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Med Schools: Info and Requirements for New Med Students

While a student often enters medical school to complete a Doctor of Medicine (MD) program, medical schools may offer other advanced medical degrees, such as a Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. While enrolled in medical school, a student receives instruction on various topics, including pathology, human anatomy, immunology and internal medicine.

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Medical school programs typically take four years to complete and are followed by a residency. Of the top ten med schools in the country in 2016, tuition amounts range from close to $20,00 per year to $70,000 per year.

Top 10 Medical Schools for a Doctor of Medicine

In 2016, U.S. World and News Report ranked these institutions as the ten best medical schools for aspiring primary care doctors in the United States:

College/University Location Institution Type Tuition (2015-2016)*
University of Washington Seattle, WA 4-year, public $33,519 in-state, $63,954 out-of-state
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 4-year, public $21,837 in-state, $48,716 out-of-state
University of California - San Francisco San Francisco, CA 4-year, public $32,751 in-state, $44,996 out-of-state
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, public $32,428 in-state, $50,854 out-of-state
University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha, NE 4-year, public $28,482 in-state, $70,850 out-of-state
Oregon Health and Science University Portland, OR 4-year, public $39,196 in-state, $55,740 out-of-state
University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 4-year, public $31,731 in-state, $43,976 out-of-state
Duke University Durham, NC 4-year, public $53,575
Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX 4-year, public $19,650
University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 4-year, public $37,872 in-state, $51,510 out-of-state

Source: *U.S. News and World Report

School Selection Criteria

When searching for a medical school program, it may be helpful to keep the following considerations in mind:

  • Students interested in conducting research after graduation may want to consider a program that leads to a combined Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy.
  • Prospective medical students who want to become medical research scientists may only want to consider medical schools that offer research areas in their particular area of interest, such as bioinformatics, human genetics, neuroscience, biophysics and immunology.
  • Students who are interested in a specific subfield within the field of medicine should consider the strength of the school's program in that particular area.

Doctor of Medicine

A Doctor of Medicine (MD) program takes four years. Following an MD, students enter a residency. The first year of a Doctor of Medicine program focuses on normal human body functions and processes. Students complete classes in biochemistry, histology, immunology, cell biology and in other areas, with room for electives during the first year.

The second year emphasizes diseases and pathophysiology. Students take courses on particular body organs and systems, such as the endocrine system, the respiratory system and the cardiovascular system. These classes emphasize problem solving and utilize scientific knowledge learned during the first year.

The third year focuses on the major areas of medicine, including psychiatry, internal medicine, surgery and obstetrics. At the end of the third year, students have a strong idea of which medical specialty they prefer and can make decisions regarding their residencies. Clinical experiences are primarily conducted in hospital settings through a series of rotations. Electives and final decisions about a residency occur during the final year.

Students who want to become medical doctors must earn an MD degree. Educational requirements are extensive, and students may make the most of this training by choosing one of the country's top universities.

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