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MBBS in USA: An Overview for International Students

Komal Yadav Komal Yadav
Study Abroad Expert

MBBS in USA is a postgraduate program, unlike India where it is pursued as a bachelor's degree. It is equivalent to MD (Doctor of Medicine) and takes approximately 4 years to complete. However, international students must complete a pre-medical course (BS degree) from a USA university to apply for this degree. Also, after completion of an MD, you have to apply for 3-5 years of a residency program to practice as a doctor. Thus, the total duration required to pursue MBBS in USA ranges between 7 to 9 years.

MBBS Pathway in USA
  • International students are required to appear for the MCAT exam to apply for medical colleges in the USA offering MD degrees.
  • Tuition fees of MBBS in USA for an MD ranges between 18,442 USD to 64,984 USD.
  • Students can practice as a physician and surgeon of a particular specialization after completion of the MBBS at USA universities.
  • MBBS doctor salary in USA is 208,000 USD or more per annum, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Report. 

Why Study MBBS in USA?

One of the advantages of having a degree of MBBS at USA universities is that students are not required to appear for FMGE (Foreign Medical Graduate Examination) to practice in India. MCI (Medical Council of India) approves the MD degree of the USA if pursued from an accredited college or university. 

  • Job growth for physicians and surgeons in the USA is expected to be 7% from 2018 to 2028. This is faster than the country’s average of 5% for all occupations.
Employment Growth
  • Among various categories of practicing doctors, the maximum number of jobs in the USA is expected to be generated for psychiatrists followed by family and general practitioners till 2028. 
  • The average annual salary of physicians and surgeons is highest among all other occupations in the USA ie. 208,000 USD. 

Top Colleges for MBBS in USA

The first step towards getting a qualification equivalent to MBBS at USA universities is to enroll in a Bachelor of Science degree related to the medical field. Then, you are eligible to apply for the MD program. 

Following are the popular universities in USA offering MD program, according to QS News Ranking 2020 for medicine: 

UniversityQS Ranking 2020Program Duration (in years)Total Fees (in USD)
Harvard University15324,920
Stanford University46481,872
John Hopkins University54213,600
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)74105,288
Yale University94251,896
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)104187,064
Columbia University13473,768
University of Pennsylvania154239,640
Duke University164247,600
University of California, San Diego234165,320

Course Structure of MBBS in USA

Since a medical degree is considered a second degree in the USA, students are required to have first degree ie. Bachelor of Science (BS) in biology, chemistry, or any other related field to apply for Doctor of Medicine (MD) in the USA. This BS degree is also referred to as a pre-medical course. After completion of MD, students have to apply for a residency program based on their choice of specialization. 

Pre-Medical Course

This is considered a foundation course and teaches students the basics of medical science. Domestic students of the USA start pursuing this course after 10th class and the duration for them is 4 years. However, since Indian students apply for MBBS in USA after 10+2, they have to study a BS degree only for 4 trimesters or 16 months. 

If anyone is already having a BS degree in the medicine-related field or studied MBBS for 1 or 2 years in India, they might be exempted from enrolling in a pre-medical course in the USA. Although, this decision lies in the hands of the university to which you are applying. 

Some of the subjects taught in pre-medical courses are: English, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Mathematics, Anatomy, Medical Terminology, and Sociology. 

MD Program

After completion of the pre-medical course, you are eligible to enroll for an MD program which is equivalent to MBBS in USA. The program is divided into two stages, each requires 2 years to complete. 

Theoretical Stage: It focuses on imparting an advanced level of theoretical knowledge about medical science to students. Some of the subjects that you study in USA are Anatomy, Physiology, Histology, Medical Ethics, Biochemistry, Neuroanatomy, Pathology, Microbiology, and Clinical Science

Students have to appear for USMLE 1 (United States Medical Licensing Examination) to qualify for the second stage of this MD degree.

Practical Stage: It is also known as Clinical Rotation or Externship/Clerkship. The basics of operating in a hospital and treating patients are taught by doctors and professors. At the end of this stage, you must apply for USMLE 2. 

Residency Program

USMLE 2 qualified students are eligible to apply for the residency program. Duration of this program ranges between 3 to 5 years depending upon the specialization chosen. 

Students have to work in hospitals and become an expert in their respective fields. USMLE 3, also known as Licensee Exam, is the final exam that you have to appear for. After passing this exam, you can practice as a doctor in the USA or in any other country that approves the US education system

Admission Process of MBBS in USA

This section provides a brief summary of how to do MBBS in USA. A pre-medical course and MCAT score are required to apply for a Doctor of Medicine (MD). Applications for MBBS at USA universities are accepted for fall and spring semesters. 

Where to Apply: International students can apply to USA colleges via AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service). Some of them also accept the application directly via their website. 

Eligibility for MBBS at USA Universities

  • Completion of 10th and 12th class
  • Bachelor of Science degree in biology, chemistry or medicine related field as a pre-medical course
  • MCAT and NEET test scores
  • Proof of English proficiency

Note: Most of the top-ranking universities of the USA do not specify a minimum MCAT score required for admission. Yet, students having scores of 510 or above have higher chances of admission. MCAT score should not be older than 4 years.

Documents Required for MBBS at USA Admission

  • Transcripts of previous academic study
  • English translation of non-English transcripts 
  • Evaluation of foreign transcripts by an accredited agency
  • Letters of recommendations
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • Criminal background check of the applicant

English Proficiency Requirement for International Students

Since the curriculum of MBBS at USA universities is fully in English, international students are required to demonstrate proficiency in this language. This could be done by submitting one of the following test scores:

  • IELTS: 6.5 to 7.0
  • TOEFL (iBT): 90 to 100

Some universities exempt international students who attended previous education in English or belong to a country where English was the first language from submitting the above test scores.

MBBS in USA Fees and Other Costs

The USA is considered a costly country for international students. Still, it is the first priority of many study abroad aspirants. Let's take a look at various types of expenses incurred while pursuing MBBS at USA universities: 

Pre-arrival Cost

International students have to bear these types of expenses before coming to the country for studying pre-medical courses. 

Type of FeesCost (in USD)
AMCAS170
USA Student Visa160
MCAT315
NEET20
IELTS185 - 190
TOEFL160 - 250

Tuition Fees for MBBS in USA

Fees for MBBS in USA have two components: the cost of pursuing BS degree and tuition fees of the MD program. Average tuition fees for both of them are provided below: 

  • BS in medicine-related field: 20,000 USD to 50,000 USD per annum
  • MD Program: 64,984 USD to 18,442 USD per annum

Cost of Living in USA

The average living cost in the USA for an international student is 15,000 USD per annum. A general estimate of monthly expenses are given below:

  • Accommodation - $200. 
  • Groceries - $200
  • Food - $150
  • Transport - $100
  • Entertainment and shopping - $250
  • International calls - $15

Scholarships for MBBS in USA

School of Medicine of various universities in the USA and many external agencies offer a variety of scholarships so that students can complete their studies without any financial problems. Some of the scholarships for international students in USA are tabulated below: 

ScholarshipAwarding InstituteAmount (in USD)
Harvard Medical School ScholarshipHarvard UniversityTuition fee waiver
Stanford Institutional AidStanford UniversityVaries
Financial Aid for Non-US Medical StudentsJohn Hopkins UniversityVaries
Vagelos ScholarshipColumbia UniversityTuition fees + Living cost
AHIMA Foundation Merit ScholarshipAHIMA FoundationVaries
AMTIE Student ScholarshipAmerican Medical Technologists (AMT)Up to 500
ASAHP Scholarship of ExcellenceAssociation of Schools of Allied Health Professions and CastleBranch1,000

Job Prospects and Salary of MBBS in USA

You can either work in private/government hospitals or practice in your own clinic after completion of MBBS at USA universities. Average salary of physicians and surgeons in the USA is 208,000 USD per annum. It is much higher than the national average of 38,640 USD per annum.

Average Annual Salary in USA

Salaries and job roles for various specializations in the USA are tabulated below:

SpecializationJob DescriptionAverage Annual Salary (in USD)
AnesthesiologistsResponsible for administering drugs during surgery; prescribing pain relief drugs to patients267,020
Family and General PhysicianTreatment of conditions occurring every day like sinus, fracture, infections, etc211,780
General InternistsPerform non-surgical treatments for diseases affecting stomach, kidney, liver, etc196,490
Obstetricians and GynaecologistsTake care of issues related to pregnancy, childbirth and female reproductive system238,320
General PediatriciansSpecialists in issues related to infants, children, teenagers, and young adults183,240
PsychiatristsPerform diagnosis and treatment of mental illness220,380
SurgeonsPerform operations for the treatment of injuries, diseases, and deformities255,110

Doctors are highly respected not only in the USA but among all other parts of the world. Thus, the first choice of a medical aspirant is to become a practicing physician or surgeon. However, the entrance criteria and education of MBBS in USA is equally challenging, and only highly meritorious students are able to get admission in top medical colleges in the USA. 

FAQs

Ques. What is the duration of MBBS in USA?

Ans. The duration of the MD program is 4 years which is equivalent to MBBS in USA. However, to pursue MD, international students are required to complete a pre-medical course of 16 months first. Also, after completion of MD, students have to enroll for a residency program of 3 to 5 years. Thus MBBS at USA universities takes 7 to 9 years to complete. 

Ques. Can I pursue an MBBS in USA without MCAT score?

Ans. Appearing for MCAT is compulsory to apply for an MD program (the equivalent of MBBS at USA universities). A. However, the minimum score at which students are offered admission varies from university to university. Top-ranking universities consider a 510 or above MCAT score as a good score. 

Ques. What is MBBS called in the USA?

Ans. MBBS is known as Doctor of Medicine (MD) in the USA. Additionally, students have to undertake a residency program after MD to practice as a doctor in this country. 

Ques. How much is the fee for MBBS in USA?

Ans. A Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in the USA costs around 20,000 USD to 50,000 USD per annum. This course is required to pursue MD in the USA (the equivalent of MBBS). MD programs fees are approximately 64,984 USD to 18,442 USD per year

Ques. What are the available scholarships for MBBS in USA?

Ans. School of Medicine of respective universities offer scholarships to its students. Certain non-government organizations dedicated to serving the healthcare sector also provide scholarships to medical students.

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