The Sunshine State is more than a land of tourist attractions and vacation homes. Florida is also home to some of the top medical schools and research centers in the country – and in the world. Being the third most populous state, home to the largest concentration of persons over the age of 65, and comprising a diverse population, the state offers aspiring physicians and medical researchers ample opportunities to make an impact.
Most of the schools are concentrated in and around metropolitan centers of Florida. Nevertheless, medical students have ample opportunities and are encouraged to serve rural areas.
Best Colleges In Florida For Medical
op schools in Florida emphasize a combination of patient-centered training, interpersonal skills, and innovative approaches to learning and research – in and out of the classroom. Overall, these schools draw students who are not only academically talented, but compassionate and community-focused.
The schools on this list were selected based on their overall impact, innovative research programs, opportunities offered to students, GPA, MCAT scores, and admissions selectivity. Additionally, this ranking is based on the US News list of the country’s best medical schools. We also looked at partnerships and affiliations with key medical centers and facilities, which enable students’ access to relevant, hands-on and real-world experience in the medical field.
10. Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine (Davie, FL)
The Dr. Kiran Patel College of Allopathic Medicine offers a new and innovative program with strong ties to South Florida’s seven leading and award-winning hospitals. Working side by side with physicians at the hospitals’ clerkship sites, medical students gain extensive, hands-on clinical experience. The M.D. curriculum is centered on patient-first interaction and professional collaboration, utilizing a hybrid model that goes beyond conventional, classroom learning.
Nova Southeastern produces more doctors than any other school in Florida and is unique in offering programs in both osteopathic and allopathic medicine. Although only four years old, the Dr. Kiran Patel College of Allopathic Medicine has already been featured in Forbes magazine as an up-and-coming school.
While the college does not have a minimum MCAT or GPA requirement for admissions, the averages for the Fall 2020 class were a competitive 511 for the MCAT and a 3.69 GPA.
9. Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (Miami, FL)
Ranking among the top medical schools in the nation, Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine produces world-class research and training in primary care. The college has an award-winning curriculum and its graduates have a pass rate of 99% on the US medical licensing exam.
In addition to quality research, the college has a proven record in extensive and impactful community engagement in South Florida, serving thousands of families in the region. Wertheim College of Medicine also boasts a diverse student population, with members of underrepresented groups comprising 43% of the population.
Although it was founded less than 20 years ago, the college has already produced groundbreaking research, including research on COVID-19.
All applicants are considered; however, the average MCAT score for accepted applicants is a competitive 509. The average GPA is 3.73.
8. Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Students who are looking to study osteopathic medicine should consider NSU. The Dr. Kiran Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine is the tenth-largest osteopathic medical school in the country, enrolling around 1,000 students and employing nearly 150 full-time professors.
Almost 70 percent of graduates go on to become primary care practitioners in the areas of family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics. The college is among the top recipients of National Institute of Health (NIH) funds and has an outstanding research record, with a high number of cited publications in the field.
The average MCAT score of incoming students is 507 and an average GPA of 3.64.
7. Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (Bradenton, FL)
The suburban Bradenton branch of LECOM – along with its sister campuses in Elmira and Greensburg, and parent campus in Erie – provides medical students with an affordable and high-quality education. Its facilities are equipped with the latest, state-of-the-art technology, including several multi-purpose learning labs.
When considering all of LECOM’s campuses in Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York, LECOM is the largest medical college in the country, with 2,200 total students. Additionally, LECOM has the largest number of applicants of any medical college. Students will receive a quality education with promising outcomes— for an unusually low price compared to most other medical schools’ tuition.
The average MCAT score for a matriculating student is 503, with the average GPA being 3.5.
6. Florida State University College of Medicine (Tallahassee, FL)
The Florida State University College of Medicine is driven to help underserved populations of the surrounding metropolitan area. Students receive community-focused training that takes them outside the academic research facility and into the real world. The medical college’s students work alongside healthcare providers in offices and facilities near the regional campuses and throughout the state.
As recently as 2017, FSU’s College of Medicine had the third-lowest acceptance rate in the country – following the Mayo Clinic and Stanford University College of Medicine. Unsurprisingly, the average GPA of matriculated students is 3.7, accompanied by an average MCAT score of 507.
The college has numerous media mentions, including a Technology Org article featuring groundbreaking research on heart disease by Dr. Stephen Chelko, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences.
5. Florida Atlantic University Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine (Boca Raton, FL)
In February 2021, physicians from the Florida Atlantic University Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine partnered with researchers from other FAU colleges to launch a registry and repository to collect data on the spread and treatment of COVID-19. This is one example of the medical college’s pioneering research. The college is also known for its exceptional facilities, most notably the Clinical Skills Simulation Center.
It is the second allopathic medicine program on the list. Yearly, the college admits 64 students to the M.D. program for the first year. After the first year, 4-5 students from the group are admitted to its unique MD/PhD program, sponsored by the College of Medicine and The Scripps Research Institute.
FAU’s medical school has a community-based mission, partnering with Palm Beach County’s three health systems to provide students with stellar and immersive training.
The average MCAT score for admitted applicants is 512 and the GPA is 3.79.
4. University of Central Florida College of Medicine (Orlando, FL)
Located in one of the most popular cities in the world, the University of Central Florida College of Medicine offers its students many clerkship and clinical experiences through Orlando’s hospitals, clinics, and healthcare providers. The M.D. program has a service-learning component in which students integrate academic coursework into their community engagement. Students are additionally taught by community preceptors who help them gain clinical and interpersonal skills in a real-world context.
UCF faculty members have been recognized for their research. Additionally, its facilities are impressive; the buildings are located on the “Medical City” complex consisting of the College of Medicine Medical Education, Burnett Biomedical Sciences Research Building, and the Orlando VA, among others.
UCFCM is among the top medical schools in Florida and admission to the college is competitive; The average MCAT score of the most recently matriculated class is 513 and the average GPA is 3.81.
3. University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine (Miami, FL)
According to US News & World Report, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is ranked as #50 in research and #75 in primary Care. It is not only the oldest medical school in Florida, but also the top recipient of NIH funding in the state.
The school is an internationally recognized research powerhouse with advancements in the study of diabetes, cancer, HIV, and numerous other areas. The Miller School of Medicine operates well over 15 centers and institutes of research, including the Children’s Heart Center, the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute, and more.
Matriculated students have one of the highest MCAT scores and GPA averages – 513 and 3.86, respectively – of the state’s medical schools. The MCAT and GPA are two factors in the application process; candidates are evaluated for interpersonal skills, breadth and depth of life experiences, and a genuine interest in the study of medicine and patient care.
2. University of South Florida Health Morsani College of Medicine (Tampa, FL)
The University of South Florida Health Morsani College of Medicine is home to the Byrd Alzheimer’s Center and Research Institute, one of the largest Alzheimer centers in the world. It is also home to the internationally recognized Diabetes and Endocrinology Center, which has conducted millions of dollars worth of research.
The USF College of Medicine ranks #47 for medical research and the second-best medical school in Florida. Admitted students earn top MCAT scores, the average hovering around 516, and an average GPA of 3.82. In 2018, the college’s acceptance rate was 4%.
Strong consideration is given to applicants who have completed molecular biology, genetics, and/or microbiology courses. Volunteer work, community service, extra-curriculars, and some experience in medical areas can make a prospective student stand out from the rest of the applicant pool.
1. University of Florida College of Medicine (Gainesville, FL)
Rated as one of the top medical schools in the country by US News, #17 among public medical schools, and #1 in the state, the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville enrolls 1,114 students and employs 1,759 faculty. Nine hundred members of the faculty are physicians.
The college is dedicated to excellent research and medical practice, operating 28 research and clinical departments. In 2020, the NIH awarded the college more than $100 million for research. Students have access to world-class facilities and gain valuable preclinical experience early on; in the first year, students work with a primary care physician for two and a half weeks.
The UF College of Medicine assures candidates that it thoroughly reviews every application. The minimum GPA among matriculated students is 3.7, the average being 3.91, and the average MCAT score is 516.
Florida Early History
Although Juan Ponce de León was the king’s first explorer of Florida, it is likely that other Spaniards had already visited the peninsula before him. Most likely they sailed from the islands of the Caribbean in order to capture slaves. Ponce de Leon’s expedition encountered hostility from the Indians, and some of them knew a few Spanish words.
In subsequent years, the Spaniards continued to explore Florida, in 1521 Ponce de Leon tried to establish a permanent settlement here, but because of the constant attacks of the Indians, his plan ended in failure. It was from Florida, led by the famous Spanish pioneer Hernando de Soto, that the expedition set off, which passed in 1539-40 through the territory of the modern states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. In 1559, Tristan de Luna y Arellano arrived from Mexico to Florida with five hundred soldiers and a thousand civilian settlers and founded a new colony on the site of the modern city of Pensacola. Due to the strongest hurricane that sank ships with supplies, the colonists immediately had serious problems with food, and already in 1561 the Spaniards left the settlement.
In the second half of the 16th century, the French also began to show interest in Florida. In 1562, an expedition led by Jean Ribot explored the northeast coast of Florida near the mouth of the St. Johns River. In 1564, it was here, on the site of modern Jacksonville, that René Goulain de Laudonnière founded Fort Caroline, the first French colony in the United States.
Already in 1565, the Spaniards built their fortified point near Fort Caroline – Fort San Agustin (the city of St. Augustine grew out of it, the oldest of all cities in the USA). Spanish soldiers led by Admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles captured Fort Caroline and massacred almost all of its residents. The cruelty of the Spaniards was also due to religious motives, they professed Catholicism, and the French colonists were Huguenots (Protestants).
In the 17th century, the Spaniards continued to develop Florida, founding new settlements (mostly Catholic missions) and suppressing the occasional uprisings of the Indians. At the end of the 17th – the first half of the 18th centuries, the pressure of the English colonists from the province of Carolina increased from the north on the Spanish possessions, and from the northwest – the French from Louisiana. So, in 1702 – 1704, the governor of the colony of South Carolina James Moore organized several raids, during which English soldiers, in alliance with the Creek Indians, destroyed almost all Spanish missions in Florida and burned the city of San Agustin. At the same time, most of the Florida Indians who supported the Spaniards were killed or captured into slavery. In 1719, the French captured the Spanish settlement of Pensacola, which had been founded by the Spanish in northwest Florida in 1698. As a result of these and many other armed clashes, the Spanish positions on the Florida peninsula were seriously weakened, and the Creek Indians, who later became known as the Seminoles, began migrating to the deserted lands from the north.
In 1763, after the end of the Seven Years’ War (known in the US as the “French and Indian War”), Spain ceded Florida to Great Britain. At the same time, the British also received part of the French North American colony of Louisiana, located east of the Mississippi River. Two new British colonies were formed, separated by the Apalachicola River: West Florida (which partially included the lands of the modern states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and northwest Florida) and East Florida (the lands of the Florida peninsula that previously belonged to the Spaniards). During the Revolution and the American Revolutionary War, Britain retained control of East Florida while West Florida was taken over by the Spanish. In 1783, after the end of the war, Spain regained possession of the lands of East Florida, while the border with the United States was agreed upon after lengthy negotiations only in 1795.