When applying to medical school, the United States is one of the best study locations to go to. Every year a list of the top medical school rankings is published, and even though the list is sometimes shuffled and the order may differ slightly, the universities on the list typically stay the same. Read more to learn about the best schools in the U.S. for the year 2022. 

Best Medical School Rankings

Like any other university ranking list, some infamous schools top the list of medical school rankings. If you want to join a high calibre school, many of these exist in the United States. Some of these schools in the best medical school rankings list include Harvard, Stanford and John Hopkins University. 

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Harvard University

Topping the medical schools ranking list with the number one ranking, Harvard University’s medical school is one of the best in the world. Founded in 1782, Harvard medical school has 9,954 faculty members, a whopping number accounting for a 14:1 student to professor ratio.

Students studying at Harvard medical school typically follow one of five paths. Most students learn the pathways program, which gives a general scientific understanding of concepts before diving into more specific topics as the years go on. 

Stanford University 

Located in Stanford, California, Stanford University is the second university on the top medical schools ranking list for 2022. The university follows a “flipped classroom” approach when delivering content to students, with traditional lecture information and problems to be completed as homework rather than during lecture time. They also offer advanced practical clinical programs to all students to get a great hands-on experience before they graduate.

Johns Hopkins University

The John Hopkins University, located in Maryland, is also ranked highly on the list. It’s considered a research-intensive school, receiving many research grants from the National Institutes of Health. The school was also one of the first medical schools to admit women to the campus and to introduce rubber gloves to carry out surgeries with. The school also published the Harriet Lane Handbook, one of the essential handbooks for modern-day physicians today. 

Yale University

Another highly ranking university from the medical school rankings, Yale University, is located in Connecticut and has an excellent student to faculty ratio of 4:1. Yale medical school has a reputation of being a relatively “mellow” school compared to the other top-ranked ones. The educational approach followed, often called the Yale approach, is an optimistic one, treating students like adults and giving them freedom and responsibility. This gives them qualities that allow them to become great physicians one day.  

Columbia University

Finally, Columbia University, located in New York, is another school ranked highly on the list when it comes to medical schools in the U.S. Columbia is most well known for its diverse student body due to its location in the heart of a metropolitan city like New York. Its also known for the high GPAs and test scores of its students. The school prides itself on being local and international while caring for locals in New York whilst sponsoring international projects and clinical trials.

medical school rankings
medical school rankings

U.S. Medical school curriculum by year

During the years of medical school at schools in top medical school rankings, students each year focus on different topics. They typically start off by taking more general courses, then as time goes on, lessons become more specialised before they finally choose a specialisation. 

Year 1

Students get to take general medical courses and general science courses like Biology, chemistry, and physics for the first year. Even though these courses may seem simple, they form the basis for the rest of their medical education, so they need to focus on them and really learn them well. 

Year 2 

Students spend the year applying the courses they previously learned in the first year during the second year. They also go on clinical clerkships to really use the knowledge they have learned. They also take at least one practical course, a clinical skills course and a course that focuses on global health or health policies in general. 

 Year 3 

In the third year of medical school, students become members of a medical team. They also become part of rotations where they try out the different specialities of medicine. These rotations include internal medicine, paediatric, obstetrics and gynaecology, neurology or psychiatry. This year helps students figure out which branch of medicine they want to specialise in. 

Year 4

The fourth year is the year when students become medical residents. They also decide on the medical speciality they want to pursue for the rest of their medical careers. Areas such as paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, oncology, dentistry, and more are specialisations in which students choose to become experts. In some universities, students can select their discipline from earlier on to take courses tailored to this area. 

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 Critical skills learned at medical schools

There are many skills that students learn during the course of their study at medical school. From critical thinking to teamwork with the anaesthesiologists and nurses, they need specific skills to excel in their field. These skills are crucial to becoming doctors and are skills they will use in their day to day work lives. 

Patient care

Besides good academic medical knowledge, the first and most crucial skill is patient care. Medicine degrees in the United States focus on having excellent theoretical knowledge and giving students skills related to human psychology, interpersonal skills, and ethics in general. They teach the student how to really understand and adequately care for their patients. 

Critical thinking

Students studying at the schools in the top medical school rankings also learn critical thinking by studying in lectures that use a problem-solving approach. Much like scenes of House and the Good Doctor, students and professors have meetings where they think of scenarios and try to guess the patient’s diagnosis and how to best fix the medical problem they have.


Another skill doctors need to be able to have is high levels of effective and clear communication, both with the patients and the teams they are working with. With the patients, they need to foster a high level of trust so the patient can communicate freely with them and they can find out about their concerns. Learning their concerns is crucial to solving their medical problems.

On another angle, they also need to be able to communicate effectively with their teams and tell each team member exactly what to do. This communication is crucial, especially in critical situations like emergency ones or in the operation room.


Leadership is another skill crucial to becoming a doctor. Doctors need to be able to make critical decisions on the spit and be the leaders who carry out these decisions. These decisions that they must make, sometimes on the spot and suddenly, can dramatically affect someone’s health. But being a good leader doesn’t only apply in the situations dealing with patients but also if a doctor is the head of the department or hospital. In this case, they are also required to make administrative decisions and use their leadership skills to influence and carry out these decisions.


Doctors, as previously mentioned, tend to work as a team, whether with other doctors or with nurses and other members of the medical staff. Good teamwork skills are necessary to carry out critical operations or function as a department in general. As in any other team, in a medical team, team leaders should assess each team member’s skills and qualifications, and each one should be assigned tasks according to them to be able to carry out the task at hand.

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Empathy is another skill that is priceless for a doctor to have. To fully understand why a patient is in pain if they haven’t been in that situation before or suffered in the same way as them, they need a high level of empathy. Asking a patient to talk about the status of pain they are experiencing or giving them the freedom to detail about that pain is a way of expressing empathy. Acknowledging this pain and showing understanding even without a similar experience can also go a long way.

medical school rankings
medical school rankings

In conclusion, when it comes to the top medical schools in the United States, Harvard, Stanford, and John Hopkins Universities take the top spots in the medical schools ranking, followed by Yale and Columbia University. With its own unique four-year program, each school offers various specialisations that teach skills critical to professional life as a doctor.