Getting into medical school has never been easy and it is getting more and more difficult. Competition for places in medical schools in the United States is intense. For many aspiring doctors, foreign medical schools are their best option.
In the Caribbean, there are four medical schools that are fully recognized in the United States, which is a critical factor unless you plan to work abroad. Graduates of these schools can become certified and practice medicine in any of the 50 states.
St. George University
St. George’s University School of Medicine is located on the island of Grenada in the British East Indies. It gained notoriety in 1983 when the United States invaded the island, under the auspices of rescuing several North American students.
This Caribbean university medical school was founded in 1977 and several programs have been added over the years, including a pre-medical undergraduate program, as well as several graduate medical programs. Most recently, in 2008, the school opened its nursing school.
American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine
American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine is located on the island of St. Maarten. It was founded in 1978 and initially had a campus on the island of Montserrat. But after the hurricane and a subsequent volcanic eruption that caused chaos, the school moved to its current location in the town of Cupecoy in St. Maarten.
Students accepted into the program first complete 18 months in a basic science course on campus and then move on to clinical studies at one of the affiliated hospitals in the United States, Ireland, or the United Kingdom.
Ross Medical University
Ross University of Medicine is located on the island of Dominica. It was founded in 1978 by Robert Ross. Students in the medical program spend their first 16 months on the Dominica campus studying basic medical science.
They then go on to a semester of clinical studies in Miami, Florida or Saginaw, Michigan. Students spend the final five semesters at one of Ross University’s affiliated hospitals in the United States.
Saba University of Medicine
The Saba University of Medicine is located on the Dutch island of Saba. It received its official charter from the Netherlands in 1989. Its curriculum is based on that of medical schools in the United States, including five semesters of classroom classes and laboratory work, followed by 42 weeks of rotations in a field selected by the student. Most of the school’s graduates practice medicine in the United States and Canada.
Easier admissions, cheaper tuition fees, and sometimes a sense of adventure, attracts many future medical students to study MBBS in Caribbean islands for Indian students.
However, the admissions process is becoming similar to that in the US, requiring a premed, bachelor’s course load. Additionally, tuition fees at the most reputable and successful universities and medical programs are on the rise and even match the tuition at US medical schools.
The quality of studies is mixed and there is a high differentiation in the quality of medical degree education and the performance and success of students.
The highest USMLE pass rate for a Caribbean medical university is about 84%, while the lowest is about 19%, so it is crucial that prospective students examine the accreditation and success rates of the different schools.