The Highest-Rated Medical Schools in the U.S.

students in medical school listen to their instructor

If you are making plans to attend medical school yourself, knowing which schools rank highest in the nation can help you make some important decisions.

But before you start making lists, it is important to understand that not every school takes the same approach to medicine. Some schools may focus on primary care, while others are training future MDs how to conduct research in order to better understand diseases or develop better cures for illnesses. Here’s a look at the 5 highest ranked medical schools in the U.S. based on rankings from U.S. News and World Report and Business Insider.

1. University of Washington

When it comes to primary care, the University of Washington took top place. Located in Seattle, the medical school portion of the university takes in roughly 1,000 students to fill its ranks. Those 1,000 students are separated into a handful of colleges where they receive a mentor, along with their eventual MD or Ph.D. The Medical Scientist Training Program chooses less than a dozen students a year to get both. Business Insider’s ranking of top medical schools also places Washington at the pinnacle of their list.

2. Harvard University

Unsurprisingly, Harvard took the top for the best medical school for research (although in primary care, they don’t come in until 16th). Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Harvard has about 700 students in its medical school program, giving it a 13:1 student-teacher ratio. Closing in on almost 250 years in business, Harvard offers a series of mentored “team-based learning,” in addition to providing programs that combine medicine and technology.

3. University of California San Francisco

San Francisco’s campus of the University of California system took 3rd in primary care according to U.S. News, 4th for research, and 2nd overall for Business Insider. With an acceptance rate below 4%, it is perhaps no surprise there are fewer than 700 students enrolled. In addition to professors who double as Nobel Prize winners, among other high honors, the school is also beginning to offer additional branches of medicinal studies of women, children, and oncology. They also offer programs for joint degrees beyond traditional MD studies.

4. University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

U.S. News ranked North Carolina’s medical program ranked second in primary care (and has been for several years), as well as 24th in research, while Business Insider gives it an overall rank of 7th. With a 2:1 faculty-student ratio, UNC offers MD/Ph.D. programs and a clerkship with the UNC hospital line. They offer a variety of specialties, although Business Insider reports that over half of the 2014 class opted for primary care.

5. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins came in third for research but tied for 27th place in primary care rankings according to U.S. News and 11th on Business Insider‘s rankings. Many of the top U.S. med schools have made a model of Johns Hopkins, which is in Baltimore, Maryland. The university offers traditional, dual, and other programs, while also having a low faculty-student ratio. They also pair academics with clinical experience. What more could you ask for?

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