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MAR 11, 2020 • 7 min read
As one of the most sought-after professions in the world, medical school is a popular choice for many students considering both undergraduate and graduate study. It is also one of the most researched areas of study when it comes to medical school rankings and which institutions provide the most prestigious and rewarding degrees.
According to QS World University rankings the following Top 10 have earned their reputations for being the best of the best when it comes to producing graduates who go on to have fulfilling and successful careers in the areas of medicine and medical research.
Ready to dive in? Let’s start at Number 10 and countdown from there!
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 6 years or undertaking a post-graduate degree in medicine after undergoing separate undergraduate study. This school has multiple departments within the faculty of medicine, including but not limited to: 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.
Whilst this university itself does not have its own medical school, MIT comes in at 9 on QC’s prestigious list due to its partnership with Harvard University. This alignment between universities allows students to participate in a Health Sciences and Technology Program, which integrates science, medicine and engineering to solve problems in human health. Students also have the opportunity to pursue a dual degree and receive both a MD and PhD. Due to the emphasis on research, most who graduate from MIT pursue careers in biomedical research, rather than becoming physicians.
The first Ivy League school to feature on this list, Yale University is home to one of the most prolific medical schools in the world. Interestingly, this medical school emphasises that students are not required to major in anything health-related as undergraduates, as long as they fulfil the prerequisites for entry into medical school. Yale is also home to a number of other graduate schools and programs and as such, offer students many different dual degree combinations, including an MD and JD, MD and MBA and MD and MDiv – a Master of Divinity. In addition, about 20% of students choose to pursue an MD alongside a PhD. 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 being the development of cognitive theory.
UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine is one of the most renowned public medical schools, ranking in at 4th in the US and 7th in the world. The UCLA medical centre, the primary teaching hospital for both those pursuing a degree in medicine and in nursing, offers training in a number of different specialised fields. Students also have the option to pursue multiple different programs and joint degrees, including an MD and PhD, MD and MBA and MD and Masters of Public Affairs.
The second European medical school to feature on this list, the Karolinska Institute is the single largest centre of medical academic research in Sweden, responsible for 40% of medical research within 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.
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.
Despite being known for its success and excellence in the fields of business and entrepreneurship, Stanford University is also home to one of the most distinguished medical schools in the world. Like others on this list, Stanford offers a variety of dual degrees, including the popular combination of an MD and PhD, in order to facilitate pathways between medicine and research. Similar to Johns Hopkins, the medical program at Stanford is small, with each cohort often only containing between 90 and 100 students. Located in Silicon Valley, students at Stanford Medical School are also able to reap the benefits of cutting-edge technology being at an arm’s reach. Their location also enables greater opportunity for medical research to more easily reach an application stage.
Ranking at third, Cambridge Medical School is the oldest institution on this list, being founded back in 1540. As a European Institution, Cambridge allows its students to study medicine at an undergraduate level and graduate as a doctor in just 6 years. This university particularly excels in the field of biomedical science – its most notable success being the discovery of DNA in 1953. Notable alumni include: Ieuan Hughes (world famous paediatrician) and Barbara Sahakian (globally recognised clinical psychologist).
Coming in just one place ahead of its UK-based rival, University of Oxford is often considered to be home to the best medical institution outside the United States. Similar to its European counterparts, students are able to begin their studies of medicine straightaway. Oxford also offers an accelerated program for those who have already completed their undergraduate degree and are ready to pursue their medical studies at a graduate level. Oxford alumni can be found in a number of different fields, including but not limited to academia, research, and in private practices.
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 is also home to a number of successful alumni, including Jill Stein, acclaimed physician and Green Party nominee for the Presidency in both 2012 and 2016, Sidney Farber (noted oncologist/pathologist who is considered the ‘father of chemotherapy’) and Helen B Taussig (pioneer of paediatric cardiology and co-developer of the Blalock-Thomas-Taussig shunt).
There you have it - the world’s top ten medical schools ranked! To learn more about studying at these world-class medical schools, and other universities around the world, check out our Day in the Life of a Medical Student video series!