Medical Schools in South Carolina: List + How to Get In

October 13, 2023
8 min read


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 10/13/23

Have dreams of becoming a doctor from South Carolina? Keep reading to discover how to get into these deep south medical schools.

There’s no doubt medical schools in South Carolina are solid options for getting an MD. What makes studying here different is the way students can customize their path to best fit their interests and values. Your roadmap to medicine should be specific to you and reflect areas that you find meaningful.

Whether you want training in emergency medicine, osteopathy, global health, or research, South Carolina has schools to best develop your skills and talents. Knowing the differences will help you determine what the best medical schools in South Carolina are for you.

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Medical Schools in South Carolina

There are four med schools in South Carolina: three for allopathic medicine (MD granting) and one for osteopathic (DO granting).

Medical University of South Carolina

What makes MUSC stand out as a SC med school is that it allows select students to complete their studies in three years instead of four. This is known as their Accelerated Medical Pathway. With high achieving academic and professional conduct, students can be eligible to be a part of one out of nine special residency programs that MUSC offers.

What’s more, the Accelerated Medical Pathway is part of the greater Flex Phase Pathways. Through these modules, students can focus on areas they feel more align with their interests and values. Some example pathways include research, global health, and health humanities.

If you want to tailor your medical education a bit differently, then Medical University of South Carolina can provide you with an alternative approach and opportunity. Also, fast tracking your education can be a good idea if you’re worried about how much medical school costs.

University of South Carolina School of Medicine (Columbia)

USC Columbia is another option for students pursuing medical school in South Carolina. While the school doesn’t have any specific course requirements for admission, you’re encouraged to take classes in sciences such as biology and chemistry.

If you’re trying to graduate as quickly as possible, you should know that the school does sometimes admit students with only 90 semester hours even if they haven’t graduated yet. In addition, you’ll need some health care experience. This can include things like volunteering, shadowing physicians, or even EMT work.

USC Columbia is a safe bet when it comes to medical schools in South Carolina. Not only is USC the largest single university enterprise in the state, but its main Columbia campus is something all South Carolinians are bound to be familiar with. What’s more, many may have even studied there for their undergraduate degree.

University of South Carolina School of Medicine (Greenville)

USC Greenville prides itself on taking a different approach to medical education. One of the key areas they differentiate themselves is by emphasizing EMT training in their curriculum. This means that after you become certified in first year, you’ll be working 12 hours per month in various EMT settings, from ambulances to emergency departments.

The medical curriculum was also the first to ensure lifestyle medicine was taught every year of their program. Students looking to learn a more holistic and person-centric approach to medicine would be well served here. Lifestyle medicine emphasizes nutrition, behavior, exercise, and other day-to-day contributors to health.

If you’re quick on your feet and have an affinity for fast-paced environments, then USC Greenville could be one of the best medical schools in South Carolina for you. 

Edward via College of Osteopathic Medicine

VCOM trains students and teaches them with a comprehensive osteopathic medical education. Their curriculum approach has some overlap with traditional medical schools but emphasizes providing patient care in disadvantaged settings. 

During years one and two, students will learn preclinical education. The core emphasis is focused on primary care in struggling communities. During the third year clinical education, students will be able to complete at least one or more clinical rotations with a faculty member that’s trained in osteopathic medicine.

Fourth year is where students will have the ability to be a part of a four week medical outreach program. The outreach provides care in the Dominican Republic, Honduras, or El Salvador. No matter the path students choose to pursue, if providing primary care to struggling communities speaks to you, then VCOM is a strong choice as a South Carolina med school.

Below is a table to summarize the stats for South Carolina’s medical schools, including location, degree type, tuition, and more!

If you’re going for the traditional medicine route, then the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), University of South Carolina School of Medicine (Columbia), and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine (Greenville) all offer MDs, while Edward via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) grants DOs.

Each of these schools has different approaches and emphasis not only in their medical curriculum, but what they look for when accepting future students.

Tips for Getting Into South Carolina Medical Schools

It’s clear that if you’re looking to become a doctor in South Carolina, you’ll be able to pursue your path to medicine. While every application will benefit from a high GPA, competitive MCAT, and diverse volunteer hours, having specific goals in mind can help you stand out. 

Narrowing down what factors are important to you can help you decide what to highlight during interviews, volunteer experience, and supplemental applications. Whether you’re interested in osteopathy, emergency medicine, or research and global health, finding which schools align with your interest can help you use your time most effectively.

Getting into medical schools in South Carolina is a journey that takes planning and commitment. That’s why you should never be afraid to reach out if you need any extra help or advice.

FAQs: South Carolina Medical Schools

Do you still have questions about med school in South Carolina? Check out our FAQs below!

1. How Many Medical Schools Are in South Carolina?

There are four South Carolina medical schools. Three of them teach allopathic medicine and grant MDs. These are the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), the University of South Carolina School of Medicine (Greenville), and the University of South Carolina Schools of Medicine (Columbia).

The only school that has an osteopathic curriculum where you can get a DO is Edward via the College of Osteopathic Medicine in Spartanburg. If you’re still unsure of the differences between allopathic and osteopathic medicine, don’t forget to familiarize yourself with these distinct medical philosophies.

2. What Is the Best Medical School in South Carolina?

While the best medical school in South Carolina is the one that is most relevant to you, they all have different approaches depending on what kind of student you are and the path of medicine you want to pursue.

If you’re looking to study osteopathic medicine and get your DO, then VCOM will be your best choice. 

Some students with a keen interest and aptitude for emergency medicine choose USC Greenville as it has the most robust curriculum. Alternative interests include research, and global health, something that MUSC’s Flex Phase Pathways can offer.

3. What MCAT Score Do I Need for MUSC?

Prospective students must score at least a 500 on the MCAT to be eligible for an interview. While this is the minimum, admitted students have an average score of 511. Knowing what to prepare for on the MCAT can help you score higher. If you still need additional help, consider additional resources to get your stats to where they need to be.

Final Thoughts

The journey to becoming a doctor means finding out what information is most important to you. In the same way medical professions assess patient symptoms in the context of who they are, so should you determine what makes you stand out as an applicant and what’s appealing to each school you’re applying to.
Although you don’t need to have everything figured out when applying to SC med schools, having a general list of aspects of medicine that appeal to you will not only help you find which parts of your application need improvement, but also communicate to the schools why you’re a good fit for their program. 

At any rate, knowing what kind of doctor you’d like to become and in what way you’d like to help others will encourage the medical school of your dreams on board with making you become one of their alumni.

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