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Foreign Medical Study

Foreign Medical Schools

Traveling overseas for several years to develop specialty expertise after one's internship was very popular during the first half of the twentieth century. Thus, many Americans, for example, were trained in surgery in prominent German and Austrian medical centers. In the second half of the same century, there no longer was a need to be trained overseas, since adequate postgraduate programs were established at hospitals throughout the United States.

However, there has been a continuous migration of Americans to overseas medical schools for their education. Most popular were the medical schools in such West European countries as France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain. These countries have now become inaccessible to most prospective American premeds (except those with dual citizenship) as they are interested in training their own citizens to meet existing and future healthcare needs.

There are still some overseas schools accepting applicants but one needs to be extremely careful when making a decision to attend an overseas institution. Several of these schools are of higher caliber and are identified by an asterisk.


The following three schools have begun accepting a number of U.S. and Canadian students. They follow the basic curriculum used in this country and utilize the problem-based educational approach.

*Flinders University, School of Medicine
G.P.O. Box 2100, Adelaide, Australia 5001
Tel: 461-8-8204-4162
Fax: 61-8-8204-5845
*Sydney University Medical School
Faculty Office and Medical Program Administration
Faculty of Medicine
Edward Ford Building (A27),
University of Sydney
NSW 2006, Australia
Phone: 61-2-9351-3132
Fax: 61-2-9351-3196
*Queensland University School of Medicine
University of Queensland,
Maine Medical School
Herston Road, Herston
QLD, 4066, Australia
Phone: +61-7-3365-5278
Fax: +61-7-3365-5433

Caribbean Schools

These medical schools were set up specifically to serve the needs of Americans unable to gain admission to U.S. schools. Some of these schools have disbanded over the past decades, resulting in students being left “high and dry” in the midst of their studies. This has tarnished the reputation of the off-shore schools as a whole, thus, special care needs to be used when considering these schools.

St. George's University, Grenada
Office of Admissions, c/o The North American Correspondent
University Services, Ltd.
1 East Main Street
Bay Shore, NY 11706
Tel: (from US) (631) 665-8500 or (800) 899-6337
Grenada (473) 444-4175;
Ross University, Dominica
Main US Admission Office
499 Thornhall Street, 10th Floor
Edison, NJ 08837
Tel: (732) 978-5300, (888) 404-7677
American University of the Caribbean, St. Martin
Medical Education Information Office, Inc. (MEOI)
901 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, 401, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Tel: (305) 446-006


The school listed below accepts overseas applicants, and Americans have a good track record of successfully completing their education there. Nevertheless, general obstacles relative to facing an IMG still await them.

*Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin, Ireland
Admission Office, 123 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
Tel: (353) 1-403-2451
Fax:(353) 1-403-2451
The Atlantic Bridge Program
3419 Via Lido, PMB #629, Newport Beach, CA 92663, USA
Tel: (949) 723-6318
Fax: (949) 723-4436


The following two schools have medical school programs designed for Americans with English as the language of instruction. While they are superior educational programs, upon graduation IMG obstacles to securing a residency and certification still remain.

*Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv, Israel
Office of Admissions, Sackler School of Medicine
17 East 62nd Street
New York, NY 10021
Tel: (212) 688-8811
Fax: (212) 223-0368
Touro College/Faculty of Medicine of the Technion — Israel
Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
*Touro College School of Health Sciences
1700 Union Boulevard, Bay Shore, NY 11706
Tel: (516) 665-1600


The school listed below also has a program for international students. It has graduated a large number of Americans and thus has proven to be very popular.

Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Mexico
San Antonio Office: 4715 Fredericksburg Road, 3rd Floor
San Antonio, TX 78229
Tel: (210) 366-1611; (800) 531-5494
Fax: (210) 377-2975
Albany Office: 20 Corporate Woods Boulevard, Suite 205,
Albany, NY 12211
Tel: (518) 434-7392, (866) 434-7392
Fax:(518) 434-7393


The two schools below have served as education and training sites for the most successful American students who came to this country. The language of instruction is English and the program extends four years divided into two semesters each.

There are many more medical schools in the Philippines that Americans have attended in smaller numbers. The Philippine consulate can provide names and addresses for these institutions.

University of the Philippines, Manila
Chair, Admission Committee, College of Medicine
University of the Philippines, Manila
547 Pedro Gil Street, Ermita, PO Box 593, Manila 1000, Philippines
Tel: +63-2-526-4170
Fax: +63-2-526-0371
University of the East, Quezon City, Santo Thomas
Office of the Registrar, University of the East,
Ramon Magsaysay Medical Center
College of Medicine, Aurora Boulevard, Sta. Mesa,
Quezon City 1105, Philippines
Tel: +63-2-715-0861

Bottom Line

  • • Graduates of foreign medical schools are known as International Medical Graduates (IMG).
  • • Attending a foreign medical school is a major challenge, financially, intellectually, culturally, and emotionally.
  • • When considering attending a foreign medical school, you need to make a comprehensive assessment of your ability to succeed. This is because many foreign schools accept all applicants who have the minimum requirements for admission, thus, acceptance should not be taken as a vote of confidence in your abilities.
  • • The most suitable candidates for attending foreign medical schools are those who are capable of being able to adapt to a different culture and lifestyle, who are determined to succeed, have solid long-term financial support, and are very flexible about their future specialty choice.
  • • An important educational asset for every candidate contemplating studying medicine overseas is that they are well qualified to handle multiple-choice tests. This type of test will be the determinant for securing a residency and then passing required licensing examinations. The USMLE Steps 1 and 2 are major obstacles to securing ECFMG certification for about half of the IMGs. An average or better MCAT score in the high 20s is indicative of a likelihood of a favorable outcome on this issue. Those with MCATs in the low 20s are poor candidates for an acceptance at foreign medical schools.
  • • There are special rules for an IMG to secure a U.S. residency and in most states to become licensed.
  • • It is desirable, if at all possible, to visit the foreign medical school before you commit yourself. This is costly but worthwhile in determining how you will fit into the new milieu. During your visit you should thoroughly evaluate the school's teaching (lecture and lab) and clinical facilities, library, and prospective living conditions. You should come back with a realistic sense of judging your future prospects for success if you enroll. This judgment should materialize from what you see and from conversations with Americans currently enrolled in the school. When you get back you should be able to answer two questions: Will I fit in and can I make it in spite of all prospective obstacles?
  • • Before considering a visit, secure information about foreign medical schools from their Web sites and obtain literature from advising offices. All such information should, however, be viewed with the understanding that you are receiving a sales pitch.
  • • If you have what it takes, pick the right school and have the perseverance to stick it out — it can be done. Good luck!

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesGuide to Medical & Dental SchoolsForeign Medical Study - Admission, Transfer To U.s. Schools, Internship And Residency, Fifth Pathway Opportunities