Medical Schools that Accept International Students

April 5, 2024

medical schools that admit international students

Are you an international student pursuing a medical career in the United States? Navigating the admissions process can seem daunting, especially when considering the limited availability of medical schools that accept international students. However, with careful planning and strategic approaches, securing a spot in a medical school for international students is within reach. In this blog, we’ll explore the landscape of medical school admissions for international students to help you apply smoothly and successfully.

So what are the medical schools that accept international students?

What follows is a list of institutions and their location, in alphabetical order:

1) Boston University School of Medicine – Boston, MA

2) Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine – Cleveland, OH

3) Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons – New York, NY

4) Duke University School of Medicine – Durham, NC

5) Emory University School of Medicine – Atlanta, GA

6) Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth – Hanover, NH

7) Georgetown University School of Medicine – Washington, DC

8) Harvard Medical School – Boston, MA

9) Howard University College of Medicine – Washington, DC

10) Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai – New York, NY

11) Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine – Baltimore, MD

12) Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California – Los Angeles, CA

13) Morehouse School of Medicine – Atlanta, GA

14) Northwestern University The Feinberg School of Medicine – Chicago, IL

15) Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, PA

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16) Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University – Stony Brook, NY

17) Rutgers New Jersey Medical School – Newark, NJ

18) Saint Louis University School of Medicine – Saint Louis, MO

19) Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University – Philadelphia, PA

20) Stanford University School of Medicine – Palo Alto, CA

21) State University of New York Upstate Medical University – Syracuse, NY

22) TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine – Fort Worth, TX

23) The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University – Providence, RI

24) Tufts University School of Medicine – Boston, MA

25) Tulane University School of Medicine – New Orleans, LA

26) University of California, Davis, School of Medicine – Sacramento, CA

27) University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine – Los Angeles, CA

28) University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences The Pritzker School of Medicine – Chicago, IL

29) University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus – Aurora, CO

30) University of Connecticut School of Medicine – Farmington, CT

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31) University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine – Honolulu, HI

32) University of Illinois College of Medicine – Chicago, IL

33) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine – Chapel Hill, NC

34) University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine – Pittsburgh, PA

35) University of South Alabama College of Medicine – Mobile, AL

36) University of Utah School of Medicine – Salt Lake City, UT

37) University of Virginia School of Medicine – Charlottesville, VA

38) Vanderbilt University School of Medicine – Nashville, TN

39) Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine – Saint Louis, MO

40) Wayne State University School of Medicine – Detroit, MI

41) Weill Cornell Medicine – New York, NY

42) Yale School of Medicine – New Haven, CT

But is it harder to get into medical school as an international student?

Yes. While it can be challenging to choose between medical schools that admit international students, it can be even more challenging for international students to gain admission to American medical schools compared to American students. There are several reasons for this:

Limited seats for international students

Many medical schools in the United States have a limited number of seats available for international students. Some schools may prioritize admitting U.S. citizens or permanent residents due to funding considerations or institutional policies.

Different application requirements

International students may face additional requirements, such as English proficiency exams (e.g., TOEFL or IELTS) and visa documentation.


Typically, international applicants compete with a larger pool of candidates from around the world for a limited number of spots. This increased competition can make it more challenging to stand out among applicants.

Financial considerations

International students typically face higher tuition rates and limited financial aid options when attending medical school in the United States. In addition to tuition, they may encounter additional fees and higher living expenses. Currency exchange rates can also impact the affordability of studying in the U.S.

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Visa restrictions and uncertainties

Obtaining a visa to study in the United States can be an intricate and time-consuming process. Admissions committees may consider the potential challenges associated with obtaining and maintaining a visa when evaluating international applicants. But they also may not.

Despite these challenges, many international students are successfully admitted to American medical schools each year. Moreover, some medical schools recruit and support international students as part of their commitment to global health and diversity initiatives.

How to apply to the medical schools that admit international students

Here are the general steps for international students to apply to medical school in the United States:

Fulfill prerequisites

Most medical schools in the U.S. require specific undergraduate coursework as prerequisites for admission. Ensure you have completed these courses or their equivalents before applying. Common prerequisites include biology, chemistry, physics, and English.

Take the MCAT

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized exam required for admission to most medical schools in the U.S. International students must register for and take the MCAT.

Obtain ECFMG Certification (for IMGs)

International Medical Graduates (IMGs) must obtain certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). This process involves passing the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) and meeting other requirements set by ECFMG.

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Prepare application materials

International students should prepare application materials carefully. These include transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and any other required exams or documents. Ensure that all materials are in English and meet the specific requirements of each medical school.

Submit applications

International students can apply to medical schools in the U.S. through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) or the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS), depending on the type of medical school they are applying to (allopathic or osteopathic).

Attend interviews (if invited)

If selected for an interview, international students should be prepared to travel to the interview location. This may require obtaining a visa. Interviews are typically conducted in person but may also be conducted virtually.

Apply for Visas (if accepted)

If accepted to a medical school in the U.S., international students must apply for the appropriate visa to study in the country. The type of visa required will depend on the duration and nature of the program.

Finance education

Also, international students should consider the cost of medical school in the U.S. and explore funding options, such as scholarships, grants, and loans. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of the financial requirements and resources available.

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Start early

Finally, it’s important to start the process early, as applying to medical school for international students can be lengthy and difficult.

How to get into the medical schools that admit international students

International students can take several steps to increase their chances of getting admitted to medical school in the United States:

Excel academically

First, maintain a strong academic record throughout your undergraduate studies. Strive for high grades in science and non-science courses. Medical schools consider academic performance a crucial factor in the admissions process.

Score well on the MCAT

Prepare thoroughly for the MCAT and aim for a competitive score. A high MCAT score can significantly enhance your chances of admission to medical school. First, find out when you can take it. Then start studying!

Gain clinical experience

Since applying to medical school for international students can be competitive, it’s important to stand out however you can. Consider obtaining hands-on clinical experience through volunteering, internships, or shadowing experiences in healthcare settings. This demonstrates your commitment to the medical profession and provides insight into the realities of healthcare practice.

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Participate in research

Also consider engaging in research projects or internships to demonstrate your interest in scientific inquiry and critical thinking. Research experience can also help you develop valuable skills that are relevant to medical school and beyond.

Demonstrate leadership and extracurricular involvement

And try to get involved in extracurricular activities, leadership roles, or community service initiatives. Admissions committees look for well-rounded applicants who have demonstrated leadership skills, teamwork, and a commitment to serving others.

Write a compelling personal statement

Next, craft a compelling personal statement that highlights your motivations for pursuing a career in medicine, your unique experiences, and what you can contribute to the medical school community.

Secure strong letters of recommendation

Obtain letters of recommendation from professors, healthcare professionals, or mentors. Make sure they can attest to your academic abilities, character, and suitability for a career in medicine.

Address challenges and diversity

If you’ve faced challenges or obstacles on your journey to medical school, such as cultural or language barriers, consider discussing how you have overcome them in your application. Diversity of experiences and perspectives is valued by medical schools.

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Prepare for interviews

If invited for an interview, prepare thoroughly by researching the school. Practice common interview questions. Then practice articulating your motivations for pursuing a career in medicine and your fit with the institution’s mission and values.

Stay informed about admissions policies

Familiarize yourself with the specific admissions policies and requirements of each medical school you apply to.

Seek guidance and support

Consider seeking guidance from advisors, mentors, or pre-health professions offices throughout the application process. Additionally, connecting with current medical students or alumni of U.S. medical schools can offer valuable perspectives and advice. Because applying to medical school for international students is so difficult, asking for support can make a huge difference.

Final thoughts on medical schools that accept international students

In conclusion, some medical schools offer opportunities for aspiring healthcare professionals from around the world to pursue their dreams of a medical education in the United States. While the journey to medical school for international students may be challenging, it’s achievable! By understanding the unique requirements, showcasing your strengths, and seeking support when needed, you can position yourself as a competitive applicant. As you follow this path, know that your dedication and passion for medicine will undoubtedly lead you to success.