Medical colleges: Same but different in USA and India?

For people who are interested in joining a medical college, there is the controversial topic; is it better to study medicine in India or the USA?

The US and India are known to have the most prestigious and notable medical colleges in the world. Both countries offer much credible medical education systems. -But which of the two is better? Where do you gain more?

Are you considering doing your further medical studies in the US or India? Whether you are an undergraduate or you are doing your masters, it is vital that you understand the differences and similarities between the two systems. You are also better off knowing what to expect in your life as a medical student.

People who are looking into doing their masters are already familiar with the day-to-day life of a medical student. However, first years might need some insight into how life will be like. Time in medical college will suddenly become precious and you will just have to work extra hard.

Still, don't let the hardships of medical studies blind you from seeing all the benefits of being a professional physician or surgeon. From saving lives to helping people in pain and contributing to life-improving medical research.

So, now it is time to choose whether to study medicine in the US or India. The most common 'first' thing that people consider is the residency in different fields in the US and the duration. How long will the course take? -And will I get residency in any country of my choice?

The average duration of medical education in most systems is 6 - 8 years. The two countries have different systems, hence different durations and breaks.

We know that India offers reliable medical education and the US has an impressively advanced infrastructure. So, in which of the two countries will you find the most favourable medical college?

Between US and India, which country charges higher medical fees? In both countries, many things affect the fee-rates of medical colleges. From state policies to literacy levels and the huge number of college applicants.

Do students from those two countries face similar professional experiences? How are the exams set?

In which of the two countries will you find a more flexible license? Which educational system gives you a more credible license?

Medical education in India

It would be a mistake not to recognise India as one of the pioneering countries of medicine. Once upon a time, students from all over the globe would come to India's Taxila and Nalanda universities to study medicine.

Just like many other countries, India too faces challenges within its healthcare sector. Some studies have indicated that there is only one government doctor for every 11,500 people. The statistics come as a shock, especially when we consider the huge number of medical colleges in India.

Best medical colleges in India:

  • Punjab medical college
  • Bangalore medical college
  • Shifa medical college
  • Mecial college Kolkata
  • PSG medical college

Fee rates

As a distant-learning student, you are supposed to pay a higher fee. The lowest you can pay per year is about $1,000. You have not yet included a hostel and other student expenses. You can expect to pay about $150, 000 total in tuition fee for the duration.


India has a considerably modern medicine-studies curriculum. However, all students are yet to be updated on all the new medicine domains.

According to India's health secretary in 2010, the teacher-centric system in medical schools is responsible for the many poorly trained doctors in the market. Medical trainers are usually selected based on on the grades on the degree alone, rather than their clinical experience.

India's government has also not done much to motivate medical college lecturers. Medical teachers in India are not so happy with pay rates and this evidently reflects the quality of education. Also, if lecturers are underpaid, they are more likely to strike or go on slowdowns, thus impacting medical education quality.

Medical exams

People with photographic memories have extremely high chances of victory as a medical student in India. There have been complaints' regarding the 'cramming' system of learning in India. Yes, students are also trained in the practical setting but the exam pattern is a trigger for concern.

Rote learning technique is most widely used in the country. Here, potential doctors are ranked according to the answers they present in MCQ exams. The most qualified doctor is the one with the highest number of correct answers.

For admission, international students are supposed to do the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET). Other main exams in India are the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS)and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBES).

Unfortunately, India does not recognise the side of OSCEs (Objective Structured Clinical Exams) while testing medical students. The main disadvantage if medical students in India cannot be tested for clinical skills until they start practising.

Course Duration

The MBBS (bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery) program takes up to five years and six months for completion. The program is further divided into three professionals, each allocated three semesters. Note that each semester consists of eighteen months and the last 1 year is a mandatory rotating internship.

As for all aspiring dentists, BDS (Bachelor of Dental Sciences) takes a total of 4 years of training and one year of internship. Potential dentists are free to specialise in dentistry and receive hands-on practice during their two last semesters.

Pharmaceuticals and nurses from India can get a job anywhere in the world. Both the bachelor of pharmacy and the bachelor of nursing in India take up to four years to complete.

Masters in Doctor of Medicine is a 3-year program that is eligible to any students with an MBBS degree. To graduate as a surgeon in India, one must complete a 3-year course.

Complementary training

Even medical students need other forms of complementary training, to make sure that an all-around excellence. There have been worries that the Indian medical education system does not incorporate enough extra curriculum and social responsibilities.

To be a successful doctor, one must be well-trained and have a sense of social responsibility. A doctor needs to have applicable knowledge on community-health and the different health-related issues in the society.


India is an already established hub for medical schools. However, there are challenges when it comes to infrastructure within the medical institutions. The government can do better to improve studying facilities like labs and lecture halls and incorporating advanced technology.

It is important to join a medical college that is open to digital forms of learning. For instance, video platforms are very useful in helping students study for their medical exams, even from remote areas.



Studying and completing medicine in a US medical college is usually celebrated, but it comes with a lot of challenges. For starters, the tuition fee is usually high. Luckily for local students, the government puts them first during public-university admissions. The tuition fee is even higher for international students who have to enrol in private universities.

Wondering how it is like, studying medicine in a US medical college? First of all, it's not as easy as memorising information than running to spill it on an exam paper. Yet, when all is done you will realise that all the hard work is worth it. Being a licensed doctor in the united states comes with a good reputation and salary.

The process of admission for potential international medical students requires that you have already completed a 4-year bachelor degree. Students should also make sure that their bachelor's degree consists of prerequisite classes of the courses they are applying for.

The US is a bit more thorough with its admission process. To qualify, students need to have successfully completed the Medical College Admissions Tests (MCAT). The MCAT is a compulsory test that evaluates the student's problem-solving skills, critical thinking and various scientific concepts.

Unfortunately for international students, US public schools have more priority for local applicants. Many publicly funded universities have just a few slots to offer to international students. However, potential physicians from other countries can apply in private universities.

Best medical colleges in the US:

  • Meharry medical college
  • Medicine hat college
  • New York medical college
  • Medical college of Wisconsin
  • Medical college of Georgia

Fee rate

The fee rate for local students in public universities is usually high but the government helps by providing loans and other bursaries. Since most international students end up in private colleges, the fee is usually higher.

Recent reports show that the average cost of medical education is about $35,000 per year. Depending on the college, medical students are usually required to pay between $35,000 and $63, 890 per year of study.


Medical education in the US has improved over the years but there is still a long way to go. Still, medical education in the US is very intensive and it usually takes up 80% of the student's time.

Although memory is very much tested in the US medical schools, medical trainers mostly emphasise the first-hand experience. The first year of medical college requires a lot of memorisation of different classes. In the second year, students are given a chance to participate in more practical and clinical settings in the second year of study.

Medical students in the US also undergo clinical rotations, throughout their course. Clinical experience enables students to have a clear idea of how it is in the real world and even become better doctors. A doctor with some form of experience will most likely do better diagnosis and treatments than a doctor without any experience.

Medical exams

To practice medicine in an unsupervised setting, you must pass all the required exams in the US system. Without passing all the exams, no students (local, and international) can be able to move ahead from medical college practice medicine.

In the US, students and physicians are required to take and pass all tests of the USMLE. The United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) tests a student's ability to apply medical knowledge, principles and concepts to patient care.

Also known as the Board exam, the USMILE exams come in three phases. The USMILE step 1 test is after the second year, the USMILE step 2 t is done during the fourth year and the USMILE step 3 is given after your first year of residency.


The United States is one of the most if not the most developed country in the world. Therefore, potential medical students have the assurance that infrastructure in American schools is up to standards.

For instance, there are special labs and lecture halls set for different medical classes like pathology, histology, anatomy and biochemistry. This enables students to have a better, first-hand understanding of the medical field.

The United States also has better technology and more learning materials to offer. For one, there is strong internet in all colleges, making it easy for students to revise, study and do group discussions online.

Course duration

Medical education in the US starts after you have completed four years of undergraduate study. It is the reason even international students are required to produce a bachelor degree for successful admission.

The four-year university medical study in the US further divides into two main categories; basic sciences (first two years) and then clinical studies to complete the program.

Complementary courses

The US universities are known for their efforts in extra-curricular activities and social responsibility. While taking their medical degrees in the US, students can also take part in arts, sports and other activities that interest them.

Medical college choice summary

So, between the US and India, where is medical education offered best? Selecting the right place to go for medical education is difficult. We hope that our guide has helped you make a decision on where to go for medical college.

The US is an economically, well-developed country as compared to India. However, that does not mean that India lacks reliable medical colleges. Actually, doctors in India are at a very high demand in other countries, especially in the third-world.

There is also the factor of licensing and residency. Even if you take full medical education in India, you will still be required to take extra exams in countries like the US, for full residency.

In the end, both countries are open to applications from international students. -But your success as a doctor depends on your personal hard work, discipline and social responsibility.

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