A medical school is a tertiary educational institution, or part of such an institution, that teaches medicine, and awards a professional degree for physicians and surgeons. Such medical degrees include the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, Doctor of Medicine (MD), or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). Many medical schools offer additional degrees, such as a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master’s degree (M.Sc.), a physician assistant program, or other post-secondary education.
Medical schools can also carry out medical research and operate teaching hospitals. Around the world, criteria, structure, teaching methodology, and nature of medical programs offered at medical schools vary considerably. Medical schools are often highly competitive, using standardized entrance examinations, as well as grade point average and leadership roles, 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.