If you want to pursue a career in medicine and live in Illinois, you have plenty of options! Illinois has some medical schools that grant M.D. and D.O. degrees. This is a great advantage since most medical schools prefer admitting students that live in the same state, especially if they are public. And even if they say they don’t, that’s what admissions statistics usually reflect. Here, we made a list of the best medical schools in Illinois.

Top Medical Schools in Illinois

1. University of Chicago

The Pritzker School of Medicine of the University of Chicago was established in 1927, and it is positioned among the best medical schools in the U.S. According to the U.S. News and World University Ranking, it is considered the 18th best medical school in terms of primary care, and the 17th in terms of research.

Besides granting M.D. degrees, they also offer a few joint programs. It has a Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), and the Growth, Development, and Disabilities Training Program (GDDTP), which are both M.D./Ph.D programs, and M.D./Ph.D Programs in Medicine, Social Sciences, and Humanities (MESH). There are also joint degrees with Masters in law, policy or business.

As usual, the M.D. curriculum divides into foundational coursework, taught in the first two years, and clerkship, which are done in the last two years. In the Pritzker School of Medicine, the curriculum has a component called Scholarship & Discover, with which students will get the skills to complete a scholarly project. The project must cover an issue in the following tracks: scientific investigation, medical education, healthcare delivery services, community health, and global health.

Admissions in this medical school in Illinois are highly competitive as class sizes are small. They handle over 5,000 applications each year. In 2016, they only admitted 88 students, and in 2018, they admitted 90. The good side is that this private medical school warmly welcomes out-of-state students, and tuition is the same for everyone. Actually, in 2018, 77% of the students admitted were out-of-state.

The application process starts by completing the online application through the AMCAS platform. Students must take the MCAT, complete the required premedical courses, and submit recommendation letters that prove previous exposure to the medical environment. If competitive, students will have to attend the interviews.

2. Northwestern University

Founded in 1859, the Northwestern University‘s Feinberg School of Medicine is another medical school that ranks among the best ones in the U.S. It ranked as the 19th best medical school in terms of research, and the 35th best in terms of primary care.

It has 15th place in the ranking of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, and many of its affiliated teaching hospitals are also positioned within the best ones. For example, the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab is the best rehabilitation hospital in the U.S.

Although it is one of the oldest medical schools in Illinois, the Feinberg School of Medicine doesn’t stop innovating. In 2012, they renewed their M.D. curriculum. They decided to divide the program into three phases that focus on science in medicine, clinical medicine, health & society, and professional development.

Research is very important. Between 2017 and 2018 there were 4,571 clinical trials and research studies! They are also building a new research building that will join the existing research centers.

Admissions are very competitive. In 2018, they received 7,089 but only 160 students were admitted.

3. University of Illinois

The University of Illinois‘ College of Medicine is a public medical school that was founded in 1882. It is ranked as the 48th best medical school in terms of primary care and the 50th best in terms of research. It also has the 25th place in the funding ranking of the NIH.

They offer three joint programs along with the M.D. degree and Ph.D. degree programs. These are M.D. and Ph.D., M.D., and MPH (Master’s in Public Health), and M.D. and MBA (Master’s in Business Administration). They also offer two training programs: the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) and the Medical Scholars Program (MSP).

The University of Illinois College of Medicine also offers specialized programs in rural medicine, global medicine, urban medicine, innovation medicine, clinical executive medicine, and innovation in rural medicine.

This medical school has three campuses located in Chicago, Rockford, and Peoria. When you apply, you must indicate your top two campuses, and if admitted, you’ll be assigned to one of those two. The Urbana campus is still working but won’t accept any new students because the university recently opened a new engineering-based medical school, the Carle Illinois College of Medicine.

As they accept students in three campuses, the admissions rate is 13%, which is higher than in other medical schools.

4. Rush Medical College

We finish the list with a medical school in Illinois that has almost 200 years of experience in the educational field. Founded in 1837, the Rush Medical College also ranks within the top 100 medical schools worldwide. It has 70th place in terms of research, and 71st place in terms of primary care.

The curriculum of the MD degree program was renewed in 2010. It is system-based, which means that is organized in organ systems. Students start gaining clinical experience when they start their career through the Physicians Program. They also work with physicians that become their mentors since the first year.

The two main centers in which students are trained are the Rush University Medical Center and the public John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County.

Admissions are highly competitive because they receive a lot of applicants each year. In 2016, they received 10,754 applications and only 138 students were admitted! They don’t accept transfer students and in order to apply, you must be a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident, or be of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status. Learn more about the application process and their programs on their website.


We hope that this list of top medical schools in Illinois was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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