A medical school is a tertiary educational institution—or part of such an institution—that teaches medicine. Degree programs offered at medical schools often include Bachelor/Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Philosophy, Master's degree, or other post-secondary education. Many medical schools also offer a Bachelors or, more commonly, a Masters of physician assistant/associate program. Medical schools can also employ medical researchers and operate hospitals. The entry criteria, structure, teaching methodology, and nature of medical programs offered at medical schools vary considerably around the world. Medical schools are often highly competitive, using standardized entrance examinations to narrow the selection criteria for candidates.
In most countries, the study of medicine is completed as an undergraduate degree not requiring prerequisite undergraduate coursework. However, an increasing number of places are emerging for graduate entrants who have completed an undergraduate degree including some required courses. In the United States and Canada, almost all medical degrees are second entry degrees, and require several years of previous study at the university level.
Medical degrees are awarded to medical students after the completion of their degree program, which typically lasts five or more years for the undergraduate model and four years for the post-undergraduate model. Curricula are usually divided into preclinical sciences, where students study subjects such as biochemistry, genetics, pharmacology,Pathology, anatomy and physiology, among others, and clinical rotations, which usually include internal medicine, general surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, and obstetrics and gynecology, among others.
Although medical schools confer upon graduates a medical degree, a physician typically may not legally practice medicine until licensed by the local government authority. Licensing may also require passing a test, undergoing a criminal background check, checking references, paying a fee, and undergoing several years of postgraduate training. Medical schools are regulated by each country and may appear in the AVICENNA Directory for medicine or the FAIMER International Medical Education Directory.
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