3-Year Medical School Programs

Last Updated on September 6, 2022 by Ngefechukwu Maduka

If you are interested in studying abroad, then this article below is for you! One of the largest misconceptions people have when they think of studying abroad is that they need to be fluent in the native language of the country. This is not true! Whether you’re looking to study abroad as a medical or non-medical student, as long as your grades are good enough and your English proficiency level is high enough, you can take advantage of 3-year medical school programs in countries like Germany, Austria and Spain.

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accelerated medical school programs

What are Three-Year MD Programs?

Three-year MD programs are a new way to become a doctor. Students can save a year of tuition and living expenses (as well as a year with no income), and they are guaranteed a spot in a specialized residency. This option allows you to earn your degree in three years instead of the standard four years.

According to the Washington Post, “Some medical school administrators and policymakers see three-year programs as a way to produce physicians, particularly primary-care doctors, faster as the new health-care law funnels millions of previously uninsured patients into the medical system.” And given that specialists are now making double the income of primary care doctors, primary care physicians are at a particular shortage.

With four-year medical programs, the last year is focused on electives and the process of securing a residency position. But there is some debate as to the value of this final year. According to Ezekial Emanuel and Victor Fuchs, writing in the Journal of American Medicine Association, “Years of [medical school] training have been added without evidence that they enhance clinical skills or the quality of care. This waste adds to the financial burden of young physicians and increases health care costs. The average length of medical training could be reduced by about 30% without compromising physician competence or quality of care.”

Best 3-Year Medical Schools in the World | 2021 Rankings


CAMPP is an organization of medical schools in the United States and Canada that have developed 3-year or other accelerated curricula that lead to the MD degree. Through collaboration among our diverse member schools, we seek to improve physician education across the continuum of learning through scholarship, mentoring of new programs, and professional development.

CAMPP is a consortium of eight medical schools, including NYU Langone Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medicine (collectively, New York University). CAMPP was created in 2015 with funding from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation to study accelerated MD programs. The consortium aims to offer guidance to other medical schools seeking to develop such programs and also provide learning opportunities for students interested in an accelerated path to medicine.

Primary Care Accelerated Track Program | Mercer School of Medicine


Consortium member schools’ accelerated programs vary significantly, but all focus on reducing the nationwide physician shortage and alleviating student debt.

The consortium’s goals include the following:

  • To study and develop best practices in the implementation of accelerated MD degree programs
  • To understand the programs’ impact by tracking student outcomes
  • To describe effective mentoring for students
  • To promote the concept of medical education across the undergraduate–graduate continuum
  • To collaborate with licensing and regulatory agencies on residency placement
  • To stimulate a national discussion on accelerated pathways in medical education
  • To provide information that medical schools may use in building their own accelerated programs

Many consortium member schools offer students conditional acceptance into residency programs at their own institutions, thereby promoting continuous learning and competency.

Med school in 3 years: Is this the future of medical education? | AAMC

3 year medical school programs list

1.     New York University School of Medicine

The 3YMD Pathway program is a unique opportunity for highly motivated students willing to commit to three additional years of study. Students enter the pathway after their first year of medical school and complete their third year at Jefferson School of Nursing and Health Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine (MCP Hahnemann Campus), and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Class sizes are smaller than that of the 4-year pathway programs, with approximately 10 students per class and 20 students per class in the last two years.

2.     McMaster University

3.     Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine

FMAT is a new 3-year program offered by Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine that leads to the M.D. degree. It has been developed in response to the changing landscape for practicing physicians and increased emphasis on primary care. The FMAT curriculum is taught entirely online, offering convenience for working adults as well as excellent opportunities for those interested in a clinical research career or working with international colleagues.

Seven-Year Liberal Arts/Medical Education Program Requirements | Admissions

4.     Mercer University School of Medicine

This program is only for students interested in practicing Family Medicine who have a strong desire to remain in Georgia. Students apply during the Spring of Year 1 and may opt to return to the four-year program at any time. The curriculum is very similar to their four-year MD program, but is compressed into 131 weeks of instructional time and offers more educational contact opportunities between students and the Family Medicine faculty.

5.     University of California Davis

  • UC-Davis, School of Medicine: ACE-PC

This program is only for students committed to careers in primary care. ACE-PC students start working in Kaiser Permanente primary care clinics within the first few weeks of starting the program and continue in these clinics for three years. Unique curricular content includes population management, chronic disease management, quality improvement, patient safety, team-based care and preventive health skills with special emphasis on diverse and underserved populations. ACE-PC is limited to six students and classes begin in June. Students can apply for the program during the secondary application, and may choose to return to the four-year program at any time.

6.     Medical College of Wisconsin

7.     University of Louisville

8.     Penn State College of Medicin

9.Columbia University: College of Physicians and Surgeons 3-year PhD-to-MD Program

Columbia University’s Accelerated MD/PhD program is designed for students who have already earned a PhD in biological sciences, and are interested in pursuing biomedical research as a physician scientist. In order to apply, you must be studying cognitive specialties, such as internal medicine, pediatrics, neurology, psychiatry, or pathology. You can apply for this program when you receive the secondary in the regular medical school application process. The program is divided into preclinical courses (18 Months), major clinical year (12 Months), and subinternship and electives (6 Months). Students begin in August of their first year and finish in May of their third year, working over the summers.

10. Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine: Primary Care Scholars Pathway (PCSP)

PCSP students must commit to complete a residency in family medicine or general internal medicine, and practice primary care medicine for a minimum of five years upon completion of residency. If a student does not fulfill these requirements, they will be asked to return the scholarship award (one year of medical school tuition). There are about 12 positions available in this program each year. Students complete all courses and learning modules required in the first two years of preclinical education in 18 months, as well as several courses during the summer months. Students participate in a sub-internship at the hospital where they will continue their clinical training after graduation. In addition to saving the student from paying for the fourth year of medical school, this program includes a scholarship for the third year of medical school.

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