Seven medical schools that award degrees comparable to the U.S. Doctor of Medicine are located in Costa Rica, as of 2014. All of these medical schools are in or near San Jose, where English is widely spoken and near a large population of North American expatriates. They are also listed with the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research, an arm of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, which certifies the qualifications of physicians before they can obtain U.S. medical residencies or practice.
Universidad Federada de Costa Rica
Universidad Federada de Costa Rica is a private university that admits foreign students, but all instruction is in Spanish. Its medical school was founded in 1999. Students complete three cycles altogether, and completion of the second cycle -- including core clinical training -- results in a degree in Medicine and Surgery. Completing the third year of rotating internships results in the Professional Doctorate in Medicine and Surgery, which is comparable to completing the Doctor of Medicine degree in the U.S.
Escuela Autónoma de Ciencias Médicas de Centro América
The Escuela Autónoma de Ciencias Médicas de Centro América is a private medical school. UCIMED admits some foreign students to the medical college program, which leads to the Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery. Instruction is in Spanish. Students have access to the most complete simulated hospital in the region, with coursework in management of health institutions, pediatrics, gynecology and other clinical fields.
Universidad Autónoma de Centro América
The Universidad Autónoma de Centro América School of Health Sciences was the first private university in Costa Rica. It admits some foreign students, although instruction is in Spanish. No entrance examinations are required. The curriculum progresses through general science and mathematics courses to traditional medical topics, such as pharmacology, surgery and pediatrics, leading to the Bachelor of Medicine.
The Universidad Hispanoamericana is a private university. The school offers a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery and admits some foreign students, but instruction is in Spanish. The curriculum focuses on the skills of a general practitioner.
Universidad Latina de Costa Rica
The Universidad Latina de Costa Rica College of Medicine and Surgery is a private university, with instruction in Spanish. It does admits some foreign students and the program focuses on holistic patient care with a high standard of medical services. The school is recognized for its academic standards that result in a 100 percent pass rate on the national test.
Universidad de Costa Rica
Universidad de Costa Rica is a public university that admits foreign students. Instruction is in Spanish. Its School of Medicine was established in 1947. The school offers a wide range of instructional opportunities, including telemedicine and the development of a Research Institute of Molecular Medicine.
Universidad de Iberoamérica
The Universidad de Iberoamérica provides instruction in Spanish, but does admit some foreign students. The program is 13 terms of four months each. If students plan to practice in Costa Rica, the program requires an additional internship year. Students enhance their clinical and diagnostic skills through clinical rotations at class A hospitals in the country.
- Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research: International Medical Education Directory
- U.S. Department of Education: National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation
- Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates: About ECFMG
- Escuela Autónoma de Ciencias Médicas de Centro América: Medical, Career in Medicine
- Universidad de Costa Rica: School of Medicine
John Huddle is an Army veteran with enlisted service as general hospital staff and hospital chaplain's assistant. His career also included stints as a teacher, adjunct faculty, administrator and school psychologist. Twice, Dr. Huddle was a major party nominee for state office. He also served as a director on several nonprofit boards. Today he enjoys consulting and lobbying for underdog causes.