If you are hoping to attend one of the best Texas medical schools, it will be helpful to know a few things before you apply. This guide will help you determine which institutions to concentrate your efforts on, how the application process works, and the details of each of them so you can make an informed choice.
It will also cover the ins and outs regarding what makes Texas unique when it comes to your education. Texas medical schools are known for being leaders in research—particularly in cancer care—and for producing outstanding doctors.
Not only that, they carry stellar reputations across the United States, so whether you stay in-state or choose to establish a practice in another, your credentials will move with you. On top of this, Texas is known for its warm weather and many fun opportunities for students, such as sporting events and, yes, even the rodeo!
The best Texas medical schools are attractive for many reasons. Many of these schools have good reputations, and the state itself offers warm weather throughout most of the year.
Furthermore, both rural and urban institutions have strong programs available. You can be any type of medical professional you wish, from a big city doctor to a small-town family physician.
There are 15 total schools to choose from, and 14 of them use the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS), while one uses the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) application.
If you are also applying to other schools in the U.S., consult our guide for the AAMC’s American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) to learn how to submit those applications.
Now that you know the basics, you are ready to learn about each of the 15 schools and the details you need to know to weigh your options.
The table below breaks down each of the best Texas medical schools, their mission statements, a brief introduction to the school, the requirements to get in, and their expected tuition. Terms: IS – in-state, OOS – out-of-state, N/A – not available.
“Baylor College of Medicine is a health sciences university that creates knowledge and applies science and discoveries to further education, healthcare and community service locally and globally.”
This private stand-alone medical school is located within the Texas Medical Center, which is the largest medical center in the world. Tracing its roots back to 1900, today it features the only School of Tropical Medicine in North America. Its students learn from some of the most diverse patient populations in the U.S.
You must have a minimum of 90 undergraduate semester hours, including:
24.1% IS; 8.7% OOS
$22,501 IS; $35,601 OOS
“The mission of the Sam Houston State University (SHSU) College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) is to prepare students for the degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine with an emphasis toward primary care and rural practice, to develop culturally aware, diverse and compassionate physicians, who follow osteopathic principles, that are prepared for graduate medical education, and will serve the people of Texas with professionalism and patient-centered care.
A significant part of the mission of the COM is to increase the physician workforce in the eastern region of Texas and to increase access to primary care. The COM will accomplish this by recruiting qualified applicants from areas to which they would likely want to return and establish their practice.”
This is a recently-established medical school founded in 2019. It’s the third osteopathic medical school in Texas, and it has a small, focused, and tight-knit community of doctors, students, and patients that learn from each other.
$55,000 IS; $55,000 OOS
“Our Mission is to transform health care by inspiring Empathetic Scholars.”
Established in 1970, this medical school is taking the lead in research growth for the state of Texas. Special programs in this institution include a pediatric mobile clinic that offers no-cost care to children in underserved areas of Fort Worth. This charitable outreach focus makes it a social partner for many in the area.
You must have taken the MCAT from the last 3 years, and enrolled in at least the following courses:
20.4% IS; 18.5% OOS
$57,500 IS; $57,500 OOS
“Our mission is to improve the health and well-being of the people of Texas and beyond through excellence in education, research and health care delivery.”
Science is a good word to encapsulate this school. It is associated with the renowned Texas A&M University, which is famous for everything from football to military leaders. Notable alumni include Rip Torn and Phyllis Frye, the first openly trans judge in the U.S.
You must have a C grade minimum in all of the following courses:
16.0% IS; 3.5% OOS
$19,724 IS; $32,824 OOS
“The mission of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso is to improve the lives of people in our State and our community by focusing on the unique health care needs of socially and culturally diverse border populations through excellence in integrated education, research, and patient care.”
Established in 2007, this medical school has finances on its side, thanks to a large number of donations. Students here take core classes four at a time in their first two years, which include society, community and individual, medical skills, and a colloquium to ensure proper learning of the scientific principles of medicine.
You must have taken the MCAT and have 90 hours total with C or better in:
15.3% IS; 6.1% OOS
$19,568 IS; $32,668 OOS
“As a comprehensive health sciences center, our mission is to enrich the lives of others by educating students to become collaborative health care professionals, providing excellent patient care, and advancing knowledge through innovative research.”
Students of this medical school, established in 1969, can take joint-degree programs with Texas Tech University or even a fast-tracked three-year program if they wish. It was the first school in the U.S. to offer an accelerated program and continues to pave the way in that area.
Complete at least 90 semester hours (134 quarter hours) and achieve at least C grades; for:
Note: Biochemistry is required by the TTUHSC School of Medicine and it may be used toward fulfilling the Biological Sciences or General Chemistry requirement. Your best MCAT score from within the last five years is used.
22.5% IS; 15.8% OOS
$18,808 IS; $31,908 OOS
“UH College of Medicine is accountable to society for improving the overall health and health care of the population of Greater Houston, Texas and beyond.
Educating a diverse group of physicians who will provide compassionate, high-value (high quality at a reasonable cost) care to patients, families and communities, with a focus on primary care and other needed physician specialties, such as psychiatry and general surgery.
Conducting interdisciplinary research to find innovative solutions to problems in health and health care.
Providing integrated, evidence-based, high-value care delivered to patients by inter-professional teams.
Engaging, collaborating with, and empowering patient populations and community partners to improve their health and health care.”
Another recent arrival, this school was founded in 2019 and enrolled its inaugural class of 30 in 2020. Full of new energy and exciting possibilities, this school focuses on primary care.
You must have taken MCAT within the last 5 years and have 90 credit hours minimum in these required courses:
The following courses are highly recommended:
$24,264 IS; $37,360 OOS
“Create solutions for a healthier community by preparing tomorrow’s patient-centered physicians and scientists and advancing the continuum of medical knowledge, discovery, and osteopathic health care.
In fulfillment of its mission, the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine shall:
Recruit and support a diverse student body with the academic and humanistic qualifications to become accomplished osteopathic physicians dedicated to patient care and service to their communities;
Provide a curriculum that is evidence-based and grounded in the learning sciences;
Offer clinical experiences that prepare its graduates for diverse careers in medical practice;
Promote scientific discovery through mentored research;
Create opportunities for postdoctoral education in support of the health care workforce in the State of Texas.”
A public medical school located in The University of North Texas Science Center, this school has the 8th largest number of medical students entering general practice fields in the U.S. Another primary-care-oriented school, it also has affiliated foreign teaching hospitals.
You must have at least 90 undergraduate hours and taken the MCAT within the last 5 years.
$13,078 IS; $28,766 OOS
“Revolutionize how people get and stay healthy by:
Improving health in our community as a model for the nation;
Evolving new models of person-centered, multidisciplinary care that reward value;
Accelerating innovation and research to improve health;
Educating leaders who transform health care; and
Redesigning the academic health environment to better serve society.”
Named after the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, of the eponymous computer company, this school was founded in 2013. A public institution, it already has quite a large endowment and has a notable focus on wellness.
9.4% IS; 1.7% OOS
$20,673 IS; $34,711 OOS
“The mission of McGovern Medical School is to educate a diverse body of future physicians and biomedical scientists for a career dedicated to the highest ideals of their profession; to provide outstanding patient-centered care; and to conduct innovative research that benefits the health and well-being of the population of Texas and beyond.”
With around 240 students admitted into this school every year, it is the 7th largest medical school in the U.S. It is affiliated with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. It was at this school in which Ferid Murad did the research that earned him a Nobel Prize.
You must have taken a minimum of 90 credit hours and have taken an MCAT in the last 5 years.
20.8% IS; 5.6% OOS
$20,907 IS; $29,858 OOS
“UTMB will strive to create tomorrow's medicine today by discovery and application of new knowledge, and by inspiring lifelong learning and clinical excellence. We will accomplish this mission through innovative leadership and a steadfast commitment to scholarship and service excellence by:
Educating and inspiring skilled physicians and scientists who are dedicated to lifelong learning and reflect the diversity of the people whom we serve.
Enhancing the well-being of our global community by expanding the frontiers of our basic and applied scientific knowledge and its translation from the bench to the bedside.
Improving the health of all individuals by providing outstanding evidence-based, compassionate, culturally fluent patient care, which recognizes the utmost importance of human interest, values and dignity.
Sharing our talents to form partnerships with others – individuals, communities, governments, foundations, schools/universities and industries – in the service of our community, our state and the world.”
This public institution includes the oldest medical school in Texas. Founded in 1891, it is famous for its original building: “Old Red” which is large and ornate. A notable alumni is the astronaut Dr. William E. Thornton.
Must have taken the MCAT in the last 5 years and have at least 90 credit hours with a C average or better in:
26.3% IS; 4.8% OOS
$22,768 IS; $37,577 OOS
“The mission of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine (UTRGV SOM) is to educate a diverse group of dedicated students who will become physicians that serve across all the disciplines of medicine; bring hope to patients by advancing medical knowledge through research; integrate education and research to advance the quality and accessibility of patient care; and engage with the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) communities to benefit Texas and the world.”
Found in 2014, this school is in the Rio Grande Valley to help serve this area, which is currently underserved by medical schools. It addresses the rates of obesity and diabetes, in particular, that are higher in this area than in the rest of the state and nation.
You must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, with a 3.2 in all Sciences, and C or above in every course, totaling at least 90 credit hours.
Your MCAT must have been taken after 2016 and MCAT scores above the 50th percentile (500), with each section having a score of 122 or higher, will be reviewed and considered.
MCAT scores below the 50th percentile will be sent to a special sub-committee for consideration. MCAT scores below 495 will not be considered for admission in any way.
10.2% IS; 5.7% OOS
$18,298 IS; $31,398 OOS
“The mission of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, now called UT Health San Antonio, is to make lives better through excellence in education, research, health care and community engagement. Strategies for achieving this mission are: Educating a diverse student body to become excellent health care providers and scientists. Engaging in research to understand health and disease. Commercializing discoveries, as appropriate, to benefit the public. Providing compassionate and culturally proficient health care. Engaging our community to improve health. Influencing thoughtful advances in health policy.”
This medical school is notable for the Mays Cancer Center, which is internationally renowned for drug trials in treating cancer. In fact, 15 recent cancer drugs that the FDA approved were developed or tested at this institution. In addition, it’s focused on creating and providing innovative treatments for these patients.
You must have at least 90 credit hours plus grades of C or better in:
23.9% IS; 12.5% OOS
$19,637 IS; $35,509 OOS
“Promoting health and a healthy society that enables achievement of full human potential.
EDUCATE Physicians, scientists, and caregivers optimally prepared to serve the needs of patients and society.
DISCOVER Research that solves for unmet needs by finding better treatments, cures, and prevention with a commitment to ensuring real world application.
HEAL Best care possible today, with continuous improvement and innovation for better care tomorrow.”
A public medical school associated with the University of Texas system, this institution has a faculty and student population that passionately cares for over 100,000 patients.
You must have taken 90 credit hours and received grades of a C or better in:
17.4% IS; 7.4% OOS
$21,315 IS; $34,415 OOS
“The mission of the University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM) flows from the mission of the university and the founding call of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.”
A private, non-profit, and religious medical school, this institution was founded in 2015. It is part of the University of the Incarnate Word, a Catholic university that traces its roots back to 1881.
Must have grades of C (not C-) or better. No less than 75% of credits to be received must be accumulated before you may apply. The following minimum semester hours are required:
$55,000 IS; $55,000 OOS
According to the ranking system of the U.S. News & World Report, these are the 10 best medical schools in Texas based on their research programs. The criteria included to create this list included the student experience, the number of research activities available, peer and physician commentary on the school, and the admissions statistics of each school. If you are looking for the best of the best, these are it!
10. University of Texas Medical Branch - Galveston
9. University of Texas Health Science Center - Houston (McGovern)
8. University of Texas at Austin - Dell Medical School
7. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center - El Paso
6. University of North Texas Health Science Center
5. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
4. Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine
3. University of Texas Health Science Center - San Antonio
2. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
1. Baylor College of Medicine
Now that you know about the best Texas medical schools, we can get into the ins and outs of the process of admissions and some unique aspects of getting your medical education in Texas. The main aspect that sets this process apart is that Texas medical schools use the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS), and not usually the AAMC’s American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). The one exception is the Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth – Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, which uses the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) application.
The TMDSAS has some important differences from the other applications that you should be aware of before you apply:
The competition to get into Texas medical schools is intense. They tend to accept more in-state students than out-of-state students, with just 7% of matriculants being from out-of-state in 2019. Plus, in-state tuition is cheaper. That means you need to be an especially strong candidate when you apply to set yourself apart from the crowd. That said, tuition, in general, does tend to be more affordable in Texas overall.
Refer to the list above to understand the mission statements and specialties of the medical schools in Texas. Pick the schools that most closely match your goals, the type of medicine you plan to practice, and your own values. Do not just assume all Texas medical schools are the same; they each have unique aspects that you should look into and thoroughly understand.
1. Can I apply to schools in Texas and elsewhere at the same time?
Yes, but you will have to fill out separate applications. Texas medical schools use the TMDSAS, with the exception of the Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth – Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine which uses the AACOM. Other medical schools in the U.S. use the AMCAS.
2. Are Texas medical schools competitive?
Yes, they are often quite competitive. Not only do they tend to favor in-state applicants, but they also tend to pick students with high GPAs, good MCAT scores, proven volunteering, and extracurricular activities. All of this means you need to craft a stand-out application to improve your chances of success.
3. Do Texas medical schools have good international reputations?
Most definitely! They are renowned for research and cancer care and drug development, as well as for their focus on patient care and helping disadvantaged populations. These schools are competitive for a reason, after all.
4. In what type of environments are Texas medical schools located?
It depends on the school. Institutions in urban areas tend to be part of the energetic city around them, while schools such as UT Rio Grande are more rural. Read-up on the areas in which they are located to understand more and ensure the schools you choose match your preferences.
It can be helpful to tailor your application to these in environments. For example, positioning yourself as aspiring to be “the small-town, rural doctor” or “the big city drug researcher” so that you remain memorable to admissions officers.
5. Should I choose a recently established Texas medical school or a storied, historical institution?
It really depends on your style of learning and preferences. Newer schools tend to have smaller class sizes due to their recent dates of establishment, while older schools tend to have larger classes.
Older schools also may tend to be more well-known and carry a more widespread reputation, while newer schools may be more experimental or they may be trying out new ways of doing medical education.
6. Is it helpful to know Spanish when applying to Texas medical schools?
Yes! If you know Spanish natively or have taken Spanish classes and can speak or write it with decent fluency, be sure to mention this in your applications.
Texas has many Spanish-speaking populations, and being able to interact with them in their native language will not only help you stand out as an applicant, but you will also be better able to work with them as a doctor once you graduate.
With its many varied and diverse institutions offering competitive programs and low tuition fees, the best Texas medical schools provide a unique opportunity for you. By understanding each school’s unique aspects and applying to them armed with that knowledge, you will have a better chance of success.
Texas has a unique culture—and cuisine: Tex-Mex—for you to enjoy as well. A friendly population and expansive nature to enjoy will surely top off your experience at a Texas medical school.