Top Medical Schools in the United States

Medical school is one of the most important, and perhaps most challenging, for any student who wishes to study medicine. A significant investment of both time and money, medical school is a pivotal moment in a young doctor’s life because the medical training they receive will guide them for the rest of their lives.

When trying to determine which medical school is right for you, it can be an overwhelming decision. Currently, there are 154 MD programs in the United States alone and each university offers unique research opportunities, access to facilities, faculty, and professional networks.

While there are so many high-quality medical schools in the United States, we’ve compiled a list of just a few of the top and take a quick glance into what makes them unique. Hopefully, this list gives you some insight into a few of the top medical schools the US has to offer.

1. Harvard University

Sitting at the top of this list is the crown jewel of the Ivy League. As ranked by US News, Harvard University is the top medical school in the country. With access to top research facilities, renowned faculty (not to mention the school’s prestigious name), Harvard is the dream medical school for countless students. However, with just a 3.7 percent acceptance rate, those dreams, sadly, often remain just that—dreams.

2. Johns Hopkins

Located in Baltimore, Maryland—just miles from the nation’s capital—Johns Hopkins University hosts an extremely prestigious medical school. Johns Hopkins has contributed to several medical discoveries and inventions, including the first implantable pacemaker in 1972. Like Harvard, students also benefit from professional opportunities leveraged by the school’s reputation.

3. University of Pennsylvania

The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania is another top-ranking medical program. Located in Philadelphia, this school has over 2,000 full-time faculty on staff with impressive accolades. With a bright future ensured, UPenn has quite the past as it was the first medical school in the country. It never hurts to be the first.

4. University of New York

Looking to enjoy the big city life while receiving your medical training? You might not have too much free time to take in the nightlife, but the University of New York offers one of the top medical schools in one of the most desirable places to live. Not only that, but in 2018, NYU announced they would offer full scholarships to all current and future students in its medical program. That’s right—NYU covers your full medical school tuition, allowing you to graduate with much less cumbersome debt.

5. Stanford

Looking to study medicine on the west coast? Then Stanford might be the right choice for you. Since its establishment in 1908, Stanford has consistently ranked as one of the best medical schools in the country. With an acceptance rate of 2.3 percent (even lower than Harvard), this medical school’s quality is certainly no secret.

6. Columbia University

Returning to the Big Apple, Columbia University boasts another highly ranked medical program. With an esteemed faculty and staff, Columbia is known for its research facilities that put students into action. They also have a long and distinguished list of achievements, including the first identification of cystic fibrosis, discovering how memory is stored in the brain, and the first successful heart transplant in a child.

7. Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine 

The Mayo Clinic is respected throughout the world as one of the top hospitals for treating difficult and severe illnesses. If doctors cannot address a particularly complex disease elsewhere, patients often turn to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. With the success of its hospital, it’s no surprise that the Mayo Clinic also hosts one of the country’s best medical schools. The Mayo Clinic is renowned for its small class sizes and focuses on student research, allowing graduates to leave with ample hands-on experience.

8. University of California at Los Angeles 

Located in sunny Los Angeles, UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine is another top medical school for those who wish to study on the west coast. UCLA’s medical program offers students access to advanced research facilities and a student-centric approach to learning. Some of the world’s top faculty also call the Geffen School home, including Bruce Dobkin, the Director of Neurological Rehabilitation, and Louis Ignarro, who won the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.

9. University of California at San Francisco 

Just about a six-hour drive north of our previous school, the University of California at San Francisco is the oldest medical program in the western United States. Continually building up an esteemed reputation, UCSF has had six Nobel Prize winners over its history. With over 2,000 full-time faculty, UCSF has the resources to shape some of the world’s brightest doctors. However, not many will be allowed to do so—UCSF currently holds the most difficult rate of acceptance at just 2 percent.

10. Cornell University 

Rounding out on our list is a return to the Ivy League with Cornell University. The Weill School of Medicine ranks as one of the best in the entire country and works closely with several regional hospitals to provide their students with invaluable experience. Cornell’s medical school even hosts the Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights, which provides services to those around the world seeking asylum in the United States based on the grounds of persecution. Cornell offers the tools for medical students to make a truly noticeable difference in the world.


When considering which medical school to attend, there are several factors to keep in mind, including cost, acceptance rate, faculty, and of course, location. This list only included ten of the top medical schools in the United States, but in this country, we’re fortunate enough to have countless other options. Also keep in mind that you can also get online training for acls recertification, and other job related education. 

Making it into Harvard is excellent—there’s no doubting that—but you can receive a high-quality education in medicine at numerous universities across the country. What matters most is the work and dedication you put into your education.