Michigan is known for its coastline, automotive industry, and strong sports teams. But what many people don’t realize is that the state of Michigan is also home to some nationally top-ranked medical schools.
The medical profession is very well respected and absolutely critical to the health and well-being of adults and children alike. Many people dream of becoming doctors in order to help people, make a good living, and contribute to society. Therefore, medical school admissions are notoriously selective, with acceptance rates usually in the mid-to-low single digits. But how can students decide where to apply and assess how “good” a medical school is?
One of the best and most common places to look is the US News Medical School list, which provides national rankings for hundreds of medical schools. Some of the factors US News considers in its ranking are peer reputation, admissions selectivity, and residency placement, among others.
In this article, we walk through the top medical schools in Michigan, ranked by each school’s placement in the US News Medical School list. If a school is unranked in the US News Medical list, we then rank it by where it places in the US News National Research Universities list. Let’s check these out!
7. Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (Auburn Hills, MI)
Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB) is located north of Detroit and gets its name from former US Army surgeon William Beaumont who became known as the “Father of Gastric Physiology” due to his groundbreaking research on human digestion, which he started in Michigan. As of 2015, OUWB is fully accredited by the LCME. It is unranked by US News.
OUWB’s curriculum vertically integrates the basic and clinical sciences, training students to interact with patients professionally and compassionately beginning in the very first semester. Additionally, students are required to embark on a four-year research project to assist patients in clinical settings and contribute new scholarly knowledge to the field of medicine.
One of OUWB’s teaching hospitals, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, is one of the largest hospitals in the entire country. It is nationally ranked in 9 adult specialties and is the nation’s third-largest Medicare provider.
For the incoming 2020 cohort, OUWB received just under 7,000 applications for an enrolling class of 125. Successful applicants had an average GPA of 3.82, an average science GPA of 3.76, and a median MCAT score of 508.
6. Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. College of Medicine (Kalamazoo, MI)
Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. College of Medicine, known as WMed, is a private medical school established in 2012, making it a relatively young institution. WMed is a collaboration between Western Michigan University and the two teaching hospitals in Kalamazoo, Ascension Borgess and Bronson Healthcare. It is unranked by US News. In 2018, it received full accreditation by the LCME.
WMed’s curriculum places a premium on hands-on, continuous practice. From the very first week on campus, students train in WMed’s state-of-the-art Simulation Center, accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, which provides invaluable preparation for real, high-stakes clinical work. WMed also has a unique academic calendar, which they describe as “decompressed:” rather than having a long summer break, students have multiple one- and two-week breaks throughout the calendar year that they can use to travel, rest and rejuvenate, take elective courses, or catch up on material.
Even though WMed is a young institution, its admissions are highly selective. For the entering 2020 cohort, WMed received nearly 3,500 applications for an entering class size of 84. The average GPA of admitted students was 3.7, and the average MCAT score was 514.
5. Central Michigan University College of Medicine (Mount Pleasant, MI)
Central Michigan University College of Medicine is a public medical school located in Mount Pleasant, MI. The medical school is unranked by US News. According to its mission, the school “educates diverse students and trains culturally competent physicians to provide comprehensive health care and services to underserved populations in Michigan and beyond.” This focus on providing quality care to underserved and under-resourced areas of Michigan is central to CMU’s curriculum.
CMU places a high premium on hands-on learning experiences, and does not want students to spend their medical school years just memorizing information from a textbook. Instead, traditional coursework is enriched by early clinical experiences and in-community learning activities, as well as a state-of-the-art medical simulation center where students can practice the skills of precision and decision-making they will need to use on the job in the real world.
Central Michigan University College of Medicine’s admissions process seeks to identify applicants who are high academic achievers and align very closely with the school’s mission to provide health care to underserved areas of Michigan. For the incoming 2020 cohort, the medical school received over 6,500 applicants and enrolled a class of 103 students. Successful applicants had an average GPA of 3.74 and an average MCAT score of 506.
4. Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (East Lansing, MI)
Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM) is unranked by US News but accredited by the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) and by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Located in East Lansing, MSUCOM is the first osteopathic medical school based at a public university.
As an alternative to the traditional D.O. curriculum, MSUCOM also offers a combined DO-PhD Physician Scientist Training Program, the first of its kind in the entire nation. This program is a good fit for students who want to experience both the clinical and the research side of medicine. In addition to the flagship campus in East Lansing, MSUCOM has satellite branches in Detroit and Macomb. In partnership with McLaren Health Care, MSU is currently building a $450-million health care campus adjacent to the flagship campus.
Applying the same philosophy to its admissions process as D.O.s apply to their care for patients, MSUCOM takes a holistic approach to admitting students. However, grades and test scores still matter: the average GPA of admitted students tends to be 3.5-3.7, and the average MCAT tends to be in the 505-507 range. Other essential factors are applicants’ service to the community and demonstrated understanding of osteopathic medicine.
3. Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (East Lansing, MI)
In addition to MSUCOM, Michigan State University also houses the College of Human Medicine (MSUCHM), which leads to the traditional M.D. degree. This College is currently unranked by US News, but in the past it has been favorably ranked for its primary care as well as family medicine and rural medicine.
In 2017, MSU completed an $88 million research complex, Grand Rapids Research Center, located near the Secchia Center in downtown Grand Rapids. The research specialties line up with the most pressing health problems facing Americans today: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, women’s health, and cancer. Two notable alumni include pediatrician, public health advocate, and Flint Water Crisis whistleblower Mona Hanna-Attisha and bestselling author, vegan advocate, and nutrition expert John A. McDougal.
MSUCHM takes a holistic approach to admissions. Academically, they like to see students with at least a 3.5 GPA (especially in the sciences) and an MCAT score of at least 500. They also look for STEM/medicine-related extracurricular engagements and experiences, and as a state university, they give preference to applicants from Michigan but admit 20-30% of their class from out of state.
2. Wayne State University School of Medicine (Detroit, MI)
Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSUSOM), located in Detroit, is ranked by US News #66 nationally in Best Medical Schools: Research and #89 nationally for Best Medical Schools: Primary Care. Particularly strong research focus areas at WSUSOM include cancer, women’s and children’s health, neuroscience, and population studies. Furthermore, WSUSOM faculty have made enormous strides such as establishing glucagon as a pancreatic hormone, performing the first-ever successful open-heart surgery, and developing the first drug approved to treat AIDS and HIV.
WSUSOM has a strong commitment to the local community of Detroit, an urban and often underserved and under-resourced city. One way the school carries out its mission to serve the community is by providing care to under- and uninsured local residents. In collaboration with the Detroit Medical Center, WSU faculty physicians provide uncompensated care that amounts to an average of $150 million annually.
This emphasis on community infuses the medical school curriculum and type of students who attend WSUSOM as well. Medical students (under the guidance of faculty) provide care to people in need in the community and run several impactful student organizations, such as Senior Citizen Outreach Project, Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention Program, and Teen Pregnancy Education Program.
In 2020, WSUSOM received 9,993 applications for an incoming class of 294. Successful applicants had an average GPA of 3.75 and an average MCAT score of 511.
1. University of Michigan Medical School (Ann Arbor, MI)
The University of Michigan is not only a nationally top-ranked university, but is also home to a nationally top-ranked medical school. US News ranks UM Medical School #15 in the nation in both Best Medical Schools: Research and Best Medical Schools: Primary Care. The Medical School is part of one of the largest academic medical complexes in the country, Michigan Medical, and therefore provides countless opportunities for students to gain knowledge and firsthand experiences in a vast range of medical specialties.
The UM Medical School experience entails a Hogwarts-esque “sorting” into four different houses through the M-Home program, cultivating a close-knit community of students and faculty who mentor, develop, and sometimes blow off steam together. Another defining feature of the UM Medical School experience is the Interprofessional Clinical Experience (ICE) program, which ensures that students regularly have clinical exposure from the first semester.
Admission to UM Medical School is highly selective. In 2020, UM received 8,272 medical school applications for an incoming cohort of 168 students. Successful applicants had an average GPA of 3.78, an average science GPA of 3.72, and an average MCAT score of 514.