Studying Medicine in the U.S.A: A Handy Guide

Studying Medicine in an American university involves a high-stake’s application process. Here are a few pointers to know before taking a step in the direction of your dream medical degree.

Students at The Harker Medical School 
The importance of studying medicine from the U.S is limitless. However, there are some defined eligibility criteria pertaining to admissions for an American medical degree—MCAT, USMLE, proficiency in English, among others. The criterion can be easily fulfilled when working with focus and resolve.

In order to apply for the MCAT, a student has to complete a pre-med (4 year) course. While the prerequisites differ for universities, most institutions usually ask for biology, physics, general and organic chemistry and biochemistry among others as subjects in the pre-medical. A degree in upper-biology or a graduate science program is also a good option. The MCAT exam evaluates knowledge of undergraduate-level anatomy, biology (including histology and embryology), general and organic chemistry, physics, psychology and sociology. A good score in the MCAT test increases the chances of pursuing MD in the U.S.A.

The next integral component of your application is the MCAT score. According to an April 2020 article in U.S. News, “The median undergraduate GPA for fall 2019 first-year students at ranked medical schools reported this data was 3.75.  Meanwhile, among fall 2019 freshmen at ranked medical schools that provided MCAT statistics, the median MCAT score on the current version of the test—which has a maximum score of 528—was 512.” An overall of 500 is considered a good admission score.

According to the American Association for Medical Colleges (AAMC), the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), through which applications are processed, does not accept foreign transcripts (Canada being the exception). Thus, completing a pre-medical course from America or Canada has its advantages. To identify your preference of subject to pursue and choice of colleges, the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions, ( and the AAMC, are good resources to look at as a starting point.

The American MD is a 4-year program, post which residency periods could vary between 3 to 7 years depending upon the choice of subject. Universities look for students with a passion for the field and a drive to serve well, including giving medical care to people and communities, who do not always have the best access to it. It is beneficial to gain experience working alongside physicians before you apply to medical school.

Through the course of your medical degree in the U.S., you will need to appear for the USMLE or the United States Medical Licensing Examination: a three-step examination for medical licensure in the U.S. The USMLE assesses a physician's ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles, and to demonstrate fundamental patient-centred skills important in health and disease, and that constitute the basis of safe and effective patient care.

The first USMLE, generally taken on admission into a medical college of choice, assesses whether you understand and can apply important concepts of science basic to the practice of medicine, with special emphasis on principles and mechanisms underlying health, disease, and modes of therapy. Step 2 or the second exam, taken at the end of the 4th year, assesses your ability to apply medical knowledge, skills, and understanding of clinical science essential for the provision of patient care under supervision. It emphasises health promotion and disease prevention. USMLE Step 3 is the final exam in the USMLE sequence typically taken by graduates at the end of the first year of residency. It assesses the ability to apply medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science essential for the unsupervised practice of medicine, with emphasis on patient management in ambulatory settings.


Top-ranked MBBS Colleges in the U.S.A

The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Harvard Medical School

University of California San Francisco

Baylor College of Medicine

New York University School of Medicine

Boston University School of Medicine

Washington University School of Medicine


Medical college fees in the U.S.A

Medical college fees could vary from $14000/Rs 10,17,300 to $55000/Rs 39,96,400 per annum.

*Amount calculated as per conversion rate at the time of article published.


Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in America, U.S.A on Mar 15, 2021