Many students wonder: Are there any online medical schools?
We thought a review of “online medical schools” would be helpful.
1. International University of Health Sciences. This is a Caribbean based medical school located in St. Kitts, West Indies. The Website is: http://www.iuhs.edu
This is a 4 year medical school in which the first two years of basic science are taken online from anywhere in the world. In other words, you don’t have to physically study in St. Kitts during the first two years. After that, you undertake clinical training in St. Kitts and elsewhere for the second two years. The entire first two years is presented online and includes virtual patient training using the online “DxR Clinician”.
The program proceeds as shown on the below chart, excerpted from their website (click on picture to make bigger):
The medical school is fully accredited by St. Kitts & Nevis and is recognized by the World Health Organization, Faimer and IMED, which therefore permits students to sit for the USMLE licensing exams.
Admission requirements include:
Pre‐requisites. All Applicants to IUHS School of Medicine are required to have a solid foundation in the basic biomedical sciences. A minimum Grade of C in each of these courses is required.
The specific basic biomedical science prerequisite courses are as follows:
8 credit hours of Physics with Lab 8 credit hours of Biology with Lab
8 credit hours of Organic Chemistry with Lab 8 credit hours of Chemistry with Lab
4 credit hours of Math/Calculus or Statistics
The Admissions Committee will look at all practical medical experience that applying medical professionals may have and can use their discretion to substitute that experience in lieu of a missing requirement.
One nice thing this medical school does is to offer a program of pre-medical course work for those students that do have not completed the minimal required courses: “ If candidates do not have the pre-requisite coursework the University will recommend a plan of study that will include enrolling in the School of Health Sciences pre-med program. Candidates with GPAs less than 3.0 may be considered for admission if other accomplishments or work experience demonstrate superior aptitude. Candidates who have taken the Medical College Aptitude Test (MCAT) must submit their most recent scores with their admissions application. Candidates are encouraged to sit for the MCAT prior to enrolling, as MCAT scores are used to strengthen a candidate’s application.”
The stated cost of the medical school program is $80,000 USD.
So, although this medical school training is not totally online for 4 years, the first two years are totally online, which is why we felt it worthy of inclusion is our category “Online medical schools”.
2. Oceana University of Medicine. The website is at: https://oum.edu.ws It is located in Apia, Samoa, and island located in the Pacific Ocean and a part of the “country” of Oceana. It’s closest major neighbor is Australia. As noted on their website: “Oceania University of Medicine students have the best of all worlds…The challenging preclinical program is presented online followed by traditional clinical rotations arranged at affiliated teaching hospitals. Graduates are currently practicing or training in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Samoa, and United States”
Oceana states its admission requirements as follows:
“OUM will strongly consider the overall quality and scope of all successfully completed undergraduate work:
All candidates must have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher at an appropriately accredited and recognized tertiary institution.
US students seeking a medical degree also must have completed a full year of college chemistry.
Applicants are expected to have a credit-level degree or GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or its equivalent.
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is not required, as OUM’s curriculum provides the requisite basic science courses.”
Their overall approach is pretty much the same as for IUHS, in that the first two years of the program are totally online, followed by 2-3 years of clinical training:
“The MD curriculum may be completed in four to five years. The preclinical phase of the Basic Science Track is 96 weeks and is conducted online, with students participating through OUM’s online classroom. The majority of OUM students continue to work during this portion of the program although some opt for a reduced work schedule. During the clinical phase, students spend 72 weeks completing clinical rotations at affiliated teaching hospitals and institutions.”
The Tuition page is somewhat confusing in that it is not clear if fees are quoted in US, New Zealand, or Australian dollars. Assuming that US dollars are used (as most students are probably US based, then the tuition for 4 years appears to be about $70,000-$80,000 total. Of course, additional fees for clinical rotation and living expenses relating to the clinical portion would be a substantial additional expense. It should also be kept in mind that travel to and from the school can be daunting due to its location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
One nice thing they do is to save money on textbooks: “As all of OUM’s textbooks are available on Elsevier’s Clinical Key, OUM has negotiated a special rate of $500 per student per year with Elsevier. Users of Clinical Key are given full-text access to more than 500 of Elsevier’s journals, 900 books, and 9,000 medical and procedural videos.”
As with IUHS above, medical school training is not totally online for 4 years. The first two years of basic sciences are totally online, which is why we felt it worthy of inclusion is our category “Online medical schools”.
3. Blue Marble University Medical School. The website is at:
https://bluemarbleuniversitymedicalschool.com It is located in Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica, in the Caribbean.
The Blue Marble University Medical School is the only medical school in the world offering its medical school courses totally online.
BUT, as noted on their website, the MD degree received from Blue Marble may not be used in the practice of medicine as a licensed physician:
“Earn the most prestigious degree in the world: Doctor of Medicine…And join the many other graduates of standard medical schools who choose to forego clinical internships and licensing exams to enter fulfilling careers in medically related fields and biomedical research as non-licensed physicians. Blue Marble University School of Medicine offers the only MD degree that can be completed in three years, totally online.
Notice: The MD degree issued by Blue Marble University can never be used for physician licensing purposes, to satisfy any education requirements for licensing as a physician or other licensed health care provider, or for any work involving direct patient care”
A further excerpt from their website:
“When we say you cannot use our MD degree in clinical practice, we do not mean you are barred from working in a clinical setting. But in the clinical setting, you are barred from using the “MD” designation or “Doctor”. Of course, your name tag could be “Medical Professional” or anything else assigned to you by the clinic, hospital, or institution. The whole idea is that patients are not misled into believing you are a licensed physician or a doctor. For any non-clinical setting, you can always have a business card with M.D. and advertise yourself as “Doctor” or “MD”, so long as the target audience are people other than patients. You can even operate your own clinic, so long as you have licensed physicians or physician assistants associated with a licensed physician.”
The MD degree from Blue Marble University Medical School is intended for use in non-clinical careers, some of which are detailed here: https://bluemarbleuniversitymedicalschool.com/about/
Tuition can be as low as $3200/year including all texts and learning materials, although most students choose to pay $3450 with a payment plan. Since this is a 3 year program, total tuition can be as low as $9600.
Based on this investment and the likely career enhanced advancement that would follow, it would appear to be a good value. Their Curriculum even covers the emerging stem cell medicine field: https://bluemarbleuniversitymedicalschool.com/online-medical-curriculum/
One nice thing they do is to offer a 5 year online combination Bachelor Degree/M.D. Degree program for high school students and non-traditional students which results in the attaining an MD degree after 5 years, compared to the usual 4 year undergraduate BA degree programs elsewhere.
Another approach that may work for some students is to seek out a foreign medical school. There are excellent schools in the Philippines and Poland, for example, that permit students to sit for the USMLE’s. And they are are lot cheaper. For example, in the Philippines, if you search out a medical school not qualified for US education grants and student loans, you can find one for less than $5000 per year. All English instruction, of course.
So, in conclusion, Blue Marble University School of Medicine offers the only online MD degree that can be completed in three years, totally online. It is an exciting, unique program that trains the student in the medical arts and medical sciences for application in non-clinical careers. Read more here: https://bluemarbleuniversitymedicalschool.com
Editor’s Note: When the Blue Marble University Medical School first opened, there was a lot of criticism about it being totally online. However, the developers of Blue Marble University Medical School correctly predicted in 2013: “So, don’t think an online medical degree program is off in left field somewhere, but rather know that this form of medical education is new and real and coming soon to every medical school near you.”
Now, almost every medical school both in the US and internationally, even our most prestigious medical schools, offer the first two years of basic science education via online only.