Students applying to medical schools in the United States have to decide which state they want to live in for four years of their lives. Georgia’s excellent selection of medical schools, favorable weather, and diverse population make it an excellent place to train as a physician.
Additionally, attending medical school in Georgia carries the benefit of a low cost of living. Average rental prices in the state are 78% lower than the United States overall. Therefore, prospective medical students looking to decrease their medical education costs might want to begin their search in Georgia.
This article serves as a guide to the top medical schools in the “Peach State,” based on the most recent rankings by US News. It also informs students on each school’s mission and strategies to obtain a coveted admissions letter to each program. All of these featured schools have different values and philosophies on medical education. Students must consider which institution will best guide them on their unique path toward becoming a physician.
List of Unranked Medical Schools in Georgia
The following schools are unranked by US News.
Mercer University School of Medicine (Macon, GA)
Mercer University, located in Macon, Savannah, and Columbus, was established in 1982 to increase rural Georgia’s medical care quality. Mercer takes this mission so seriously that all students wishing to apply must be Georgia residents for at least 12 months. This residency requirement is a significant advantage for applicants who are Georgia residents because it virtually eliminates out-of-state competition.
Students who are independent learners may be a good fit for the Mercer University School of Medicine. Mercer implements a self-directed learning approach instead of traditional lectures. The problem-based learning that Mercer fosters involves getting exposure to real-world dilemmas and using those experiences to guide academic instruction. Due to this model of education, Mercer students receive clinical experiences beginning in their first semester.
Graduates from Mercer’s School of Medicine take pride in caring for the state’s medically underserved populations. In fact, Mercer ranks 2nd in the nation for graduates practicing in rural areas and working in primary care within Georgia. Mercer is known for accepting students who exemplify their mission of caring for the medically underserved. To get accepted into this medical school in Georgia, applicants should highlight their experiences working at free clinics or shadowing primary care providers.
Morehouse School of Medicine (Atlanta, GA)
Morehouse School of Medicine was founded in 1975 and is one of three historically black medical schools in the United States. This medical school’s mission is to prepare future physicians to provide quality care for people of color in urban and rural Georgia. Morehouse focuses on the importance of preventative care, with most MSM graduates serving as primary care physicians.
Morehouse School of Medicine strives to increase the number of Black doctors entering the medical field. Although the school already prides itself on being third in the country for the number of medical degrees awarded to Black doctors, they refuse to stop there. In December of 2020, Morehouse partnered with CommonSpirit Health and pledged to spend $100 million recruiting and educating more Black doctors to address racial health disparities in the United States. Although Morehouse is a historically black medical school, it accepts students of any racial or ethnic background as long as they have a passion for diversity and inclusion.
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (Suwanee & Moultrie, GA)
As one of the nation’s oldest medical schools, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine prepares its graduates to provide “whole person” care to a diverse patient population. At PCOM, future osteopathic physicians learn to integrate traditional western medicine with complementary therapies and lifestyle modifications.
While their main campus is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, PCOM Georgia is located in Suwanee, and PCOM South Georgia is located in Moultrie. These campuses were added to the university to address the severe physician shortage in the South. PCOM Georgia was created in 2005, while the Moultrie location accepted their first class of DO students in 2019. Both Georgia branches offer the doctor of osteopathic medicine degree.
Osteopathic medicine is a fast-growing healthcare profession in the United States, and 25 percent of all medical students are enrolled in a DO program. Osteopathic physicians are licensed to provide medications, perform surgery, diagnose, and treat patients the same way a medical doctor can. PCOM is passionate about osteopathic philosophy and recruits students who align with this ideology.
Ranked Georgia Medical Schools
The following schools are ranked by US News in their “Medical Schools – Research” category. The ranking you see here is based on their order relative to other schools in Georgia.
2. Augusta University Medical College of Georgia
Augusta University, also known as the Medical College of Georgia, is the only public medical school in Georgia and one of the largest medical schools in the United States. MCG and its graduates have a special responsibility to identify and address the healthcare needs of the state of Georgia.
MCG is a hot spot for pivotal medical research and strives to integrate new research into students’ medical education seamlessly. Augusta University recently spent millions investing in vision research and educational innovation.
Students who would like to experience large teaching hospitals and small primary care practices may appreciate MCG’s regional campus model. Using this model, the medical school is implementing a new three-year medical curriculum. This redesigned curriculum consists of a 3-year core medical program and allows students to choose their path for their 4th year. The options are to go straight into a primary care residency, obtain a dual degree, or receive advanced residency preparation.
1. Emory University School of Medicine
It is no surprise that Emory University is the highest-ranked medical school in the state of Georgia. The medical school is ranked #24 in research and #25 in primary care by US News and World Report.
Located in the heart of Atlanta, Emory Healthcare is the most extensive health system in Georgia and is world-renowned for its ground-breaking research and medical treatments. Students who want to participate in well-funded medical research will appreciate that Emory is ranked 14th nationally in NIH dollars’ amount. This year, Emory’s Department of Pediatrics ranked #1 in the number of research grants from the NIH and received nearly $100 million for research on childhood diseases.
Emory has strong ties with the CDC and put Atlanta on the map during the 2014 Ebola crisis. During this time of extreme fear, Emory’s Serious Communicable Diseases Unit (SCDU) saved several Ebola patients’ lives using evidence-based treatments and protocols. Students who want to answer the call to serve during worldwide public health crises may find Emory School of Medicine to be a great fit.
How to Get Accepted
As a general rule, average MCAT scores required for osteopathic programs, such as the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, tend to be slightly lower than average MCAT scores for MD programs. Therefore, it makes sense that the average MCAT scores for PCOM’s Georgia campuses are between 500-503, and the average GPA is 3.5.
Applicants with intermediate MCAT and GPA scores should look into Mercer and Morehouse School of Medicine. Students accepted to these schools have average MCAT scores in the range of 505-506 and an average GPA of 3.6 – 3.7. In addition to these scores, prospective Mercer and Morehouse students should align with each school’s values and ideology. Both schools are more likely to accept applicants who have a passion for caring for rural populations in Georgia and address racial inequalities in healthcare and medicine.
Students with higher MCAT scores and GPAs may gain admission to the more selective Georgia medical schools on this list. Emory University and Augusta University tend to accept students with MCAT scores in the range of 512-515, and most have a GPA above 3.8. Prospective med students looking into these prestigious schools should also emphasize their interest in research and evidence-based practice.