Pennsylvania Medical Schools with Program Overviews

Aug 01, 2019

Essential Information

Individuals in Pennsylvania interested in attending medical school have more than a few options from which to choose. All medical schools offer medical doctorate degrees, but many additionally offer dual doctoral degree, sometimes combined with a master's program. Admission to medical schools in general is very competitive and applicants should hold an undergraduate degree in pre-med or a science-heavy field. Practicum requirements are significant in such programs of study.

Career Requirements

Along with completing a residency and passing a comprehensive medical exam, aspiring doctors must earn a medical degree from an accredited medical school before they can pursue licensure. All states require doctors to be licensed before they can practice. During the first two years of medical school, students typically focus on classroom studies, taking courses in science, ethics and procedures. The latter two years consist of hands-on clinical experiences working under the supervision of a licensed physician in rotations.

The following schools can help students meet the education requirements for licensure.

Drexel University

Located in the East Falls section of Philadelphia, Drexel University College of Medicine offers a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree as well as several joint MD degrees. Students have access to 25 affiliated medical facilities to complete their clinical rotations, including Lehigh Valley Hospital, Mercy Catholic Medical Centers and York Hospital. The school is home to one of the country's National Centers of Excellence in Women's Health, as well as one of the largest spinal cord injury centers in the mid-Atlantic region. Students interested in community service can participate in the Bridging the Gaps program that connects aspiring physicians with underserved communities. The program consists of a summer internship as well as a clinical component.

Pennsylvania State University - College of Medicine

With a main campus in Hershey, this university offers an MD program as well as MD/Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and MD/Master of Business Administration (MBA) dual degrees. The MBA program is only available at the school's regional campus near State College, Pennsylvania. Students are assigned to a clinical skills instructor who observes and offers feedback on techniques. Students are matched with a mentor during their third year to help narrow their field of interest, and they're assigned another mentor in the student's chosen field of interest during the fourth year. The mentor also helps guide students through the residency application process.

Temple University

On its main campus in Philadelphia, students can earn a medical degree from Temple University. The school also features a number of dual degree options for students pursuing the MD. During the first two years, students take courses at the William Maul Measey Institute for Clinical Simulation and Patient Safety. The simulation center at the institute allows students to learn clinical skills in a controlled environment. During the final two years, students complete their clinical rotations at hospitals that include Temple University Hospital and Fox Chase Cancer Center. Temple University School of Medicine is also home to the Medical Research and Education building, where physicians and researchers conduct studies in cancer biology, HIV, neuroscience and other areas.

The Commonwealth Medical College

The Commonwealth Medical College is located in Scranton. Students volunteer with families in their first and second years to understand the patient experience and how illness can affect a family. The Commonwealth Medical College has affiliations with most of the local healthcare facilities in the region, including the Regional Hospital of Scranton, Geisinger - Community Medical Center and Riverview Ambulatory Surgical Center, LLC. Students can receive assistance coping with the challenges of attending medical school by taking advantage of services at the Center for Learning Excellence, which offers academic support as well as therapeutic counseling.

Thomas Jefferson University

Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia collaborates with Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals to provide clinical instruction for students pursuing an MD or joint medical degree. Medical departments include cancer biology, dermatology and pediatrics. Students interested in focusing on research can opt for a four-year research program called College within the College, while other students can participate in summer research programs. The school also features an accelerated program that allows students to earn a bachelor's degree and MD degree in six or seven years. Dual programs are also available, allowing students to complement their MD with a PhD, Master of Public Health (MPH) or MBA.

University of Pennsylvania

Located in Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine was ranked 4th in research and 13th in primary care by U.S. News and World Report in 2013. The school offers certificate programs and research experiences that give students additional opportunities to focus on a specific area of interest, such as women's health, global health or clinical neuroscience. They can also take advantage of student societies to learn more about their areas of interest. The University of Pennsylvania Health System is made up of five separate centers/facilities, and the school is affiliated with a variety of additional facilities, including the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Virtua Health and York Hospital.

University of Pittsburgh

In 2013, U.S. News and World Report ranked this Pittsburgh-based university in the top 10 in four medical specialties: drug and alcohol abuse, geriatrics, pediatrics and women's health. The school is also ranked 16th in the best research category and 24th in primary care. Students can choose concentrations in geriatric medicine, women's health and global health. All students work with an advisor to develop a research project that lasts throughout the four years of the program. The school also offers a couple of joint degree options for students seeking additional education.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Medical Degree Programs Offered Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
Drexel University 4-year; private, not-for-profit; large city MD,
MD/Doctor of Philosophy (PhD),
MD/Master of Public Health (MPH),
MD/Master of Business Administration (MBA),
MD/Master of Science (MS) in Healthcare Ethics
$57,248 tuition only*
Pennsylvania State University - College of Medicine 4-year; public; fringe rural MD,
$49,800 tuition only (first year)*
Temple University 4-year; public; large city MD,
MD/Master of Arts (MA) in Urban Bioethics,
$53,406 in-state; $56,628 out-of-state*
The Commonwealth Medical College 4-year; private, not for profit; small city MD,
MD/Master in Health Administration
$55,700 in-state; $61,900 out-of-state tuition only (2019-2020)*
Thomas Jefferson University 4-year; private, not for profit; large city MD,
$27,798 PhD Programs tuition only (2019-2020)*
University of Pennsylvania 4-year; private, not-for-profit; large city MD,
MD/Master of Bioethics,
MD/MS in Clinical Epidemiology,
MD/MS in Translational Research,
MD/MS in Health Policy Research,
MD/Juris Doctor
$59,910 first year tuition only (2019-2020)*
University of Pittsburgh 4-year: public; large city MD,
MD/MA in Bioethics,
$57,684 in-state; $59,930 out-of-state tuition only (2019-2020)*

Source: *School's Websites.

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