Alternative PathsApplying to Medical SchoolArticles

The Benefits of an Accelerated Medical School Program

The physician shortage is a well-known problem confronting medicine. So is rising medical student debt. These two problems may be confronted by 3-year MD or accelerated medical programs, where students can earn their medical degree in three years instead of four.

👉 Jump to the 3 year MD program list below

3-Year Program Students Have Less Debt and are Ready for Residency

A recent study by researchers at Penn State College of Medicine found that accelerated pathway (AP) program graduates may be just as prepared for residency training and have less debt than their peers who graduated from traditional programs.

The study was led by Dr. Shou Ling Leong. It looked at more than 40,000 medical students who graduated in 2017 and 2018. They compared reported satisfaction with education and learning environment, levels of debt and burnout, preparedness for residency, and career plans between graduates of accelerated and traditional programs.


While just 90 of the 40,000 students graduated from 3-year or accelerated programs during the survey years (some of the first years that these programs were offered), the students compared well to students in traditional programs from the same school, and also all students from traditional programs at all schools across the country, in order to account for any institutional biases. 

Accelerated MD students also reported a more positive learning climate and were equally satisfied with their education as their non-AP peers. Leong noted that close mentoring and advising experiences in 3 year MD programs may account for high satisfaction in educational experience among those graduates.

More Accelerated Medical Programs Being Added Every Year

3-year medical programs were started in 2015 with 8 schools across the US and Canada and have since expanded to 15 additional schools. There are more schools being added every year, and it may be a trend that continues for years to come. If students truly are as well prepared coming out of accelerated programs as standard programs, the reduction in debt and acceleration of residency training could well be worth it!

Related Article: How to Become a Doctor in 3 Years of Medical School

List of Accelerated ( 3-Year MD) Medical School Programs

  1. New York University School of Medicine
  2. McMaster University
  3. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine
  4. Mercer University School of Medicine
  5. University of California Davis
  6. Medical College of Wisconsin
  7. University of Louisville
  8. Penn State College of Medicine
  9. Duke University School of Medicine (2015)
  10. Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (2015)
  11.  The Ohio State University College of Medicine (2015)
  12. University of Kentucky School of Medicine (2015)
  13. Medical University of South Carolina (2016)
  14. University of North Carolina School of Medicine (2016)
  15. Stony Brook University School of Medicine (2017)
  16. Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine (2017)
  17. Meharry Medical College (2018)
  18. Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University (2018)
  19. Upstate Medical University School of Medicine (2019)
  20. NYU-Long Island School of Medicine
  21. Virginia Commonwealth University
  22. Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
  23. West Virginia University School of Medicine (2021)

Sahil Mehta

Sahil Mehta M.D. is an attending physician in the Department of Radiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Founder of MedSchoolCoach. Dr Mehta is one of the world’s experts on medical school admissions having founded MedSchoolCoach in 2007. MedSchoolCoach provides admissions consulting to premedical students in the form of interview preparation, essay editing and general advising. In the past 10 years, he has had a hand in over a thousand acceptances to medical school.

Related Articles

Back to top button