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    Cheapest medical schools in the U.S. – ranked in 2024

    Cheapest medical schools in the U.S. – ranked in 2024
    Contents

      The most affordable public medical school in the U.S. is the UC Davis College of Medicine at the University of California, Davis.

      The most affordable private medical school in the U.S. is the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.

      Meanwhile, the most expensive medical schools in the country are Tulane University, Drexel University, and the University of Illinois Chicago.

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      In the United States, doctors are uniquely positioned to enjoy some of the highest paychecks in the country while also facing some of the heaviest student loan debt.

      Medical education has never come cheap, and that cost continues to climb: the average student debt for medical school was $207,000 in 2020, and school costs have risen each year by 3-4% over the last decade.

      While medical school and affordability are difficult to come by, some medical schools result in higher student debt than others. In this article, we’ve compiled the cheapest medical schools in the country, both public and private, by debt at graduation.

      How much does medical school cost in the US?

      The cost of medical school in 2024 is nearly $300,000 for all 4 years, irrespective of whether the school is public or private.

      In 2024, the average total (4-year) cost of attending medical school is $276,006 at public institutions and $374,476 at private institutions according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

      The cost of attendance, rather than tuition alone, is a more accurate indication of what you can expect to pay for your MD degree, as it covers tuition, fees, room and board, books, and supplies.

      Beyond completing an MD program, post-graduation residency programs are also a core component of physician training. For that, you’ll need to cover application, travel, and relocation expenses (and, assuming you don’t match right away, costs for applying and traveling for interviews can add up).

      Average student debt for medical school

      According to a 2023 report from AAMC, graduates have a median medical education debt of $200,000.

      While public and private tuition for medical school can vary, particularly for in-state versus out-of-state students, their debt outcomes are similar (albeit with wider disparities at the $300,000 and above bracket):

      Education Debt Public Graduates (%) Private Graduates (%)
      $100,000 or more 84% 83%
      $200,000 or more 51% 59%
      $300,000 or more 15% 28%

      The report notes that while public medical school indebtedness has gone up by 4% since 2022, private medical school indebtedness has experienced a 2% decrease.

      How we made this list

      We evaluated 122 medical schools that disclose data to the government to identify the cheapest public and private medical (MD) schools in the U.S.

      As the cost of med school extends far beyond bare tuition, we chose average debt at graduation – not tuition – as the affordability metric. For that reason, we don’t make any distinction between in state or out-of-state tuition.

      School-level debt data comes entirely from government sources, namely from the Department of Education’s IPEDS and College Scorecard.

      We sourced median GPA and MCAT scores directly from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), an accrediting body.

      (Our full ranking methodology can be found here.)

      The cheapest public medical schools in the US

      While not all affordable medical schools in the country are public, they still make up a sizable portion when ranked by average debt.

      The cheapest public medical school comes from the University of California, Davis.

      #1 in Cheapest Public Medical Schools
      Economic score 0.93

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $120,783

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 0.9

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $113,683

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      The cheapest public medical school in the country is University of California-Davis, a large public university in Davis, Northern California, and member of the University of California system.  

      The MD program at UC Davis School of Medicine features an innovative curriculum, known as the I-EXPLORE curriculum, that focuses on developing competencies in critical areas like interpersonal communication, patient care, lifelong learning, system-based practice, and others.  

      UC Davis Health boasts extensive resources for its students, including several major research centers, such as the Alzheimer’s Disease Center and Center for Precision Medicine, and ample opportunities for intercampus collaboration across the UC college network.  

      Median GPA: 3.69 

      Median MCAT: 512 

      See more
      #2 in Cheapest Public Medical Schools

      University of Connecticut

      Storrs, Connecticut

      Economic score 1.33

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $92,794

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 1.3

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $118,479

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      University of Connecticut School of Medicine, located in Farmington, Connecticut, is a public medical school renowned for its biomedical research center. It also offers the 2nd cheapest MD in the country.  

      The MD programs at the UConn School of Medicine stress exemplary patient care and research, expecting excellence from students as they prepare to become future scientists and lifelong learners of medicine.  

      The school offers both an MD and dual degrees that include: 

      • MD/PhD 
      • MD/MPH 
      • MD/MSCTR 

      Special Program in Medicine 

      The school’s extensive affiliated hospital network, comprising over 1 million patients in the Connecticut area, serves as the basis for students’ educational and clinical experiences. 99% of graduates are matched with a residency training program. 

      Median GPA: 3.85 

      Median MCAT: 513 

       

      See more
      #3 in Cheapest Public Medical Schools
      Economic score 1.83

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $87,562

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 1.6

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $136,477

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston is a public health university in Texas. It is among the largest medical schools in the United States, comprising several health departments – over 20 in total.  

      The McGovern Medical School at UT Health Houston is committed to imparting to students the tools to deliver excellent patient-centered care and employ innovative approaches in the field of medicine.  

      Several MD dual degree programs are available to students with interdisciplinary career aspirations.  

      Median GPA: 3.92 

      Median MCAT: 513 

      See more
      #4 in Cheapest Public Medical Schools

      Marshall University

      Huntington, West Virginia

      Economic score 1.65

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $82,316

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 1.7

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $137,860

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      Marshall University, named after John Marshall, the 4th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, is a public university in Huntington, West Virginia. 

      Marshall’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine is a community-focused medical school with close ties to its regional partners and a special commitment to serving the needs of West Virginia patients.  

      Apart from a standard MD program, the school also offers a combined BS/MD and MD/PhD program. Marshall students can opt to enter the medical program by completing the requirements for the MD Early Assurance Program in their undergraduate years. 

      Median GPA: 3.83 

      Median MCAT: 506 

      See more
      #5 in Cheapest Public Medical Schools
      Economic score 1.89

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $86,721

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 1.6

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $138,221

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) is a public health university in Galveston, Texas known in part for its excellent medical research facilities.  

      The UTMB John Sealy School of Medicine is well established in the community, said to be tied either directly or indirectly to 46,000 employers in Texas. It is the first medical school in the state.  

      The school offers a 7-year combined MD-PhD program designed to bridge the gap between basic research and clinical practice. The program consists of a 2-year medical school component, 3-year graduate school component, and 2-year clinical rotation component.  

      Median GPA: 3.87 

      Median MCAT: 513 

      See more
      #6 in Cheapest Public Medical Schools
      Economic score 1.15

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $113,737

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 1.2

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $139,035

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities is a large public university in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The University of Minnesota Medical School is spread across 3 campuses in Twin Cities, Duluth, and St Cloud.  

      University of Minnesota’s Doctor of Medicine (MD) program prepares its students well to tackle diverse challenges as future physicians with an active learning model focused on creative problem solving and teamwork.  

      A highlight is the Clinical Housing Program, a program that provides short-term housing for medical schools as they complete their clinical rotations in the Twin Cities or Duluth. Qualified students receive a stipend. 

      Median GPA: 3.84 

      Median MCAT: 511 

      See more
      #7 in Cheapest Public Medical Schools
      Economic score 1.46

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $99,312

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 1.4

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $142,000

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, or simply UNC Chapel Hill, is a selective public university in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  

      The UNC School of Medicine’s MD program consists of a 2-year foundation phase, 1-year application phase, and 1-year individualization phase.  

      In the application phase, or the core clinical clerkship phase, students earn clinical experience across several fields of medicine, including psychiatry, surgery, pediatrics, gynecology, and several others. During the individualization phase, students have the chance to explore their individual core clinical interests.

      Median GPA: 3.82 

      Median MCAT: 516 

      See more
      #8 in Cheapest Public Medical Schools
      Economic score 1.23

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $117,510

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 1.2

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $143,539

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a nationally renowned public university in Los Angeles and a member of the University of California system.  

      UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine MD program has recently implemented a new curriculum, broken down into the following year-long segments: 

      • Case-based learning and early clinical experiences  
      • Clerkships & continued learning 
      • DGSOM discovery (i.e., scholarly experience) 
      • Electives and capstone 

      Known as the HEALS Curriculum, that new curriculum at UCLA Med School is designed to reflect contemporary trends in science and medicine.  

      Median GPA: 3.85  

      Median MCAT: 514 

      See more
      #9 in Cheapest Public Medical Schools
      Economic score 1.51

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $99,219

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 1.5

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $144,254

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, or UT Health San Antonio, is another university in the UT system that offers one of the cheapest medical degrees in the country by average indebtedness.  

      The Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio offers a Doctor of Medicine program that is strategically located at the center of the South Texas Medical Center. 

      The school prepares future physicians to provide quality patient-first care through its student-faculty collaborative-free clinics, community service opportunities, simulation training, and extensive clinical curriculum.  

      Median GPA:  3.93 

      Median MCAT: 518 

      See more
      #10 in Cheapest Public Medical Schools
      Economic score 1.85

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $91,293

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 1.6

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $145,196

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      Rounding out our top 10 cheapest public medical schools is University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a large public university in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is home to one of the most affordable medical schools in the nation. 

      University of Michigan Medical School’s MD program brings together a rigorous systems-based basic science curriculum, applied learning in clinical settings, and student mentorships.  

      Beyond the standard curriculum, the school stresses the importance of participating in the arts and humanities while earning an MD, offering a wide array of extracurriculars to do that – including MedArt, a free longitudinal art therapy class for medical students.  

      Median GPA:  3.9 

      Median MCAT: 518 

      See more

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      The cheapest private medical schools in the US

      Among the private medical schools in the US with the lowest indebtedness are many of the nation’s most elite institutions. Columbia University tops the list with an average debt of “just” $78,703 at graduation.

      #1 in Cheapest Private Medical Schools

      Columbia University

      New York, New York

      Economic score 0.85

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $96,797

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 0.8

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $78,703

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      Columbia University, a highly prestigious private university in the heart of New York City, tops our list of cheapest private medical schools in the country by average indebtedness.  

      Columbia’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons offers a rigorous MD program with the following structure: 

      • Fundamentals – preclinical coursework phase (18 months) 
      • Major Clinical Year – clerkships across major clinical areas (12 months) 
      • Differentiation and Integration (D&I) – electives and a scholarly project (14 months) 

      Program objectives center on person-centered care and developing diagnostic, treatment, and health promotion competencies.  

      Median GPA:  3.95 

      Median MCAT: 522 

      See more
      #2 in Cheapest Private Medical Schools

      Harvard University

      Cambridge, Massachusetts

      Economic score 1.10

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $87,800

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 1.0

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $83,975

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      The 2nd most affordable medical school by average debt is Harvard University, the world-renowned Ivy League private institution in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  

      The MD program at Havard Medical School comprises 2 curricular tracks – Pathways and Health Sciences & Technology (HST).  

      While the Pathways track is more traditional in nature, with a focus on pedagogy and clinical exposure, the HST track (a collaboration between Harvard and MIT) takes a more interdisciplinary approach, preparing students for careers in academic medicine and clinical care.  

      The HST track culminates either as an MD degree or a PhD degree in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics from either university.  

      Median GPA:  3.96 

      Median MCAT: 521 

      See more
      #3 in Cheapest Private Medical Schools

      Stanford University

      Stanford, California

      Economic score 0.91

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $101,249

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 0.8

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $85,319

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      Stanford University, a highly selective private university in Stanford, California, is home to the 3rd cheapest public medical school in the US.  

      The MD program at Stanford Medicine is close-knit, composed of 90-100 students at a time. It affords students a high degree of flexibility in pursuing their unique interests.  

      While its Physician-Scientist Training Program (PSTP) enables students to take part in laboratory or biomedical informatics research, the Scholarly Concentrations component provides students with hands-on experience in a foundation area of their choice. Scholarly concentrations, which consist of 8 foundation areas and 10 application areas, range from bioengineering to the molecular basis of medicine. 

      Median GPA:  3.92 

      Median MCAT: 519 

      See more
      #4 in Cheapest Private Medical Schools
      Economic score 1.61

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $80,109

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 1.2

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $99,000

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      The 4th most affordable private medical school in the country comes from Washington University in St. Louis, or WashU, a selective university in Saint Louis, Missouri. 

      The Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis offers a robust MD program structured into 3 phases: preclinical phase, clinical clerkship, and elective rotation. The final phase is designed to give students hands-on experience in a specialty of their choice.  

      Many of the school’s affiliated hospitals and health centers, like St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, are conveniently located on the Washington University Medical Campus. 

      WashU also offers several combined MD degrees, for instance, a combined Doctor of Medicine and Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics.  

      Median GPA:  3.95 

      Median MCAT: 521 

      See more
      #5 in Cheapest Private Medical Schools

      University of Pennsylvania

      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

      Economic score 1.20

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $93,245

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 1.1

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $100,250

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      The University of Pennsylvania, or UPenn, is a private Ivy League university based in Philadelphia. It is the 4th oldest institution of higher learning in the country.   

      The Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) offers a competitive MD program that prioritizes medical knowledge and clinical skills while also emphasizing a commitment to addressing barriers to health equity.  

      Core to the program curriculum is the concept of self-directed learning, afforded by unique education spaces, such as the Henry A. Jordan Medical Education Center, and an extensive (about 150) selection of electives to choose from.  

      Depending on their career aspirations, PSOM students can also opt for one of the several combined MD programs available or devise an ad hoc MC program of their own.  

      Median GPA:  3.96 

      Median MCAT: 522 

      See more
      #6 in Cheapest Private Medical Schools

      Johns Hopkins University

      Baltimore, Maryland

      Economic score 2.93

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $58,872

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 1.7

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $100,320

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      The 5th most affordable medical school is at Johns Hopkins University, a prestigious private institution in Baltimore, Maryland, close to Washington, D.C.  

      The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s MD degree program offers a comprehensive curriculum that integrates basic and clinical sciences, clinical experiences, scholarly concentrations, and several elective opportunities, as well as a capstone course in the 4th year to prepare for internships. 

      The MD program is also available as an MD-PhD combined degree.  

      Median GPA:  3.96 

      Median MCAT: 521 

      See more
      #7 in Cheapest Private Medical Schools
      Economic score 1.23

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $96,917

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 1.1

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $107,600

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      The Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science (MCCMS) is a private university in Rochester, Minnesota dedicated to the training of physicians, scientists, and health professionals. The Mayo Clinic is widely considered the best hospital in the world.  

       The MD program offers students a variety of clinical experiences (including rotations at the Mayo Clinic) and boasts one of the highest patient-to-medical-student ratios globally.  

      Beyond its Rochester home base, the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine has training locations in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona and Jacksonville, Florida. 

      Median GPA:  3.95 

      Median MCAT: 521 

      See more
      #8 in Cheapest Private Medical Schools

      Brown University

      Providence, Rhode Island

      Economic score 1.46

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $97,879

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 1.4

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $135,785

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      Brown University, a highly selective Ivy League institution in Providence, Rhode Island, is home to the 8th most affordable medical school in the US.  

      The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown is one of the oldest medical schools in the country. Its MD program curriculum includes a Clinical Skills Clerkship, which prepares students for the clerkship phase, and a Scholarly Concentrations Program. Students can take advantage of elective opportunities at one of the school’s many affiliated hospitals and centers or engage in independent study.  

      In addition to an MD degree, Brown also offers a combined MD/ScM in Population Medicine and combined MD/PhD.  

      Median GPA:  3.87 

      Median MCAT: 517 

      See more
      #9 in Cheapest Private Medical Schools

      University of Chicago

      Chicago, Illinois

      Economic score 1.86

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $89,242

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 1.6

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $145,864

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      The University of Chicago, or UChicago, is a selective and elite private university with a main campus in Hyde Park, near downtown Chicago.  

      The MD program at UChicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine is one of many MD degrees on offer, including several MD-PhD joint degree programs. Its curriculum is based on active learning, integration across disciplines, and scholarly work.  

      The latter, the Scholarship & Discovery component, is a mentored scholarly project focused on 1 of 7 scholarly tracks ranging from Basic/Translational Sciences to Healthcare Delivery Improvement Sciences.  

      Median GPA:  3.94 

      Median MCAT: 521 

      See more
      #10 in Cheapest Private Medical Schools

      Hofstra University

      Hempstead, New York

      Economic score 1.72

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $92,966

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 1.6

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $151,594

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      Rounding out our list of the most affordable medical schools in the country is Hofstra University, a private university in Hempstead, on Long Island, New York.  

      The Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra offers an MD degree and an MD/PhD joint degree. The MD curriculum prioritizes adult (self-directed) and experiential (case-based) learning approaches.   

      In the 4th year, students are required to complete 3 acting internships across 3 hospital campuses in New York City and Long Island.  

      Median GPA:  3.9 

      Median MCAT: 518 

      See more

      The most expensive med schools in the US

      Conversely, these are the 20 most expensive medical schools by average debt at graduation. Tulane University tops our list of most expensive med schools with an average debt of $287,625.

      University Average Indebtedness
      Tulane University of Louisiana ​ $287,625
      Drexel University $267,497
      University of Illinois Chicago $257,102
      Michigan State University $251,198
      Georgetown University $249,490
      Central Michigan University $246,822
      Loyola University Chicago $243,530
      Howard University $234,879
      Creighton University $234,511
      University of Southern California $232,705
      Saint Louis University $230,072
      Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University $228,722
      Loma Linda University $224,333
      Oregon Health & Science University $222,810
      University at Buffalo $222,546
      Upstate Medical University $221,343
      Boston University $221,236
      Indiana University, Purdue University-Indianapolis $218,175
      University of Colorado Denver $217,580
      University of Toledo $217,020

      (source: IPEDS)

      Is medical school worth the cost?

      As we’ve seen, the AAMC-reported median debt for public and private medical school graduates comes out to be $276,006 and $374,476, respectively. How well, then, does the average MD salary cover med school’s steep upfront cost?

      According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the (2022) average salary for physicians and surgeons is $239,200 – a decent salary given the cost of an MD degree.

      Medical school, while pricy, is generally worth the cost – if you finish the program, that is.

      For different reasons (stress and burnout high among them), many students don’t ever make it to the finish line, finding themselves without a degree and saddled with debt. To avoid this, consider your study habits, temperament, and whether your motivations for pursuing an MD degree are sustainable (i.e., go beyond bare “prestige”).

      Figuring out what you really want (and what you can realistically handle) will help you decide if you can commit to the intensity of med school.

      Ways to lower the cost of medical school

      Medical school rarely comes at a low cost. That said, these are a few ways to minimize the financial burden of an MD program.

      Look into student loan forgiveness programs. Through student loan forgiveness, medical students can reduce or even erase their medical school debt by satisfying certain conditions, like joining the military or working for nonprofits or in underserved areas.

      Consider the school type. Public and private medical schools offer distinct benefits; if you’re able to, take advantage of public schools’ lower in-state tuition rates or private schools’ merit-based scholarships.

      Apply for financial aid. AAMC keeps an extensive list of financial aid resources on their website.

      (If medical school costs still fall short of what feels affordable to you, remember that pursuing a well-paid subdiscipline in medicine could at the very least help offset that high upfront cost later.)

      Final thoughts

      With a rigorous curriculum and often intensely competitive atmosphere, medical school isn’t for the faint of heart, and its high cost only reinforces the pressure to succeed. But if you’re more drawn to the role than the paycheck, pursuing a medical education may prove well worth the effort.

      If you aren’t ready to commit to medical school just yet, consider that there are other, similarly well-paid career paths in health that don’t require an MD.

      Explore alternative degree options in our mini quiz below:

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