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1 July 2023

6 minutes read

How to do MS in the USA After MBBS in India

Key Takeaways

  • Indian MBBS graduates must pass the USMLE to pursue medical PG in the USA.
  • Clinical experience, preferably in the USA, strengthens residency applications.
  • Financial planning is crucial due to the costs of exams, applications, and living expenses.
  • Top US medical universities offer extensive support for international students.
  • After completing PG, graduates can practice medicine in the USA with the proper licensure.

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Overview of Medical PG in USA for Indian MBBS Graduates

The journey of an Indian MBBS graduate to pursue postgraduate (PG) medical education in the United States (USA) is filled with opportunities and challenges.

The allure of advanced medical training, coupled with the prospect of practicing in a globally recognized healthcare system, makes the USA a coveted destination for many Indian doctors.

This section will explore the various facets of transitioning from an MBBS in India to a PG program in the USA, focusing on the key steps and requirements needed to bridge the educational divide.

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Step-by-Step Guide to Medical PG in the USA

step-by-step guide to medical pg in the usa

Step 1: Understanding the US Medical Education System

  • Familiarize yourself with the structure of medical education in the USA. This includes understanding the difference between various postgraduate pathways like MD (Doctor of Medicine), MS (Master of Surgery), and other specialized programs.

Step 2: Preparing for the USMLE

  • Begin with preparing for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), a three-step examination crucial for medical licensure in the USA.
  • Step 1 focuses on basic medical sciences, Step 2 on clinical knowledge and skills, and Step 3 on patient management.

Step 3: Completing Your Undergraduate Degree or Equivalency

  • Ensure you meet the educational requirements, which might include completing a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, as per US medical education standards.

Step 4: Gaining Clinical Experience

  • Acquire relevant clinical experience, either in India or the USA, to strengthen your residency application. This can include internships, observerships, or research positions in medical settings.

Step 5: Applying for Residency Programs

  • Research and apply to residency programs. This step involves choosing specialties, preparing a strong application, and participating in the Match process, a system that pairs applicants with residency programs.

Step 6: Completing Residency Training

  • Upon matching with a program, complete your residency training in the USA, which can range from 3 to 7 years depending on your specialty.

Step 7: Obtaining a Medical License

  • After completing residency, apply for a medical license in the state where you intend to practice. This usually requires passing the USMLE Step 3.

Step 8: Pursuing Fellowship or Further Specialization (Optional)

  • If you wish to further specialize in a particular field, you can apply for fellowship programs after completing your residency.

Step 9: Board Certification (Optional)

  • After completing your training, you may choose to become board-certified in your specialty by an appropriate specialty board. This involves passing additional exams and meeting certain practice requirements.

Step 10: Starting Your Medical Career in the USA

  • With your medical license and potential board certification, you can start practicing as a physician in the USA, embark on a research career, or pursue opportunities in academic medicine.

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Cost and Financial Aspects of Pursuing Medical PG in the USA

cost and financial aspects of pursuing medical pg in the usa
Expense CategoryDescriptionEstimated Cost Range (USD)
USMLE Exam FeesCosts for all steps of the USMLE.$1,900 – $3,500
Application FeesFees for residency program applications.$100 – $500 per program
Tuition FeesFor specialized PG programs or fellowships.$20,000 – $60,000 per year
Living ExpensesIncludes housing, food, and transportation.$1,000 – $3,000 per month
Visa and TravelVisa application fees and travel expenses.$500 – $2,000
Medical InsuranceHealth insurance coverage during a stay in the USA.$500 – $1,500 per year
Study MaterialsBooks, and online resources for USMLE preparation.$500 – $1,500
Licensing and Certification FeesState licensure and board certification fees.$500 – $1,500

The USMLE is more than an exam; it’s a gateway to medical opportunities in the USA.

– Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates

Alternatives to Pursuing MD/MS in the USA

PathwayDescriptionDurationBenefitsIdeal For
Research FellowshipsMedical research projects.1-2 yearsEnhances research skills.Research-focused graduates.
MPHStudy of public health and policy.1-2 yearsBroadens healthcare perspective.Public health career aspirants.
Postgraduate Diplomas/CertificatesSpecialized courses in healthcare.6-12 monthsQuick skill acquisition.Professionals seeking a specialization.
Ph.D. ProgramsIntensive research in medical sciences.3-5 yearsAcademic depth and prestige.Aspiring academics/researchers.
Observership/ExternshipClinical exposure in the USA.Weeks to monthsExperience in US healthcare.Those seeking clinical insights.

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Top Medical Universities in the USA for Indian Students

University NameLocationNotable FeaturesPopular SpecializationsSupport for International Students
Harvard UniversityBoston, MAWorld-renowned faculty, Cutting-edge research facilitiesInternal Medicine, OncologyExtensive International Office Services, Scholarships
Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, MDLeader in medical research, State-of-the-art clinical trainingPediatrics, NeurologyGuidance on Visa and Residency, Financial Aid Options
Stanford UniversityStanford, CAInnovation hub, Collaborative learning environmentCardiology, PsychiatryInternational Student Community, Career Services
University of California, San FranciscoSan Francisco, CAFocus on healthcare technology, Diverse patient populationFamily Medicine, SurgeryCultural Integration Programs, Housing Assistance
Yale UniversityNew Haven, CTRich historical legacy in medical education, Extensive researchRadiology, AnesthesiologyInternational Student Organizations, Financial Support
top medical universities in the usa for indian students

Eligibility Criteria for Medical PG in the USA

  • MBBS Degree: Must hold an MBBS degree from a recognized medical college in India.
  • ECFMG Certification: Obtain the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certification, which verifies the medical degree.
  • USMLE Exams: Clear all steps of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) – Step 1, Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge), and Step 2 CS (Clinical Skills).
  • Clinical Experience: Accumulate relevant clinical experience, including internships or observerships, preferably in the USA.
  • English Proficiency: Demonstrate proficiency in English, often through exams like TOEFL or IELTS, if required.
  • Visa Requirements: Meet the visa requirements for studying in the USA, typically on a J-1 or H-1B visa for medical training.
  • Residency Application: Successfully apply to and match with a residency program through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).
  • State-specific Requirements: Fulfill any additional criteria specific to the state in the USA where you plan to practice.
  • Personal Statements and Letters of Recommendation: Prepare compelling personal statements and secure strong letters of recommendation, preferably from medical professionals in the USA.
  • Academic Transcripts and Records: Provide all necessary academic transcripts and records for verification.

Did You Know?

Indian doctors represent one of the largest groups of international medical graduates in the USA, reflecting the high level of competition and the opportunities available.

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Career Prospects After Completing Medical PG in the USA

Career PathDescriptionAverage Salary Range (USD/Year)Job Market OutlookOpportunities for Indian Graduates
HospitalistPhysicians focus on the general medical care of hospitalized patients.$200,000 – $300,000Growing demand in hospitals nationwide.High potential for Indian graduates with strong clinical skills.
Specialist ClinicianDoctors specializing in fields such as cardiology, neurology, or oncology.$250,000 – $400,000Specialist roles are in high demand, particularly in urban areas.Specialized skills from the US are highly valued.
Medical ResearcherInvolvement in clinical and medical research, often in academic or corporate settings.$80,000 – $150,000Steady demand, particularly in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors.Opportunities to contribute to global medical advancements.
Healthcare AdministrationRoles in hospital administration, policy-making, or healthcare management.$100,000 – $200,000Increasingly important with evolving healthcare systems.Suitable for those with an interest in the business side of healthcare.
Academic MedicineInvolves teaching, research, and clinical practice in a university setting.$150,000 – $250,000Consistent demand for educators and researchers in medical schools.Pathway for those passionate about teaching and research.

Residency is not just about learning to be a doctor, but about becoming a part of the healthcare system in the USA.

– National Resident Matching Program


In conclusion, the journey for Indian MBBS graduates seeking to pursue medical postgraduate (PG) studies such as MD or MS in the USA is both challenging and rewarding.

This comprehensive guide has navigated through key aspects such as the USMLE process, eligibility criteria, financial considerations, top medical universities, and career prospects.

With diligent preparation, understanding of the requirements, and strategic planning, Indian medical graduates can successfully embark on this transformative journey, leading to a flourishing career in the diverse and advanced medical landscape of the USA.

Join Ambitio for a transformative learning adventure in the USA! Surround yourself with inspiration, share stories globally, and embrace hands-on education. Your journey starts here – Study in USA. Dive into the success stories of students who’ve secured spots in some of the most prestigious institutions in the USA.

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What is the average duration for completing a PG medical degree in the USA?

The duration typically ranges from 3 to 7 years, depending on the specialization and program structure.

Can Indian students practice medicine in the USA immediately after completing their PG?

Yes, but they must first clear all steps of the USMLE, complete their residency, and obtain the necessary state medical license.

Are there any scholarships available for Indian students pursuing a PG in the USA?

Yes, various scholarships are offered by universities, private foundations, and government bodies to support international students, including those from India.

Is USMLE mandatory for all PG medical courses in the USA?

While USMLE is crucial for clinical programs, some non-clinical and research-oriented courses might have different requirements.

How competitive is the residency match process in the USA for Indian MBBS graduates?

The process is highly competitive, and success largely depends on the applicant’s USMLE scores, clinical experiences, research publications, and other academic achievements.

Can Indian students work in the USA during their PG medical studies?

Work opportunities are limited while studying, but students may engage in clinical rotations and internships as part of their program.

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