12 Best Scholarships for Medical Students

If your dream is to attend medical school, it’s certainly a worthy endeavor. As a health care professional, you can make a positive impact on the world. But it’s no secret that attending medical school is also very expensive.

medical school

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the average medical student graduates with $196,520 in student loan debt. However, the average salary for a primary care physician is almost $215,000, so the heavy debt burden may be worth it.

And fortunately, there are many scholarships available to students attending medical schools. Medical school scholarships can help you significantly cut down on your student loan debt.

12 Best Medical School Scholarships

If you’re looking for ways to pay for medical school, scholarships are the best place to start. When you earn a scholarship, that’s free money that you won’t have to repay after graduation. Listed below are the twelve best scholarship programs for medical education.

1. Physicians of Tomorrow Awards

The Physicians of Tomorrow Awards is a medical school scholarship given by the American Medical Association (AMA). Every year, the AMA awards 10 different $10,000 scholarships to third-year medical school students.

However, you can’t just go online and apply for this scholarship; but rather, you need to be nominated by the dean of your college. But that doesn’t mean you have to just passively sit by and hope you get chosen.

If you’re interested in the scholarships, contact the financial aid office at your school. If you are selected for nomination, then you’ll submit the following information:

  • Your application
  • A personal statement
  • A letter of reference
  • Your college transcripts
  • A financial statement

Ten different scholarships fall under the umbrella of the Physicians of Tomorrow Awards. Each scholarship comes with its own requirements. For instance, the Under-Represented in Medicine award is given to scholars dedicated to serving vulnerable populations.

2. Tylenol Future Care Scholarship

The Tylenol Future Care Scholarship program annually awards ten $10,000 scholarships and thirty $5,000 scholarships to aspiring medical students. The scholarship funding aims to support those who aspire to specialize in patient care.

Both undergraduate students and those already enrolled in medical school are eligible to apply by submitting two essays and a transcript. An independent committee will review all applications and select the scholarship winners. The application process is simple and straightforward.

3. National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program

The National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program offers a unique chance for aspiring healthcare professionals to serve in communities in need while receiving substantial benefits. By committing to a two-year service period, scholarship recipients will not only receive a comprehensive education, including two years of free medical school tuition, but also a monthly stipend to support their living expenses.

Ideal applicants for this scholarship are those pursuing careers as primary care physicians. However, the program is also open to those seeking to become dentists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, or certified nurse-midwives. Embrace this rare opportunity to give back and further your education at the same time.

4. James “Rhio” O’Connor Memorial Scholarship Fund

The James “Rhio” O’Connor Memorial Scholarship Fund, offered by the University of Chicago, honors the memory of a man who fought against all odds. Diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer and given just a year to live, James “Rhio” O’Connor refused to surrender. Through exhaustive research and unwavering determination, he crafted his own treatment plan and beat the odds.

This scholarship, worth $1,000, is available to driven undergraduate students with an interest in exploring unconventional cancer treatments. To be considered, applicants must submit a compelling essay that demonstrates their knowledge and passion for alternative medical approaches in cancer treatment.

5. Herbert W. Nickens Student Scholarships

The Herbert W. Nickens Student Scholarships is a distinguished program offered by the AAMC. It awards five third-year medical students committed to serving minorities with a $5,000 scholarship.

Named after Herbert W. Nickens, a visionary leader and the former director of the AAMC’s division of community and minority programs, the scholarship reflects his unwavering mission to increase accessibility to medical school for minority students.

To be eligible, applicants must first be nominated, then submit a letter of recommendation and a personal statement as part of their application.

6. Chesapeake Urology Associates Scholarship

The Chesapeake Urology Associates Scholarship is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring medical professionals. Valued at $5,000, the scholarship is awarded to deserving students based on a combination of academic merit and financial need.

Whether you’re pursuing a career in surgery, pediatrics, or any other medical field, this scholarship provides the financial support you need to succeed in your studies.

7. HRSA Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students

The HRSA Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students is an initiative aimed at providing aid to students facing financial difficulties as they pursue careers in medicine, dentistry, or nursing. Medical students, dental students, and nursing students are all eligible to apply for this scholarship.

Demonstrating financial need is a key eligibility criteria for this scholarship program. If you want to know whether you qualify, reach out to your school’s financial aid office for more information.

8. Diverse Medical Scholars Program

The United Health Foundation and National Medical Fellowships have joined forces to offer the Diverse Medical Scholars Program. Established in 2013, the program seeks to increase the number of medical providers serving underrepresented communities.

Each year, 29 medical students are awarded a scholarship of $7,000. To apply, you must complete a 200-hour community health project and present it orally if you are a fourth-year medical student. Additionally, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Self-identify as African-American, Latino, Native American, or Asian American
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be in the second, third, or fourth year of medical school
  • Have a mentor to guide you on the community health project
  • Be dedicated to serving medically underserved communities

Note that these eligibility requirements must be met to be considered for the scholarship.

9. National Hispanic Health Foundation Scholarship

The National Health Foundation Scholarship provides funding to aspiring medical professionals who exhibit a combination of leadership potential, academic achievement, and a passion for serving the Hispanic community.

Eleven students will be awarded a $5,000 scholarship, which covers two years, while another 13 will receive a one-year scholarship of $2,000. Although not a strict requirement, preference is given to candidates who demonstrate a connection to the Hispanic community.

10. Gates Millennium Scholars Program

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program is open to aspiring undergraduate students including those in the medical field. It offers a generous $12,000 grant to African-American students. Each year, 1,000 outstanding scholarship recipients are carefully selected to receive this prestigious award.

11. BoardVitals Medical School Scholarship

BoardVitals is granting scholarships to three exceptional medical school students who demonstrate exceptional academic performance and a passion for the influence of recent medical discoveries on patient care.

The top-ranked recipient will be awarded $2,000, followed by a $1,000 prize for second place and a $500 prize for third place, all in the form of a VISA Prepaid Card.

To be eligible, applicants must be enrolled as a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th-year medical student in a MD/DO accredited Medical School within the United States. To apply, students are required to complete the application form and submit a 500-word essay addressing a prompt provided on BoardVitals’ website.

12. USA Medical and Surgical Scholarship Program

The USA Medical and Surgical Scholarship Program is open to college and university students studying one of the following:

  • emergency medical services
  • diagnostic imaging
  • health care
  • laboratory science
  • medical technology
  • medicine
  • nursing
  • pathology
  • pharmacy
  • psychiatry
  • psychology
  • radiology
  • social sciences
  • therapy
  • other health related disciplines

To apply, you must write an essay on how medical supplies or medical equipment has the biggest impact on healing, improving, or extending human lives. The winner will receive $1,000 to help with their educational fees and expenses.

Tips on How to Win Medical School Scholarships

Securing a medical school scholarship can significantly ease the financial burden of attending medical school. However, the competition for these scholarships can be intense, making it essential to adopt a winning strategy. To increase your chances of securing a scholarship, consider the following tips.

Start Early

Begin your scholarship search early to ensure that you don’t miss any crucial deadlines. Scholarships for medical school typically have deadlines that fall several months before the academic year begins. Create a list of all the scholarships you are eligible for and schedule reminders for their respective deadlines to stay on track.

Be Persuasive

Your application materials, such as your resume, transcripts, and personal statement, are also critical components of your scholarship application. Your personal statement, in particular, provides a unique chance to showcase your achievements, goals, and motivation for pursuing a career in medicine.

Put in the effort to write a well-crafted, persuasive personal statement that highlights your strengths and distinguishes you from other applicants. Additionally, make sure that your other application materials are neat, professional, and accurate.

Be Proactive

Finally, be proactive in your scholarship search by exploring beyond your medical school’s financial aid office. Reach out to professional organizations, foundations, and other funding sources that offer scholarships for medical students.

Network with classmates, alumni, and medical professionals as they may have insights into scholarships that you may not have known about otherwise. Remember, the more scholarships and grants you apply for, the better your odds of acceptance.


The cost of medical school can be substantial, but there are options to reduce expenses. The medical school scholarships mentioned provide a great starting point. However, competition for these awards can be fierce.

Don’t overlook the possibility of obtaining smaller grants and scholarships. Remember, even the smallest scholarship can make a big difference and increase your chances of financial assistance.

See also: How to Find Scholarships and Grants for Grad School

Jamie Johnson
Meet the author

Jamie Johnson is a freelance writer who has been featured in publications like InvestorPlace and GOBankingRates. She writes about various personal finance topics including student loans, credit cards, investing, building credit, and more.