A Checkup of Black Students at Medical Schools in the United States

The Association of American Medical Colleges recently released data on applicants, acceptances, matriculants, and enrollments at the nation’s medical schools.

In 2020, more than 53,000 students applied to medical schools in the United States. This was down slightly from the previous year. Of these more than 53,000 applicants, 5,197 were Black. Thus, Blacks made up 9.8 percent of all applicants to U.S. medical schools. The number of Blacks applying to U.S. medical schools is up by nearly 35 percent since 2013. Overall applicants have increased by 10.4 percent during the period.

Just over 43 percent of all applicants were accepted. But the Association of American Medical Colleges did not report on the acceptance rate for Black applicants.

We do know that 22,239 students enrolled in medical school for the first time in 2020. Of these, 2,117, or 9.5 percent, were Black. The number of Black matriculants was up 10.5 percent from 2019 and by 51.6 percent from 2013.

All told, in 2020, there were 94,243 students enrolled in U.S. medical schools. Again, no data was reported on the total number of Black enrollees so it is impossible to determine persistence and dropout rates.

Related Articles


  1. It appears that American medical schools continue to recruit, retain, and graduate ‘native born Black American” undergraduate and medical students as if they have some sort of academic cancer. The facts remain, the American medical school establishment is the one with an “academic cancer” on numerous levels that needed immediate and long term treatment.

  2. Focus for medical education is often placed on the AAMC, however, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) is often omitted from these examinations. As a Black osteopathic physician, I am a minority of the minority in the profession. Black osteopathic students face the same, if not heavier, burdens as allopathic students including exclusion from discussions like these. A more comprehensive look at the number of Black applicants and matriculants is needed to assess the trends for both the MD and DO professions.

    • Hey Renée,

      For starters, you should never ever refer to yourself as a “minority” in any capacity. You need to rid yourself of all Eurocentric thoughts, ideals, paradigms, narratives, and analysis. My question to you have you and some of your melanted colleagues written any academic articles highlighting the ongoing implicit and explicit racism in the osteopathic medicine field? If no, why not? I am only asking if these issues are so prevailing then it should be exposed.

      • Sister Renee,

        I will assume that you are not an African American by your use of the term minority. Enlightened African Americans do not use such an antiquated term.
        Please address what Michael has asked in the context of the ongoing implicit and explicit racism plus bias in the field that you have chosen.
        Howard University School of Medicine and Meharry Medical College still graduate more African American doctors than the Historically White Medical Schools. These White Medical Schools remain a bastion and citadel of institutional racism which is evidence by their low rates of acceptance of Black students and graduate rates for Black students. Fidel Castro did more for Black prospective Black medical students than the dominate culture institutions in the U.S. Castro understood the overt bias and racism in U. S. Medical School admissions
        and also the high number of Black medical school dropout rates among Black medical students in the U.S. Castro was doing what the U. S. Medical Schools should have been doing all along. Tell the truth Renee if you understand the truth.

        • Your analysis and historical insight is both accurate and needed in order to educate those who lack understanding concerning native born Black Americans and medical education.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

AI Teaching Assistants Are Coming to Morehouse College

The AI teaching assistant initiative aims to provide students with an office hours setting they can access at any time, even when their professor is unavailable. Over the next three to five years, Morehouse hopes to establish an AI teaching assistant for every professor at the college.

Five African American Scholars Appointed to New Faculty Positions

The new faculty appointments are Judith Byfield at Cornell University, Nikki Hoskins at Harvard University, Edda Fields-Black at Carnegie Mellon Universityin Pittsburgh, Shawn Utsey at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw at the University of Pennsylvania.

Wiley University Launches New Honors College for Fall 2024 Semester

The Heman Sweatt Honors College will provide students with access to a dedicated living community, specialized classes and research opportunities, faculty mentors, and financial aid for tuition, internships, and study abroad experiences.

Two Black Historians in Higher Education Receive Prestigious Dan David Prize

Keisha Blain of Brown University and Cécile Fromont of Harvard University have received 2024 Dan David Prizes for their outstanding achievements as academic historians.

Featured Jobs