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Does your medical school matter?

There are 'good' medical schools, and then there are 'bad' medical schools. An assortment of ranking systems aim to rank universities, and in particular the medical course, on the basis of several arbitrary measures. At the end of the day, does it actually make a difference?


The short answer for the majority of people is probably, no. The medical school you gain your primary medical qualification is not really relevant (from a career perspective). In the UK at least, the transition from graduation to applying for a foundation programme training post does not take into account your medical school. One might even argue that it gets harder to score high on your application if you are from a more competitive university e.g. Oxbridge, since one of the main contributors to your score if how you rank amongst your cohort in your own medical school. From then on, there are many other aspects to your CV such as awards and publications that weigh more heavily than your medical degree. It may serve to wow your friends and families, but the university itself offers nothing material to your growth in the long run. However, there are some important considerations in specific areas that would make you consider one university over another.

Teaching and training

How well you are trained in medical school can influence how well a doctor you are in the future. That is why it is so crucial to select a medical school that could grow you to your highest potential. There are different teaching styles between different universities. Consider one that suits your learning style and personality. In terms of the actual quality of teaching, universities each have their own set of lecturers, and if you are inclined towards particular specialties, may offer better education and opportunities in that specific area. Additionally, some specific intercalation programmes are only available in certain universities, so do your research before hand. Ultimately, I would like to believe that all medical graduates have at least a baseline level of competency and are safe to practice, you can then continue to develop your clinical skills throughout your training.

Career pathway

The other important consideration is where do you see yourself in the longer term. Do you plan on going abroad? There may be medical degrees that are not recognised in the country you plan to work in.


If you are interested in doing research and commit to an academic career, there are some universities that could offer a better environment for this purpose. It also happens to be the higher ranking universities since most ranking systems take into account the volume of research or research-related parameters e.g. grant applications and the amount of funding secured. There are connections with world-renowned professors that you may make throughout medical school that could lead to life-long partnerships and give you the head start you need for your career in research.


Comment below if you have any thoughts on the matter. What do you think your medical school offered you that another university might not have been able to?

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