bridges Curriculum is designed for students to become trained clinicians whose applications of their abilities result in significant contributions to medicine and society.
- Students are expected to promote UCSF’s commitment to community health, both local and global scales. Innovation, discovery, and equity through medicine and science are also emphasized.
- The four-year program consists of three phases- Foundations 1, Foundations 2, and Career Launch. In Foundations 1, the focus is on acquiring a strong foundation in basic and clinical sciences. In Foundations 2, students become immersed in clinical settings, emphasizing patient care, teamwork, and systems improvement skills. In Career Launch, students are allowed to individualize their education through a scholarly project and clinical experiences.
- Students benefit from the Inquiry Curriculum, too, which approaches medicine through the six scientific domains. The curriculum also emphasizes longitudinal clinical skills, close mentorship and advising, and a flexible learning environment using online learning tools.
- Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree before entering medical school. The required courses include at least one year in biology and chemistry and physics and biology for a semester. Up to 105 quarter units may be transferred from the community or junior colleges.
There are seven core competencies in the MD program – medical knowledge, patient care, systems-based practice, professionalism, interpersonal and communication skills, practice-based learning and improvement, and interprofessional collaboration. The strong emphasis on these core competencies has contributed to UCSF’s worldwide reputation for preeminence in the medical and life sciences.
UCSF is the second home, so to speak, of many Nobel Prize awardees, including Shinya Yamanaka (2012 Physiology or Medicine) and Elizabeth Blackburn (2009, co-winner, Physiology or Medicine).
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
: 321 S. Columbia Street, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
UNC’s School of Medicine has a lofty goal – to be the leading public school of medicine in the United States. With its current standing as among the best in primary care-oriented schools of medicine and NIH research funding, it’s heading in the right direction. Its MD program is considered the best in The Tar Heel State, too.
- The Translational Education at Carolina (TEC) is the innovative curriculum adopted since August 2014. Among its notable features is its adaptability to the ever-evolving practice of medicine and the need for individualized learning and exploration. Students benefit from integrating theoretical knowledge and clinical skills, early exposure to the specialty fields, and varied experiences in longitudinal patient care.
- There are three major phases in the TEC program – Foundation, Application, and Individualization. The Foundation Phase involves foundational coursework in basic sciences and other courses. The Application Phase sees students conducting core clinical rotations in one of its four campuses. The Individualization Phase engages students in research and electives.
- Students may also pursue a specific scholarly concentration that starts during the Foundation Phase and ends at the Individualization Phase.
- AMCAS is a must, but the Casper exam isn’t required anymore. Letters of recommendation must have the appropriate letterhead and signature.
- A bachelor’s degree is an admission requirement. The admission process is among the most selective, with applicants evaluated based on their academic record, personality traits, and diverse life experiences.
UNC School of Medicine has made it its mission to promote superior patient care, provide medical care for underserved populations, and prepare future healthcare and biomedical industries leaders. Students are expected to keep the mission in mind aside from pursuing academic and clinical excellence.
The PTT test was developed by Kenneth Brinkhoues, Robert Wagner, and Robert Langdell at UNC! This was a revolutionary breakthrough because it was a one-stage test for the detection of blood clotting disorders.
Yale University School of Medicine
: 367 Cedar Street, New Haven, Connecticut
The research-oriented Yale School of Medicine has a highly selective admission process with a 2.09% acceptance rate for its Class of 2022! Established in 1810, its reputation for academic and clinical excellence has strengthened due to its ability to change with the times and, more importantly, set the trends. Many of the past and current breakthroughs have been made here, from the first X-ray to the first reliable early autism diagnosis.
- Yale uses its Integrated Basic & Clinical Science Curriculum to bring out the best in its medical students. During the 18-month curriculum, students study Master, Longitudinal, and Longitudinal Threads courses.
- The 18-month Clinical Skills Course provides students with clinical skills training in patient-centric settings. Communication skills and compassion are among the most important qualities developed at this stage.
- The Interprofessional Longitudinal Clinical Experience prepares first-year students for effective functions in clinical settings.
- The Medical Coach Experience occurs during the second year when students develop their clerkship skills and work with physician coaches.
- The Integrated Clerkships have a 12-week duration for each clerkship in internal medicine and neurology; surgery and emergency medicine; obstetrics-gynecology and pediatrics; and psychiatry, primary care, and pediatrics.
- The final 17-month stretch allows students to focus on their advanced individualized training, including a 4-week internship and a 33-week clinical elective and research project of their choice. There’s also a mandatory 3-week capstone course and studying for the USMLE Steps 1 and 2.
The unique Yale System doesn’t provide grades, whether in terms of numbers of letters, to first- and second-year students; rankings are absent, too. Instead, their performance is based on their qualifying exams, seminar participation, and clinical clerkship evaluations. Students take their exams as part of a self-evaluation process, and the exams are conducted anonymously for this reason.
Yale has so many breakthrough medical contributions that it’s regarded as among the world’s most innovative and important medical schools. These include the first successful penicillin use, cancer chemotherapy, insulin infusion pump, and artificial heart pump, which have life-saving implications. Yale physicians and researchers have also identified Lyme disease, protein folding, and gene identification for macular degeneration, dyslexia, and hypertension.
Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine
: 200 First St. SW, Rochester, Minnesota
MCASOM, a research-oriented medical school, offers a world-class MD program accredited by both HLC and LCME. As part of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, its students and staff make impactful contributions to the healthcare industry through education and research. Students are trained in a service-oriented environment where the needs of patients come first.
- First- and second-year students learn a single topic or subject block one at a time, with each subject between three and seven weeks in duration. Most of the subject blocks are in organ and system integration with basic principles, functions, and structure as the fundamentals. There’s an emphasis on the chemistry and biology of disease and basic and advanced doctoring skills during patient interactions.
- Students also choose from a wide array of courses designed for individualized learning. Each selective has a one- to two-week duration. Students must complete 23 weeks of selective courses during their first and second years in the rigorous program.
- Third-year students engage in seven core clinical clerkships on a rotation basis as well as take up electives. Fourth-year students are into rotations and sub-internships. Both cohorts receive one-on-one mentorship from renowned clinicians and researchers from Mayo Clinic. Students are then able to maximize their clinical learning opportunities and make informed decisions about their preferred specialty.
- Third-year students also engage in biomedical research, particularly its principles and processes. Students have ready access to research resources, including core facilities and medical sources.
- Application requirements for admission into the highly selective program include transcripts, letters of recommendation, and high MCAT scores. Applicants with an MCAT score of 508 or higher have an advantage.
Most MCASOM’s graduates have published research in many of the industry’s prestigious peer-reviewed journals, proof of its robust focus on research. About 40% also become residents at the Mayo Clinic.
MCASOM students wear the so-called Mayo wear, a type of business attire, instead of the typical white coats. The traditional white coat ceremony isn’t part of student life. Students also learn to put on a surgical glove on their left hand first instead of the typical right-hand first practice.
Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine
: 3266 S.W. Research Dr., Portland, Oregon
: 503 494-2998
The OHSU School of Medicine is a world-leading primary care-oriented medical school known for its family medicine focus. This is the only medical school in The Beaver State, too, with about 70% of its student body enrolled as in-state students. Acceptance to its highly selective MD program is coveted.
- The MD program’s mission includes the education of future leaders in medicine and science, the development of new medical knowledge, applications, and technologies through research, and the applications of discoveries in healthcare settings.
- Eighteen threads permeate the entire curriculum and 43 core competencies that students must acquire during their stay. Students may be required to demonstrate proficiency in these core competencies at various stages before their graduation.
- Students must also demonstrate proficiency in the Core Entrustable Professional Activities before becoming residents. There’s a passing threshold that students must pass at various times, too.
- The Foundations of Medicine phase consists of eight courses starting with the Transition to Medical School course and covering clinical skills, basic science, and health system science.
- The Clinical Experience phase also has a transition course, the Transition to Clinical Experience course, intercessions, clinical experiences, and coursework on a scholarly project. Electives in clinical and non-clinical topics are also part of the experience.
- The scholarly projects and narrative medicine aspects train students to look at medicine with a research perspective and a humanist approach.
- Preference is given to Oregon residents and non-residents with Oregon Heritage and with outstanding academic, leadership, and community service experiences. OSHU also actively invites members from underrepresented groups and individuals with exceptional stories of diversity and adversity in healthcare.
Students have ready access to the excellent academic and clinical training resources available at OSHU, as well as the opportunity to individualize their medical education through a multidisciplinary curriculum. Every student also takes on an increasing number and responsibilities in healthcare settings as they progress in the program. The tuition also remains the same from start to finish for each cohort.
The sky bridge isn’t just a structure that connects OHSU to the Portland VA Health Care System, although it’s an impressive one. It’s also a symbol of the robust partnership between the two institutions.
University of Minnesota Medical School
: 420 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis, Minnesota
U of M’s Medical School values curiosity, leadership, and service among its students, and these traits have resulted in alumni whose contributions to medicine and science are recognized through various awards. These awards include The Harold S. Diehl Award, The Distinguished Alumni Award, and The Early Distinguished Career Alumni Award. The four-year program trains students in the practice of medicine, including its technical and transferable skills.
- Simulation facilities and activities enable students to engage in quality healthcare practices in realistic if virtual, environments. The immersive training complements the didactic coursework that establishes the foundational knowledge and skills.
- The MD curriculum is applied in both Duluth and Twin Cities campuses. The curriculum’s main characteristics are integrating the basic sciences and clinical experiences, direct feedback from professors, and competency-based assessments.
- Students benefit from the formal one-on-one advising and mentoring program as well as exceptional student support services.
- Each academic year involves specific milestones that students are expected to achieve on time.
- Students are enrolled in the Scientific Foundations and Essentials of Clinical Medicine coursework at the Twin Cities campus during the Scientific Foundations and Essentials of Clinical Medicine coursework during their first year. In the second year, courses under the Essentials of Clinical Medicine category continue alongside courses in Human Health and Diseases and care clerkship rotations.
- Years 3 and 4 are for clinical rotations lasting 46 weeks in several specialties, including internal medicine, family medicine, and neurology. Acting internships and elective study are also included at these times.
- Passing USMLE Steps 1 and 2 is a graduation requirement.
- The highly selective program accepts students with 512 as average MCAT score and 3.7 as average GPA.
U of M Medical School offers various professional development programs, including the Rural Physician Associate Program and Education in Pediatrics Across the Continuum. Students also have opportunities for global health experiences in the country and at 11 affiliates abroad.
The Honeycrisp Apple, the most popular apple for eating raw, was developed at U of M. Walton Lillehei, the surgeon known for the first successful open-heart surgery, is an alumnus.
University of Colorado School of Medicine
: 13001 East 17th Place, Aurora, Colorado
CUSOM and its affiliates are recognized for their impressive record in research, medicine and science, and their excellence in medical education. Students in its MD program hone their clinical skills in the country’s best hospitals, including the University of Colorado Hospital and the Children’s Hospital Colorado. CUSOM is also a top-ranking public medical school in NIH funding, with about $500 million in funding.
- The Legacy curriculum has been replaced by the Trek curriculum starting in July 2021. The Trek curriculum places high value on leadership, commitment, and curiosity among students while also providing a dynamic foundation in basic science and clinical training.
- Applicants must apply through AMCAS and possess a bachelor’s degree, demonstrate diverse academic and life experiences, and demonstrate competencies in physics, math, life sciences, and social sciences.
- MCAT scores and letters of recommendation, and completion of the Altus Suite are mandatory for applications to be considered.
- Applicants must also demonstrate the capacity to earn the degree, including academic ability, good health, and personal drive.
- Only 184 students are accepted every academic year. Due to its state institution status, Colorado residents are given high priority, but non-residents are encouraged to apply. Transfer students are only accepted in rare instances and under extraordinary circumstances, including advanced standing.
CUSOM offers three unique tracks – Global Health, Research, and Rural Health – each track providing specialized education and training. All tracks, however, have customized clinical and research opportunities, special lectures, and mentored projects during the four-year duration.
The policy of inclusivity, particularly the admission of all genders on an equal basis, has been adopted since CUSOM’s founding. The international standard for the classification, including the numbering of human chromosomes, was developed here. The first successful human liver transplant, the first scientific description of ARDS and toxic shock syndrome, and the T-cell receptor discovery are also CUSOM achievements.
University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine
: 42nd and Emile, Omaha, Nebraska
UNMC, a public primary care-focused medical school, has a 150-year tradition of breakthrough innovations, excellence in medical education, and impactful contributions. The MD program prepares students to become competent and compassionate practitioners of medicine through a science-backed curriculum and world-class clinical. The unconventional presentation of core subjects means that students better understand the connectedness of the human body’s systems.
- Large lectures are complemented by small group sessions where students discuss various topics, patient scenarios and develop their clinical skills through simulation activities.
- Students benefit from the 21st-century curriculum with an emphasis on basic health systems and clinical sciences. The rigorous training prepares students for the demanding yet rewarding work as medical doctors in various settings.
- Integrated learning experiences include real-life patient encounters, virtual reality, and classroom sessions that develop the students’ collaborative, communication, and critical thinking skills.
- Students can pursue individualized learning and choose from specialized programs, such as the MD/Ph.D. track and the Career Launch Tracks.
- The curriculum differs between cohorts, starting with the Class of 2021, but the Class of 2023 and onwards have the same curriculum and degree requirements. For the Class of 2022, the students undergo three phases: passing Step 1 of USMLE, completing eight LCE visits and Acute Care Training Block, and completing all academic requirements.
- Students can use multiple online resources designed for residency preparedness, such as ERAS, FREIDA, and NRMP.
Students have several enrichment options that provide them with opportunities to enrich their experience at UNMC. The Enhanced Medical Education Tracks allow students to engage in interdisciplinary studies and longitudinal activities. The MD Honors Thesis accepts high-performing students to graduate with honors; scientific research is among its strongest suits.
UNMC scientists were the first to discover the mode of transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which makes COVID-19 so infectious.
New York University Grossman School of Medicine
: 550 1st Ave, New York City, New York
NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine is 180 years old, but it only acquired its current name in 2019. The MD program is among its most recognized programs, thanks to its excellent medical education combined with full-tuition scholarships. Students can pursue their passion in medicine – and excel at their academics and clinical, too – without student loans distracting them from their focus. All students are awarded full-tuition scholarships that cover most of the cost of attendance with satisfactory academic progress.
- Achievements in the academic and leadership spheres are given equal weight as work and life experiences, extracurricular activities, and service to others.
- Eligible applicants will be called for several mini-interviews designed to assess their specific talents and skills, resulting in a more holistic picture of their overall suitability.
- NYU uses C21, or Curriculum for the 21st century, which enables students to become proficient in the theoretical knowledge and clinical skills vital for success as doctors. This is used for both the MD and dual degree programs, including the MD/Ph.D. degree.
- This is an accelerated three-year program that trains students on patient-centric techniques and technologies in medicine. The clerkship year involves daily contacts with patients and online and simulation activities.
- There are four stages – Pre-clerkship curriculum; Clerkship Year; Individualized Exploration, and Career Preparation. Students also undergo rigorous training in foundational academics.
- Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a high GPA – the median GPA was 3.96 in recent years – and pre-med courses in chemistry, general biology, and general physics with lab. While courses are taken in dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, or veterinary medicine are considered for acceptance. There are no credits.
- MCAT, letters of evaluation, criminal background checks, and compliance with technical standards are required for consideration.
The three-year MD pathway is the pioneering program of its kind, and it allows students to earn an MD degree at less cost and in less time. But it’s considered more challenging due to the faster pace of the didactic coursework and clinical training, yet both aspects are just as rigorous as in four-year programs.
NYU has several Nobel Prize winners, including Avram Hershko, MD (2004, Chemistry) and Baruj Benacerraf, MD (1980, Medicine). NYU scientists were also instrumental in identifying AIDS in the 1980s, with the first evidence linking Kaposi’s sarcoma with an immune deficiency in homosexual men.
Duke University School of Medicine
: 40 Duke Medicine Circle, 124 Davison Building, Durham, North Carolina
Duke Med, part of the Duke University Health System, is a prominent school for promoting quality patient care and the advancement of biomedical research. Students in its MD program become immersed in the full-time program of study that emphasizes clinical competence and compassion in equal measure.
- The four-year program has a sequential order starting with a core basic science coursework in the first year, followed by the second-year core clinical clerkships. The third year is devoted to scholarly investigations, while the fourth year is for elective rotations.
- The curriculum is underlined by Duke’s core values of professionalism, humanism, lifelong learning, and diversity and inclusion. Students apply these core values during their explorations of the practice of medicine and science at every phase.
- Duke has a blended learning model that integrates in-person classes with technology and its diverse platforms, thus, resulting in maximized learning opportunities.
- Students benefit from the mentorship from faculty, but there’s no spoon-feeding at Duke Med either. Longitudinal curricular experiences are an integral part of the program, too, which provide students with vital skillsets for the advancement of community health.
Students can expand their horizons through service-oriented projects, usually as part of student groups. Clinical skills are also developed along the way, particularly with stints at the Holton Free Clinic, Fremont Rural Health Clinic, or Project FEED.
Founded in 2005, the Duke-NUS Medical School is Singapore’s first medical school styled after Duke’s graduate-entry program. The international medical school has since established a stellar reputation in research with its multimillion-dollar research funding, synergistic research partnerships, and multiple National Research Foundation Investigatorships and Fellowships.
Duke Med isn’t a slouch either in the overachieving department! Many of its alumni have made substantial contributions to medicine and science, such as Robert Lefkowitz, Peter Agre, and Brian Kobilka, all Nobel Prize in Chemistry winners.
University of Kansas Medical Center School of Medicine
: 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, Kansas
KU’s School of Medicine, a public primary care-oriented institution, takes pride in its status as among the country’s best medical schools, with many alumni practicing in rural and medically underserved areas. With its focus on primary care, many of its alumni have also made their mark in family medicine and primary care.
- The four-year ACE (Active, Competency-based, and Excellence-driven) curriculum consists of didactic courses, electives, and clerkships that, upon satisfactory completion, lead to the MD degree. The emphasis is on students with competencies necessary for improving the health and well-being of Kansas residents and the international community.
- The physicians/alumni are known for their quick adaptation to the ever-evolving practice of medicine, active engagement and understanding of the healthcare system, and ability to work as part of interdisciplinary teams. These professional abilities contribute to better patient service and outcomes.
- There are three phases in the curriculum, with each phase building on the foundations of the prior phase. Students progress through these phases as a cohort, too.
- Phase I has nine blocks of core basic science and clinical skills and occurs during the first two years of study. Phase II sees students on their clerkship rotations in family medicine, neurology, and internal medicine, among other core clinical disciplines. Phase III involves students in their fourth year choosing elective courses in several areas, such as critical care, rural medicine, and public health. To personalize their education.
KU School of Medicine stands out partly because it’s the only medical school in The Sunflower State. But that doesn’t mean that students are bereft of choices! Students may choose from the Kansas City urban campus or the rural campuses in Wichita and Salina. The Salina campus is suitable for students who want to serve in underserved areas.
The KU Health System’s equitable and inclusive care for the LGBTQ community, including their families, through the 2020 Healthcare Equality Index Award. The institution received the award three years in a row.
University of Massachusetts T.H. Chan Medical School
: 55 Lake Ave North Worcester, Massachusetts
UMass Worcester’s TH Chan Medical School remains true to its pledge of providing students from across Massachusetts and the country with a comprehensive medical education. Students gain world-class technical skills as medical practitioners and transferable skills, such as compassion and care for patients. Quality patient service and care in diverse communities have been emphasized since day one.
- Students are exposed to patient care as early as their first weeks in the program. The early exposure develops strong clinical skills, including communication, professionalism, and problem-solving skills. Students also become actively involved in service and advocacy projects in the community, usually at their discretion.
- With more than 53 residency programs to choose from, students are assured of residency positions in hospitals, clinics, and research facilities. UMass also maintains cooperative degree programs and community-based education programs across the state.
- The curriculum consists of three components designed in sequential order. First, the Foundational Curriculum consists of Foundations of Medicine 1 and 2 that lay the foundation for the practice of medicine. Second, the Core Clinical Experience consists of clerkships with three thematic sections – Care of Adults, Care of Families, and Perioperative and Maternal Care. Third, Advanced Studies provides students with sub-internship opportunities, a wide range of electives, and individualized schedules.
- Prior academic performance, including breadth of preparation, MCAT scores, and service activities, are among the selection factors in the admission process. Admissions may also be affected by diversity and inclusivity policies, personality traits of candidates, and research-related achievements.
UMass emphasizes the imperative need for students to gain hands-on experience in community health and, thus, students spend 6-week rotations with community-based doctors. The foundational competencies include community advocacy too, alongside patient-centric care and a scientific approach.
Before 2016, the MD program only accepted Massachusetts residents! Nowadays, non-residents are also accepted, but the annual cohort is about 165 students only. Victor Ambros (first microRNA discovery) and Craig C. Mello (Nobel Prize winner) are notable alumni.
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
: 3400 Civic Center Blvd, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Founded in 1765, the 256-year old Penn Med is the country’s oldest medical school and a preeminent Ivy League member, too. The research-oriented school is a top NIH research funding recipient with numerous scientific discoveries to its credit. Academic excellence is part of its fabric, too, with students benefiting from its interdisciplinary and innovative curriculum.
- Students progress through the four-year curriculum to gain a robust foundation of medical knowledge and clinical skills for quality patient care. Beyond these traditional roles, students prepare for their future roles as active participants in improving social constructs and infrastructure toward health equity.
- The curriculum consists of six modules underlined by three themes: professionalism and humanism, the practice and technology of medicine, and the science of medicine. The modules have a pass/fail grading system.
- Module 1 covers the core principles of basic science and medicine. Module 2 tackles topics on integrative systems and diseases with blocks that integrate normal and abnormal development. Module 3 touches on several topics on technology and the practice of medicine, including physical exams, differential diagnosis, and patient communication. Module 4 covers the mandatory clinical clerkships, followed by Module 5, where students individualize their education. Module 6 is about professionalism and humanism.
- Students learn through small group instruction and self-directed learning, a combination that will underline their future career-related decisions, too.
- There are about 150 elective courses to choose from, and these courses can be taken for a year-and-a-half to expand the students’ knowledge base.
- The highly selective acceptance process means only 150 students are accepted into the annual cohort.
The research-oriented school is also known for its excellence in specialty training, particularly in pediatrics, medicine, obstetrics-gynecology, and radiology. Due to the rigorous training combined with immersive clinical experiences, students prepare for an influential future in research and primary care.
Penn Med was among the earliest advocates for developing many of the notable medical specialties we have today, such as neurosurgery, dermatology, and ophthalmology.
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
: 660 S. Euclid Ave. St. Louis, Missouri
WUSM is a top-ranking research-oriented medical school known for being a highly selective school with a fast-paced, challenging curriculum. Students thrive despite the high-pressure environment because of the outstanding support services, favorable diversity and inclusivity policies, and supportive faculty. Many of its alumni have influenced medicine and science through breakthrough innovations and discovery and made a positive impact on accessible, quality, and compassionate patient care.
- The Gateway Curriculum has three phases distributed over four years, and its Explore component complements the didactic and clinical aspects. In the Explore component, students engage in introspection about their career goals through exposure to medical specialties.
- Phase One is a 16-month period where students learn the basic, clinical, and social science knowledge that underlines the practice of medicine. Eight modules cover the foundational sciences.
- Phase Two spans 12 months, during which time students undergo clinical clerkships in medical specialties, including surgery, internal medicine, and pediatrics. There are six clerkships, with each one lasting for eight weeks.
- Phase three is the specialization period, where each student has the opportunity to customize their schedules and activities based on their own goals and interests.
- Every student must complete a 4-week sub-internship in internal medicine, a series of three 4-week Advanced Clinical Rotations, and three 4-week Keystone Integrated Science Courses. The 4-week capstone Gateway to Residency course is also compulsory for fourth-year students.
- Students also spend up to eight weeks for USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK preparations. These are credit-bearing study periods, too.
Students enrolled after 2020 find the Keystone platform a useful source for courses and resources. Course materials, instructional videos, and IT assistance are present here. Students thrive, too, because of the wide range of support services, including advising, tutoring, academic societies, mentoring, USMLE preparation support, and the Primary Care Summer Preceptorship Program.
WUSM has 18 Nobel laureates, among the highest of medical schools. Numerous members of the WUSM faculty are fellows of the National Academy of Sciences, with MERIT status and recognized as Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators.
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
: 3550 Terrace Street, S592 Scaife Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pitt Med is recognized for both its primary care and research components, a fact that attracts students to its beautiful campus and state-of-the-art facilities. The well-developed curriculum combines rigorous didactic coursework with interactive lectures, early clinical exposures, and a holistic organ systems approach. The integrated structure during clerkships and the flexibility given to students during their clinical years make Pitt Med an excellent school.
- Students spend their time on lectures, small group learning, and activities in equal measure (i.e., one-third). Small group learning emphasizes learning through problem-solving exercises, skill-practice sessions, and demonstrations. The activities include patient care, lab exercises, and simulations, encouraging students to develop their keen sense of observation and engage in the activities.
- The patient-centered curriculum is adopted as early as the first day of first-year students through an introduction to physicians course. Students gain hands-on experience through patient interviews in healthcare and community settings. Courses in medical interviewing and examination follow.
- In their third year, students become involved in 10 compulsory clerkship rotations designed with in-patient and out-of-hospital competency development in mind. There are also three clinical focus courses lasting one week for each course.
- During their fourth and final year, students must become involved in a longitudinal research project under the guidance of their faculty members. Web-based learning portfolios are made available for effective communication between students and mentors.
- There are several curriculum blocks that students undergo during their four-year stay. These are the Foundations of Medicine, Organ Systems Pathophysiology Block, Evidence and Discovery Block, Patient, Physician and Society Block, and Introduction to Patient Care Block.
Candidates are also evaluated based on the depth and breadth of their liberal arts background, particularly in the social sciences and humanities. Of course, a strong background in science, math, and technology is an advantage. This is because Pitt Med is adept at successfully integrating new technologies into its medical programs and, thus, students are expected to keep up.
Pitt Med is known for its medical research and innovations, thus, the multimillion-dollar annual NIH funding. Some of its major projects are gene expression using nuclear magnetic resonance technology, cancer virology, and cancer immunology.