International Students

International Students and Admission to Medical Schools

 (Those not having a green card.)

  • When applying to US medical schools, students who are non-US citizens, but who are permanent residents (i.e., green card holders) may be treated the same as US citizens and qualify as an in-state applicant for public, as well as some private, medical schools.
  • Those not having a green card, i.e., international students, have a more serious problem, since not all medical schools will consider international applicants.  Of those schools that will accept international applicants, some have particular requirements that must be met by international applicants who are accepted to the school.  For example, some schools require that international students provide proof that they are able to meet the cost of four years of medical school and living expenses.  As a general rule, no federal financial aid is available for non-U.S. citizens.  However, international students may be eligible for merit scholarships or other school specific funding.  Some schools with MD/PhD programs have some slots that may be awarded to international students.  However, applicants should only pursue MD/PhD programs if they have a genuine interest in research as a primary activity in their future.  

Matriculation of International Students to US Medical Schools

  • There were 20,071 international applicants to US medical schools in 2011. Out of these, 228 (1%) matriculated to the first-year class.  Of the 54 medical schools that matriculated international students into the first year class, 35 (65%) were private schools and 19 (35%) were public schools.
  • US Medical Schools that Accept Applications from International Students
  • In 2011, among the 130 medical schools in the US and its territories, 56% accepted applications from international students. This figure includes medical schools that only allow international students who are from Canada to apply.   Therefore, not counting US schools that only accept international students from Canada, 38% of US medical schools consider applications from international students. Among the 30 schools of Osteopathic Medicine, 18 consider applications from international students.
  • The list of allopathic schools that accept applications from international students can be found on the NAAHP Web site at:

Financial Assistance for International Students

  • The options for international students seeking financial assistance for medical school are very limited. Loan programs from the US federal government are not available to international students. While previously loans from private banks were available to international students, due to current market conditions, these loans may no longer be a viable option (e.g., For the vast majority of international students, their only means of financing medical school is through self-pay.
  • International students may have the opportunity to receive financial assistance from schools if they are pursuing an MD/PhD. This dual degree program is for students with a strong research background who want to pursue a career in academic medicine. This is not an option for international students pursuing a career in clinical medicine seeking a way to finance an MD degree. While international students are not eligible for government funding for the MD/PhD degree, non-governmental funding is available at some institutions.4 International students should check with individual medical schools before applying (more information on MD/PhD programs is available at:


Excerpted from: AMA Council on Medical Education "Advance Tuition Payment Requirements for International Students Enrolled in US Medical Schools,"