worth a shot?


Just joined the forum, though I have been browsing it for some time. My story is fairly complicated - I’m a foreign student in the US, so already I know it’s a long shot getting into a medical school here. I’m in a bio PhD program which is going pretty well, and I’ve been taking upper level science courses and am getting good grades. I would need to redo most of the pre-reqs, some of them at my current institution and the rest at local colleges (??), during the summer etc.

So - before I even start planning for the long road ahead, do I even stand a chance?


You DO have a chance. It’s not that schools don’t accept foreign students. It’s foreign DEGREES they don’t accept. If you have a degree from a US institution and an acceptable number of credits (varies by school) taken in US colleges/universities you can certainly apply.

Assuming you can pass that hurdle, the other one is finances. As a non-citizen you would not be eligible for federal loans (I’m almost positive) and schools will want to know how you are going to pay for school before accepting you. This is the problem canadian students have coming to med school in the US.

But as far as applying and getting it - don’t expect discrimination due to your country of origin because that should not work against you


Thank you, that is reassuring. My undergrad degree is from a foreign country but I suppose going to graduate school here (with a decent amount of upper level coursework) must count for something. It will be quite strange re-doing Biology 101 while doing a PhD in biology:-)

Our backgrounds are pretty similar. I have a foreign BS and an US PhD in biology. I have been accepted by my top choice school and am set to start Med school soon. Do you have US permanent residency? In my opinion, this is the biggest hurdle for international students as most schools do not accept students without permanent residency. Also, unfortunately, you will most likely still need to repeat bio101 since foreign credits are not evaluated by AMCAS. The good news is that the course will be super easy for you. I recommend you to contact your schools of interest directly to find out their specific requirements for international students.

I’m really not so sure you would have to retake Bio 101 if you have taken upper level biology in the US. You might contact the specific schools you are interested in or check their websites.

  • sam_1 Said:
I would need to redo most of the pre-reqs,

Hey there so that explains my nickname by the way. Like Apple Pie, Foreign PhD and had to retake all pre-reqs. I am a biochemist by training. Guess what I took last fall? Biochem! Yeahhh.

No shortcut with requirements. As mentioned the biggest issue is citizenship/permanent resident status. As Kate said, they don't accept foreign credits, but will probably won't be too stressing about having a US Bachelor if you have a foreign degree. I had to retake the pre-reqs, but I didn't need a Bachelor from a US university.

So it is possible (but again, you need a to be at least a permanent resident).

I’m working on the permanent residency - there are some schools which do accept foreign students but it makes it that much harder.

I’m fortunate in that I can take an undergrad course or 2 per semester without having to pay tuition, since I’m a grad student - balancing it with research can be tricky. Inevitably, I’m going to have to piece together prereqs over a few years. My grad transcript is going to look so weird:-) I will probably be taking biochem in the fall and am already bracing myself.


yes being accepted by a school is not impossible as a foreign student. However you won’t qualify for federal loans and will be asked to show that you have money (and quite a lot) set aside to pay for school. Now if you are loaded (unlike me), then that’s great, but if like most of us you will rely on government loans, then you won’t qualify.

So the Permanent resident will make your chances much better but will also help with funding your education, should you be unable to pay upfront.

Best of luck. Keep us posted.

Interestingly, I could obtain Canadian permanent residency quite easily because of family, whereas it would take substantially longer to secure US permanent residency. Perhaps I should set my sights on attending medical school in Canada…