Illinois is a hot-spot for top medical schools in the United States. In total, there are nine allopathic and osteopathic medical schools in Illinois, and they attract a large percentage of both in-state and out-of-state medical school applicants every year. Illinois is home to the highly prestigious University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences The Pritzker School of Medicine and Northwestern University The Feinberg School of Medicine. Both schools consistently rank in the top twenty medical schools for research by the US News & World Report.
In this blog, we will review what you need to know about medical schools in Illinois, including what it’s like to attend medical school in Illinois, a comprehensive list of all allopathic and osteopathic medical schools, important admission and tuition statistics, information about degree programs and application, and tips for getting accepted.
Attending medical school in Illinois comes with various advantages. Because there are so many medical schools in the state, there is a large population of medical students and young medical professionals. Additionally, there are ample things to do for recreation, and the beautiful and robust city of Chicago has wonderful attractions that offer art, culture, history, music, professional sports, and amazing food (after all, Chicago is known for the best deep dish pizza in the nation).
Furthermore, campus life for medical students offers numerous benefits:
The Carle Illinois College of Medicine prioritizes student health and wellness, both physical and mental.
The Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine offers flexible housing options and numerous student activities (indoor and outdoor) as part of its rich campus life.
The Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science has a network of six simulation laboratories with cutting-edge technology, expansive open spaces to foster collaborative learning and teaching, and a commitment to student life and wellness.
The Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine encourages student leadership through several organizations that enhance student life on campus.
The Northwestern University The Feinberg School of Medicine has many special interest groups and communities that foster growth in a supportive environment on campus.
The Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center has numerous resources and activities that promote overall student wellness and professional growth on campus.
The Southern Illinois University School of Medicine has a proactive office of student affairs that oversees student services.
The University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences The Pritzker School of Medicine has a broad network of faculty and staff that are committed to student wellness, career development, and mentorship. Formal student programs and informal mentorship opportunities offer students both personal and professional wellness.
The University of Illinois College of Medicine has four campuses located in Chicago, Peoria, Rockford, and Urbana. Campus life varies depending on the culture of the location. The College-wide University Medical Student Council (UMSC) oversees student wellness and the unique interests of medical students across all four campuses.
“We educate exceptional physician-innovators to deliver high-value, compassionate health care through transformative solutions developed at the intersection of engineering, science, and medicine.”
The Carle Illinois College of Medicine is located in Champaign, Illinois. It is known as the world’s first engineering-based medical school. Throughout all four years of the MD program, the curriculum consists of medical education through the lens of engineering, with required coursework in basic sciences, clinical sciences, engineering, innovation, and medical humanities.
Source: The Carle Illinois College of Medicine
In addition to the traditional MD program, the Carle Illinois College of Medicine offers the MD/PhD Medical Scholars Program (MSP). In this dual degree program, students earn an MD in addition to a PhD in any graduate subject offered on campus, such as biomedical sciences, engineering, the physical sciences, humanities, and the social sciences. More information about the MSP dual degree program can be found here.
Prospective applicants should be aware of the following academic requirements:
All applicants must complete the MCAT prior to application. The admissions committee reviews candidates holistically, however, both the MCAT score and GPA factor heavily into their final decision. The minimum required MCAT score is 498. There is no minimum required GPA, but prospective applicants should keep in mind that statistically, students with higher GPAs are accepted over students with lower GPAs. Please be sure to familiarize yourself with all admissions guidelines and application procedures.
“The Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM) educates osteopathic physicians to provide compassionate, quality care, promote the practice of osteopathic medicine and lifelong learning, research and service.”
The Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicin is located in Downers Grove, Illinois. Founded in 1900, CCOM’s core philosophy embraces patient-oriented healthcare rather than disease-oriented healthcare.
There is also a campus located in Arizona, and both the Illinois and Arizona campuses offer various degrees and program tracks. The following degrees and program tracks are offered at the Illinois campus:
Prospective applicants must have a minimum GPA score of 3.00 in order to be competitive. Applicants must also submit 2 letters of recommendation. See CCOM’s admission requirements for more information.
“Chicago Medical School’s mission is to educate a diverse student body in a community-engaged, interprofessional environment. Our graduates become exemplary, compassionate physicians and scientists dedicated to improving the health and wellness of their patients and communities through clinical excellence, scientific discovery, service, and leadership.”
The Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science is located in North Chicago, Illinois, approximately 35 miles north of downtown Chicago. The campus includes a brand new Innovation and Research Park which encourages collaboration between researchers and innovators in the biomedical sciences.
In addition to the traditional four-year MD program, the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science offers thirty graduate degree and program tracks. Please carefully review all academic programs to tailor your education for your dream career in healthcare.
The Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science offers virtual information sessions to give you the opportunity to meet with admissions representatives. You will learn everything you need to know about the admissions process, application guidelines, and a general overview of the university.
“Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (Stritch) is committed to scholarship and the education of medical professionals and biomedical scientists. Our faculty, trainees, students, and staff, are called to go beyond facts, experimentation, and treatment of disease to prepare people to lead extraordinary lives and treat the human spirit in an environment that encourages innovation, embraces diversity, respects life, and values human dignity.
The Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM) is located in Maywood, Illinois. It has a research enterprise called the Center for Translational Research and Education which focuses on cutting-edge biomedical research to eliminate global health disparities and advance healing through science and Jesuit traditions.
SSOM offers the following five dual degree programs:
This program track combines the traditional MD program with scientific research in translational and basic science disciplines.
This program track combines the MD degree with a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. Both student-researchers and student-practitioners are trained in allopathic medicine and public health.
This program track combines the MD degree with a Master of Arts in Bioethics and Health Policy.
This program track combines the traditional MD degree with a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Students will integrate business disciplines and leadership skills.
All prospective applicants are encouraged to carefully review SSOM’s full application requirements.
This program track combines a Master of Science in Pharmacology with a Master of Business Administration (MBA), giving students the opportunity to further their career in pharmaceuticals.
“Our mission is to impact the practice of medicine through discovery and education. Our faculty are committed to improving the future of human health through the pursuit of excellence, innovation and the delivery of compassionate care. Discovery is partnered with education with full-time teaching faculty devoted to training future leaders in medicine.”
Northwestern University The Feinberg School of Medicine is located in the heart of Chicago, Illinois. It is consistently ranked as one of the top medical schools in the nation. The faculty at Feinberg are leaders in breakthrough biomedical research with work often published in high-impact journals.
Feinberg offers numerous education programs and seeks highly innovative and exceptional students.
Admission to Feinberg is extremely competitive: On average, approximately 160 students are matriculated. The curriculum is organized to integrate science in medicine, clinical medicine, health and society, and professional development.
“Through a supportive and dynamic learning community, RUSH Medical College nurtures the development of empathic, proficient physicians dedicated to continuous learning, innovation, and excellence in clinical practice, education, research and service.”
Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center is located just west of the Loop in Chicago, Illinois. Rush’s MD curriculum consists of four years that are broken up into two pre-clerkship years (M1 and M2) and two clerkship years (M3 and M4). Within the first few weeks of the program, students have the benefit of working directly with patients, and patient care extends throughout all four years of the degree program.
Prospective applicants should first review Rush’s entire list of admissions requirements to ensure eligibility. Then, please carefully read through the application process and abide by Rush’s application procedures and timeline.
“Our mission is to realize SIU Medicine's commitment to service to the community by cultivating relationships with and among the communities we serve and working with them to improve the health and health care outcomes of people in the region.
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIU Medicine) is located in Springfield, Illinois. It was established in 1970 and serves communities in southern and central Illinois through patient care, education, and research.
SIU Medicine has won numerous awards for achievement in social mission and community health, such as the International Aspire Award and the Stellar Award for Institutional Excellence. Additionally, SIU Medicine ranks above the 95th percentile among US medical schools of graduates who are visible minorities. SIU Medicine has many significant points of pride.
SIU Medicine offers various degree programs and program tracks, including the traditional four-year MD program, the dual MD/JD program, the dual MD/MPH program, MEDPREP, and nine other educational tracks. Please be sure to familiarize yourself with all SIU Medicine academic programs.
Students who wish to apply to SIU Medicine should ensure eligibility by reviewing admissions requirements, selection factors, and policies. SIU Medicine accepts applications through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), and prospective applicants should follow the school’s application procedures.
“At the University of Chicago, in an atmosphere of interdisciplinary scholarship and discovery, the Pritzker School of Medicine is dedicated to inspiring diverse students of exceptional promise to become leaders and innovators in science and medicine for the betterment of humanity.”
The University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences is located in Chicago, Illinois. It is one of the few medical schools that is situated directly on university grounds, which provides students with a close-knit social and intellectual community.
The Pritzker School of Medicine generally has a small entering class—no more than 90 students—so medical students are often on a first-name basis with one another and faculty. The learning experience is therefore intimate, and students have close working relationships that contribute to great networking and mentorship experiences.
“To advance health for everyone through outstanding education, research, clinical care and social responsibility.”
The University of Illinois College of Medicine is located in Chicago, Illinois, and there are also campuses located in Peoria, Rockford, and Urbana. The University of Illinois College of Medicine is one of the largest and most socially and economically diverse medical schools in the nation.
The University of Illinois College of Medicine’s MD curriculum is designed to prepare students for a variety of career specializations in research, medical practice, community medicine, teaching, and other disciplines of medicine.
Medical schools in Illinois are highly competitive, but there are six actionable steps that you can take to increase your chances of acceptance.
Medical schools are increasingly reviewing applicants holistically, which means that factors outside of academic achievement are thoroughly considered (i.e., the personal statement, letters of recommendation, extracurriculars, and professional experience). That said, your total and science GPA are still extremely important, and admissions committees generally check to see if your GPA meets the school’s minimum requirements.
Additionally, the most successful candidates tend to have GPAs that are well above the minimum requirements. In short, academic achievement is highly competitive among medical school applicants, so it is strongly encouraged that you understand the value of medical school GPA requirements.
Medical school admissions officers also look closely at your MCAT score to evaluate your academic achievement. As with medical school GPA requirements, most medical schools have a minimum required MCAT score, and successful candidates exceed the minimum requirement. To get the best possible score, you will need to understand:
Well-rounded applicants are the strongest candidates for medical school. In addition to stellar academic achievement, it is important to participate in the right extracurriculars that foster professional and personal growth. Examples of extracurriculars include:
The importance of participating in extracurriculars cannot be overstated—you will benefit from hands-on medical experience, and you will also have a competitive edge over candidates who do not have strong extracurricular participation.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has an authoritative list of core competencies for entering medical students. This list is a general guideline for prospective medical students who wish to embody the desired qualities of successful medical practitioners. Some of these qualities include teamwork, oral communication, resilience, adaptability, critical thinking, and scientific inquiry.
It is strongly advised that you examine the core competencies for entering medical students, and then showcase these competencies in your application (i.e., you can tell a compelling story in your personal essay about an experience that required critical thinking and resilience).
Throughout your medical school application, you will have the opportunity to showcase your individuality. This will set you apart from other medical school candidates and make your skills, experiences, and competencies attractive to admissions committees. There are various ways that you can showcase your individuality in your medical school application:
Finally, apply to medical schools early and broadly. Be honest with yourself about your academic, professional, and extracurricular standing, and apply to the schools that would be a good fit for your specific education and career goals. Be mindful of each medical school’s application timeline, and be sure to submit all required materials well before approaching deadlines.
If you apply early, you will take some of the pressure off and give yourself plenty of time to obtain all necessary application materials such as official school transcripts and letters of recommendation.
The Carle Illinois College of Medicine is currently unranked, however you can read about the school’s overview and other data.
The Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine is currently unranked. Please read more about the overview of its parent school, Midwestern University.
The Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine is currently unranked. Read more about the school’s overview and data.
The Northwestern University The Feinberg School of Medicine is ranked #13 in research and #71 in primary care.
The Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center is ranked #68 in research and #67 in primary care.
The Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is currently unranked, however you can read about the program’s overview and data.
The University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences The Pritzker School of Medicine is ranked #18 in research and #61 in primary care.
The University of Illinois College of Medicine is ranked #58 in research and #53 in primary care.
The Carle Illinois College of Medicine: Deadlines for the Admissions Cycle
The Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine: Application Process and Deadlines
The Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science: Application and Early Decision Deadlines
The Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine: Admissions and Application Timeline
The Northwestern University The Feinberg School of Medicine: Application Timeline and Early Decision Admissions
The Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center: Admissions and Application Timeline
The Southern Illinois University School of Medicine: Admissions Timeline
The University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences The Pritzker School of Medicine: Application Timeline
The University of Illinois College of Medicine: Application/Admissions Timeline
The Carle Illinois College of Medicine: Tuition, Fees, and Scholarships
The Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine: Financial Aid
The Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science: Student Financial Services and Financial Aid
The Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine: Financial Aid Office and Financial Literacy
The Northwestern University The Feinberg School of Medicine: Financial Aid
The Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center: Office of Student Financial Aid
The Southern Illinois University School of Medicine:
The University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences The Pritzker School of Medicine: Financial Aid for Incoming Students
The University of Illinois College of Medicine: Student Financial Aid and Debt Management
The Carle Illinois College of Medicine: Scroll down the “Before You Apply” page to carefully review required competency areas and how they can be demonstrated in your application.
The Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine: Admissions Course Requirements
The Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science: Application Requirements
The Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine: Basic Requirements and Coursework
The Northwestern University The Feinberg School of Medicine: Course Requirements
The Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center: Admission Requirements
Please visit the “Admission Requirements” page and scroll down to the “Prerequisites” tab to familiarize yourself with the Rush Medical College’s philosophy of learning and educational model.
The Southern Illinois University School of Medicine: Prerequisites
The University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences The Pritzker School of Medicine: Please carefully review the entrance requirements and familiarize yourself with required credit hours, prerequisites, and competencies.
The University of Illinois College of Medicine: You can read about the required prerequisite coursework here.
An allopathic medical school is a traditional medical school where you will earn your MD degree. At an osteopathic medical school, you will earn your DO. DOs are licensed to practice medicine just like MDs; however, DOs generally view patient healthcare holistically while MDs focus on treatment of disease. You can learn more about the similarities and differences between pursuing a DO vs MD on our blog.
There are so many highly prestigious medical schools in Illinois that offer numerous academic, professional, and personal benefits for medical students and medical professionals. Our guide will help you maximize your chances of acceptance into your dream medical school.
Strong medical school candidates should have high total and science GPAs, competitive MCAT scores, extracurriculars that foster professional and personal growth, the core competencies of entering medical students, and compelling applications that showcase individuality. We wish you the best of luck as you move forward with your medical school application.