Planning to become a doctor? Considering transferring to a different medical school? Choosing a medical school is one of the most important decisions you will make on your path to becoming a physician. With more than 3,000 medical schools in operation around the world, we encourage you to thoroughly research potential schools before applying.
ECFMG is an organization committed to promoting excellence in medical education worldwide, and we care about medical students. Although the structure and characteristics of medical education vary widely throughout the world, we have developed this guide to help you research medical schools and ultimately choose a high-quality school.
ECFMG does not recognize, accredit, regulate, certify, or sponsor medical schools. ECFMG does not recommend one medical school over another and does not offer opinions on the specific quality of a medical school’s education. This resource is provided solely as a guide for you to help you conduct your own research on medical schools.
We suggest that you keep the following characteristics in mind when researching and evaluating medical schools. These characteristics may be an indicator of the quality of the medical education you will receive.
Be cautious of medical schools that list accreditation by ECFMG, the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®), the World Directory of Medical Schools, the International Medical Education Directory (IMED), the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME), the Avicenna Directory, or the World Health Organization (WHO), because these entities DO NOT accredit medical schools.
WFME has developed global standards for basic medical education. WFME also evaluates agencies that accredit medical schools. Accreditation agencies that meet WFME’s evaluation criteria may achieve WFME “Recognition Status,” which ensures that the medical schools accredited by those agencies have met rigorous standards of quality. To view agencies that have achieved WFME recognition or that are in the process of applying for recognition, see this PDF document, hosted on the Recognition Programme page of the WFME website. These agencies, in turn, list accredited medical schools on their websites.
ECFMG will be incorporating accreditation of medical schools into its eligibility requirements for ECFMG Certification.
For additional information, see “Why Is Accreditation Important?” below.
Curriculum and Faculty
Review the educational curriculum and faculty profiles. Request them if not publicly available.
Campus Facilities and Educational Resources
Visit the school to gather as much information as possible.
Speak at length with students and graduates.
When trying to get in touch with current students at schools in which you are interested, you might find the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) to be a useful resource. IFMSA has chapters worldwide.
The following article provides information on evaluating the culture of a school.
Marketing and Recruiting
Thoroughly assess the quality and accuracy of marketing material.
Ensure that clinical rotations are well-organized, structured, and provide a comprehensive experience.
Success in Medical School and Beyond
Contact alumni groups or former graduates to determine their level of success in the profession.
Why is Accreditation Important?
The following articles provide additional information on the importance of accreditation:
DISCLAIMER: ECFMG provides links to websites referenced above as a general resource to the public, but ECFMG makes no statement regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information contained therein and does not warrant the information’s truthfulness.
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[Last update: March 12, 2020]