High-Yield Guide to Caribbean Medical Schools

Why Apply to Caribbean Medical Schools?

Most people apply to Caribbean medical schools as a safety option. Only about 50% of all medical school applicants get accepted into an US medical school. My school only accepted about 3% of total applicants. So there may be a chance you won’t get accepted into a US medical school.

If that is the case, one option is to reapply the following year.

The other option is to apply to Caribbean medical schools. If I didn’t get into an US medical school, I was going to apply abroad. I didn’t want to lose one year reapplying. There are many people from the US who attended foreign medical schools and now practice medicine in the US. I know of a few doctors who are foreign graduates and they are doing well currently.

(The above paragraph was my thinking when I was applying to medical school. But now, after three years of medical school, I changed my mind about applying to foreign medical schools. If I did not get into an US school, I would do something else instead of medicine.)

With that being said, if you choose to attend a school abroad, be prepared for a more difficult journey.

What to Expect?

The whole curriculum consists of 10 trimesters. It somehow fits into four years. In the first two years, you will spend the first two years abroad, building your medical science foundations. Afterward, you will spend two years in the US in clinical rotations.

Mr. Onionhead and Seal on a Caribbean beach

You can also expect hot weather, beaches, and sun. Unless you are a snow bird, err.. seal, that is not too bad.

Disadvantages of Caribbean Medical Schools

1. Lower Graduation Rate

In the US, over 90% of medical students will graduate and become doctors. In the Caribbean, the graduate rate is as low as 50%.

The drop-out rate is explained in greater detail as I rank the big 4 schools.

2. Lower USMLE Pass Rate

Some Caribbean schools may boast of really nice statistics like an USMLE pass rate of 90% or more. However, according to the First Aid for the USMLE Step I (2010), the pass rate in 2008 for foreign graduates was 77%. So who do I believe? I would choose the latter and the more conservative number.

3. ECFMG Certification

You will have to jump through an extra hurdle as a foreign medical student.

Not only will you have to take the USMLE, you will also need the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduate (ECFMG) certification to be eligible for residency in the US and to practice medicine in many states. However, less than 50% of the people will receive the ECFMG certificate on their first try.

If you are interested, here are the criteria for receiving the certificate.

4. Lower Residency Match Rate

As you can see, the odds not reaching residency is already over 50%. And I’m not even factoring in the drop-out rate before the USMLEs.

If you make it to applying to residencies, most places would rather take US medical school graduates over foreign graduates. The match rate into residency for 2008 was only 52% for foreign graduates compared to 94% for US graduates.

This means that if you want to get into a competitive residency, you will have a much harder time to do so. Many of the foreign graduates go into primary care. Hey, that’s the field I’m planning to go into as well.

You Should Apply If …

  • You are rejected from US medical schools.
  • You are pressed for time and there is no other option.
  • You absolutely must become a doctor.

A risky road is better than no road at all.

Which Schools Should You Choose?

The general consensus for the 4 best Caribbean schools are:

  • St. George’s University School of Medicine (SGU)
  • American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC)
  • Saba University School of Medicine (Saba)
  • Ross University School of Medicine (Ross)

They are considered the best because their graduates can practice in all 50 states. If you attend other foreign medical schools, you may not be able to practice in all 50 states.

Which School Is the Best?

So which of the four is the best?

It is hard to tell because there isn’t one source which compares all the schools, like what the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) does for the US allopathic medical schools.

I turned to trusty Google for advice on which of the four is the best. And again, there was no real consensus. Each school has someone praising it. Each school has someone trashing it. After much research, I ranked the top Caribbean schools.

Below, you will find general information about each of the four Caribbean medical schools. Most of the information are from their website, but the inside dirt I had to deep somewhere else for. I standardized the data so it would be easier for comparison.

More About Caribbean Medical Schools

St. George Medical School: Average MCAT, Class Size, and More
This is one of the most popular choice. Find out why. This section includes average student’s MCAT score, admissions, tuition, and more.

AUC Medical School: Average MCAT, Class Size, and More
This is another popular choice. Find out why. This section includes average student’s MCAT score, admissions, tuition, and more.

Saba Medical School: Average MCAT, Class Size, and More
This may be a small school, but it is still a respectable one. This section includes average student’s MCAT score, admissions, tuition, and more.

Ross Medical School: Average MCAT, Class Size, and More
The last of the well-known Caribbean schools. See if this big school is right for you. This section includes average student’s MCAT score, admissions, tuition, and more.

Caribbean Medical Schools Ranking: Which Schools Are Best?
This is a comparison of the Caribbean medical schools. If I was accepted to medical schools in the Caribbean, this is how I would make my decision on which school to go to.

This article is part of the Get into Medical School series. Click on the link if you want more tips and hints about getting accepted into medical school.


  1. Good work, whomever wrote this! This article compresses down everything it took me a year or so of research to find out about offshore med schools into just a few paragraphs! This article is accurate and concise!

  2. Annonymous says:

    First off, great article. I love the way you break everything down. My wife’s brother in law just transferred to Windsor medical school. What do you make of Windsor? If he gets high USMLE scores do you think he will be alright?

    • Alex Ding says:

      I’ve never heard of Windsor. I don’t think going to off-shore medical schools is a good idea, but if someone has to, choose the main ones I’ve talked about in the article.

  3. Hi! Thanks for your succinct and frank information. I am wanting to apply to med school and start in the Fall of ’16, but fall into an unusual rabbit hole as far as requirements go. I am a US citizen, with an MS and PhD from a US university (in neuroscience, no less), but because I went to undergrad in Australia, I am not eligible to apply. I have talked to many people in the admissions/application services and it seems that I am without luck or exception. Unless I choose to complete another BA/BS (at a minimum 90 hours), in the US, Caribbean med schools seem my only hope. Any advice? Thank you!

    • Alex Ding says:

      Hey Stefanie,

      It is quite the dilemma. Do you want to take less time and take a gamble at becoming a doctor in the US? Or do you want to take more time and ensure your chance of becoming a doctor.

      If you’re really serious about becoming a doctor, I would go to an American medical school. Otherwise, pursue something else besides medicine.

  4. Which require no MCAT if you have a bachelors/masters degree? Thanks, Kevin

  5. Namodhan says:

    My brother went to Texila American University, Guyana. They are only 4 years old and they say that they are improving but I dont think so. I am thinking of withdrawing my bro from that shit.

    • Hi,
      I am going to join in Texila American university….They told that we will get all facilities there….Can u please explain me about the university…so that I can speak to my parents…my email id is amriajay44@gmail.com…pls reply me….

  6. Interesting article. I have a relative in the hospital, and I found out that her doctor (a hospitalist) graduated from a medical school in the Dominican Republic, although he seems to be from India. He did do a 2-year post-doctoral fellowship at Emory, however. He’s about 37 years old. Anyway, he seems like a pretty good doctor, but I was disappointed to hear about where he attended medical school. I was going to give him a 5-star rating on the Internet, but now I’ll probably make it 4. 😉

  7. Only about 50% of all medical school applicants get accepted into an US medical school. I think it should be “a” instead of “an.”

    • Alex Ding says:

      You’re right. But I’m too lazy to change it.

      • Big D in the 313 says:


        Thank you for writting this article! I found it to be very insightful as I’ve been contemplating a change in career from medical research to either being a physician or something in the field of I.T.

        In regards to your grammar, you are correct in using “an” instead of “a.” The word “an” is used before words, and abbreviations which start with a vowel. Otherwise, the word “a” is used.

  8. Thanks for this! So informative!

  9. Scott Checketts says:

    I have enjoyed reading your posts and thoughts, but I haven’t read anything about transferring to a US school once you have started. When I attended SGU many years ago, we students could almost count on 15-20% of the class transferring to a US med. school after our second year. After transferring to Rutgers I completed my degree and residency and have been a board certified Dermatologist. Do you have any data on current transfer rates. It seemed easier for us M.D.s to transfer than for the D.O.’s.

  10. Can you get an NP or PA at these schools abroad?

  11. Kiran bathija says:

    I am an Indian mbbs graduate. Just got the certificate. I wish to do my post graduation from US and am studying for my USMLE. Somebody advised me to go for usmle coaching in various universities in Caribbean. Is the coaching really available? How much will these universities help me to get through USMLE ? Please help

  12. Thank you for the information and most of things you said are correct. However, the passing rate and drop out rate are true but it’s not because the schools are not good but the quality of students are lower.

    From what I have researched so far, majority of schools in Carribean and US use the same text books, same references, same curriculum, etc. Most of them teaching US medical standard. The professors in Carribean medical schools are MD or Ph.D. and they are just as qualified to teach as US professors. In fact, some of them are even more experienced than to US Professors because most of US professors are not MD or if they are MD, they don’t practice medicine as much. Majority of professors in Caribbean are practicing MDs.

    I have a friend who went to Mexico medical school and had his residency in UK and currently making about 1 million + per month, not per year, he makes 1 million per month and has his practice in Alaska. First year, he was hired with a salary of $800,000 per year + bonus but he has to move to Alaska. For past 10 years, he owns his clinic and he making more than 1 million or more per month. I know many doctors from India make more than half-million a year. I know a cardiologist in Atlanta making 10K-20K per procedure and he perform 2 operations per day. The hospital charges 60K per procedure and his portion is 10-20K per procedure. He graduated from India. He is now a chief cardiologist at one of the biggest hospitals in Atlanta, GA.

    It’s true that it’s harder to get into residency in specialties if you go to offshore medical schools but getting into Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, Pediatric and some others is not difficult. If you just pass your Step 1 and 2, you will get into Family Medicine for sure. If you get about 220 points, you will get into any of the above. If you want to get into Dermatology, Radiology, Cardiology, Ophthalmology, Neurosurgery, etc. most like you won’t have a chance unless you get above 240 points or higher in Step 1.

    If you are an US citizen, your residency match is not too difficult if you don’t aim too high. You are almost for sure to get into Family Medicine if you pass step 1 and you are an US citizen.

    And if you are an US citizen, I don’t think you need to have Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduate (ECFMG) certification. You just need your step 1 and 2 passing scores. (Please double check).

    I know many people who are doing very well being a doctors in US from Caribbean schools, especially if you have a business mind and hire US doctors and offshore doctors to work for you.

    I also know a person who is a family doctor and owns 7 practices within the 3 years of graduation. She’s in her 30’s and making millions per month from her 7 offices and now opening more offices in Texas.

    My dear friend graduated from Boston Medical school, had her residency ast John Hopkins in radiology, became a chief resident and finished her fellowship at Yale University. Her first year salary was 300K working in Los Angeles. After 3 years, her salary now is 375K per year and she still owes 265K in student loans. She is one of the top radiologists and her earning in a year it not even half of offshore doctors what I know earn in a month.

    Not all offshore doctors are rich but getting in Family Medicine working for someone else, you can still easily make 165K – 250K in the first year from graduating from Caribbean medical schools.

    The top 4 medical schools listed above are the best and it’s very true. Graduates from there can practice in 50 states, TRUE! But their tuition are the same or even higher than most of US medical schools. They also required MCAT which I don’t think it’s needed. If you don’t attend those 4 schools, you can still practice in 48 states. Only California and New York are two states that you can’t practice.

    To summarize, medical schools in US or Caribbean are almost the same, professors are very highly qualified, but the quality of students are much lower leading to higher dropping rate and lower passing step 1 rate.

    You will learn the same curriculum where you are in US or in Caribbean. It’s up to you to pass or not. If you think you can pass Step 1 and want to be a doctor, go for it. You don’t have to go to an expensive offshore schools. I have been around including US medical school so I know. They teach the same thing, same books, etc. Don’t give up your dream if you want to be a doctor. You can still make money in research, teaching, writing health books, magazine, blog, etc. while being a family doctor or some other specialties.

    Most of people love to trash Caribbean schools and I really don’t understand why. As long as you pass USMLE exams, you will be fine and you are just as smart, knowledgeable and qualified as US medical students.


    • Alex Ding says:

      Excellent post.

      It doesn’t matter if you went to a US or foreign medical school if you can get into residency. But you WILL limit your options in terms of specialty.

      Personally, I don’t think specialty matters are much as business skills, as you said, when it comes to making money. Just understand that by going to a Caribbean school, you are at a higher risk of not getting into residency. I teach a lot of students that come from Caribbean schools and I can’t tell the difference between them and American students in terms of medical knowledge.

    • Nina Eiffert says:

      This is more accurate then what the author wrote. You should be writing the blog!!

    • Hi Serene,

      Your comment was very in depth about medical schools in the Caribbeans. I wonder which school would you suggest me which doesn’t require the MCAT however who offers the higher rate to be placed for clinicals in USA.

  13. I’m currently looking at 3 Caribbean medical schools. SMU, SABA, and AUA. I know a coworkers daughter that went to SMU and said she loved it made lots of friends and is now getting ready to take the USMLE step 2 CK. Truthfully I never really thought about the international medical schools, but I know its what I want to do. I have 2 degrees 1 BS in biology and 1 BHS in allied health which allows me to work as an medical technologist. I’m going to be 29 soon and have taken the MCAT twice (old and new) applied to DO schools but didn’t get in. My GPA is good but nothing great same with MCAT (this new MCAT sucks lol). After considering if I was to take the MCAT one more time I know it would be my last and thats nerve racking. SO I’ve come to see that if you truly know what you want you shouldn’t let anything stand in your way (in this case US med schools). That is why I’m considering those 3 schools at the top. Luckly after talking with my coworkers daughter she has really encouraged me and advised me what I can do to most likely succeed at an international medical student (learning from her mistakes). This article is very accurate even though stats are always going to change slightly. I also found this very helpful in convencing me I’m making the right choice, I’ve asked myself the questions, I’ve planed as much as I can. So when the time comes I will keep my fingers crossed to be accepted and once that happens a new chapter in my life can begin.

    One must have faith in thereself and there abilities in order to succeed, if they don’t then look for other routes. If you don’t do that then maybe you truely don’t want it enough.

    • Jennifer says:

      This is very helpfully Sean. I know you said you are applying to the top 3 caribbean school but do you have a particular one you would rather prefer. I applied to just SGU for Jan 2017 program but I am contemplating applying to ross and AUC since it’s a cheaper option as compared to SGU.

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