How to Study Medicine (MD/MBBS) in USA after 12th

Are you aspiring to study MBBS in USA after 12th from India? Well, there is no MBBS course or any undergraduate program in Medicine in the US. In the US, you can study medicine only at the postgraduate level which is MD (Doctor of Medicine) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). In this article, we have penned down all you need to know about pursuing MBBS in USA.

Timeline and Process to Pursue Medicine in the US

The total process in the US takes approximately 11 years:

  • Undergraduate Degree (with Pre-Med Track): 4 years
  • Medical School (Graduate Degree): 4 years
  • Residency: 3 years

Medicine / MBBS in USA Process

  • Firstly, you need to pass Class 12 with excellent grades along with high SAT/ACT scores to get admission into the Bachelor (BS degree) program.
  • In your Bachelor’s program, you need to take certain pre-med courses (premedical track) to earn the required credits. Read how to prepare for Pre-Med in High School.
  • While in your 3rd/4th year of Bachelor’s degree, you are required to pass the MCAT (The Medical College Admission Test).
  • Then you need to apply to Medical schools for MD programs.
  • You can start applying through the AMCAS (American Medical college application service) for an MD degree. On the other hand if you want to apply for a DO degree, i.e., Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine, then you can apply via the AACOMAS (American Association of college of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service)

Eligibility to Pursue Medicine in USA after 12th from India

  • 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.

Medicine / MBBS in USA Course Structure

The medical degree is considered a second (postgraduate) degree in the USA. Hence, students are required to have a 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-Med (Premedical) 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 the USA after 10+2, they can study for a BS degree only for 4 trimesters or 16 months. Please be advised that this 16-month BS degree might not be recognized by all Medical schools.

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 in an MD program, that is a post-graduate degree. 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 the 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. The 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. 

Requirements for Medical School (MD) Admissions in USA

There are several factors that play a major role at determining your admissions into a med school. Let’s start debunking them one at a time

Pre requisites

Before you even get to applying, make sure that you have taken all the pre required courses for the program that you’re enrolling in, back at your pre meds or high school. Med schools are pretty strict about their pre requisite courses for different study/ specialization programs

Undergrad/premed/ SAT/ high school score requirements

Certain med schools are quite specific about what they are looking for in a candidate and therefore they have a set of requirements for students before they are even allowed to apply and i.e., their different score requirements at different academic levels and different subjects, so its important that you thoroughly go through the requirements of the institution and the program that you are applying to before making any plans

MCAT Scores

Unlike the Indian system, simply the MCAT scores won’t guarantee your admission into a med school, however, it does play a major role at determining if you’re even eligible to get in or not into a specific institution. Different med schools have different cut offs, so your MCAT scores are the first thing that puts you up for dabs at least, so do not take it lightly, at all.


After your MCAT scores, your essays are the ones that does the trick. In your essay, talk yourself out and do not be afraid to brag. However, make sure that you don’t sound cocky. That being said, just write an appealing essay for the institution explaining them why you chose the program you chose and how it’s going to help you in the future and also explain why it’s the most relevant one for you!

LORs (Letters of recommendation)

After your essays, your letters of recommendations are the ones that do a major trick. Everything beings said about you matters, and also whom it is coming from. So, make sure that you grab some LORs from really influential people and not just that, but from people who can really boast you up and make you look like an ideal candidate for the med school. In some cliché cases, LORs sometimes do in fact come from close family members who have nothing but good to say about their beloved.


Lastly, your extra curriculars. Do make sure that the extra curriculars you have selected are relevant to the program that you’re applying to and make it clear what you stand for through the different extracurriculars that you participate in.

Documents Required for MBBS in USA

  • Transcripts of previous academic study
  • Evaluation of foreign transcripts by an accredited agency
  • Relevant test scores (as asked by the university)
  • English Proficiency Test Certificate 
  • Valid passport copy 
  • Letters of recommendations
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • Criminal background check of the applicant
  • Student visa 
  • Passport size copies of photographs

MBBS in USA Cost

The USA is considered a costly country for international students. Here are 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. 

  • AMCAS Fees: $170
  • Student Visa Fees: $160
  • MCAT Fees: $315
  • NEET Fees: $20
  • IELTS / TOEFL Fees: $180 – $250

Tuition Fees for MBBS in USA

Fees for MBBS in the 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: USD $20,000 to $50,000 (~ INR 15 – 38 Lacs) per annum.
  • MD Program: USD $18,442 to $64,984 (~ INR 14 Lacs – 49 Lacs) per annum.

Medical School Fees in USA at Top Universities

Overall, it would take INR 3 – 4 Crores to study Medicine (MBBS) in the USA.

Top Scholarships for Medicine / MBBS in USA

The most generous ones are as follows:

  • AHIMA Foundation Merit Scholarship (Amount varies)
  • Vagelos Scholarship by Columbia University (Tuition Fees and Living Expenses)
  • Financial Aid for Non-US Medical Students by Johns Hopkins University (Amount Varies)
  • Stanford Institutional Aid (Amount Varies)
  • Harvard Medical School Scholarship (Tuition Fees)

Top Medical Schools in USA

Harvard Medical School – Harvard University

Stanford University School of Medicine

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

UCSF School of Medicine – University of California, San Francisco

Columbia University Medical Center

Duke University School of Medicine

Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis

University of Michigan Medical School

Yale School of Medicine

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

NYU School of Medicine

David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle

Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago

Weill Medical College of Cornell University

University of California San Diego School of Medicine

Mayo Clinic School of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

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.
  • 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 the highest among all other occupations in the USA ie. 223,000 USD. 

Job Prospects and Salary after Studying Medicine in USA

You can either work in private/government hospitals or practice in your own clinic after completion of MD/Residency at USA universities. The average salary of physicians and surgeons in the USA is USD $223,000 (~ INR 1.5 Crore) per annum and is much higher than the national average.

Featured Image Source: CEO World Magazine

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