Universally, medical study in USA is a four-year course divided in to two components: the pre-clinical phase (consisting of didactic courses in the basic sciences) and clinical phase (clerkship consisting of clinical rotation at hospitals). This programme leads to Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) or Doctor of Medicine (MD) depending on the medical school. Both degrees allow the holder to practice medicine after completing accredited residency programme.
Out of 141 accredited medical schools in US only 49 are accepting international students for undergraduate medical courses. The pre-requisite for the MD programme is completion of bachelor’s degree (pre-medical course) with valid MCAT scores.
Many medical schools insist that the bachelor’s degree must be obtained at an American or Canadian institution. Therefore, students who have received their undergraduate degree in their countries will not be eligible for direct admission in in US based universities.
Each of the specialties in medicine has established its own curriculum, which defines the length and contents of residency training necessary to practice in that specialty. Programmes range from three years to seven years for completing residency.
On successful completion of undergraduate medicine course (MD/DO), one can appear for the licensing exam (USMLE) which is conducted in three phases. The first phase is generally conducted during second year of MD course. The second phase is divided in to two parts – CS (Clinical Skills) and CK (Clinical Knowledge), can be completed during the fourth year of medical graduation. The third phase is conducted during the first year of residency programme.
Popular medical schools conducting undergraduate medical programmes for international students are the following.