Medical Schools in South Carolina with Degree Program Overviews

Jul 26, 2019

South Carolina has three medical schools that offer training programs. Learn about the degree programs, tuition info and program options for these three schools to make an informed education decision.

Essential Information

The University of South Carolina School of Medicine (USCSM), with campuses in Columbia and Greenville, and the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston (MUSC) offer medical training programs with residency opportunities in a number of medical fields. These 4-year programs lead to a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree and include internships at hospitals and clinics. All of them are LCME-accredited and help qualify graduates for state licensure.

Career Requirements

The South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners requires doctors to have a license to practice in the state. In order to become a licensed doctor in South Carolina, one must complete a program from a medical school accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) or another board-approved agency, complete a minimum of one year of postgraduate residency training, and pass one of the approved comprehensive examinations.

Below are descriptive overviews of each program followed by a comparison table that includes tuition costs.

Medical University of South Carolina

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston has more than 20 departments and centers; specialty areas include dermatology, urology, radiology and anesthesia. In 2013, U.S. News and World Report ranked the Medical University of South Carolina 59th among the best research medical schools and 58th across best primary care schools in the United States.

First-year medical students pursuing the MD program study patient care fundamentals, energetics and homeostasis. Biomedical science foundations, musculoskeletal systems, cardiovascular respiratory systems and cognition are among other topics covered early on. The curriculum in the second year focuses on disease development and treatment. Students develop skills in using an active learning and professional approach when interacting with patients in clinical health care settings.

Third- and fourth-year medical students complete required clerkships in select divisions, such as family medicine and psychiatry, and receive hands-on training at area hospitals and clinics. This clinical practice includes a critical care rotation and family medicine rural clerkship. The Doctor of Medicine program is highly selective. Criteria reviewed by admissions personnel are based on a variety of factors, including a student's undergraduate GPA, Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores and participation in volunteer efforts within community-based services.

This school also offers dual-degree programs for doctors. Prospective students interested in pursuing business studies to complement their medical training may want to explore the combined MD and Master of Business Administration (MD/MBA) program. This 5-year program is administered through a partnership with MUSC and the Citadel School of Business Administration and requires acceptance into both programs. The combined MD and Master in Health Administration (MD/MHA) degree program can also be completed in five years. Medical students interested in public health studies may want to explore the MD and Master in Public Health (MD/MPH) 5-year program, which is offered in conjunction with the Arnold School of Public Health.

Students with an interest in research and clinical studies may want to pursue MUSC's combined MD/PhD medical scientist program. Admission is competitive, since only about seven or eight students are accepted into the program per year. The curriculum includes a combination of studies in medicine with focused research in an area of interest. Research areas include bioengineering, cell biology, microbiology and immunology, neurosciences, biomedical imaging and proteomics. Accepted students receive an annual stipend and are provided with health insurance and paid tuition.

University of South Carolina School of Medicine - Columbia

The University of South Carolina School of Medicine (USCSM) in Columbia prepares students to become medical doctors through an intense curriculum that includes basic science concepts, clinical practice, interventions and therapies. The School of Medicine has the country's first course continuum in clinical practice that integrates innovative ultrasound technologies into each year of the program. U.S. News and World Report placed this school at number 62 on its list of best primary care medical schools in 2013.

Students who pursue the MD degree program at USCSM - Columbia get instruction in general and medical science in the first two years of their studies. Courses cover topics in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, behavioral science, pharmacology and pathology. Students gain hands-on training under guided faculty supervision at clinics and hospitals starting their third year. Third- and fourth-year medical students complete mandatory clerkships in obstetrics and gynecology, family and internal medicine, surgery, neurology, psychiatry and pediatrics.

This school also offers prospective medical students alternative programs of study, such as a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling, PhD in Biomedical Science, and dual-degree programs that lead to an MD/MPH or MD/PhD.

Students interested in pursuing a specialized area of study may want to explore the Master of Science in Genetic Counseling program. The curriculum within the 56-hour program includes classroom lectures, clinical-based rotations and a thesis research project. Students learn about underlying factors that may contribute to genetic disease, such as family medical history and hereditary conditions.

The combined MD/PhD in Biomedical Sciences program provides medical scientist training that requires about six years of focused study and research for successful completion. The curriculum encompasses a combination of classroom lectures in conjunction with lab research and applied clinical medicine clerkships. The PhD in Biomedical Sciences is also available as a standalone program that offers an advanced plan of study for students interested in exploring and researching focused areas in the medical field, such as physiology and neuroscience, cell biology and anatomy, microbiology and immunology, alternative medicine and cardiovascular biology.

University of South Carolina School of Medicine - Greenville

USCSM - Greenville offers a Doctor of Medicine program that has separate accreditation from the one at the Columbia campus. During the 6-week introductory period of the first year of the program, students engage in Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training sessions. This involves the initial patient contact within the field and includes all levels of treatment and follow-up appointments.

The second year of study at introduces students to the biomedical principles of disease and therapy, neurology and psychiatry, cardiovascular and pulmonary, hematology and oncology, endocrine and reproductive systems as well as clinical diagnosis. Students engage in practice sessions within the school's Clinical Skills and Simulation Center.

Throughout the MD training program, students participate in clinical experiences and directed patient research studies. Students can select from more than 10 options when choosing their residency or fellowship experiences. Areas of practice include family medicine, general surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics-gynecology, pediatrics, primary care sports medicine and vascular surgery.

School Comparison

School Name School Type & Setting Medical Degree Programs Offered MD Program Tuition (2018-2019)
Medical University of South Carolina 4-year; public; midsize city MD,
In-state: $17,257
Out-of-state: $23,488*
University of South Carolina School of Medicine - Columbia 4-year; public; midsize city Master of Science in Genetic Counseling,
PhD in Biomedical Sciences
In-state: $14,050
Out-of-state: $29,596*
University of South Carolina School of Medicine - Greenville 4-year; public; midsize city MD In-state: $43,806 per year
Out-of-state: $88,872 per year (2019-2020)**

Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **University of South Carolina School of Medicine - Greenville.

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