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The Best Medical Schools in North Carolina

There are several factors to consider when it comes to choosing the right medical school. Some students look for stellar research opportunities, some prefer working with a faculty who share their specialization interests, and others are hoping for a school that offers clinical interaction with patients as soon as possible.

North Carolina is home to some of the top-ranked medical schools in the United States, offering a robust choice of academic institutions where students can grow their professional proficiencies in medical sciences, patient care, and research. From world-class teams of educators to meaningful community engagement programs to some of the most diverse medical student bodies anywhere in the country, universities in North Carolina are generally competitive in their offerings to prospective medical students.

The Best Medical Schools in North Carolina

If you are interested in applying to medical schools in North Carolina, keep reading on to discover the available medical schools, admissions statistics for each school, and strategies to help you maximize your odds of getting into your top-choice program.

Best Medical Schools in North Carolina

5. Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine (Lillington, NC)

Coming in at #5 in the North Carolina rankings by U.S. News & World Report, the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSUM) in Lillington, North Carolina is known for being the first and only osteopathic medical school in North Carolina. The university’s holistic approach to the medical sciences is a strong attraction for students who are serious about their education in traditional avenues of medicine, while also looking to expand their knowledge base with additional training in osteopathic principles of whole-person health.

The university is a Christian institution that welcomes all faiths, CUSUM emphasizes altruism and compassion along with exemplary professional and academic skills. Care for local communities is a central tenet of the school, and is even part of the university’s mission to provide care for rural populations in North Carolina and beyond who can’t easily access healthcare services.

This unique opportunity to give back to underserved communities attracts many students who are seeking not only a leading medical education but also real-life experience tackling a variety of healthcare challenges.

Medical students at CUSOM perform competitively on licensing examinations, and the university maintains a 100% rate for residency placements. The student body includes around 600 students from over 30 states, including 150 residents and fellows spanning eight clinical specialties and five clinical programs. The university has 1,000 faculty members, and both physicians and scientists, are on staff.

Students need to have a 3.6 GPA and an MCAT score of 505 before applying to the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine. The tuition fee is $50,600 for both in-state and out-of-state students.

4. East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine (Greenville, NC)

Ranked #1 in North Carolina and #2 in the nation for most graduates to enter a family practice career, the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in Greenville is an undeniable leader in family medicine for students in the United States. This exemplary reputation of family physicians has been noted by leading medical groups, including the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

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Within the field of family medicine and beyond, Brody School of Medicine offers a robust core education spanning the sciences, clinical skills, and community care across different settings. The university also offers students the opportunity to master a range of medical technologies including electronic medical records, online resources for evidence-based research, and more. All of this training ensures students are proficient in the digital and technological skills needed to compete with a rapidly changing medical landscape.

Many prospective students will appreciate that Brody School of Medicine boasts a robust contingent of non-traditional and minority learners amongst its diverse student body. About 11.7% of Brody students identify as African American, nearly double the national average of just over 6%. And nearly one in three students (31.7%) are over the age of 30, compared to 17.5% across United States medical colleges.

The university also offers Ph.D. programs. The institute offers concentrations in six areas as well as an interdisciplinary program in the biological sciences. In such, to help reduce the cost of tuition and living expenses, you can apply for a research assistantship, which comes with an award fee of $23,000 per year. If you get admitted into the university’s Doctor of Medicine program, you can also take advantage of the combined M.D. and Ph.D. programs.

Students need to have a 3.7 GPA and an MCAT score of 509 before applying to the Brody School of Medicine. The tuition fee is $23,232 and only admits in-state students.

3. Wake Forest University School of Medicine (Winston-Salem, NC)

With state-of-the-art facilities, Wake Forest University School of Medicine is a center for medical education, innovation, and North Carolina research. In its 2022 edition of school rankings, U.S. News & World Report moved Wake Forest University School of Medicine up four positions, making it #48 on the list of top medical research schools in the United States.

Because Wake Forest University School of Medicine is directly integrated into the Wake Forest Baptist Health system – which includes the school as well as an integrated clinical system with community hospitals, specialty clinics, and primary care clinics, students get the opportunity to directly partake in real-world clinical environments during the course of their medical training program. This includes interacting with patients from the very first week of school.

Recognized nationally and globally as a leading institution for biomedical research, Wake Forest University School of Medicine creates an academic culture of innovation and curiosity. Recently, Wake Forest School of Medicine researchers contributed to the creation of data networks that are helping to power new research into viruses and how they affect several subpopulations.

The university’s sturdy reputation and practice in research mean that even when students are taking a clinical, patient-centered path, they will still benefit from working with faculty members who are proficient in how research-led insights translate into leading patient care practices.

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The Wake Forest School of Medicine also provides a specially designed “Wake Ready!” curriculum, developed to provide extra individualized preparation for students on their path to a medical career. This curriculum replaces the traditional two years of pre-clinical and two years of clinical work with a program of improved integration and flexibility, enabling students to master foundational sciences. After this, students move forward with clinical immersion and then a more individualized training phase, ensuring each student is appropriately prepared for their unique career path to come.

The physician assistant’s program offered at the university is limited to 64 students. Classes in the program include diagnostic medicine, pharmacology, and clinical applications. You also take part in clinical rotations and are required to complete a final project before graduation.

Students need to have a 3.76 GPA and an MCAT score of 513 before applying to the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. The tuition fee is $61,200 for both in-state and out-of-state students.

2. University of North Carolina School of Medicine (Chapel Hill, NC)

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine (UNC) is home to a top-notch faculty, exceptional facilities, and a team-oriented environment that make this university a top choice for medical students in North Carolina as well as across the country and evens the world.

Undeniably, UNC has earned a reputation for supportive faculty who offer individualized attention; at the same time, students benefit from the advantages of attending a larger institution. These advantages include interdisciplinary units and cross-department collaboration across the school of medicine’s 20 clinical and 8 science-based departments.

According to U.S. News & World Report, UNC is ranked #3 in Best Primary Care Medical Schools, but this doesn’t stop the program from having some of the lowest average rates of debt for graduates, thanks to support from private and public philanthropic programs. Additionally, UNC has been ranked #1 for the total number of minority students earning a Ph.D. in biological and biomedical sciences, a testament to UNC’s commitment to diversity.

UNC Doctor of Medicine program is run through the School of Medicine. Classes you take in the program include nutrition and epidemiology. In your third and fourth year, you can take advantage of training opportunities offered at the school’s Ashville or Charlotte campuses. UNC also offers combined degree programs in which you can earn a Doctor of Philosophy in Medicine, Master of Business Administration, or Master of Public Health in conjunction with your Doctor of Medicine degree.

Students need to have a 3.78 GPA and an MCAT score of 515 before applying to the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. The tuition fee is $34,701 for in-state and $62,095 for out-of-state students.

1. Duke University School of Medicine (Durham, NC)

The number one school in North Carolina is no one other than the Duke University School of Medicine.

The University is a leading institution for education, clinical care, medical science study and. A strong emphasis on research and collaboration across the university’s 24 clinical and basic science departments provides students with a unique learning environment to foster and inspire the next generation of healthcare professionals.

Duke is among the top 10 medical schools in the nation to receive federal funding for medical research, bringing in over $460 million from the National Institute of Health in 2020. With this vital work in biomedical research, U.S. News & World Report ranks Duke at #3 in the nation for Best Medical Research Schools. Duke also ranks highly in specialty rankings for various types of clinical study, coming in at #2 in the country for surgery and #4 for anesthesiology.

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Two Nobel Laureates sit among the school’s faculty: Robert J. Lefkowitz, MD, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2012; and Paul Modrich, Ph.D., awarded the Chemistry Prize in 2015. The famous team of educators at Duke also includes appointees to major national medical groups, including the American Academy for Arts and Sciences, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and many more.

The university also offers a master’s degree program in biostatistics through the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics at the School of Medicine. Classes in the program include genetic epidemiology and statistical theory. You are required to submit a master’s project in biostatistics during your second year of study.

Students need to have a 3.89 GPA and an MCAT score of 519 before applying to the Duke University School of Medicine. The tuition fee is $63,689 for in-state and for out-of-state students.

Tips on getting into the best medical schools in North Carolina

Tip 1.

First, take a moment to study the admissions landscape amongst North Carolina medical schools.

For example, In-state applicants get higher interview rates than out-of-state applicants at North Carolina medical schools.  Another example is the tuition and fees at most North Carolina medical schools are on par with national averages for both public and private medical schools. However, tuition and fees at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine, which only accept in-state applicants, and are well below average.

Tip 2.

Not all North Carolina medical schools are equal. Check out your stats and which medical school is closer to it. For example, a student with a 509 and a 3.7 will likely be competitive for Brody School of Medicine but would need to have a truly excellent extracurricular profile to have a chance at Duke.

It is important to remember, that the high statistics alone won’t make you a shoo-in—as noted above, many North Carolina medical schools show a strong preference for in-state applicants. For example, the Brody School of Medicine has only accepted in-state students for the past twenty-five years. And, at the UNC School of Medicine, a gigantic 82% of matriculants are classified as in-state.

If you don’t have strong ties to the state and your stats fall below the averages, why waste effort on an application that might not be considered?

Final thoughts

There are many brilliant medical schools in North Carolina and, hence, lots of information to examine as you choose which schools to add to your list. By following the tips in this guide, you will put yourself in a strong position to receive acceptance from your top choice.

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