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THE USA: Subject Guides - Must read

The best medical schools in the USA

Choosing the right institution for your degree is an essential part of studying abroad. If you’re an aspiring medical professional and want to study in the USA, we’re here to help with a rundown of the best medical schools in the country.

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Many international students hold aspirations of studying medicine. Becoming a doctor takes skill, dedication and determination. What also helps is selecting a good university medical school to pursue your studies. The USA is world-renowned for its medical schools, which include some of the best on the planet. With a quality higher-education system and globally recognised degrees, students are drawn to studying there. We chart the best and top-rated universities to study medicine in the USA. 


For this article, we have made use of the U.S. News & World Report Best Medical Schools: Research 2022, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 and the QS World University Rankings 2021


Let’s get started. 


1.Harvard University 


One of the founding members of the Ivy League and the oldest university in the USA, Harvard University has a storied history. The university boasts over 160 Nobel Laureates and over 130 Pulitzer Prize winners. The university is also known for its very high entry requirements and stringent selection criteria. 


The Harvard Medical School was established in 1782 and is home to 11,998 faculty with just 234 medical students being accepted in 2020. It is ranked as the number one medical school for research by the U.S. News & World Report 2022 and 2nd in the USA by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021. 


Find out more about what you can expect when studying for a medical degree


2. Stanford University 


Based on the west coast of the USA in the San Francisco Bay Area, Stanford University plays host to 6,366 undergraduate students and over 8,700 postgraduates. It’s known for its enviable 5:1 student to faculty ratio and leading research profile. 


Stanford Medical School remains highly rated, notably in the field of biomedical research. The U.S. News & World Report’s placed Stanford in the fourth spot for the best medical schools for research, while the QS World University Rankings 2021 has the university at number two in the U.S. and third in the world for the subject. 


Get more information on medical specialisations


3. Johns Hopkins University 


Johns Hopkins University lays claim to being the first research university in the USA and for having a university press that is the oldest operating in the country. 29 Nobel Laureates have passed through the university, with four currently on faculty at the university. The university has programmes in nursing, public health and biomedical engineering which all rank top in the country. 


As a research-intensive university, Johns Hopkins is rated in the top medical schools for this by the U.S. News & World Report. The university is ranked as the fifth-best medical school in the world by the QS World University Rankings and at number six by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021. Acceptance onto medical school programmes for aspiring doctors isn’t easy with a 3.9 per cent acceptance rate, but don’t let that deter you. 


Find out some of the top 10 benefits of becoming a doctor


4. Columbia University 


Located in the world-famous New York City, Columbia University has over 15,000 international students enrolled from 156 countries. The Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons is the medical school of the university and is part of the Irving Medical School. 


A total of 630 students successfully enrolled on the MD program at the university in 2020, who will be taught by the 2,119 full-time faculty. Three members of the current faculty have been recipients of the Nobel Prize for Medicine. 


This quality is reflected by the ranking of the university in fourth place for medical research by the U.S. News & World Report. Columbia also sits in the top 10 of U.S. universities for medicine as per the QS World University Rankings 2021. If you choose Columbia University you may also find yourself recognising what is the most famous lecture hall in the U.S., Havemeyer Hall, which has featured in dozens of Hollywood films. 


Check out some of the other institutions in the USA where you can study medicine:



5. University of Pennsylvania 


Rounding out our list of the top universities for medicine in the USA is the University of Pennsylvania. The university is ranked in the top 20 medical schools worldwide by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 and third in the USA by the U.S. News & World Report. 


The Perelman School of Medicine dates back to 1765 and focuses on developing medical professionals and cutting-edge research, including in the field of biomedicine and patient care. 766 medical students currently call the school home and have the opportunity to work and learn in a number of the university’s affiliated hospitals. The University of Pennsylvania is also well-known for its athletics programme and many campus traditions, making it a hit with international students.


If you are thinking seriously about pursuing your medical studies in the U.S. you may find our guide to what the USA offers international students of use. You can also get more information on the international student experience in the country and what it’s like to study medicine in the USA




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