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Best Medical Schools in Virginia

Written by Nicole Kim
Updated: September 9, 2023
8 min read
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Choosing the right medical school that fits your career goals is a crucial decision in becoming a physician. In Virginia, aspiring medical professionals have access to many excellent medical schools that offer top-notch education, cutting-edge research opportunities, and the chance to positively impact local communities.

In this article from, we'll explore the best medical schools in Virginia, including their academic programs, research opportunities, clinical experiences, and community engagement initiatives. We'll also examine the unique philosophies and values that guide these highly esteemed medical schools here, offering prospective medical students a well-rounded view of their options and helping them to make informed decisions about their future in medicine.

The cost of a medical education is a common point of concern for prospective medical students. With medical school tuition rising yearly, it's no surprise that many medical students are taking on massive student debt to fund their academic journeys. Luckily, scholarships for medical students can help reduce the cost of medical school.

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Best Medical Schools in Virginia

University of Virginia School of Medicine

Located in Charlottesville, the University of Virginia School of Medicine is renowned for its commitment to excellence in medical education, research, and patient care. Established in 1825, the University of Virginia has the distinction of being one of the oldest medical schools in the nation and has a rich history of producing highly skilled physicians and advancing medical knowledge.

The University of Virginia School of Medicine boasts comprehensive academic programs and extensive research opportunities. The school is associated with the renowned UVA Medical Center, a leading healthcare institution at the forefront of patient care innovations.

Academic Programs: UVA School of Medicine offers various degree programs, including the Doctor of Medicine (MD), MD/Ph.D., and MD/MBA dual-degree options. The MD program emphasizes clinical experience and research, ensuring students are well-rounded and prepared for their medical careers.

Research Opportunities: The school is a hub of cutting-edge medical research, with faculty engaged in groundbreaking work in areas such as cancer research, neuroscience, and cardiovascular medicine. Students have ample opportunities to participate in research projects beginning in their first year of medical school.

Clinical Experience: UVA Medical Center, the teaching hospital affiliated with the school, provides students with diverse clinical experiences. It ranks among the top hospitals in the nation and offers advanced facilities for hands-on learning.

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Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

Located in Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine is another prestigious institution dedicated to training future healthcare professionals. It has consistently earned a spot among the nation's top medical schools and has forged a reputation for producing graduates who excel in various medical specialties.

Virginia Co University School of Medicine emphasizes interprofessional education by having medical students take courses with students in other medical specialties. Furthermore, students at VCU are encouraged to participate in groundbreaking research projects and community engagement.

Academic Programs: VCU School of Medicine offers a comprehensive medical curriculum that includes the traditional MD program, MD/Ph.D. dual-degree options, and numerous graduate programs in biomedical sciences. The school is known for its commitment to interprofessional education, preparing students to work collaboratively in healthcare.

Research Opportunities: VCU is a research-intensive institution, and the School of Medicine reflects this commitment with a strong emphasis on research. Students have access to state-of-the-art research facilities and opportunities to work alongside renowned faculty members.

Community Engagement: VCU School of Medicine places a significant emphasis on community engagement and service, preparing students to address the healthcare needs of diverse populations. The school's partnerships with local clinics and underserved communities provide valuable clinical experience.

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Eastern Virginia Medical School

Located in Norfolk, Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) is a relatively young institution with a strong reputation for its medical programs. Established in 1973, EVMS has become a vital part of the Hampton Roads healthcare community. Students at Eastern Virginia Medical School gain invaluable clinical experience through partnerships with regional medical centers, providing them with diverse patient encounters and a strong foundation for their medical careers.

Academic Programs: EVMS offers a variety of medical degree programs, including the traditional MD program, MD/Ph.D. dual-degree programs, and physician assistant (PA) programs. The school is known for its community-focused education in primary care and for producing healthcare providers who serve in underserved areas.

Clinical Experience: EVMS students benefit from clinical experiences at several regional medical centers, including Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters. These partnerships provide students with a diverse range of patient encounters.

Community-Oriented: EVMS is deeply committed to community service and healthcare outreach. Its emphasis on community-oriented healthcare prepares graduates to make meaningful contributions to the region's healthcare needs.

medical schools in virginia

Virginia Tech Carilion School

Nestled in Roanoke, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is a relatively new addition to the Virginia medical education landscape. Established in 2007, it has quickly gained recognition for its innovative medical education approach focused on patient-centered care and interprofessional collaboration from day one. The curriculum at Virginia Tech Carilion School seamlessly integrates clinical experiences, enabling students to work directly with patients early in their education.

Academic Programs: This medical school offers a unique MD program that focuses on patient-centered care and interprofessional collaboration. The curriculum integrates clinical experience from the very beginning, allowing students to work directly with patients early in their education.

Research Opportunities: Virginia Tech Carilion has strong ties to research institutions and the Carilion Clinic. This opportunity provides students with ample opportunities to engage in research across various medical disciplines.

Interprofessional Education: The school's emphasis on interprofessional education fosters collaboration among future healthcare professionals, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared to work as part of a healthcare team.

Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Located in Lynchburg, Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) is Virginia's newest medical school, established in 2014. As a college of osteopathic medicine, LUCOM takes a holistic approach to healthcare, strongly emphasizing the body's self-healing capabilities. Furthermore, Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine's commitment to community engagement and faith-based values offers a unique perspective for those seeking a spiritually oriented approach to medicine.

Academic Programs: LUCOM offers a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) program, which emphasizes the principles of osteopathic medicine, including a focus on the body's self-healing capabilities. The curriculum combines traditional medical education with osteopathic principles.

Community Engagement: LUCOM places a strong emphasis on community engagement and outreach. Students are encouraged to participate in volunteer activities and serve underserved populations.

Faith-Based Approach: As part of the Liberty University campus, LUCOM integrates faith-based values into its medical education. This aspect makes it a unique choice for students seeking a spiritually-oriented approach to medicine.

Find out which majors are best for medical school through this exclusive blog post!

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Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine - Virginia Campus

Located in Blacksburg, Virginia, the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine is an esteemed institution specializing in osteopathic medicine. Founded in 2003, VCOM-Virginia is part of the VCOM consortium, including Virginia, South Carolina, and Alabama campuses. The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine boasts a curriculum that trains physicians in the principles of osteopathic medicine, emphasizing a holistic approach to healthcare.

Academic Programs: VCOM-Virginia offers a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) program designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of medical science while emphasizing the osteopathic philosophy of treating the whole person, not just the disease. The curriculum combines traditional medical education with osteopathic principles, ensuring graduates are well-prepared to provide patient-centered care.

Clinical Experience: One of the strengths of VCOM-Virginia is its extensive network of clinical rotation sites. Students can gain hands-on experience in a wide range of clinical settings, including hospitals, clinics, and community health centers. This practical experience is crucial for building the skills and confidence necessary for a successful medical career.

Community Engagement: VCOM-Virginia places a strong emphasis on community engagement and service. Students are encouraged to participate in community outreach programs, providing healthcare to underserved populations and addressing healthcare disparities. This commitment to service aligns with the osteopathic philosophy of promoting wellness and preventive care.

Osteopathic Medical School

What Is an Osteopathic Medical School?

When embarking on the path to becoming a physician, aspiring medical students are often faced with a fundamental choice: whether to pursue a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree from an osteopathic medical school or a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree from an allopathic medical school. Both paths lead to the same destination—a career in medicine—but differ in several ways.

Philosophical Foundation

Osteopathic medicine is rooted in a holistic philosophy that focuses on treating the whole person, not just the symptoms or diseases. Osteopathic physicians, or DOs, are trained to consider the interconnectedness of the body's systems and the importance of preventive care. They often emphasize hands-on, manipulative techniques as part of their treatment approach.

Allopathic medicine, represented by MDs, follows the conventional approach to medicine that treats diseases and symptoms with medications or surgical interventions. While MDs also consider the patient's overall health, their training is typically more disease-centered and may involve less emphasis on holistic care.

Curriculum and Training

DO programs incorporate osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) into their curriculum, teaching students techniques to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal issues and promote overall wellness. This unique feature sets osteopathic medical education apart from allopathic programs.

MD programs typically do not include OMM in their curriculum. Instead, they focus on rigorous scientific and clinical education, with an emphasis on medical specialties and clinical rotations.

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Medical School in virginia to apply for

Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Schools in Virginia

What are the prerequisites for applying to medical school in Virginia?

While specific requirements may vary between schools, most medical programs in Virginia require a bachelor's degree, including coursework in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Additionally, you'll need to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and demonstrate strong academic performance, extracurricular involvement, and relevant clinical or research experience.

Learn more about medical school prerequisites through this exclusive blog post!

How competitive is the admission process for medical schools in Virginia?

Admission to medical schools in Virginia can be highly competitive due to a limited number of seats and a large pool of applicants. Having a competitive GPA, MCAT score, and a compelling personal statement that highlights your passion for medicine and your unique qualities is crucial.

Can out-of-state students apply to Virginia medical schools?

Yes, most Virginia medical schools accept out-of-state applicants, although they may prefer in-state residents. Keep in mind that out-of-state applicants often face stiffer competition for limited seats. Be sure to check the specific admission policies of each school you're interested in.

Now that you understand which medical schools are the best in Virginia, you can create your school list! Read more about the best medical schools in the United States and more on our scholarship blog as you continue building your school list.

And don’t forget to create a free profile to start applying for medical school scholarships!

Nicole Kim

About Nicole

Nicole is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, New York, who specializes in science and health writing, social justice issues, and nonprofit writing. Nicole graduated from Brown University with Bachelor’s degrees in English Literature and Ethnic Studies, receiving Honors in Ethnic Studies for her senior thesis on contemporary poet Ocean Vuong. During her time at Brown, Nicole served as a staff writer and section editor for The College Hill Independent (“The Indy”), New England’s largest alt-weekly publication. Notably, their contributions to the publication include news pieces analyzing complex social justice issues. 

Her piece Imagining Indigenous Futures: The Fight to Save the West Berkeley Shellmound received the Barbara Banks Brodsky Prize in Real World Writing from the Department of English. Nicole is also an experienced writing instructor, having served as a Writing Fellow at Brown University for three years, and is trained in anti-racist and accessible pedagogies of teaching writing. She currently works as a writing tutor and executive function coach with ConnectToLearn Tutors.

Nicole is no longer with the Writing Team, but we continue to value and appreciate her contributions.

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