International Applicants to US Medical Schools

International students are defined as those students who are not green card holders or permanent residents. Permanent residents are generally treated the same as all U.S. citizens.

International students not holding a green card will have a more challenging time in the school admissions process, because only a limited number of schools can consider them. Data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) indicate that of the 20,000 or so places in medical school in the US, about 200 got to non-US-citizen/ non-permanent resident (i.e. green card). . The overall number of international matriculants is so small primarily because, even for the private medical schools that are open to international students, some have policies which may require evidence of the student’s capacity to pay tuition above and beyond the INS requirements for an I20. In fact some schools may require the student to pre-pay tuition for the entire 4 years or create an escrow account for these funds. Some institutions may accept loans cosigned by a US citizen.

International students do not qualify for financial aid, with the exception of merit scholarships at a few institutions (there are schools that have privately-funded programs for which international students may apply). Research-oriented international applicants may also want to explore joint MD/PhD programs in which the student might be supported by his or her research mentor’s grant.

International students should consult the individual medical school entries in Medical School Admission Requirements (available online through the Association of American Medical Colleges) to determine whether applications are accepted from international applicants.

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Research and Employment in the U.S. During a Gap Year

USCIS will authorize a maximum period of 12 months of full-time Optional Practical Training at each successively higher degree level (i.e., Bachelors, Master’s, Doctorate). Part- time Optional Practical Training of 20 hours per week or less is deducted from the 12 month total at one-half the full-time rate. Students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields may be eligible for one-time 17 month extension of OPT, totaling 29 months. Please consult our 17 month extension instructions for more information on this benefit. For more information, contact the Office of International Student Services on the 3rd floor of Garland Hall.