Best universities in the United States for medicine degrees

Find the best universities in the United States for medicine degrees through Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data

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February 4 2021
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Students who wish to study medicine in the US will have to take a slightly different approach than they would for other countries.

In most cases, medical degrees can be taken only at the postgraduate level, and this is usually a five-year course. At the undergraduate level, students can take health- and science-related courses, which are known as “pre-med”. Students will then go on to apply for medical school, known as “post-med” or MD (doctor of medicine).

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Nearly all universities will provide guidance about which undergraduate courses are most recommended and will provide major and minor programmes that will start students on their medical career journey. It is usually recommended that students take courses in the sciences and maths, but this can vary across universities.

Many US medical schools will require students to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) as part of their application.

1. Harvard University

Harvard University’s medical school is the third oldest in the United States – it was established in 1782.

The medical school offers a five-year MD programme; however, students can extend this by a year to obtain another degree, embark on a research project or take an additional year of formal coursework.

There is no undergraduate “pre-med” concentration at Harvard. Students are generally expected to take classes in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, maths, biochemistry and English before applying to medical school, but there is no set structure for what undergraduate students should study.

Harvard Medical School is responsible for several groundbreaking advances, such as in 1799 when one of its professors, Benjamin Waterhouse, introduced the smallpox vaccine to the United States. Harvard has partnerships with 15 of the world’s most prestigious hospitals, allowing students and staff to undertake exchanges across the world.

2. Stanford University

Stanford University’s medical school comprises three institutions: Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care, and Stanford Children’s Health.

The school offers MD, PA and PhD programmes to its students. The MD programme launched the Discovery Curriculum in 2016, adding new courses such as pathophysiology and a pharmacological treatment of disease series. This curriculum aims to combine organ-based learning and patient-centred clinical care. Students are also given the opportunity to individualise their course based on their interests.

The School of Medicine also offers a number of opportunities for undergraduate students. These include introductory seminars, an emergency medical technician programme, courses in community health and undergraduate courses in biology and human biology, among others.

Undergraduates may also undertake biomedical research through the Undergraduate Research Programme.

3. Yale University

The medical school at Yale University offers a number of MD and PhD programmes for students looking to pursue a career in medicine. The Yale School of Public Health also offers a range of courses in public health as well as joint degree programmes with other faculties.

All medical school students will take a clinical skills course in the first 18 months of their degree; this teaches students how to interact with patients and the importance of the patient-doctor relationship. Training in palliative and end-of-life care is mandatory, as the school believes that all future clinicians should have a basic understanding in this area.

At Yale, students may study for a certificate in global medicine alongside their programmes.

The medical school emphasises research among students and requires all students to submit dissertations based on original research. The school encourages many students to consider a fifth year of medical school, which would be devoted to research training.

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4. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland is named after the philanthropist Johns Hopkins, who used his wealth to establish a hospital where everyone could get care, regardless of age, race and sex. The Johns Hopkins Hospital opened in 1889, and the School of Medicine opened four years later.

Students can choose from an MD programme, as well as graduate, PhD and fellowship programmes.

Teaching at the university follows the “Genes to Society” curriculum, which “presents a model of health and disease based in the principles of adaptation to the environment, variability of the genotype and stratification of risk” rather than approaching health and disease as two different subjects.

The university offers an undergraduate major in medicine, science and the humanities, which explores the history of medicine and health.

The Johns Hopkins Medical School was among the first medical schools in the US to admit women, back in 1893.

5. University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley has a graduate programme in health and medical sciences in partnership with the University of California, San Francisco.

The first two and a half years of the course are spent at Berkeley, after which students move to UC San Francisco to complete their medical education. The course covers the social factors that could affect a person’s health as well as health equity and data science.

The School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley offers a number of health-related master’s programmes in community health, health policy and management and infectious diseases and vaccinology, among others. Students may also take an undergraduate degree in public health.

The University of California, Berkeley offers undergraduate preparation programmes for medical and health-related professional schools. It does not, however, offer a specific pre-med major – students who wish to prepare for medical school should study chemistry, physics, biology and, in some cases, English, calculus and biochemistry.

The university also has two dedicated pre-health advisers who counsel pre-med students on what they need to do to pursue a career in medicine.

Top universities in the United States for medicine 2021

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2021 results

US Medicine Rank 2021 WUR Medicine Rank 2021  University State
1  2  Harvard University Massachusetts
2  5  Stanford University California
3  7  Yale University Connecticut
4  8  Johns Hopkins University Baltimore
5  13  University of California, Berkeley California
6  14  University of California, Los Angeles California
7  15  Columbia University New York
8  17  University of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
9  19  Duke University North Carolina
10  20  University of Washington Washington
11  =21  University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Michigan
12  =24  The University of Chicago Illinois
13  26  Washington University in St Louis Missouri
14  30  University of California, San Diego California
15  33  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill North Carolina
16  34  Northwestern University Illinois
17  38  Boston University Massachusetts
18  42  Emory University Georgia
19  =46  New York University New York
20  50  University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campus Pennsylvania
21  51  University of Southern California California
22  =52  Brown University Rhode Island
23  58  Vanderbilt University Tennessee
24  =68  University of Minnesota Minnesota
25  80  University of Wisconsin-Madison Wisconsin
26  82  Ohio State University (Main campus) Ohio
27  =84  University of Florida Florida
28  =86  University of California, Davis California
29  =86  Case Western Reserve University Ohio
30  =86  Tufts University Massachusetts
31  89  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Illinois
32  =90  Howard University Washington D.C
33  =96  Northeastern University Massachusetts
34  =98  Dartmouth College New Hampshire
=35  101–125  University of Alabama at Birmingham Alabama
=35  101–125  University of Illinois at Chicago Illinois
=35  101–125  University of Iowa Iowa
=35  101–125  University of Rochester New York
=39  126–150  University of California, Irvine California
=39  126–150  University of Texas at Austin Texas
=39  126–150  Tulane University Louisiana
=39  126–150  University of Virginia (Main campus) Virginia
=43  151–175  George Washington University Washington D.C
=43  151–175  Michigan State University Michigan
=43  151–175  Oklahoma State University Oklahoma
=46  176–200  University of Cincinnati Ohio
=46  176–200  George Mason University Virginia
=46  176–200  University of Miami Florida
=46  176–200  Nova Southeastern University Florida
=46  176–200  Oregon Health and Science University Oregon
=51  201–250  University of Arizona Arizona
=51  201–250  University at Buffalo New York
=51  201–250  University of Colorado Denver Colorado
=51  201–250  Georgetown University Washington D.C
=51  201–250  Indiana University Indiana
=51  201–250  Penn State (Main campus) Pennsylvania
=51  201–250  State University of New York Albany New York
=51  201–250  University of Utah Utah
=59  251–300  University of Maryland, College Park Maryland
=59  251–300  Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey New Jersey
=59  251–300  University of South Florida (Tampa) Florida
=59  251–300  University of Texas at Dallas Texas
=63  301–400  Arizona State University (Tempe) Arizona
=63  301–400  Boston College Massachusetts
=63  301–400  Colorado State University, Fort Collins Colorado
=63  301–400  University of Delaware Delware
=63  301–400  University of Georgia Georgia
=63  301–400  University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Hawai'i
=63  301–400  University of Kansas Kansas
=63  301–400  Kansas State University Kansas
=63  301–400  University of Kentucky Kentucky
=63  301–400  University of Massachusetts Massachusetts
=63  301–400  Oregon State University Oregon
=63  301–400  Rush University Illinois
=63  301–400  University of South Carolina-Columbia South Carolina
=63  301–400  Temple University Pennsylvania
=63  301–400  Texas A&M University Texas
=63  301–400  Wake Forest University North Carolina
=63  301–400  Washington State University Washington
=63  301–400  Wayne State University Michigan
=81  401–500  University of California, Riverside California
=81  401–500  University of Connecticut Connecticut
=81  401–500  Florida International University Florida
=81  401–500  Florida State University Florida
=81  401–500  Georgia State University Georgia
=81  401–500  Hofstra University New York
=81  401–500  University of Houston Texas
=81  401–500  Iowa State University Iowa
=81  401–500  Mizzou - University of Missouri Missouri
=81  401–500  University of Nebraska Medical Center Nebraska
=81  401–500  Ohio University (Main campus) Ohio
=81  401–500  University of Rhode Island Rhode Island
=81  401–500  San Diego State University California
=81  401–500  Stony Brook University New York
=95  501–600  University of Alabama Alabama
=95  501–600  University of Arkansas Arkansas
=95  501–600  Auburn University Alabama
=95  501–600  Baylor University Texas
=95  501–600  Creighton University Nebraska
=95  501–600  Drexel University Pennsylvania
=95  501–600  Florida Atlantic University Florida
=95  501–600  University of Memphis Tennessee
=95  501–600  University of Montana Montana
=95  501–600  University of North Carolina at Greensboro North Carolina
=95  501–600  Syracuse University New York
=95  501–600  The University of Tennessee-Knoxville Tennessee
=95  501–600  University of Texas at El Paso Texas
=95  501–600  University of Wisconsin -Milwaukee Wisconsin
=109  601+  Binghamton University, State University of New York New York
=109  601+  University of Central Florida Florida
=109  601+  Clemson University South Carolina
=109  601+  East Carolina University North Carolina
=109  601+  Kent State University Ohio
=109  601+  Marquette University Wisconsin
=109  601+  Montana State University Montana
=109  601+  University of Nevada, Las Vegas Nevada
=109  601+  Northern Arizona University Arizona
=109  601+  Oakland University Michigan
=109  601+  Old Dominion University Virginia
=109  601+  University of South Dakota South Dakota
=109  601+  University of Texas at Arlington Texas
=109  601+  Texas State University Texas
=109  601+  University of Toledo Ohio
=109  601+  Western Michigan University Michigan



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Best universities in the United States

Find the best universities in the United States 2021 through Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data
September 2 2020

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