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3-year Med School


New Member
Feb 27, 2020
  1. Pre-Medical
So, I just found out that 3-year MD programs are a thing! I have tried the ol Google and can't seem to find a comprehensive listing of 3-year MD programs. I found an article that said that there are around 150 of them in the US. Does anyone know of a list of these programs?

Also, it seems logical that someone who completed a 3 year program as opposed to a 4 year program could be at a disadvantage when it comes time to match to a specialty. Are there any stats on this?


Full Member
Jan 10, 2020
  1. Pre-Medical
3-year programs are designed to get physicians out into the workforce faster in needed areas, specifically in primary care. So yes, they would be at a significant disadvantage to match into more difficult specialties because those programs are designed for primary care.


Full Member
2+ Year Member
Apr 9, 2017
  1. Medical Student
There are not 150 3 year programs. There are ~150 MD schools. Most of these programs require you to commit to a track (specialty) and you must do residency within their program. So, if accepted, you have essentially already matched. Some programs allow you to switch back to the 4 year curriculum if you want to do a different specialty.
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Full Member
Oct 8, 2019
  1. Pre-Medical
There are also some 3-year MD programs if you are interested in research-focused residencies. The programs at NYU and Columbia both offer three year MDs, and PhD to MD applicants could potentially avail of the option. Like others have said earlier, you would have to be sure of your residency interests when you apply because of the residency linkage, and you will be getting a shortened medical education. In the PhD to MD example above, if you have already spent years in basic science, and want to be a physician-scientist specializing in a particular disease state, the shortened medical education could be a good thing... But if you are coming in as a traditional applicant, or without a strong research focus/interest, taking the year off may not be as worth it.

Zen Arcade

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Jun 18, 2015
  1. Medical Student
Most of them either require you to match at their institution (and they may not have all specialties available, so you would be limited) or require you to match into primary care (FM, IM, Peds, OB, possible gen surg). If you know *for sure* you want to practice primary care then it may be worth it, but ultimately if you are unsure you should steer clear of these programs. If money is an issue, go to a state school or aim for high stats to maximize chances for a scholarship. If the length of schooling is an issue, I would get yourself out of the mindset of trying to cut corners to get to attending status. I get it, the years of schooling can be daunting - but ultimately this is the path you commit to if you want to be a physician. You may need to take a research year, chief resident year, etc. in the future to get into competitive specialties or sub-specialties. Ultimately, one extra year isn't going to break your career - but going into a primary care only 3 year program halfheartedly could pigeonhole you into a specialty you don't find fulfilling - and that will lead to a lifetime of regret and burnout.


Currently a prestigious PD (Plague Doctor)
Jan 14, 2020
  1. Pre-Medical
Very interested in this too. I’m an American currently living in Canada and one of the largest med schools here (McMaster Uni) is only 3 years. The students attend all year-round (I think with a one month break each year). This is the only school I know that dies this. Students there routinely match to awesome specialties though so it’s definitely not a primary-care type of program. Hopefully there is something like this in the US?
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