Top 10 Medical Schools in the World (2021)

28/06/202134 minute read
Top 10 Medical Schools in the World (2021)

Physicians are one of the most sought-after professions in the world. When ambitious undergraduate and graduate students research medical school rankings, they look for institutions that provide the highest quality education and the most prestigious and rewarding degrees.

The journey to becoming a doctor starts with a thousand questions. How do I get into medical school? Which are the top medical schools in the world? What university offers the best pathway for medical research? How do I get the most clinical exposure during my time at college? What courses do I need to take during high school or undergrad to get into the best medical schools?

There is no easy or fast path to becoming a doctor. It’s hard work. But if you’re ready to take the Hippocratic oath and save lives, here are the absolute best international medical schools around the world.

According to QS World University Rankings 2021, the top 10 medical schools have earned their reputations by producing graduates with fulfilling and successful careers in medicine and research.

QS World Top 10 Medical Schools 2021
QS World Ranking 2021 - MedicineUniversityLocation
10Imperial College LondonLondon, UK
9University College of LondonLondon, UK
8Yale UniversityNew Haven, Connecticut
7University of California, Los AngelesLos Angeles, California
6Karolinska InstituteSolna, Sweden
5Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, Maryland
4Stanford UniversityPalo Alto, California
3University of CambridgeCambridge, UK
2University of OxfordOxford, UK
1Harvard UniversityCambridge, Massachusetts

Ready to start your application to a top Medical School? Crimson Education is the world’s leading admissions consulting company. Our expert strategists are equipped to provide guidance across a wide range of fields including Medicine. Book a free consultation to learn more about our Admissions consulting program.

Ready to dive in and learn more about the best medical schools in the world?

10. Imperial College London

London, England

Imperial College London 10th best medical school in the world

Imperial Medical School Admissions Overview
Application DeadlineA-Levels RequirementIB RequirementsAP RequirementsAverage BMATAcceptance Rate
15 OctoberA*AA in Biology, Chemistry, and subject of your choice except General Studies and Critical Thinking39/45 with minimum 6 in HL Biology and HL Chemistry555 in Biology, Chemistry, and Math/Science Subject12~15%

About Imperial College School of Medicine

The 10th top medical school in the world is Imperial College School of Medicine. Based in South Kensington, London, and founded in 1823, this world-class medical school uses traditional teaching methods, with the first two years being lectures, tutorials, and lab sessions.

Students in the medical program take “progress tests” every 2-3 weeks. These assessments reflect in their final grades. Sir Alexander Fleming, the famous researcher who discovered penicillin, attended Imperial College School of Medicine. Additionally, in the early days of the Covid-19 outbreak, Imperial College made significant progress in the race for a vaccine. “Under the leadership of Professor Robin Shattock, the team made a significant breakthrough by reducing a part of the normal development time to develop the vaccine from two to three years to just 14 days."

Is It For You?

Imperial College is located in London, close to many museums and restaurants. Its centralized location makes it the ideal hub for academic and medical opportunities, including medical research and student conferences. Imperial College also has a high percentage of international students.

While its location is ideal, London is an expensive city. Affordable housing is hard to find. The university is strictly academic and lacks many extracurricular activities and social outlets.

Use our admissions calculator to find out your chances of attending Imperial Medical School!

9. University College of London

London, England

UCL is one of the best medical schools in the world for 2021

UCL Medical School Admissions Overview
Application DeadlineGCSE RequirementsA-Level RequirementsIB RequirementsAverage BMATAcceptance Rate
15 OctoberB/6 or above in English & Maths A*AA in three A-Level subjects studied at the same time must include Chemistry & Biology39/45 and must include HL Chemistry and Biology5.7, 5.8, 3.4A~25%

About UCL Medical School

This prestigious institution has been educating students from as early as 1834, making it one of the oldest medical schools in the world. Like most world universities - apart from those in the United States - students at UCL have the option of either pursuing undergraduate study in medicine and completing a degree in six years or undertaking a post-graduate degree in medicine after undergoing separate undergraduate study.

UCL has multiple departments within the faculty of medicine, including brain sciences, immunology and inflammation, infectious disease, metabolism, digestion and reproduction, and surgery and cancer. UCL Medical School is also home to a number of impressive alumni, including presidents of the Royal College of Physicians, presidents of the Royal College of Surgeons in England and chairs of the General Medical Council.

Is It For You?

Located in the heart of London, UCL is a world-leading, world-impacting research university. Students have the opportunity to meet healthcare professionals and experience early patient contact. Throughout the university’s five-year life cycle, students interact with patients in each stage of life, including women’s, men’s, and child’s health. The final year is for learning more about biomedical and human sciences along with hands-on student assistantships.

Socially, the campus is loud and bustling. There’s a huge rivalry between RUMS (medics) and UCLU sports teams. Consider joining a club, choir, or outside interest to break up the studying.

To learn more about life as a medical student at UCL, checkout our video below!

UCL Medicine: Academic Insights

Use our admissions calculator to find out your chances of attending UCL Medical School!

8. Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut

Yale Medical school is one of the top medical schools in the world 2021

Yale Medical School Admissions Overview
Application DeadlineEntry RequirementsRecommended CoursesGPA RequirementsMCAT ScoreAcceptance Rate
December 15Complete a 3 year Bachelors degree from an UK, US, or Canadian university General Biology/Zoology (2 semesters), General Chemistry (2 semesters), Organic Chemistry (1 semester), Biochemistry (1 semester), General Physics (2 semesters)3.85518~6.5%

About Yale Medical School

Yale University is home to one of the most prolific medical schools in the world. Interestingly, this medical school emphasizes that students are not required to major in anything health-related as undergraduates, as long as they fulfill the prerequisites for entry into medical school.

Yale is also home to several graduate schools and programs, offering students many different dual-degree combinations, including an MD and JD, MD and MBA, and MD and MDiv (Master’s of Divinity). In addition, about 20% of students choose to pursue an MD alongside a Ph.D.

Like many other universities on this list, Yale Medical School alumni are among some of the most prominent on the global medical scene. One distinguished alumnus is Aaron Beck, who is known for his success in the field of psychiatry. One of his most notable achievements was the development of cognitive theory.

Is It For You?

Yale Medical Schools offers a flexible curriculum and pass/fail system. You don’t have to disclose your grades. Yale is looking for future healthcare leaders and innovators in their fields.

Located near Boston and New York, students have access to everything each of the cities has to offer. There are also unique opportunities to work with the underserved in New Haven.

To learn more about what life is like as a medical student at Yale, check out our video below!

Day in the Life: Yale Medical School Student

Speak to our admissions advisors to learn more about your chances at Yale Medical School!

7. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Los Angeles, California

UCLA med school one of the best medical schools in the world 2021

UCLA Medical School Admissions Overview
Application DeadlineEntry RequirementsRecommended CoursesAverage GPAMCATAcceptance Rate
November 13 year Bachelors Degree from a US or Canadian UniversityBiological Sciences, Physiology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physical Sciences, Humanities, Maths & Statistics~3.5517~3%

About UCLA Medical School

UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine is one of the most renowned public medical schools, ranking 4th in the US and 7th worldwide. The UCLA medical center, the primary teaching hospital for both those pursuing a degree in medicine or nursing, offers training several specialized fields. Students can pursue multiple programs and joint degrees, including an MD and Ph.D., MD and MBA, and MD and Masters of Public Affairs.

Is It For You?

If you enjoy big cities and sunny Southern California weather, then the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine might be for you. Located directly adjacent to the main UCLA campus, the medical school is an integral part of the university. Los Angeles also boasts a diverse community with excellent clinical and public health opportunities.

Want to know what it’s like to be a pre-med student at UCLA? Check out our video below!

A Day in the Life: UCLA Pre-Med Student

Speak to our admissions advisors to learn more about your chances at UCLA Medical School!

6. Karolinska Institute

Solna, Sweden

Karolinska Institute one of the best medical schools in the world 2021

Karolinska Institutet Medical School Admissions Overview
Application DeadlineEntry RequirementsAverage GPAAdmissions Rate
January 15Equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary school courses in Biology 2, Chemistry 2, and Mathematics 4~3.0~3%

About Karolinska Institute

Karolinska Institute is the third European medical school on this list. It is the largest center of academic medical research in Sweden, responsible for 40% of medical research in the country. Unlike other universities on this list, the Karolinska Institute is one of the cheapest medical schools in the world – it is free for all students living in the EU.

The university is located in Stockholm, one of Europe's most culturally diverse and historic cities, and offers one of the widest ranges of medical educations under one roof.

You may be familiar with the institution as it awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine every year. It has also graduated several notable Nobel Laureates, such as Torsten Wiesel and Tomas Lindahl.

Is It For You?

If you want to surround yourself with the like-minded, this is your school. It’s laser-focused on medical learning and consistently ranks in the top 50 global universities.

One of the coolest things about this university is its student well-being programs. These programs offer activities, such as free weekend cabin camps and state-of-the-art student facilities. Plus, compared to US and UK universities, it’s very affordable.

Most medical courses are taught in Swedish, however, the Global Masters and Bachelor programs are taught entirely in English.

Further, if you’re looking to walk the medical research path, the Nobel connection is helpful. Karolinska Institute is also an ideal campus for students who prefer smaller communities, enrolling only ~6,000 students at a time.

Speak to our admissions advisors to learn more about your chances at Karolinska Institute Medical School!

5. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, Maryland

Johns Hopkins is the 5th best non Ivy League School

Johns Hopkins University Medical School Admission Statistics
Application DeadlineEntry RequirementsAverage GPAAvg MCATAcceptance Rate
October 15Minimum 4 years at community college with advanced courses in related subjects. AP and IB credits acceptable~3.95213.9%

About Johns Hopkins Medical School

Johns Hopkins Medical School ranks as one of the top medical schools in the United States. It is attached to the world-famous Johns Hopkins Hospital, which is responsible for developing medical specialties like neurosurgery, cardiac surgery, and pediatrics.

Not unlike many of the other medical schools featured on this list, Johns Hopkins Medical School boasts a highly competitive program, admitting only 3.9% of applicants. As such, class sizes at Johns Hopkins are relatively small, often only containing 120 students. Despite the competitive nature of their application, Johns Hopkins fosters a collaborative atmosphere amongst students and faculty. Famous alumni include Harvey Williams Cushing, an American neurosurgeon, pathologist, and writer who was the first physician to describe Cushing's disease.

Students get to put their learning to good use through the hospital’s hands-on environment, learning from world-leading medical professors. Students can earn a traditional MD, Ph.D., or both. Further, it is one of the most diverse medical campuses in the US, accepting a high ratio of women and ethnically diverse students.

The vast majority of students receive loans, financial aid, or a grant/scholarship, making it more accessible - if you’re accepted.

Is It For You?

This medical school focuses on turning you into a world-class doctor. Every few months, classes break for week-long intersessions where students develop advanced skills through simulation.

Current students report the campus is bustling with activities and events like the annual Colleges Bowl, where the four on-campus colleges compete in kickball, races, and tug-of-war.

If your ambition is to become an elite and worldly doctor and have a bit of fun, this is your campus.

If you’d like to know if you could get into John Hopkins, Speak to our admissions advisors to learn more about your chances!

4. Stanford University

Palo Alto, California

Stanford medical school is one of the best medical schools in the world 2021

Stanford University Medical School Admissions Statistics
Application DeadlineEntry RequirementsRecommended CoursesAverage GPAAvg MCATAcceptance Rate
October 1Bachelors degree from an accredited college or university in US, UK or CanadaBiology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Behavioural, Social Sciences, and Communication~3.9519~2.3%

About Stanford Medical Schools

Despite being known for its success and excellence business and entrepreneurship, Stanford University is also home to one of the most distinguished medical schools in the world. Stanford offers many dual degrees, including the popular combination of an MD and Ph.D., which facilitates pathways between medicine and research.

Similar to Johns Hopkins, the medical program at Stanford is small. Each cohort typically contains 90-100 students. Located in Silicon Valley, students at Stanford Medical School reap the benefits of cutting-edge technology being within arm’s reach. Their location also enables more opportunities for medical research to reach the application stage.

Is It For You?

Stanford offers a flexible curriculum that allows students to choose a four- or five-year program. Those who choose the five-year program have the opportunity to take half the usual academic workload during their second year and spend the other half working on a personal or scholarly project.

Keep in mind that housing costs are high, but Stanford also offers generous financial aid.

If you’d like to know if you could get into Stanford, Speak to our admissions advisors to learn more about your chances!

3. University of Cambridge

Cambridge, England

University of Cambridge

Cambridge Medical School Admissions Overview
Application DeadlineA-Level RequirementsIB RequirementsAvg BMATAcceptance Rate
BMAT - October 1, UCAS - October 15A*A*A* in Chemistry, Maths and one of Biology or Physics40-42 points with 776 for HL subjects in Chemistry, Maths Analysis and Approaches and one of Biology or Physics. 5.5 S1, 6.1 S2, 3.5A~21%

About Cambridge Medical School

Ranking third, Cambridge Medical School was founded in 1540, making it the oldest institution on this list. Cambridge allows students to study medicine at an undergraduate level and graduate as a doctor in just six years. Cambridge particularly excels in biomedical science – its most notable success being the discovery of DNA in 1953. Notable alumni include Ieuan Hughes (world-famous pediatrician) and Barbara Sahakian (globally recognized clinical psychologist).

Cambridge students first study anatomy, homeostasis, disease biology, molecular chemistry, biology, and neurobiology, among others. In the third year, students choose a specialization - sometimes not related to medicine, such as philosophy or management studies. Similar to Oxford, after three years, students head to clinical studies at Addenbrooke's Hospital to practically apply their theory.

Finally, this UK institution is renowned for its extracurriculars and producing some of the highest-caliber research in the world.

Is It For You?

If you like structure, you will like Cambridge. The university is steeped in tradition. Some of the most well-known Cambridge graduates include Stephen Hawking and Bertrand Russell.

Some people suggest the university focuses more on academic thinking, placing less emphasis on practical or presentation skills. Cambridge is known for being a more introverted learning environment.

However, Cambridge does offer small-group teaching, known as supervisions, with subject specialists as a unique advantage.

Crimson Students are 2-4x more likely to gain admission to the University of Cambridge. If you’d like to know if you could get into Cambridge, use our UK University Admissions Calculator to see where you could be accepted.

2. University of Oxford

Oxford, England

Oxford Medical School one of the best medical schools in the world

University of Oxford Medical School Overview
Application DeadlineA-Level RequirementsIB RequirementsAvg BMATAdmissions Rate
October 15thA*AA in Chemistry and two of Maths, Further Maths, Biology, or Physics39/45 with 766 at HL subjects in Chemistry and at least one of Biology, Physics or Maths6.04, 5.93, 3.52~16.5%

About Oxford Medical School

Coming in just one place ahead of its UK-based rival, the University of Oxford is often considered home to the best medical institution outside the United States. Similar to its European counterparts, students begin their studies of medicine straightaway. Oxford also offers an accelerated program for those who completed their undergraduate degree and are ready to pursue their graduate medical studies. You will find Oxford alumni in many different fields, including academia, research, and private practices.

Students become adept at working from primary research work and are encouraged to think critically and creatively. They gain technical skills at the laboratory bench, as well as in presenting and handling scientific data. The courses are split into a three-year pre-clinical section and a three-year clinical section.

The campus is one of the most beautiful and historic in the world. Aside from receiving a globally elite education, you do so in style and awe. Plus, you get to socialize and study with the brightest people in the world.

Is It For You?

Some people say Oxford’s medical course isn’t unique or special. It just drills its students much harder than other colleges. Oxford is renowned for keeping you busy.

For example, Oxford medical students often write as many essays in one year as other students in different courses write over their entire five-year degree. Tutorials have a reputation for being demanding, with the University expecting its students to focus on their studies full-time and not pursue part-time work.

Some also say the difference between Oxford and Cambridge clinical courses is indistinguishable.

Your decision may come down to the other benefits of studying at Oxford, like its beauty, prestige, and access to world-leading professors.

Crimson Students are 2-4x more likely to gain admission to the University of Oxford. If you’d like to know if you could get into Oxford, use our UK University Admissions Calculator to see where you could be accepted.

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cambridge Massachusetts Tile

Harvard Medical School Admissions Overview
Application DeadlineEntry RequirementsRecommended CoursesAverage GPAAvg MCATAcceptance Rate
October 22Complete a 3 year bachelor degree from US or Canadian college or universityBehavioral sciences, Biology, Chemistry/Biochemistry, Physics, Maths, and Writing3.9518~3.7%

About Harvard Medical School

At number one, Harvard Medical School is considered by many as the best in the world. This university is renowned for its distinguished faculty and premium teaching hospitals, including Massachusetts General and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Harvard developed its medical curriculum in the late 1800s and is constantly at the forefront of medical innovation and influence. The program is research-focused, producing many widely-respected clinical studies and research papers.

The institution consistently ranks as the number one medical school around the globe, making it extremely attractive - and exclusive for potential students. Students can attain a wide variety of degrees, including M.D. and Ph.Ds, but also more exotic degrees like M.D./MBAs.

Harvard is also home to many successful alumni, including Jill Stein, acclaimed physician and Green Party presidential nominee (2012 and 2015). Sidney Farber (noted oncologist/pathologist, considered the ‘father of chemotherapy’) and Helen B Taussig (pioneer of pediatric cardiology and co-developer of the Blalock-Thomas-Taussig shunt) also graduated from Harvard Medical School.

Is It For You?

As one of the world's most respected medical research arenas, Harvard Medical School only takes high academic achievers. Incoming students typically have some of the highest GPA averages and MCAT scores in the country. If you want to be part of cutting-edge medicine, Harvard might be your school.

Crimson Students are 4x more likely to gain admission to Ivy League universities such as Harvard University. If you’d like to know if you could get into Harvard, speak to our admissions advisors to learn more about your chances at Yale Medical School!.

Final Thoughts

These are the top ten medical schools in the world! If you’re ready to start your application to a top Medical School, we can help! Crimson is the world leader in US, UK, EU and Postgrad admissions support. Our students' disproportionately high rate of success is due to our unique model which teams students with Ivy/Oxbridge & other top university graduate experts who work with them 1:1 to perfect every part of their application. Book a free consultation to learn more about our Admissions Support program.