Pennsylvania’s medical schools have earned a national reputation as some of the most rigorous in the country. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in a recognized field of study and a satisfactory score on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) are prerequisites for medical school. Should you be accepted, you will devote four years to medical school in order to earn either an M.D. or a D.O.
After graduating, students make a transition to medical facilities to complete internships and residencies. In Pennsylvania, the last step in becoming a doctor is passing a written test and a practical exam before applying for licensure. Explore our medical degree and PreMed portals to learn more about the best Pennsylvania medical schools.
You can find information on how to become a doctor as well as a list of recognized institutions in Pennsylvania that are able to provide such a degree on the two linked pages. Furthermore, you can investigate related healthcare degree tracks, such as cytotechnology, epidemiology, oncology, biomedical science, and genetics. Put together a plan that will keep you focused and on track as you search for the best medical school in Pennsylvania.
Best medical schools in pennsylvania
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) was founded in 1899, making it one of the United States’ oldest medical institutions. Since then, the university has produced many distinguished medical professionals, such as former Trump administration physician Sean Conley and the first osteopathic physician to serve as U.S. Army surgeon general, Ronald R. Blanck.
PCOM’s medical students follow the standard curriculum, which includes classroom instruction and clinical rotations at various affiliated hospitals. They also gain practical experience by working at one of PCOM’s primary care clinics like Cambria Division Healthcare Center, Lancaster Avenue Healthcare Center, or the Department of Family Medicine at PCOM. The university is also home to the Center for Chronic Disorders of Aging, an organization whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for all people with long-term illnesses related to aging.
PCOM students have recently been elected to national student leadership positions in the American Medical Women’s Association, demonstrating that the school is well-equipped to continue its tradition of producing outstanding practitioners.
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine aspires to serve the people of Scranton as their preferred medical institution. In addition to the usual resources for medical education, GCSM actively seeks to connect with the Central Pennsylvania community.
This is accomplished through REACH-HEI (Regional Education Academy for Careers in Health), an after-school program that offers educational enhancements. As part of the program, medical and graduate students across Pennsylvania work as mentors with students from low-income backgrounds or who are the first in their families to attend college. Similarly, the Behavioral Health Initiative (BHI) at the school engages students and community members to promote better understanding of mental health.
These efforts are fruitful for GCSM because they help to recruit local students. The profiles of the incoming medical school class of 2020 show that 1 in 5 is from a racial or ethnic group that has been underrepresented in the medical profession, and that nearly a third of the class hails directly from North Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Drexel University College of Medicine
What do Dr. PimplePopper (aka Sandra Lee) and Clifford Hudis, CEO of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, have in common? They graduated from the School of Medicine at Drexel University.
It’s not surprising that a school with two historical firsts would produce such well-known alums. The Female Medical College of Pennsylvania was the first medical school for women in the United States, and Hahnemann College was the first college of homeopathy in the country.
Drexel Medical College (Drexel Med) carries on this illustrious history by promoting inclusion and pioneering new approaches to research. Among these pioneers is Rohan Sehgal, a medical student who has joined the National Institute on Aging to investigate the physiological effects of aging. Since Drexel has recently received $10 million in research grants, it will be able to better prepare students to succeed like Dr. Sehgal.
Thomas Jefferson University Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Thomas Jefferson University is one of the oldest medical schools in the United States, with a history dating back to 1824. TJU maintained its commitment to medical education through the Sidney Kimmel Medical College even after its 2017 merger with Philadelphia University transformed it into a full-fledged liberal arts university.
Kimmel has adapted its curriculum since opening its doors to better serve the needs of today’s healthcare industry. Under the new patient-centered curriculum, students spend the first two years learning the fundamentals of medicine, the next two years gaining practical experience through clinical rotations, and the final year focusing on electives to hone their abilities.
Kimmel Med continues this legacy with a superb curriculum, earning it a spot in U.S. News & World Report’s top 60 medical schools for both primary care and research. Kimmel is leading Thomas Jefferson University into its third century, and it can only go from strength to strength as he does so.
University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine
If you’re looking for a top-tier medical school, look no further than Pitt’s. US News places Pitt Med at #13 for Research and #34 for Primary Care in 2021. Additionally, the school’s Surgery program is ranked 11th in the country.
The MD program’s curriculum places a priority on the patient from the very beginning and provides early and extensive clinical experiences. In the first two years, students split their time evenly between lectures (about a third), small group work (about a third), and hands-on experiences (such as field trips, community service projects, and laboratory work).
Pitt Medical School has a 6% acceptance rate, requires a GPA of 3.86, and averages an MCAT score of 517.
Lewis Katz School Of Medicine At Temple University
In Philadelphia, at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine (LKSOM), students learn to be compassionate, caring doctors.
For 2021, US News places the university at #61 for Research.
The first two years are broken up into modules that teach students the fundamentals of both basic and clinical sciences. The clinical years are spent providing direct care to patients. In the third year, students rotate through required clerkships, but in the fourth year, they have the opportunity to focus on an area of interest through a variety of electives.
Medical students at the top Pennsylvania universities have an average MCAT score of 512, a mean grade point average of 3.75, and an acceptance rate of 4%.
Lake Erie College Of Osteopathic Medicine
Seeing a need for more medical professionals in the area, the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) was established in 1992. With more than 2,200 students, it has grown to become the largest medical school in the country.
There are 3 main curriculum options available at this school. The Problem-Based Learning (PBL) Pathway emphasizes student-centered, self-directed learning through collaborative small-group work. The LDP is a more traditional route that emphasizes lecture-based instruction. In addition, the first two years of medical school offer students a great deal of leeway thanks to the Directed Study Pathway (DSP).
The average GPA at LECOM is 3.56, and the average MCAT score is 502. The acceptance rate at LECOM is 7.6%.
Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine
There are accelerated curriculum choices at Penn State that can be completed in as little as three years. Students accepted to Penn State have the option of enrolling in either the University Park or Hershey curricula, as well as the Hershey Accelerated Pathways program. Notably, a student can complete medical school at Penn State in three years and then continue on to one of Penn State’s residency programs if they opt for the accelerated pathway. Family medicine, neurosurgery, internal medicine, emergency medicine, and psychiatry are all examples of specialties covered by the accelerated pathway. Alternatively, students can earn their MD in three years through the Accelerated MD Program and use their fourth year to focus on research through the Clinician Scientist Pathway or on teaching in the classroom through the Clinician Educator Pathway.
Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University
JeffMD, Jefferson’s reimagined medical education program, places a greater emphasis on hands-on learning through clinical rotations and patient interactions. In addition, during their four years at Jefferson, medical students can choose to focus on one of eight Scholarly Inquiry areas. Through the Scholarly Inquiry programs, students explore research interests in areas such as clinical and translational research, digital health, health policy and systems, and more with the guidance of Jefferson faculty. Penn State also offers an accelerated seven-year BS/MD program for high school students through the Penn State Accelerated Program.
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
One of the best medical schools in the country can be found at the University of Pittsburgh. Biomedical informatics, clinical and translational science for doctoral students in the health sciences, clinical research, and medical education are all areas in which students can pursue advanced degrees at this university. For the curious medical student, there are a variety of summer research opportunities. University of Pittsburgh students have access to global health electives at the University of Ghana Medical School, Tenwek Hospital East Africa, and the Himalayan Health Exchange, among other international opportunities, in addition to cutting-edge research facilities.
The University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine
Pennsylvania is home to some of the best medical schools in the country, including the nation’s oldest medical school, which is at the very top of our list of the 10 oldest medical schools in the US. It is a landmark of Philadelphia’s University City area and dates back to 1765. Among the seven Ivy League medical schools, Penn is one of only two.
In 2021, US News places the University of Pennsylvania at #9 for Research and #24 for Primary Care. In addition to being a top-five pediatrician in the country, Dr. Perelman is also highly regarded in the fields of psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, anesthesia, and radiology.
Penn Medical is an elite institution due to its 3.89 average GPA, 520 average MCAT score, and 4.4% acceptance rate. Students from other countries make up 79% of the incoming class.
Does Pennsylvania have good medical schools?
There are six medical schools in Pennsylvania, two of which are among the top 15 in the country according to U.S. News’ 2023 Best Medical Schools (Research) ranking. Applicants from within the state had a better chance of being interviewed by all Pennsylvania allopathic medical schools except Penn.
Is med school the hardest degree?
The medical field is notoriously competitive, making it one of the most challenging fields to enter academically.
Medical schools in Pennsylvania receive a lot of applications each year; how can you make yourself stand out to the admissions staff? In what ways can I improve my odds of getting into these institutions?
The admissions process can be competitive, so it’s best to apply to as many schools as possible that are a good fit for you academically and missionarily. It’s crucial that you pay attention to making sure your grades and MCAT scores are in line with the averages at each school of medicine. Consider retaking the MCAT if your GPA and/or test scores are below the school average and you want to improve your chances of getting in. Similarly, if your GPA is below par, you may want to think about continuing your education with a post-bachelor’s certificate or Master’s degree. You can demonstrate to the admissions committee that you can handle and succeed in rigorous coursework by demonstrating a positive trend in your grade point average. Many Pennsylvania universities specifically ask for research experience on applications, so this is a win-win.
To what end are secondary applications developed? These supplementary applications are a major factor in determining how well your character fits the school’s mission. It is a fantastic opportunity to present yourself in a light other than your grades and MCAT score to the admissions board. Is your interest in laboratory research one of the reasons you want to attend a particular university? Have you ever worked in a hospital and found that you really enjoyed it? Pennsylvania universities use all of these factors in their holistic reviews of applications to select students for interviews.
Your level of preparedness for medical school is another factor to think about. Readiness is determined by more than just grades and test scores; maturity and development also play a role. Those who have managed to apply to medical school with competitive scores while also working, conducting research, shadowing potential doctors, and running clubs/organizations demonstrate strong work ethic and time management skills. Understanding the significance of these traits in determining your potential to become a doctor is critical. If you want to get into medical school, you need to show the admissions committee that you’re more than just another applicant with a high GPA and MCAT score by excelling in the more challenging coursework, patient care, and hospital rotations that are part of the secondary application and interview processes. It is possible to improve your chances of acceptance by learning what each Pennsylvania medical school is looking for and demonstrating why this is important to you.