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Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

General Questions

Who accredits MD-granting medical schools? What standards are used to accredit schools?

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accredits medical education programs leading to the MD degree in the United States and Canada. More information on the LCME can be found in the About section. To be accredited, programs must meet the national standards described in the LCME publication, Functions and Structure of a Medical School.

Why are there two LCME offices? Which one should I contact?

The LCME is jointly sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Medical Association (AMA). The AAMC and the AMA each appoint an LCME Co-and assistant secretary (known jointly as the LCME Secretariat) and maintain accreditation offices in Washington, DC and Chicago, IL, respectively. For more information on whom to contact, please visit the Contact page.

Is a list of LCME-accredited medical education programs available to the public?

Yes, a current listing of LCME-accredited medical education programs leading to the MD degree in the United States and Canada is available in the Medical School Directory section.

Am I eligible to take the USMLE Step examinations if I attend a medical school with provisional or preliminary accreditation?

To be eligible to take United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step examinations, a student seeking the MD degree must be, both at the time of application for the USMLE and on the day of the USMLE examination, officially enrolled in, or a graduate of, a U.S. or Canadian medical school program that has achieved preliminary, provisional, or full accreditation by the LCME.

Am I eligible to apply to ACGME-accredited residency programs if I attend a medical school with provisional or preliminary accreditation?

Graduates of LCME-accredited medical schools, including those with full, provisional, or preliminary accreditation, are eligible for residency programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

Why is accreditation important?

Accreditation signifies that national standards for structure, function, and performance are met by a medical school’s educational program leading to the MD degree. LCME accreditation establishes eligibility for selected federal grants and programs, including Title VII funding administered by the U.S. Public Health Service. Students enrolled in and graduates of LCME-accredited medical schools are eligible to take United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step examinations. These graduates also are eligible to enter residencies approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Graduation from an LCME-accredited U.S. medical school and successful completion of national licensing examinations are accepted as prerequisites for medical licensure in most states.

Does the LCME accredit medical schools that grant the DO degree?

No. Medical schools that grant the DO degree are accredited by the American Osteopathic Association.

Does the LCME rank medical schools according to quality?

Medical schools are not ranked by the LCME. The LCME evaluates medical education programs according to standards for organization, function, and performance, but it does not attempt to stratify institutions according to their characteristics. Medical schools differ greatly based on their missions and characteristics: whether they are private or state-supported or free-standing or a component of a parent university. They differ in their sources of funding (e.g., state appropriations, tuition, and/or income from clinical services and research); their relative emphasis on teaching, research, and medical practice; the size of their faculties and enrollments; the scope of their research and their graduation of future scientists and teachers; and their emphasis on primary care and the training of future community physicians. While the quality of education is partly determined by the organization of programs and the adequacy of resources, it also depends on the dedication of the faculty to teaching and to maintaining an environment conducive to learning. These and other important attributes may be obscured by efforts to rank schools by such variables as their size and the reputation of their faculties, levels of research funding, and/or clinical facilities.

How can I register a complaint about a medical school to the LCME?

See Complaints and Third Party Comments.

What does accreditation cost? How is the LCME funded?

See Expense Recovery.

I have a question about one of the following pieces of data for my school:

  • LCME Part I-A Annual Financial Questionnaire (AFQ) and Overview of Organization and Financial Characteristics Survey
  • LCME Part I-B Student Financial Aid Questionnaire
  • LCME Part II Annual Medical School Questionnaire
  • Longitudinal Statistical Summary Report (LSSR)
  • AAMC Medical School Graduation Questionnaire (AAMC GQ)

The above documents are managed by either the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) or the American Medical Association (AMA). Find a list of contacts for each of these data sources below.

Data Source Timeline Contact Information
LCME Part I-A
Annual Financial Questionnaire (AFQ) and Overview of Organization and Financial Characteristics Survey
  • Made available to schools for completion in mid-September.
  • Due to the AAMC in mid-December.
  • Online report published in mid-June.
Questions should be emailed to afq@aamc.org
LCME Part I-B
Student Financial Aid Questionnaire
  • Made available to schools for completion in July.
  • Due to the AAMC in September.
  • Online report published in May.
Questions should be emailed to  lcmeib@aamc.org
LCME Part II Annual Medical School Questionnaire
  • Made available to schools for completion in February.
  • Due to the AMA in April.
  • Report published in September edition of JAMA.

Sylvia Etzel
Research Associate
AMA Department of Data Acquisition Services
Email: sylvia.etzel@ama-assn.org
Phone: 312-464-4693

AAMC Medical School Graduation Questionnaire (AAMC GQ)
  • Made available to students for completion in February.
  • Results are available to schools in August.

Questions should be emailed to gq@aamc.org

Prepopulated LCME Data Tables Report
  • Made available to medical school deans in March.

Questions should be emailed to lcmedatatables@aamc.org

Questions Addressing LCME Pre-survey Preparation

When is my medical school due for its next full LCME accreditation survey?

Refer to the Medical School Directory for the academic year in which the next accreditation survey visit will occur.

When will my medical school receive materials and instructions for preparing the medical education data collection instrument (DCI) and conducting the institutional self-study in preparation for its next LCME accreditation survey visit?

Information is available in the Accreditation Preparation section for the next two LCME survey visit cycles. Pre-survey materials, including DCI materials and completion instructions, the Functions and Structure of a Medical School document (containing the LCME standards), the LCME Rules of Procedure, and guidebooks about the self-study process, the role of students, and preparation of the survey report are available to medical school deans approximately 18 months prior to the scheduled date of the next full accreditation survey visit.

What is a faculty fellow?

A faculty fellow is an experienced medical school faculty member or administrator nominated by his or her dean to participate as a team member on an LCME survey visit. Read more in the Survey Team tab under “Team Composition & Responsibilities.”

Now that my medical school’s survey visit date has been set, when will school officials receive information about developing the visit schedule, hotel arrangements, and visit logistics? Who will serve on the survey team visiting my school?

Accreditation Preparation provides information for medical schools and students preparing for a survey visit.

Whom can I contact with questions about completing the medical education DCI?

Refer to the Accreditation Preparation section that includes DCI materials and instructions for submitting the DCI, the survey visit package, and updated information. This information varies by survey year and type. For specific questions, please contact a member of the LCME Secretariat.

Questions and Resources Addressing International Medical Programs and International Medical Students

I would like more information about accessing U.S. residencies and licensure for graduates outside of the U.S. & Canada

See Access to U.S. Residencies and Licensure for Graduates Outside of the U.S. & Canada.

Does the LCME accredit international medical schools? If not, who does?

See International Consultation.

Where can I find a list of international medical schools?

A list of international medical schools (outside of the U.S. and Canada) can be found on Foundation for the Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER).

Other International Resources:

Residency programs/graduate medical education: Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)

Certification of foreign medical graduates: Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)

Directs and coordinates international health within the United Nations’ system: World Health Organization (WHO)