Caribbean Medical School 2019 Rankings

While there are no official rankings of Caribbean medical schools and no authoritative “top ten” lists, there are definitely ways to tier medical schools in the Caribbean according to their levels of accreditation, approval, and recognition in the United States. Here, I have put together my own tiering system to categorize and rank schools. These are the criteria in which I am using to tier schools:

RANKING CRITERIA

1. Is the school accredited?
To be accredited means that a recognized, external accrediting agency has visited and evaluated the medical school and found that the quality of the education, administration, and facility meet the standards of accreditation. Please note that having a government charter and being listed in a medical school directory (i.e. FAIMER IMED, WHO Avicenna, WDOMS) is not the same as being accredited. WHO, FAIMER, NRMP, ECFMG, NBME are not accrediting agencies. Some schools are fully accredited, while there are other schools that are “provisionally accredited.” These schools are temporarily given accreditation pending certain requirements they need to satisfy before the next site visit, after which they may or may not be given full accreditation. Please monitor for updates on their accreditation status in the future, as it is possible for schools to lose accreditation.

2. Is the school accredited by a WFME-recognized accrediting agency?
Not all accrediting agencies accredit medical schools the same way – some have higher standards than others. Because of this, ECFMG requires that starting in 2023, in order for you to take the USMLE step exams and apply for ECFMG certificate to practice medicine in the United States, you must come from a school accredited by an accrediting agency that is recognized by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) Recognition Programme. Students from schools who do not meet this requirement by 2023 will not be able to sit for the USMLE exams, get ECFMG certified, and thus will not be able to practice medicine in the United States. Of the accrediting agencies that accredit Caribbean medical schools, only the ACCM, CAAM-HP, and NVAO meet this requirement.

3. Is the school accredited by a NCFMEA-approved accrediting agency?
To be NCFMEA-approved means that the accrediting body that accredited the medical school has been deemed by the US Department of Education’s National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation to have accreditation standards on par with LCME, which accredits US and Canadian medical schools. Being accredited by a NCFMEA-approved accrediting agency is one of the requirements for a school to be eligible to offer US federal student loans.

4. Is the school New York approved?
To be New York approved means that the medical school has been visited and reviewed by the New York State Education Department and has met the state’s standards needed to allow students of the school to complete more than 12 weeks of clinical rotations and graduates to enter residency in New York State.

5. Is the school California approved?
To be California approved means that the medical school has been visited and reviewed by the Medical Board of California and has met the state’s standards needed to allow students of the school to complete clinical rotations and graduates to enter residency and obtain medical licenses in California, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, and other states that may follow California’s standards. Schools can also be disapproved by California, further limiting their graduates from practicing in a few other states like North Dakota and Vermont. At the time of this writing, graduates from schools not approved by California must practice 10 years outside of California before they can become eligible to practice in California. However, this is expected to change in 2020. 

6. Can the school’s graduates be licensed in all 50 States?
Graduates are allowed to obtain license to practice medicine in all 50 states if their school is approved by California (and therefore also Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont) as well as Kansas (school needs to be over 15 years old). Otherwise, graduates can practice in the 30+ states that do not require the medical school to have state approval. At the time of this writing, graduates from schools not approved by California must practice 10 years outside of California before they can become eligible to practice in California. 

7. Is the school eligible to offer Title IV federal student loans?
To be eligible means that the medical school satisfies the many stringent criteria set forth by the US Department of Education to be eligible to offer their US students US federal financial aid.

8. Is the school non-distance learning?
Medical students who go to schools where a large portion of the Basic Science and/or Clinical Science curriculum is given via the internet, or distance-learning, are limited from getting licensed and practicing medicine in a large number of states.

In my opinion, cost, size, and location should not be factored into rankings because these factors do not affect the opportunities that graduates eventually have. Also of note, these rankings are only based on the amount of accreditation, recognition, and approvals that a school has and the number of states that their graduates can practice in. They are in no way meant to judge a school’s students. A student’s success is ultimately up to their own individual performance, regardless of the school. A student from a lower tier school who works hard, scores well on the USMLE exams, and receives outstanding preceptor evaluations can have a better chance at matching into a residency and becoming a successful physician than a student from a top Caribbean medical school who does poorly in school, fails or scores low on the USMLE exams, and receives poor preceptor evaluations.

In the rankings below, schools are listed alphabetically within each numerical tier. If you are a prospective student looking into applying to Caribbean medical schools, I recommend considering the schools in the top tiers first, then go down the groups from there. Please check for updates on schools that are “provisionally accredited” or “accreditation on probation” as their accreditation status may change in the near future. Not all schools may be listed. For more information on accreditation, please read The Accreditation Process of Caribbean Medical Schools. For profiles of the schools listed below, please refer to Guide to Caribbean Medical Schools.

Disclaimer: This ranking is based on my own personal research, and is meant to be informational. The credential status of each school may change. These rankings are only based on the status of schools at the time of this writing. There is no authoritative or official ranking of off-shore Caribbean medical schools. This list does not include US domestic schools in Puerto Rico, regional medical schools for Caribbean nationals, nor schools in South or Central America. Not all schools may be included. Like everything else you read on the internet, please verify what you read with your own research, and think critically.

THE 2019 RANKINGS

Tier 1: Accredited, WFME, NCFMEA, NY, CA, Title IV, 5o States

Tier 2: Accredited, WFME, NCFMEA, NY

Tier 3: Accredited, WFME, NCFMEA

Tier 4: Conditionally Accredited, WFME

Tier 5: Provisionally Accredited, WFME

Tier 6: Accredited, non-WFME

  • Windsor University – accredited by the Accreditation Board of St. Kitts and Nevis, which is non-WFME and non-NCFMEA. Not accredited by CAAM-HP in 2018.

Tier 7: Accreditation Pending, Accreditation Withdrawn, Accreditation Denied, or Not Accredited

  • All American Institute of Medical Sciences (AAIMS) – provisional accreditation withdrawn by CAAM-HP in 2016
  • American International Medical University (AIMU) – accreditation denied by CAAM-HP in 2018
  • American University of Integrative Sciences (AUIS) – applied for accreditation by CAAM-HP
  • American University of St. Vincent (AUS)
  • Aureus University – applied for accreditation by ACCM
  • Caribbean Medical University (CMU) – accreditation denied by CAAM-HP in 2018
  • John F. Kennedy University School of Medicine
  • St. Martinus University
  • University of Health Sciences Antigua (UHSA) – applied for accreditation by CAAM-HP
  • Washington University of Barbados

Tier 8: Distance Learning

  • International University of Health Sciences (IUHS) – accredited by St. Kitts and Nevis Accreditation Board, which is non-WFME and non-NCFMEA.
  • University of Science, Arts, and Technology (USAT) – accredited by Accreditation Service for International Schools, Colleges, and Universities (ASIC), which is non-WFME and non-NCFMEA; not accredited by CAAM-HP in 2012

40 comments to Caribbean Medical School Rankings

  • stevd

    Hi
    Any thoughts on unibe medical school insanto domingo of the dominican republic? Is it legitimate? Accredited anywhere?

    Thanks

    • Jason

      Yes it is, in my opinion it should be in the top 10, they recently got accredited by the California Board which was the only accreditation pending. Many frieds over there right now and they all passed their step without a problem, and the most impressive part for me is that this year they score 70 US residencies in some of the top hospitals like Mayo Cllinic this year alone.

  • Joy

    Hello,
    Will someone with an M.D. degree from the American university of st. Vincent be able to practice in some states in US ? Because from what I know, they have clinical rotations in the US and one can even choose to complete his/her last 5 semesters in the US and the students are also eligible to take the USMLE. Please I need a reply soon. It’s quite urgent.

  • Chimmy

    Hi. Please is the all saints University School of medicine in Dominican Republic accredited in the United States? Is it legit?

    • Benji Ho

      Short answer: it is not accredited in the United States, but it doesn’t mean graduates can’t practice in certain states. Also, All Saints University School of Medicine is in Dominica, not the Dominican Republic.

  • WAEL

    I am a student in Texila American University going to do clinical rotations in Chicago USA. What is the meaning that Texila American University mentioned under not Accridited universities … Is this mean I will not be able to get a license as a medical Doctor in the United States?

  • Philip

    I am a student in All Saints University Saint Vincent… I want to do my clinicals in the US, I wanted to know if I would be able to get liecense if I pass my USMLE well, although my school is not accredited.

    • Benji Ho

      Hi Philip, as long as you get your ECFMG certification before 2023, you’ll be fine. If you wait until after 2023, however, you will not be able to get ECFMG certification if you attended All Saints University St. Vincent, unless the school gets accredited by either CAAM-HP or ACCM by then.

  • M

    Hi Dr. Ho,

    Thanks for publishing this informative guide! Do you have an email address I can use to message you privately? I had a few questions about your blog and this post in particular.

  • Usman Murtaza

    Hi

    I am a Caribbean medical University (CMU) student. I will be graduating this year. Does this mean I cannot get US residency? Is my school eligible?

  • That guy you wish you are

    Is it advisable to do my core rostations in Jamaica or Nigeria and still write the usmle and that won’t be a problem. And also I want you to advise me that where would be better to do my core between Nigeria and Jamaica ?

  • judith habib

    Hi Benji,
    Fisrt of all, tha k you for this blog, iy’s amazing and very helpful! If I would start at IUHS (which I know wont let me practice in all states since it is distannce learning) but if I do the USMLE step 1 before 2023, can I still do step 2 in 2023 and step 3 later? In case they wont become wfme recognised. Or will I not be able to become ECFMG certified?

    • Benji Ho

      To become ECFMG-certified, you MUST complete Step 1, Step 2CS, Step 2 CK, AND receive your medical school diploma. If you do not do all this by 2023, you will not become ECFMG-certified if you attend IUHS. It’s not enough to simply finish step 1 and step 2 without graduating. ECFMG will have to confirm with your school that you actually finished your coursework and have officially received your diploma. You do not need to complete Step 3 to become ECFMG-certified. Being ECFMG-certified is not the same as having an ECFMG number, which you get while in medical school to apply to take the USMLE step exams.

  • Vidhi

    I’m planning on attending SJSM, but I am unsure of the accreditation. I don’t understand where exactly I will be able to work.

    • Benji Ho

      If SJSM’s accreditation is currently under probation. If it does not maintain its CAAM-HP accreditation by 2023, graduates after 2023 will not be able to practice in the US at all. Otherwise, if it does, you should be able to practice in most states by the time you graduate.

  • Mods

    Hello sir plz guide me which university I choose John f Kennedy school of medicine curacao or Lincoln American university Guyana sir plz tell me I will be very thankful to you

  • Mods

    Sir Lincoln American university guyana is new university and one of the fastest growing university in cribbean it offers clinical rotation in in many countries and their documents are ready for caam hp accreditation

  • Tracy Russ

    Dear Mr. Ho,

    Thank you for this very informative blog. My daughter is a Caribbean Student and recent graduate of Georgia State University and is considering applying to the University of the West Indies School of Medicine Mona Campus. We know many person who have graduated from there that have taken USMLE exams to become accredited in the US. I note that UWI is not on the list of accredited schools, nor do I see any particular ranking. Yet they are well known throughout the region and I do know of persons who after graduating from their medical program have taken the USMLE and gone on to the US to specialize. Do you know whether UWI is accredited by WFME; or if UWI is seeking accreditation by Section WFME?

  • Tracy Russ

    Dear Dr. Ho,

    Further to my earlier request regarding whether University of the West Indies (Jamaica) may be a viable option for medical school for my daughter, who graduated Georgia State university in Biology with Pre-Med concentration. Her final GPA was 3.88. While she grew up in Caribbean, she is a US Citizen and currently studying for MCAT in Georgia. While she will be applying to Med schools there (Medical College of Georgia, Mercer University etc.), she misses the Caribbean and wants a different type of experience. My question is, whether all accredited Caribbean Medical Schools require a high MCAT score in order to be accepted into medical school. If so, what would be the average acceptable score?

  • WAEL HIGAZY

    Hi Dr. I am not sure why you recently removed Texila American University name from the list … Is there a reason behind that?

  • Nikil

    Is St.Martinus University accredited by ECFMG?

  • can I practice in US If I attend XAVIER university school of medicine and do you recommend this path?

    • Benji Ho

      Soma – You can practice in the US if you attend Xavier – you may not in all 50 states yet, but this may change soon with new policies to be enacted in California (and states that follow California’s rules) in 2020. It’s accredited by both CAAM-HP and ACCM. I believe the school has a good future.

  • Ravinder

    Is st.martinus university is accredited caam-hp?

  • Sam

    Hi Benji! Thank you for this blog, it is truly very helpful. I have been accepted to AUA so far, and am waiting to hear back from AUC, Ross, and SGU. Do you think that AUA will give me a good chance to get a residency placement?

    • Benji Ho

      Sam – Yes, AUA is now considered one of the top Caribbean schools, as graduates can practice in all 50 states and there are lots of graduates around the country practicing medicine. I went to residency with several colleagues from AUA.

      • Sam

        Hi Benji, thank you for your response! How do you think AUA compares to AUC in general? Would you recommend one over the other? Please let me know. Thanks!

  • Amy baker

    Hi Benji!!

    Thanks so much for taking the time to answer all these questions!
    I’ve currently been accepted to both AUC and SGU and am having the hardest time deciding where to go. Friends from SGU say it’s the best school and that I’ll have a higher chance of matching out of SGU. Despite this, I hear a lot of complains from their students about administration, professors, large class sizes etc. I have spoken to two people from AUC who love it and only had good things to say.

    I feel like id enjoy the experience more at AUC but am worried that I’ll have a harder time with rotations since they’re not affiliated with as many hospitals and that it will also make it more difficult to match. Any thoughts?

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