International and Off-Shore Medical Schools

There are very good medical schools in other countries and, in some instances, it may be easier to gain admission to foreign medical schools than to U.S. medical schools. You should be extremely cautious with schools that have less than a proven record of success. Some students who are driven to enter any medical school right out of college should recall that it is advisable to consider working to address weaknesses in the application for as long as two years before applying to a US school. For those students with a strong interest in primary care, the preferred option is osteopathic medicine, particularly if you plan to practice in the U.S. Find out as much information as possible if you are considering a foreign medical school.

If you decide to go to a medical school abroad, you will still have to take the USMLE Step exams in order to return to the U.S. and practice here. The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical School Graduates explains this in more depth.

In addition, you should reference the report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office titled, "Foreign Medical Schools: Education Should Improve Monitoring of Schools That Participate in the Federal Student Loan Program."  The Department of Education, which administers the federal student loan program, monitors domestic and foreign schools that seek participation in the program with respect to specific statutory requirements.  The report examines the following questions: 1) What amount of federal student aid loan dollars has been awarded to U.S. students attending foreign medical schools? 2.) What do the data show about the pass rates of international medical graduates on license examinations? 3) To what extent does the Department of Education monitor foreign medical schools' compliance with the pass rate required to participate in the federal student loan program? 4) What is known about schools' performance with regard to the institutional pass rate requirement? 5) What is known about where international medical graduates have obtained residencies in the U.S. and the types of medicine they practice, and 6) What is known about discipline and malpractice involving foreign-educated physicians?  This is a very useful and important report to reference.

Caribbean Medical Schools
Caribbean medical schools have afforded many unsuccessful applicants to U.S. medical schools the opportunity to pursue a medical education, and then return to the U.S. to fulfill their dream of practicing as a physician. However, the challenges of studying in a foreign environment, being immersed in a different language and culture, trying to secure residencies in the U.S., passing the boards, etc., should be carefully examined.

Also of interest, see Diaries of a Caribbean Medical Student

Medical Schools in Israel
There are four university medical schools in Israel: Technion in Haifa; Ben Gurion University in Beer Shiva; Tel Aviv University; and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. They all follow the European six year model. However, as of 2009, Tel Aviv University has introduced a four year program similar to the US system for students with a bachelor's degree in certain biological sciences. Currently, the Technion Medical School, Ben Gurion University, and Tel Aviv University Sackler Faculty of Medicine offer 4 year MD programs for American students who have American college degrees and have taken the MCAT interested in completing rigorous medical education in Israel before returning to the US or Canada. See descriptions below:

Ben-Gurion University
Ben-Gurion Medical School in Beer Sheva, Israel, is a  collaboration between BGU and Columbia University Medical Center. Students complete an international health and medicine elective in the fourth year in supervised, clinical settings in underserved areas of Ethiopia, Uganda, Peru, India, Israel, Vietnam, Nepal, Kenya, and the United States. This medical school for international health is the only four-year, American-style medical school that incorporates global health coursework into all four years of the medical school curriculum. They are currently accepting applications for the class of 2014.

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
The Technion American Medical Students (TEAMS) Program offers an excellent opportunity for qualified U.S. or Canadian pre-med college graduates, to pursue a career as physicians, for the M.D. degree in the Ruth & Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel. Open to qualified U.S. and Canadian citizens or permanent residents who spent at least 8 years out of the last 10 years, residing in North America. The American Program in the Technion Faculty of Medicine offers an opportunity for students to pursue an M.D. educational program with a curriculum and course of study patterned after U.S. medical schools. Equal consideration is given to all applications from qualified applicants without regard to sex, religion, age, race, color, national origin, or physical handicap, within the meaning of applicable federal and state laws.

Sackler School of Medicine
The Sackler Institute at the NYU School of Medicine is a division of the Graduate School of the Arts and Science of New York University, offering programs in the basic medical sciences leading to the Ph.D. degree and, in coordination with The Medical Scientist Training Program, combined M.D./Ph.D. degrees. Students can do their thesis research in the laboratories of more than 180 faculty members at the NYU Langone Medical Center who have appointments in basic science or clinical departments, as well as associated faculty located at the main campus. If you have any questions about the Sackler Institute, please contact a member of our staff by e-mailing or calling 212.263.5648.

Medical School for International Health (MSIH)
The Medical School for International Health (MSIH) , a collaboration of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Faculty of Health Sciences and Columbia University Medical Center.

Atlantic Bridge Program in Ireland
The Atlantic Bridge Program is a cultural diversity program to allow a small number of Canadian and US students to study medicine or veterinary medicine at an Irish University. Since its inception over 20 years ago, more than 3,000 students have undertaken medical, dental, or veterinary studies in Ireland.

Students can apply to all six Irish medical schools using just one common application and submitting only one set of documents (transcripts, letters of reference etc). Students who graduate from Irish medical schools via the Atlantic Bridge Program have the choice of entering postgraduate residency training in the USA, in Canada or abroad.

University of Queensland School of Medicine in Brisbane
The University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia) Ochsner Clinical School (New Orleans) Medical Degree Program, accept applications for January entry--the start of the Australian academic year, not a mid-year entry.  This program is designed for US students or permanent residents, and provides students two years of rotations in the United States at the Ochsner Clinical School. Students complete their first two years studying the basic medical sciences at The University of Queensland's School of Medicine. Students then complete their third and fourth year in clinical rotations at the UQ Ochsner Clinical School in New Orleans.  The University of Queensland has six internationally significant, interdisciplinary research institutes offer a variety of research/study opportunities to students in the School of Medicine, including the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the Brain Institute, the Diamantina Institute for Cancer, Immunology and Metabolic Medicine Research Center.  Ochsner Health System is a non-profit, academic, multi-specialty healthcare delivery system dedicated to patient care, research and education.  The system includes seven hospitals and over 35 health centers located throughout Southeast Louisiana.  Medical students from UQ work alongside students from Tulane University and the University of Louisiana School of Medicine who also pursue clinical studies through the Ochsner Health System.

Additional Medical School Options Abroad

Thirty-four medical schools offer a medical degree that takes place in 3 cycles. The following website does a great job of explaining this -

Also quite different in structure from U.S. medical schools. See the following article for more about the admissions process, curriculum, etc. -

Students enter medical school directly after finishing the equivalent of high school.

For a searchable directory of foreign medical schools, visit

102 Richardson Building, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5798