What Are the Top Medical Schools in the United States?

Top medical schools combine academic rigor with outstanding research and clinical options. Keep reading for more about some of the top medical schools across the country. Learn about these school's degree programs, affiliated research centers and areas of specialization. Schools offering Health Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Characteristics of Top U.S. Medical Schools?

Top medical schools offer not only a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) program but a range of certificate, dual degree, allied health and biomedical research options, as well as residencies and fellowships. They also have strong research credentials and affiliated teaching hospitals and allow you to gain hands-on training with cutting-edge technology. Additionally, you might want to look for schools that boast awards and rankings from national publications.

What Are Three Top U.S. Medical Schools?

Duke University in Durham, NC

Duke University School of Medicine has been ranked in a tie as 13th among the nation's Best Medical Schools for research by U.S. News & World Report in 2019. Duke offers M.D. programs, 17 graduate programs in biomedical sciences and six certificate programs, as well as residency and fellowship programs. You could also choose from physician assistant, physical therapy, pathologist's assistant and clinical health leadership programs.

Duke supports 13 centers and institutes. The Clinical Research Institute has conducted studies in 65 countries in more than 14,800 sites. The Global Health Institute addresses health disparities resulting from economic, political and social conditions. Duke University Hospital, Duke Raleigh Hospital and Durham Regional Hospital are university affiliates with over 60,000 annual inpatient stays. Degrees available at this university include but are not limited to:

  • Master of Health Sciences in Clinical Leadership
  • M.D.
  • Master of Biomedical Sciences
  • Master of Biostatistics
  • Master of Management in Clinical Informatics
  • Master of Science in Medical Physics
  • M.D./Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.): Medical Scientist Training Program
  • Certificate in Biomolecular Tissue Engineering
  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Certificate
  • Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Ph.D. in Neurobiology
  • Ph.D. in Immunology
  • Ph.D. in Molecular Cancer Biology
  • Ph.D. in Structural Biology and Biophysics

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in Baltimore, MD

The JHU School of Medicine has been ranked 2nd for research in 2019 by U.S. News and World Report and has been ranked in the top five for seven medical specialties. The School of Medicine hosts the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and outpatient facilities. It maintains affiliations with several Maryland hospitals. The school supports six research centers, including the Brain Science Institute and the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research.

Prospective allied health professionals could pursue degrees in social work or children's specialties through the Johns Hopkins Children's Center or medical imaging through the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science. The Children's Center treats pediatric cancer patients in the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. At JHU, you can earn these medical degrees:

  • Master of Arts in Medical and Biological Illustration
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Health Sciences Informatics
  • M.D.
  • M.D./Ph.D.
  • Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering
  • Ph.D. in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Ph.D. in History of Medicine
  • Ph.D. in Functional Anatomy and Evolution
  • Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences

Washington University in St. Louis in Missouri

Washington University in St. Louis has been ranked 8th in the Best Medical Schools: Research category in U.S. News & World Report for 2019. The school offers clinical partnerships with nationally recognized teaching hospitals, such as Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and boasts faculty dedicated to medical research. A Center for Diabetic and Cardiovascular Disease is one of seven interdisciplinary research centers at Washington University in St. Louis. At this school, you'll have access to 15 research centers, including centers for health policy, neurological disorders, neurofibromatosis, Alzheimer's and pain management.

Besides an M.D. and an M.D./Ph.D. Medical Scientist Training Program, the School of Medicine hosts biomedical research Ph.D. programs and doctoral programs in audiology, physical therapy and occupational therapy. Your learning may occur at simulation centers, the Barnard Becker Medical Library and the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center. These degrees are available:

  • M.S. in Deaf Education
  • M.S. in Occupational Therapy
  • Master of Population Health Sciences
  • Doctor of Audiology
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • M.D.
  • Ph.D. in Computational and Systems Biology
  • Ph.D. in Developmental, Regenerative and Stem Cell Biology
  • Ph.D. in Evolution, Ecology and Population Biology
  • Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Sciences

Top Medical Schools in the United States

College/University Institution TypeLocation Estimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
University of California--Los Angeles (Geffen) 4-year, Public Los Angeles, CA $13,000
University of California--San Diego 4-year, Public La Jolla, CA $12,000
Emory University4-year, PrivateAtlanta, GA $ 43,000
University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill 4-year, Public Chapel Hill, NC $12,000
Northwestern University (Feinberg) 4-year, Private Evanston, IL $55,000
New York University 4-year, Private New York, NY $45,000
Vanderbilt University4 year, Private Nashville, TN $48,000
Cornell University 4-year, Private Ithaca, NY $13,000
Columbia University 4-year, Private New York, NY $48,000
University of Chicago 4-year, Private Chicago, IL $59,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

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