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The Houston area has 3 schools that offer medical training within 55 miles of downtown. Learn about the degree options, admission info and program requirements for these institutions to make an informed education decision.
For those interested in establishing a career in medicine, a few schools with medical programs are within about an hour's drive of downtown Houston. Read about the classroom and clinical training available at 3 institutions, and then look over a table of statistics to find out more about the schools.
Ranked #18 for best research program and #24 for best primary care program, Baylor College of Medicine was among the highest-ranked medical schools in the U.S. in 2013, according to U.S. News and World Report. In addition, the pediatrics specialty is ranked as the #8 best research program of its kind in the nation. Students train at the Texas Medical Center with access to 8 instructional hospitals. These include a world-renowned pediatric hospital, one of the largest Veterans Affairs hospitals in the country, and various private and public hospitals.
Baylor's MD program differs from many other medical school programs in that the classroom-based portion of the program lasts only 1.5 years, instead of the traditional 2 years. This allows each student to spend the extra 6 months gaining more clinical experience and customizing the program to specific interests and areas of specialization. Tracks available include genetics, medical ethics, care for the underserved, geriatrics, international health, and research.
This 5-year program in Health Sciences Management is a joint effort by the Baylor College of Medicine and the Jones School of Management at Rice University, also in Houston. The first 2 years are conducted at BCM, then 18 months are completed at Rice, with the final 18 months back at BCM for the completion of medical school. The MBA curriculum includes courses on developing successful managerial skills, specifically for healthcare operations and systems.
This 5-year program is offered through both Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas School of Public Health (UTSPH). The first 3 years of the program are focused on the medical school curriculum in combination with 5 required public health courses offered online. During the program's fourth year, students take classes only at UTSPH. Available focus areas include the study of community health, biostatistics, disease control, occupational health sciences, and the behavioral sciences. The fifth and final is spent completing medical school requirements.
This 6-year program allows students to earn an MD through Baylor College of Medicine and a law degree through the University of Houston Law Center (UHLC). The first 2 years of this program will be dedicated to the study of medicine and completing the foundational courses in the basic sciences. Next, students study law full-time for 2 years at UHLC. After successfully earning their JD degree, students return to Baylor for 2 years to complete the medical school curriculum with clinical rotations and electives.
The MD/PhD degree program prepares students for careers as medical scientists. Students can earn a medical education in approximately 3 years and then move into the PhD program. They take basic science classes during the first 18 months, exactly like the medical school curriculum, and then complete clinical course requirements before entering graduate school to pursue their doctoral degree in the field of their choice. Some options include the study of biochemistry, molecular biology, neuroscience, immunology, and molecular medicine. After earning the doctoral degree, students return to medical school to complete the remaining clinical and elective requirements over the course of 17 months.
Located in the same vicinity as the Texas Medical Center, the University of Texas Medical School Houston admitted its first students in 1970. More than 5,000 physicians have been trained at UT Medical School Houston since then. The medical school offers 5 degrees and has 24 departments, including anesthesiology, dermatology, emergency medicine, neurosurgery, visual science, pediatrics, and psychiatry.
This degree is primarily for MDs and other clinicians and is aimed at training clinical researchers over a minimum of 3 years. Being that this program is designed for working professionals, courses are held on Wednesday afternoons. The 2 tracks available focus on patient-based clinical research and translational research. The curriculum for each track is individualized based on the student's background and goals. A total of 36 credit hours are required, as is a master's thesis.
The University of Texas offers a 4-year graduate program leading to an MD degree. The curriculum begins with required courses in areas like biochemistry, anatomy, microbiology, and immunology. Students begin clinical applications in their first year, moving on to more thorough clinical experiences in their second year. The third year deals with various medical topics, such as family medicine, pediatrics, and neurology. Students take mostly electives in their fourth year in preparation for their residency.
The MD/OMS program can be completed in either 4 or 6 years. Both master's and doctoral degree tracks are available. Candidates from this program must be graduates of an ADA-accredited dental school and are required to take a special exam designed for admission to this program. The 4-year program requires a year performing oral and maxillofacial surgery, various clinical rotations, and a year serving as a chief oral and maxillofacial surgical resident. For the 6-year program, students must complete years 2-4 of the MD curriculum in addition to all requirements of the 4-year program.
This MD/MPH degree program allows students to pursue careers in administrative divisions of healthcare facilities or in academic positions at universities. The MPH requirements take 1 year to complete, and many students do some of that work while enrolled in medical school. Areas of focus include community medicine, epidemiology, occupational medicine, clinical research, preventive medicine, public health policy, and public health administration.
Students interested in furthering their education as physician scientists can earn a dual MD/PhD degree in approximately 6-8 years. It's a combined program offered by the UT Health Science Center at Houston and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, which is among the largest institutions in the world for cancer research and treatment. The MD/PhD program is a 4-year medical school program with additional required research and courses for the PhD degree. The PhD program includes biomedical research ethics courses, 3 lab tutorials, a molecular medicine seminar, written and oral candidacy exams, and a dissertation. Before beginning dissertation research, students must have completed the first 3 years of medical school. In the last year of the program, students will complete fourth-year medical school clerkships and electives.
Located in Galveston, UTMB is the oldest medical school in the state of Texas. Its mission is to provide quality in patient care, research, service, and education. It features 20 departments and 3 institutes for advanced study that encourage an integrated medical education, along with a focus on basic and clinical research. The 84-acre campus is home to 4 separate schools, a major medical library, and several hospitals providing clinical training and experience.
The MD program at UTMB requires 4 years of study. Students may choose a focus area such as aerospace medicine, geriatrics, rural healthcare, translational research, and global health. The first half of the program includes courses in gross anatomy, pathology, neuroscience, cardiovascular health, nutrition, and the great syndromes, while the second half is composed of required and elective clinical experiences. Clinical practice covers such areas as family and internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery, emergency medicine, advanced cardiac life support, autopsy exercises, and neurology. An integrated clinical evaluation exercise is necessary during the final year of the program.
The MD/PhD combined degree program prepares students for careers as physician scientists who can bridge the gap between medical knowledge and its practical benefits for patients. Concentrations are available in the biomedical sciences, medical humanities, and biomedical engineering, with each requiring 7 years of scientific training and clinical experience. There are 8 areas of focus within the biomedical science concentration, including the study of cell and cancer cell biology, infection and immunity, clinical science and epidemiology, structural biology, and neuroscience.
The concentration in medical humanities is the only one of its kind in the nation. Students train for medical ethics and humanities leadership and scholarship in preventative medicine and community health. The biomedical engineering option is offered jointly by UTMB and the University of Texas Austin and combines training in engineering, cell biology, and molecular biology for research and development of treatments for disease.
Medical school is quite the investment, as evidenced by the tuition figures in the table below. To help you figure out which institution is right for your goals, explore not only the costs but other factors like enrollment numbers and campus environments.
|Baylor College of Medicine||University of Texas Health Science Center||University of Texas Medical Branch|
|School Type||4-year; private not-for-profit||4-year; public||4-year; public|
|Total Enrollment (2011)||1,486*||4,600*||2,825*|
|Campus Setting||Large city||Large city||Fringe town|
|Medical School Tuition & Fees|| $67,584 total in-state; |
$119,984 total out-of-state (2013-2014)**
| $62,609 total in-state; |
$115,009 total out-of-state (2012-2013)***
| $65,288 total in-state;|
$117,688 total out-of-state (2013-2014)****
Source: *NCES College Navigator, **Baylor College of Medicine, ***University of Texas Health Science Center, ****University of Texas Medical Branch