Applying to International Medical Schools


There are very good medical schools in other countries and, in some instances, it may be easier to gain admission to foreign medical schools than to U.S. medical schools. You should be extremely cautious with schools that have less than a proven record of success. Some students who are driven to enter any medical school right out of college should recall that it is advisable to consider working to address weaknesses in the application for as long as two years before applying to a US school. For those students with a strong interest in primary care, the preferred option is osteopathic medicine, particularly if you plan to practice in the U.S. Find out as much information as possible if you are considering a foreign medical school.

If you decide to go to a medical school abroad, you will still have to take the USMLE Step exams in order to return to the U.S. and practice here. The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical School Graduates explains this in more depth. In graduating from a medical school abroad, you will be considered an IMG (international medical graduate).

Medical Schools in Asia

DUKE-NUS Singapore

Duke-NUS is Singapore’s first US-style graduate-entry medical school. We draw on the rich medical training and research at Duke University in North Carolina and the outstanding resources at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Offering innovative MD, PhD, and MD/PhD programs with a focus on medical research, the Duke-NUS MD degree is jointly awarded by Duke University and the National University of Singapore, while the PhD degree is awarded by the National University of Singapore. Johns Hopkins students have been represented in each class at Duke-NUS since its inception. To read testimonials of the experience of JHU students at DUKE-NUS, go to PDF Document: Testimonials.

Caribbean Medical Schools

Caribbean medical schools have afforded many unsuccessful applicants to U.S. medical schools the opportunity to pursue a medical education, and then return to the U.S. to fulfill their dream of practicing as a physician. However, the challenges of studying in a foreign environment, being immersed in a different language and culture, trying to secure residencies in the U.S., passing the boards, etc., should be carefully examined.

Below we list links to Caribbean schools frequently attended by Johns Hopkins students:

St. George’s University School of Medicine (in Grenada)
Ross University School of Medicine (in the Dominica)
American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (in the Antilles)

Also of interest, see Diaries of a Caribbean Medical Student.

Medical Schools in Israel

There are four university medical schools in Israel: Technion in Haifa; Ben Gurion University of the Negev; Tel Aviv University; and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. They all follow the European six-year model. However, as of 2009, Tel Aviv University has introduced a four-year program similar to the US system for students with a bachelor’s degree in certain biological sciences. Currently, the Technion Medical School, Ben Gurion University, and Tel Aviv University Sackler Faculty of Medicine offer 4 year MD programs for American students who have American college degrees and have taken the MCAT interested in completing rigorous medical education in Israel before returning to the US or Canada. See descriptions below:

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Medical School for International Health

Ben-Gurion Medical School is a collaboration between Ben-Gurion University and Columbia University Medical Center. Students complete an international health and medicine elective. which is an eight-week global health elective clerkship in supervised, clinical settings around the world, including Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Peru, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Vietnam, Nepal, Israel, the United States and Canada. This medical school for international health is the only four-year, American-style medical school that incorporates global health coursework into all four years of the medical school curriculum. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

The American Program in the Technion Faculty of Medicine offers an opportunity for students to pursue an M.D. educational program with a curriculum and course of study patterned after U.S. medical schools. Equal consideration is given to all applications from qualified applicants without regard to sex, religion, age, race, color, national origin, or physical handicap, within the meaning of applicable federal and state laws.

Sackler School of Medicine

The Sackler Institute at the NYU School of Medicine is a division of the Graduate School of the Arts and Science of New York University, offering programs in the basic medical sciences leading to the Ph.D. degree and, in coordination with The Medical Scientist Training Program, combined M.D./Ph.D. degrees. Students can do their thesis research in the laboratories of more than 180 faculty members at the NYU Langone Medical Center who have appointments in basic science or clinical departments, as well as associated faculty located at the main campus. If you have any questions about the Sackler Institute, please contact a member of our staff by e-mailing or calling 212.263.5648.

Medical School for International Health (MSIH)

The Medical School for International Health (MSIH) , a collaboration of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Faculty of Health Sciences and Columbia University Medical Center.

Additional International Medical Schools of Interest

Atlantic Bridge Program in Ireland

The Atlantic Bridge Program is a cultural diversity program to allow a small number of Canadian and US students to study medicine or veterinary medicine at an Irish University. Since its inception over 20 years ago, more than 3,000 students have undertaken medical, dental, or veterinary studies in Ireland. Students can apply to all six Irish medical schools using just one common application and submitting only one set of documents (transcripts, letters of reference etc). Students who graduate from Irish medical schools via the Atlantic Bridge Program have the choice of entering postgraduate residency training in the USA, in Canada or abroad.

University of Queensland School of Medicine in Brisbane

The University of Queensland Ochsner Clinical School Medical Degree Program , accept applications for January entry–the start of the Australian academic year, not a mid-year entry. This program is designed for US students or permanent residents, and provides students two years of rotations in the United States at the Ochsner Clinical School. Students complete their first two years studying the basic medical sciences at The University of Queensland’s School of Medicine. Students then complete their third and forth year in clinical rotations at the UQ Ochsner Clinical School in New Orleans. The University of Queensland has six internationally significant, interdisciplinary research institutes offer a variety of research/study opportunities to students in the School of Medicine, including the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the Brain Institute, the Diamantina Institute for Cancer, Immunology and Metabolic Medicine Research Center. Ochsner Health System is a non-profit, academic, multi-specialty healthcare delivery system dedicated to patient care, research and education. The system includes seven hospitals and over 35 health centers located throughout Southeast Louisiana. Medical students from UQ work alongside students from Tulane University and the University of Louisiana School of Medicine who also pursue clinical studies through the Ochsner Health System.


In France, students enter medical school directly after finishing the equivalent of high school. Thirty-four medical schools offer a medical degree that takes place in 3 cycles. There is a blog that does a great job of reviewing medical school options in France.


In Italy, students enter medical school directly after finishing the equivalent of high school. Medical school education in Italy is also quite different in structure from U.S. medical schools. One option is to pursue medical studies at Humanitas University, an international medical school in Milan.


In England, students enter medical school directly after finishing the equivalent of high school. There are, however, some schools that offer graduate entry. One is St. George’s University of London whose Graduate Entry Medicine course will award the MBBS and thus eligible to undertake the General Medical Council Foundation Programme. To learn more about medical school education in Great Britain, go to the Medical Schools Council.

Match Rates

There really is not any reliable or objective match rate data per school for the Caribbean and other off-shore schools. The larger and more successful Caribbean schools that self report “match” data can be, at best, misleading. As a general rule, IMGs (both US citizens and non-citizens) have an approximately 50% match rate were U.S. allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) graduates match at approximately 94%. The PDF Document: NMRP publishes an large report specifically analyzing match outcomes for IMGs in enormous detail.

In Closing

A searchable directory of foreign medical schools, visit the International Medical Education Directory.

In addition, international medical schools must annually report and meet certain eligibility requirements to remain as participants in the federal student loan programs. Additionally, an international school may be eligible to participate in the federal student loan programs, but the school’s medical program may be ineligible to participate. The PDF Document: International Medical Schools Loan List is a resource only and you MUST contact your intended school to confirm that its medical program is currently eligible and participates in the loan program.