Connect with us


Studying Medicine in the USA: The Most Important Information at a Glance



Studying Medicine in the USA: The Most Important Information at a Glance

Students repeatedly turn to the alternative of studying medicine abroad. At the top of the list are countries like Hungary, Latvia and Poland. But what about the United States? Doesn’t the USA also represent an alternative to traditional studies in European countries? In this article we will clarify what requirements you need, how long the course of study will take and what costs you will incur.

The most important information at a glance:

  • In order to study in the USA, you already need a bachelor’s degree.
  • You have to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) and expect a lot of competition.
  • You apply directly to the respective US university. The allocation of places is not done centrally.
  • Most universities are private and charge tuition fees of $20,000 – $40,000 per year (sometimes even per semester!).
  • The actual duration of the course is around four years (but you have to add another four years for the bachelor’s degree).
  • You don’t just need a visa while you’re studying. Completing your studies does not guarantee you a secure residence permit in the USA!

Requirements for studying medicine in the USA

It is particularly difficult for foreign applicants to get a place at one of the sought-after universities in the United States. This is partly because many of these medical schools do not give “non-American” applicants a chance or expect particularly outstanding performance.

The bachelor’s degree is a basic requirement

In order to apply to study medicine in the USA, you must have already completed a four-year bachelor’s degree. However, the degree does not necessarily have to be a Bachelor of Science (something like politics or history is also possible). Of course, a basic degree in the natural sciences is recommended, as the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) tests your skills in exactly this area. As a rule, American citizens complete a pre-med bachelor’s degree after high school, which is intended to prepare them for medical school. European bachelor’s degree is usually not enough to apply to study in the USA.

MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) in the USA

After successfully completing your bachelor’s degree, taking the so-called MCAT is essential. Basically, it is similar to the medical tests in European countries and is intended to compare the basic knowledge of the applicants, which can be very different due to the freely selectable bachelor’s degree.

The most important facts about the test:

  • Duration: approx. 4 hours
  • Structure: mostly multiple choice
  • Content: Chemistry, physics, biology and “verbal reasoning” (language comprehension)
  • Test locations: worldwide
  • Cost: $365 to $415
  • Number of test repetitions: three times per year


Applying for a place to study medicine in the USA is fundamentally different from that in other countries. Here the study places are not allocated centrally. The application is much more likely to be made directly to the respective university. However, since every university has different requirements, it is usually not possible to send the same application folder to different institutions.

When applying, you can e.g., Letters of motivation, certificates or awards in the sporting or voluntary sector can be taken into account. It is important that your application stands out clearly from the others. With a bit of luck, you will then be invited to an interview. But be careful: the competition is incredibly high. As a foreign applicant, you can quickly fall under the table there. Many private universities do not allow “non-American” applications at all. The problem is similarly difficult for the few state universities, as they are financed by taxpayers’ money and therefore give priority to their own citizens.

Please note, in many cases, students need USMLE tutors to get a better guidance when applying for Medical License in the USA. Therefore, you may also need help of a USMLE professional tutor to penetrate into the US medical industry to practice.

Process and duration

After completing the bachelor’s degree, which usually takes four years, the actual medical degree follows, which lasts around four years. The course is completed by the so-called Medical Doctor (MD). The content of the course is relatively clear. However, it is usually the responsibility of the university to determine the order and structure in which the teaching material is taught. This is followed by training to become a specialist. This also takes another three to seven years.

Overview of the length of time it takes to study medicine in the USA:

  • four years of bachelor’s degree in advance
  • four years of “pure” medical studies
  • three to seven years of specialist training


If you want to study medicine in the United States, you have to expect high costs. The majority of students start their working lives with up to six-figure debts. Fees can range from $20,000 to $40,000 per year, sometimes even per semester, depending on the university. There are also costs for rent, food, transport and much more.

If you need support with financing, or an international scholarship may be able to help. If you are particularly talented in a certain area (e.g. sports or music), you may find an opportunity to have part of the costs paid here.

A view

An F1 visa is usually required to study in the USA. However, this visa is only limited to the period of study. After completing their studies, the student is granted a further stay of a maximum of 60 days. However, you are not allowed to work during this time. You will not receive an automatic extension of your visa or a generalized residence permit or work permit with this visa. The process of being able to stay and work in the USA permanently after studying is much more difficult and very individual.


Anyone who actually manages to get one of the highly sought-after study places in the USA despite the strict selection process can be happy! On the one hand, you can fulfill your dream of studying medicine in the USA, and on the other hand, a considerable doctor’s salary awaits you. However, it should not be forgotten that you may initially incur a lot of debt when studying medicine. From a purely economic point of view, there are definitely cheaper and easier ways to study medicine abroad (besides the bureaucratic effort).