Top Caribbean Medical Schools (2024) - Rankings and Fees

May 15, 2024
5 min read


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 5/15/24

It’s hard to think of a more beautiful place to study than the Caribbean. When you factor in the famously lower GPA and MCAT requirements, the beach isn’t the only draw; let’s dive into what you need to know about the top Caribbean medical schools! 

With declining rates in American medical school acceptances, specialists are concerned about whether there will be enough doctors to treat patients in the coming years. In fact, the AAMC predicts that the U.S. will face a severe doctor shortage by 2033. 

By applying to schools in the Caribbean, U.S. students can help combat that shortage while obtaining a high-quality education. Here we’ll go over the top Caribbean med schools, the benefits and considerations of studying medicine there, what to look for, and more. Let’s get started!

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The Best Caribbean Medical Schools 

While researching medical schools in the Caribbean, you may have come across “the big four.” These Caribbean medical schools are ranked highly; each institution has an excellent reputation and is worth applying to if you hope to study in the islands. However, the big four aren’t the only good Caribbean med school! 

Let’s look at this list of Caribbean med schools and their requirements.

School Ranking Acceptance Rate Avg. MCAT Avg. GPA
St. George’s University in Grenada #1 40% 497 3.3
American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in St. Maarten #2
492 3.21
Saba University School of Medicine in the Bottom, Caribbean Netherlands #3


Ross University School of Medicine in Barbados #4 43% 494 3.27
Medical University of the Americas #5 N/A N/A N/A
American University of Antigua #6 N/A N/A 3.2

1. St. George’s University in Grenada

St. George’s University (SGU) has a worldwide reputation for medical education. The university is located in the West Indies and was established in 1976. The St. George medical school emphasizes easing the physician shortage in the U.S. SGU is a proudly international school, with students and faculty from over 140 countries. 

SGU is one of few schools in the Caribbean “recognized by the U.S.Department of Education to administer student loans for qualified U.S. students.” SGU has also provided over 5,000 students with scholarships to ease financial stress, amounting to over $1,000,000. 

The St. George medical school is accredited by several recognized bodies, including the Grenada Medical and Dental Council (GMDC), the U.S. National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA), and a panel of experts from the U.S. Department of Education.

Admission Requirements & Application Process

To apply to St. George’s University, you can use the SGU application or AMCAS. They also have a transfer request form for SGU hopefuls. You must have completed, or be in, the final year of college to be admitted.

An application to SGU requires: 

  • Standardized test scores
  • Official transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Mandatory prerequisite courses

After an initial review of your application and test scores, select students move on to the next round of the admissions process—the interview. If accepted after interviewing, ensure you sign and submit an Acknowledgment of Admission and pay your tuition deposit to reserve your spot. 

Here’s a brief overview of some significant info about SGU: 

St. George’s University
Location True Blue, Grenada
Average GPA 3.3
Average MCAT 497
Attrition Rate ~16%
Residency Attainment Rate 95%

SGU Acceptance Rate

Various sources estimate that SGU’s acceptance rate is above 40%, but it’s challenging to gauge since SGU doesn’t release acceptance rate data. 

2. American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in St. Maarten

The American University of the Caribbean (AUC) is an international school in St. Maarten that offers a U.S. medical curriculum. AUC aims to create a tight-knit community of international students with small class sizes and dedicated staff.

AUC is accredited by the National Accreditation Commission on Colleges of Medicine (ACCM). The ACCM is verified by the NCFMEA. Due to NCFMEA approval, students at AUC may also qualify for U.S. financial aid.

As an accredited med school, AUC students can take the USMLE. They must first register with the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). They even boast an impressive 92.4% USMLE pass rate.

Admission Requirements & Application Process

To be eligible for admission to AUC, applicants must have completed a bachelor’s or equivalent in any discipline. AUC prefers students with a strong science background; prerequisite courses include:

  • Two semesters (8 credit hours) including labs for each of the following: some text
    • General biology
    • General chemistry
    • Organic chemistry or biochemistry
  • One semester of:some text
    • General physics, calculus, or statistics

To apply, you must submit: 

  • MCAT scores
  • CV
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Transcripts
  • IELTS or TOEFL test scores if English isn’t your first language

All required documents must be submitted with an online application form, which can be found on their website. Start dates fall in January, May, and September, giving students multiple opportunities to apply. 

To help you know what to expect when applying, here are some stats!

American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine
Location Cupecoy, Sint Maarten
Average GPA 3.27
Average MCAT 496
Attrition Rate ~12-20%
Residency Attainment Rate 97%

AUC Acceptance Rate

The AUC acceptance rate is around 42%. 

3. Saba University School of Medicine in The Bottom, Caribbean Netherlands

Saba University School of Medicine (SABA) was founded in 1992 and is an accredited school with an impressive USMLE Step 1 pass rate of 100%. Their accreditation comes from the Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO), as it’s located on a Dutch island, boasting high European standards of medical excellence.

SABA medical school has also been approved by officials representing the states of California, New York, and Florida. Due to its accreditation, SABA graduates can complete the requisite licensing examinations in Canada, Puerto Rico, and all 50 U.S. states. 

SABA is also approved for U.S. Federal Student Aid programs, making it one of the select international schools U.S. citizens can attend while receiving federal loans.

The university has had plenty of success placing students in residencies. As of today, more than 3,000 SABA graduates practice medicine in North America.

Admission Requirements & Application Process

To apply to SABA, you must have completed a minimum of three years of undergraduate studies and all prerequisite courses, most of which center around science and mathematics. You can find a full list of prerequisite courses on their website. 

The MCAT is required for U.S. students and is recommended for Canadian students. 

SABA applicants are expected to have a minimum of 50 hours of direct patient care experience, which can come from:

  • Volunteering
  • Shadowing
  • Interning
  • Working at a medical facility

If you meet all the admission requirements, you can move forward with the SABA application. To apply to SABA medical school, you must submit an online application, pay the admission fee, and submit all required documents. The required documents are: 

  • Transcripts
  • Personal statement, 
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Photos
  • MCAT scores
  • TOEFL scores, if applicable

Applicants must speak English fluently; if English isn’t your first language, a TOEFL score is required.

Saba University School of Medicine
Location Saba Island, Caribbean Netherlands
Average GPA N/A
Average MCAT N/A
Attrition Rate N/A
Residency Attainment Rate 97%

SABA Acceptance Rate

Various sources estimate that SABA’s acceptance rate may be between 40% and 62%. 

4. Ross University School of Medicine in Barbados

The Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) is an impressive international school located in Two Mile Hill, Barbados. The campus is home to a state-of-the-art medical and anatomical imaging laboratory and simulation center.

RUSM is accredited by the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP). This accreditation means they can participate in the U.S. Federal Direct Student Loan Program.

With a USMLE pass rate of 91.6%, RUSM is in line with U.S. and Canadian pass rates. They also have an impressive 96% first-time residency match rate and currently have a student network of over 15,000 graduates practicing in all 50 U.S. states.

Unlike other Caribbean schools, RUSM is U.S. Title IV Funding eligible and has awarded over $50 million in scholarships and grants in one recent year. To give newly admitted students a good idea of their school’s campus life, RUSM offers complimentary school tours, including airfare and a two-night hotel stay.

Admission Requirements & Application Process

To be considered for RUSM, applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher. Students must also complete the following prerequisite courses:

  • Inorganic or General Chemistry: two semesters with lab
  • Organic Chemistry: two semesters with lab
  • General Biology or Zoology: two semesters with lab
  • Physics: one semester with lab
  • Mathematics: one semester
  • English: two semesters

Your cumulative college GPA is required for review. If you meet the admissions requirements, you can move forward with your application. Applicants must submit: 

  • An online application
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation (two minimum)
  • MCAT scores
  • A foreign transcript evaluation, if applicable

You’ll be contacted to set up an interview if RUSM wants you to continue in the admissions process. Afterward, if you receive a letter of acceptance, you can choose to begin classes in September, January or May.

Ross University School of Medicine
Location Barbados
Average GPA 3.2
Average MCAT 495
Attrition Rate ~20%
Residency Attainment Rate 98%

RUSM Acceptance Rate

Various sources estimate the Ross University School of Medicine acceptance rate is 42-43%. 

5. Medical University of the Americas (MUA)

The Medical University of the Americas is located in Nevis, and is an accredited medical school by the Accreditation Commission on Colleges of Medicine. 

Not only is MUA the most affordable Caribbean medical school in the US Federal Financial Aid program, it also provides extensive student support, world-class faculty, and generous scholarships of up to $100,000! 

MUA’s stats are also impressive, with a 95% USMLE pass rate and a 98% residency placement rate. You’re sure to find success as an MUA graduate!

Admission Requirements & Application Process

If you’re interested in applying to MUA, you’ll need to use the Common Application. MUA is a sister school with SABA, meaning that you can apply to both schools at once. 

MUA’s prerequisite courses include: 

  • One year of general biology with lab
  • One year of general chemistry with lab
  • One year of organic chemistry or biochemistry with lab
  • One year of English

You can also complete their 8-month Pre-medical Master’s Program if you lack some or all of the prerequisite courses. 

To apply for the MD program at MUA, you’ll need to submit the following: 

  • Transcripts
  • Personal statement
  • Two letters of recommendation 
  • Two passport-size color photographs 
  • MCAT scores (required for all U.S. citizens)

You’ll also be required to complete an interview. However, this interview (as well as your application materials) can be used in your admission evaluation for SABA and St. Matthew’s University as well, if you so desire!

Medical University of the Americas
Location Charlestown, Nevis
Average GPA N/A
Average MCAT N/A
Attrition Rate N/A
Residency Attainment Rate 98%

MUA Acceptance Rate

MUA does not release acceptance rate data. However, it is estimated that each entering class is made up of about 150 students. 

6. American University of Antigua (AUA)

Located in the eastern Caribbean, the American University of Antigua is yet another great option for medical school in the Caribbean. AUA is accredited by the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP). Graduates are able to practice in the US, UK, Canada, and other countries. 

With a growing emphasis on minority representation and racial diversity in medicine, AUA puts forth graduates who are well-prepared to work in the medical field. They have a 89% pass rate for USMLE Step 1, and their USMLE Step 2 CK pass rate is 95%. 

Admission Requirements & Application Process

To apply to AUA, you’ll need to complete a variety of prerequisite courses. These courses aren’t mandated but are highly recommended, and include: 

  • Two years of general biology with labs
  • Two years of general chemistry with labs
  • Two years of organic chemistry with labs
  • One year of physics with lab
  • One year of English 
  • One year of mathematics (calculus or statistics; optional)

Once you’re ready to start your application to AUA’s MD program, you’ll need to gather these materials: 

  • Resume/CV
  • Transcripts
  • Personal statement
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Criminal background check 

Further information about material requirements can be found on AUA’s website. 

AUA Acceptance Rate

AUA does not officially release admission data, but their acceptance rate is estimated to be around 68%. 

American University of Antigua
Location St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda
Average GPA 3.2
Average MCAT N/A
Attrition Rate N/A
Residency Attainment Rate N/A

Why Attend a Caribbean Medical School 

U.S. medical schools are becoming more competitive annually, making pursuing education abroad more attractive. The Caribbean has a few specific attributes that may catch your attention. For example, many Caribbean med school acceptance rates are higher than in the U.S. 

Caribbean schools tend to have lower MCAT and GPA requirements, a game-changer for students with lower scores. Some medical schools in the Caribbean also have solid ties to the AAMC, meaning you can be matched to a U.S. residency program after. Caribbean schools have reasonable residency match rates, some rivaling U.S. schools.

Caribbean Medical Schools vs. American Medical Schools 

The U.S. and the Caribbean have reputable schools, although they differ significantly. Besides the weather and plant populations, there are many benefits and considerations to evaluate. 

The U.S. The Caribbean
Average Cost of Medical School Generally higher medical school tuition costs Generally lower medical school tuition costs
Average Medical School Acceptance Rate Lower medical school acceptance rates Often much higher than most U.S med schools
Residency Options Many residency options Residency options may be limited for international students
Admission Dates Students can only enter medical school in the fall Many schools have rolling admissions, accepting students two or three times per year
MCAT Scores/GPA Higher MCAT scores and GPAs typically needed to become more competitive Generally lower MCAT and GPA requirements

What to Look for When Choosing a Caribbean Medical School

When researching Caribbean med schools or rankings, you should consider some key factors. Caribbean schools don’t always function the same as U.S. schools; here’s a list of the most important things to look for when choosing a Caribbean medical school.

  • Reputation: This is a significant factor in deciding whether a school is right for you. An international med school with a poor reputation can make it harder to match in a U.S. residency. Sometimes a school can adopt a poor reputation by accepting low-performing students who aren’t ready for med school.
  • Accreditation: Accreditation tells you if a school has met the national standards for offering a medical degree. If the school isn’t accredited, you may not be eligible to pursue graduate medical education in the U.S. and have difficulty finding a residency.
  • Residency Placement Rate:  Placement rates are an important statistic no matter where you decide to attend med school, but especially abroad. You want to ensure you won’t have difficulty matching with a residency after graduating.
  • Caribbean Medical School Cost: Factoring in cost is also essential when studying abroad. Although some schools may offer lower tuition, don’t forget to factor in flights home, rent, food, and everything else you’ll need.
  • USMLE Pass Rates: These pass rates are often lower when studying abroad, so ensure you check what percentage of your school’s students passed each step of the USMLE.
  • Access to Loans and Funding: Ensure you can access federal loans (if required) at your chosen school. Most schools have funding specifically for international students, which is worth researching.

Ensure you consider these factors when researching med schools and requirements. Remember, if a school has unbelievably low standards for acceptance, it may not prepare you for the rigorous world of medicine, especially if you plan to practice in the U.S. 

Take time to decide which schools to apply to based on your preferences and what they offer. If you’re still unsure, consider some Caribbean medical schools professional help. These experts can create a list of schools that are perfectly aligned with your profile and goals!

Caribbean Medical School FAQs

If you still have questions about attending medical school in the Caribbean, these common FAQs and answers should help ascertain if it’s the right move.

1. Are Caribbean Medical Schools Good?

While some schools in the Caribbean have a poor reputation, others have an excellent reputation and even higher USMLE pass rates than U.S. schools. Ensure you check for accreditation when applying to any international school.

2. Are Caribbean Med Schools Easy to Get Into? 

While some schools are less competitive and have lower GPAs and MCAT requirements, schools with medical programs that are “easy” to get into might not be your best option. 

Medical school is hard to get into to prepare you for the rigors of their programs. If a Caribbean medical school’s acceptance rate is very high, it may be too good to be true. Always check a school’s reputation and stats before applying.

3. What Are the Big 4 Caribbean Medical Schools?

These are excellent Caribbean medical schools. Ranking quite high, these schools have excellent reputations:

  • St. George’s University
  • American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine
  • Saba University School of Medicine
  • Ross University School of Medicine

4. Is Caribbean Medical School Cheaper Than in the U.S.?

Generally speaking, tuition and living expenses are cheaper in the Caribbean than in the U.S. Caribbean medical school costs can vary significantly between countries and schools.

5. Do Top Caribbean Med Schools Have Good Match Rates?

Yes! U.S. Accredited Caribbean med schools have phenomenal match rates, specifically the “big four.”

6. Do Caribbean Medical Schools Make Good Doctors?

Because some schools accept students with low GPAs and MCAT scores who aren’t necessarily prepared for medical school, graduates can struggle to find residencies. If you intend to study in the Caribbean, attending an accredited school with a good reputation is crucial.

7. Are Caribbean Medical Schools Accredited? 

Not all Caribbean schools are accredited. Be careful as you research and build your Caribbean medical school list! 

8. When Do You Need to Apply to Caribbean Medical Schools?

For many Caribbean medical schools, you can apply year round because they offer several start dates:

  • SGU: August, January, and April start dates
  • AUC: May, September, and January start dates
  • SABA: May, September, and January start dates
  • RUSM: May, September, and January start dates

9. Is there Any School that Takes Transfer Students?

Yes, most Caribbean medical schools accept transfer students. However, transfer students may have to submit different documents and materials than regular applicants, so look into this prior to applying! 

Is a Caribbean Medical School Right For You?

Attending one of the best Caribbean medical schools can seem like a dream come true to students who yearn for a life on the beach! If you’re hoping to study in the Caribbean, thoroughly research every school you’re interested in. 

Accreditation, reputation, residency match rates, and USMLE pass rates are top priorities when researching. If you can afford the trip, we recommend touring some Caribbean campuses before accepting an admission offer. Keep researching and good luck!

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