Caribbean Medical School 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.

2. Is the school’s accreditation NCFMEA approved?
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.

3. 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.

4. 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. 

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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. 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. Not all schools may be listed. Like everything else you read on the internet, please take for a grain of salt, verify what you read with your own research, and think critically.

THE 2018 RANKINGS

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

  • American University of the Caribbean (AUC)
  • Ross University
  • Saba University
  • St. George’s University (SGU)
  • Medical University of the Americas (MUA)

Tier 2: Accredited, NCFMEA, NY, CA, Title IV

  • American University of Antigua (AUA) – Will move up to Tier 1 in 2019 pending Kansas eligibility

Tier 3: Accredited, NCFMEA, NY

  • St. Matthews University (SMU) – CA disapproved

Tier 4: Accredited

  • All American Institute of Medical Sciences(AAIMS)
  • American International Medical University (AIMU)
  • American University of St. Vincent (AUS)
  • Atlantic University (AUSOM)
  • College of Medicine and Health Sciences St. Lucia (COMHSSL)
  • International American University (IAU)
  • Spartan Health Sciences University
  • St. James School of Medicine (SJSM)
  • Trinity School of Medicine (TSOM)
  • University of Health Sciences Antigua (UHSA)
  • University of Medicine and Health Sciences (UMHS)
  • Windsor University
  • Xavier University

Tier 5: Not subject to accreditation according to WHO/AVICENNA, or Accreditation Pending

  • American University of Barbados (AUB)
  • American University of Integrative Sciences (AUIS)
  • Aureus University*
  • Avalon University*
  • Caribbean Medical University (CMU)*

Tier 6: Distance Learning

  • International University of Health Sciences (IUHS)
  • University of Science, Arts, and Technology (USAT)

*”The medical school and its programme in medical education are not subject to accreditation or a similar process of official recognition,” according to WHO/AVICENNA. The World Health Organization (WHO)’s AVICENNA Directory of medical schools is considered an authoritative list of medical schools around the world. To find out more about the school’s recognition (and accreditation, if any), go to http://avicenna.ku.dk/database/medicine, search for the school, then click on the “Recognition” tab.