How much does medical school cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much does medical school cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much does medical school cost?

$40,000 – $68,000average yearly cost
$160,000 – $272,000average total cost

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$40,000 – $68,000 average yearly cost

$160,000 – $272,000 average total cost

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Tamatha Hazen
Written by
Tamatha Hazen
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Kristen Cramer
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Average medical school costs

Medical school costs $40,000 to $68,000 per year or $160,000 to $272,000 on average for a 4-year program, depending on if it's a public or private university and your state residency status. The cost to apply to medical school is $800 to $1,100. Taking the MCAT costs $335, while test prep courses cost $1,600 to $6,400.

Average cost of medical school - chart
Average cost of medical school - chart
Average cost of medical school
Institution type Average cost per year* Average 4-year total*
Private medical school (Resident) $67,000 $268,000
Private medical school (Non-resident) $68,000 $272,000
Public medical school (Resident) $40,000 $160,000
Public medical school (Non-resident) $65,000 $260,000

*Tuition, fees, and health insurance. Living expenses not included.

A professor showing information on a laptop to medical students.
A professor showing information on a laptop to medical students.

Resident vs. non-resident tuition costs

Attending a public medical school in your home state gives you the best tuition rates of $40,000 per year, compared to out-of-state tuition of $65,000 per year. Public schools receive state funding and offer reduced tuition for resident households that contribute to the school through taxes.

Private vs. public medical school tuition costs

Private medical schools do not get state funding and have similar prices for resident (in-state) and non-resident (out-of-state) students, with tuition rates averaging $67,000 to $68,000 per year.

For students going out of state for medical school, there is very little price difference between public and private institutions, giving you more schools to choose from.

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Medical school costs

There are 155 allopathic medical schools in the US. These traditional programs offer a 4-year curriculum that leads to a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree. There are 38 osteopathic med schools that emphasize natural healing. These programs offer a 4-year program leading to a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree.

Most affordable medical schools

Many of the cheapest medical schools in the country are in Texas thanks to a decades-old law that caps tuition at public medical colleges in an effort to bring more doctors to the state. The following table shows the tuition rates at popular Texas universities with medical programs:

Medical school tuition rates at popular Texas universities
School In-state tuition Out-of-state tuition
Texas A&M University $21,760 $34,860
Texas Rio Grande Valley $22,952 $36,052
UT Health Science Center at Houston $24,272 $33,812
Texas Tech University $22,379 $38,722
University of Austin $29,399 $38,719

Most expensive medical schools

The most expensive medical schools tend to be the top-ranking private institutions. These schools are the most selective and charge a premium based on their reputation for providing better education and varied learning opportunities.

The medical schools with the highest yearly tuition include:

  • Midwestern University (Downers Grover, IL) – $74,035

  • Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) – $73,970

  • Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH) – $73,380

  • Columbia University (New York, NY) – $73,275

  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD) – $72,950

  • Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA) – $72,200

  • Stanford School of Medicine (Stanford, CA) – $69,935

Medical schools with waived costs

Some schools and programs offer tuition-free education, while others offer partial tuition waivers based on financial need or academic merit. Students typically still cover administrative costs and living expenses at these institutions.

  • NYU Grossman School of Medicine offers full-tuition scholarships worth $61,811 per year for every student enrolled in their MD degree program, as well as covering the cost of health insurance for all students.

  • Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine (CCLCM) offers a full tuition scholarship worth $69,712 per year to all students. CCLCM also covers the 5% continuation fee for a research thesis.

  • Columbia University Irving Medical Center's Vagelos Scholarship Program covers 100% of demonstrated financial need for students who qualify as part of a needs-based financial aid package.

  • Cornell University's Weill Cornell Medical College offers debt-free financial aid for MD program students with demonstrated financial need.

  • Duke University's MD Merit Scholarship Award covers tuition, fees, transportation, living allowances, and miscellaneous expenses for select students based on academic merit.

A group of medical school students listening to a lecture.
A group of medical school students listening to a lecture.

Additional costs for medical school

The costs of medical school go beyond tuition. There are admissions-related costs that every student must pay, including the fees for a centralized application service, the MCAT exam fee, and college transcript requests for each application you submit.

Application fees

The average applicant spends nearly $1,000 in medical school application fees, applying to between 15 and 20 schools to increase their enrollment chances. Application fees may include the following:

  • AMCAS application fee – Most med schools accept the AMCAS primary application. The current application fee is $175 for the first school and $45 for each additional school. This centralized service allows you to submit a single set of application materials which are sent to the schools you specify.

  • AACOMAS application fee – Application fees for DO programs are done through the AACOM, which charges $195 for the first program and $45 for each additional program, with fee assistance for students meeting the criteria.

  • Secondary application fee – The majority of medical schools also require a secondary application fee ranging from $75 to $150 per application. Students eligible for fee assistance may have the secondary app fee waived at some schools.

  • College registrar fees – The undergraduate college may charge a fee of around $10 for transmitting transcripts and letters of recommendation with each medical school application.

MCAT exam fees

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized, multiple-choice test required by most medical schools. MCAT exam registration costs $335, while low-income students may qualify for a reduced testing fee of $140. Late registration fees of $40 apply for registration within 1 to 2 weeks of the test date.

The MCAT is a 6-hour computer-based test designed to evaluate a student's knowledge of physical and biological sciences and verbal reasoning skills. Since the MCAT is used as a predictor of your success in med school, many students take MCAT prep courses costing $1,500 to $7,000 to improve their scores. MCAT tutors charge $50 to $150 per hour on average.

Other expenses

  • Living expenses – In addition to tuition, fees, and health insurance paid directly to the school, students must also pay for room & board, with costs varying depending on the school's location. Metropolitan areas tend to have a higher cost of living than rural areas.

  • Interview expenses – Medical schools often require an in-person interview, with travel costs averaging $1,000 for professional attire, flights, hotel, and food.

  • Deposits – Some schools require a deposit of $500 to $3,000 to hold your spot in the program once accepted.

  • Books and instruments – Med students spend from $500 to $2,000 for books and medical instruments, depending on the program.

  • Medical licensure – The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a 3-step exam for medical licensure in the U.S. The tests take place during the second and fourth years of medical school and cost $1,000 for each step.

  • Tutoring Med school tutors charge $50 to $150 per hour on average.

A student in medical school asking the professor a question.
A student in medical school asking the professor a question.

How to pay for medical school

Financial advisors recommend first applying for funding that doesn't need to be paid back, such as scholarships, grants, fellowships, and assistantship programs. Next, pursue federal student aid that offers lower interest rates and fees. Finally, private student loans can help make up for any shortfall.

Financial aid

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) program helps undergraduate, graduate, and medical school students obtain federal loans, grants, and aid from your college and state.


There are two main types of loans used to pay for medical school: federal loans and private loans.

  • Federal loans are provided by the US government and offer benefits including fixed interest rates, loan forgiveness, and debt consolidation. Some common federal loans for medical school include Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, and Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL).

  • Private loans are offered by banks and other financial institutions. These loans have higher fees and interest rates but offer more flexible repayment terms. The most common private loans for medical school include Sallie Mae, Discover Student Loans, and PenFed Loans.

Scholarships and grants

There are federal scholarship programs available for medical students including:

  • The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship Program covers your medical school costs including tuition, fees, books, supplies, and a living stipend in exchange for working for two years as a primary care provider in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area.

  • The Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) sponsored by the US Army, Navy, and Air Force covers 100% of tuition and supplies and a living stipend at any medical school in exchange for one year of active-duty military medical service for every year the scholarship is received.

  • The Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP) allows students in 11 western states without a public institution in their state to attend selected MD and DO programs. The program covers $35,700 per year for MD programs and $25,600 per year for DO programs. Some states require you to return to your home state to practice for a certain number of years.

Forgiveness programs

There are many student loan cancellation or reduction programs for doctors. Some are state sponsored, while others are available through federal agencies. In most cases, you'll commit to several years of service in exchange for forgiveness of your student debt.

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Med school FAQs

Do I need to have a premed undergraduate degree for medical school?

No, you do not need to have a premed undergraduate degree to attend medical school. Most medical schools do require you to take a certain number of prerequisite courses in science, math, and English to apply. Many schools offer a post-baccalaureate program to prepare non-science majors for med school.

How long is medical school?

While medical school programs are 4 years, students spend more than a decade becoming a doctor, including 4 years for a bachelor's degree, 4 years in medical school, 3 years of residency, and two or more years pursuing a specialization.

What kind of grades do I need to be accepted to med school?

Most medical schools require applicants to have a 3.0 or higher GPA to apply, but the average GPA for admitted students falls between 3.7 to 3.9 for MD programs. The average GPA for DO admissions ranges from 3.5 to 3.6.

In addition to undergraduate GPA, med schools also use the MCAT score for admissions decisions. The average MCAT score is 505.9, but a score of 513 is a high-achieving score that opens the doors to more prestigious programs.

When should I apply to medical school?

Traditionally, students apply to medical school at the end of their junior year of college. This requires taking the MCAT early in your junior year.

  • Early Assurance Program (EAP) requires you to apply during your sophomore year.

  • Early Decision Program (EDP) has a deadline of August 1st following your junior year.

  • A Postbacs program allows students to apply for medical school after college graduation.

How do I choose which med schools to apply to?

Most students apply to about 15 to 20 medical schools, focusing on schools with the best reputation in the field of medicine they want to study. Attending a medical career fair is a great way to learn about various schools and admission requirements.

Comparing medical schools

Comparing medical schools can be a daunting task, but doing the research can help you find the right school for you. Here are some things to consider:

  • Academics – Research the school's reputation for academic excellence as well as its graduation rate and average MCAT scores. Attending the best college will help you later when you are applying to residency programs.

  • Curriculum – Look at their curriculum and see if it fits your learning style. Some programs focus on a traditional curriculum, while others offer more innovative courses.

  • Location – Many students choose a public medical school with reduced tuition for resident students. Others look for locations with a better climate or a lower cost of living.

  • Culture – Ask about the school's culture to see if it fits your personality. Some programs are highly competitive while others are more collaborative.

  • Residency programs – Many students base their med school decision on programs with the best residency matches. Find a school that aligns with your residency and career goals.

  • Cost – Unfortunately, cost is something many students must consider. The tuition, fees, and cost of living may make some schools out of reach.

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