Best Medical Schools

Medical education in the United States is highly regarded worldwide, offering a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum to train future physicians. Medical schools in the U.S. award the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree, which is required to practice medicine professionally. In addition to MD programs, some schools also offer combined degree programs such as MD/PhD or MD/MPH for students interested in research or public health.

Types of Medical Degrees

Doctor of Medicine (MD)

The MD degree is the primary medical degree awarded by U.S. medical schools. It typically involves four years of medical education, including classroom-based instruction, clinical rotations, and hands-on training in various medical specialties.

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)

DO programs are similar to MD programs but place a greater emphasis on osteopathic principles and manipulative treatment techniques. Osteopathic physicians are fully licensed to practice medicine and can specialize in any medical field.

Admission Requirements

Prerequisite Courses

Most medical schools require applicants to have completed undergraduate coursework in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Some schools may also require coursework in English, psychology, and social sciences.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is a standardized test required for admission to medical school. It assesses applicants’ knowledge of natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Extracurricular Activities and Clinical Experience

Medical schools value applicants who have demonstrated a commitment to serving others and have gained hands-on clinical experience through volunteering, internships, or research opportunities.

Letters of Recommendation and Personal Statement

Applicants are typically required to submit letters of recommendation from professors, employers, or healthcare professionals who can attest to their academic abilities and personal qualities. A well-written personal statement outlining the applicant’s motivation for pursuing a career in medicine is also essential.


Preclinical Years

The first two years of medical school, known as the preclinical years, focus on building a foundation in basic medical sciences such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and pathology. Students also learn clinical skills such as patient history taking and physical examination.

Clinical Clerkships

During the third and fourth years, students rotate through various clinical specialties, including internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and family medicine. Clerkships provide hands-on experience in diagnosing and treating patients under the supervision of attending physicians.

Electives and Advanced Training

In addition to core clerkships, students may have the opportunity to complete electives and advanced rotations in specialized areas of medicine that align with their interests and career goals. These experiences allow students to gain in-depth knowledge and skills in specific medical fields.

Top 50 Medical Schools

Rank Medical School Location Average MCAT Score
1 Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 518
2 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, MD 517
3 Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis, MO 516
4 Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, CA 516
5 Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 516
6 Yale School of Medicine New Haven, CT 515
7 Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine Rochester, MN 515
8 Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons New York, NY 515
9 Duke University School of Medicine Durham, NC 514
10 University of California—Los Angeles (Geffen) School of Medicine Los Angeles, CA 514
11 University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine Chicago, IL 514
12 University of Washington School of Medicine Seattle, WA 513
13 Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Chicago, IL 513
14 University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor, MI 513
15 New York University Grossman School of Medicine New York, NY 513
16 University of California—San Francisco School of Medicine San Francisco, CA 513
17 University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Pittsburgh, PA 512
18 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine Chapel Hill, NC 512
19 University of California—San Diego School of Medicine La Jolla, CA 512
20 University of Virginia School of Medicine Charlottesville, VA 511
21 Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Nashville, TN 511
22 University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Southwestern Medical School Dallas, TX 511
23 University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Rochester, NY 511
24 Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX 511
25 Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY 511
26 University of Colorado School of Medicine Aurora, CO 510
27 University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Madison, WI 510
28 Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, GA 510
29 University of Minnesota Medical School Minneapolis, MN 510
30 University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine Birmingham, AL 510
31 University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine Miami, FL 509
32 University of Maryland School of Medicine Baltimore, MD 509
33 University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine Iowa City, IA 509
34 University of Illinois College of Medicine Chicago, IL 509
35 University of Florida College of Medicine Gainesville, FL 509
36 Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Cleveland, OH 509
37 Ohio State University College of Medicine Columbus, OH 509
38 Boston University School of Medicine Boston, MA 509
39 University of Arizona College of Medicine—Phoenix Phoenix, AZ 509
40 University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Cincinnati, OH 508
41 University of California—Irvine School of Medicine Irvine, CA 508
42 Albert Einstein College of Medicine Bronx, NY 508
43 Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine Portland, OR 508
44 University of Utah School of Medicine Salt Lake City, UT 508
45 University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester, MA 507
46 University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston McGovern Medical School Houston, TX 507
47 Tufts University School of Medicine Boston, MA 507
48 Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Newark, NJ 507
49 University of South Florida Health Morsani College of Medicine Tampa, FL 507
50 Wake Forest School of Medicine Winston-Salem, NC 506

Notable Medical Schools

Harvard Medical School

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Harvard Medical School is one of the oldest and most prestigious medical schools in the world. It is renowned for its cutting-edge research, innovative curriculum, and renowned faculty.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Based in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine is known for its leadership in medical research and patient care. It is home to the Johns Hopkins Hospital, consistently ranked among the top hospitals in the United States.

Stanford University School of Medicine

Located in Stanford, California, Stanford School of Medicine is affiliated with Stanford Health Care, a leading academic medical center. It emphasizes interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation in medical education and research.

Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine

Based in Rochester, Minnesota, Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine is part of the Mayo Clinic, a world-renowned healthcare organization. It offers a unique curriculum focused on patient-centered care and teamwork.

Career Prospects and Residency Training

Upon graduating from medical school, students must complete a residency program in their chosen specialty to become licensed physicians. Residency training typically lasts three to seven years, depending on the specialty, and involves supervised clinical practice in hospitals and clinics.

Primary Care vs. Specialty Practice

Some graduates choose to pursue careers in primary care fields such as family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology, while others opt for specialty practice in areas like surgery, cardiology, neurology, or radiology.

Fellowship Training

After completing residency, physicians may choose to pursue additional fellowship training to further specialize in a subspecialty within their chosen field. Fellowships typically last one to three years and provide advanced clinical and research experience.

Challenges and Trends

Physician Shortages

Certain geographic regions and medical specialties face shortages of healthcare providers, particularly in rural and underserved areas. Efforts are underway to increase the number of medical school graduates and expand residency training programs to address these shortages.

Diversity in Medicine

There is a growing recognition of the importance of diversity in the medical workforce to better reflect the demographics of the patient population and improve healthcare outcomes. Medical schools are actively working to recruit and support students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Advances in Medical Education

Advances in technology and changes in healthcare delivery are driving innovations in medical education, including the integration of telemedicine, simulation-based training, and competency-based assessment methods.