A medical school is a tertiary educational institution—or part of such an institution—that teaches medicine.
In addition to a medical degree program, some medical schools offer programs leading to a Master's Degree, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), or other post-secondary education. Medical schools can also employ medical researchers and operate hospitals. Medical schools teach subjects such as human anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, immunology, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, anesthesiology, internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, psychiatry, genetics, and pathology.
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 (e.g. GAMSAT, MCAT, UMAT, NMAT, BMAT, UKCAT and many others).
In many European countries, in India, China and others, 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 (i.e. in the UK, Ireland and Australia) moving medical education closer to the US/Canadian model. In other countries (e.g. the USA, Canada), medical degrees are second entry degrees, and require at least several years of previous study at the university level. Students wanting to enter medical school often complete a bachelors degree with a (pre-medical/medical science) curriculum including physics, chemistry, genetics, biochemistry, pathology, anatomy and physiology, and human biology. However, many medical schools will accept students of varying academic background so long as they complete the required prerequisite coursework and have a university degree, and some students obtain Master and PhD credentials before entering medical school.
Although medical schools confer upon graduates a medical degree (BMBS, MBBS, MBChB, MD, DO, MDCM, BMed, etc), a doctor 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, and paying a fee. Medical schools are regulated by each country and may appear on the WHO Directory of Medical Schools or the FAIMER International Medical Education Directory.