World Directory of Medical Schools
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About the World Directory of Medical Schools

It is the mission of the World Directory of Medical Schools (World Directory) to list all of the medical schools in the world, with accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive information on each school. Our goals are to help prospective students and medical regulatory authorities make informed decisions about medical schools and their graduates, and to inform researchers and members of the public about the characteristics of current and past programs of medical education around the world.

The World Directory is a joint venture of the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) and FAIMER, a division of Intealth. The World Directory was created by merging the information contained in FAIMER’s International Medical Education Directory (IMED) and WFME’s Avicenna Directory. Both organizations collaborate to identify new schools for inclusion in the directory and to update existing school records.

Day-to-day management of the World Directory is the responsibility of the Management Committee, on which FAIMER and WFME are represented. The Management Committee is in turn advised by the Senior Advisory Committee, which includes representatives of WFME, FAIMER, and the sponsors of the directory. Most of the funding for the World Directory comes from sponsors of the directory.

The World Directory defines a “medical school” as an educational institution that provides a complete or full program of instruction leading to a basic medical qualification; that is, a qualification that permits the holder to obtain a license to practice as a medical doctor or physician. The directory contains general information about medical schools, their contact information, known affiliations, and curriculum and enrollment details. If a school has more than one program or track leading to medical qualification, the details of each program will be listed on the Program Details tab of the school’s World Directory record. Some of the directory’s sponsors have contributed notes regarding certain medical schools, and these can be found on the Sponsor Notes tab of a school’s record.

The listing of a medical school in the World Directory of Medical Schools does not denote recognition, accreditation, or endorsement by the World Directory of Medical Schools or by its partner organizations, WFME and FAIMER. Similarly, the listing of a medical school in the World Directory of Medical Schools does not denote recognition, accreditation, or endorsement by any or all of the sponsors of the World Directory of Medical Schools, except where this is expressly stated either on the website of the World Directory or on the website or other literature of any sponsor.

Association of any medical school with FAIMER or WFME, whether as a member, a member of an associated network, or otherwise, is not related to the listing of the medical school in the World Directory of Medical Schools, or to the recognition, accreditation, or endorsement of the medical school.

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History of the World Directory

The World Health Organization (WHO), early in its history, recognized the need for a reliable list of all of the world’s medical schools, to document where the world’s doctors were educated. With the support of member states, the first edition of the WHO World Directory of Medical Schools was published in 1953. Successive editions were published until the seventh and final print edition was published in 2000. From 2000-2007, the WHO published the directory electronically, along with updates received after the 2000 print publication.

In August 2007, the WHO signed an agreement with the University of Copenhagen to transfer responsibility for development and maintenance of the directory, which then became the Avicenna Directory, managed by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME). The Avicenna Directory was opened in 2008 and maintained by WFME from that date until the end of 2013.

The International Medical Education Directory (IMED) was managed by FAIMER, based in Philadelphia, since soon after the last printed edition of the WHO World Directory of Medical Schools. The information available in IMED was derived from data collected by ECFMG, a division of Intealth, throughout its history of evaluating the medical education credentials of international medical graduates. Using these data as a starting point, FAIMER began developing IMED in 2001 and made it publicly available in April 2002.

The formation of the new World Directory of Medical Schools brings together the two existing world-wide directories of medical schools, Avicenna and IMED. The decision to merge the two directories followed a meeting of the interested parties in Copenhagen in September 2010. A Collaboration Agreement between WFME and FAIMER about this merger was finalized in March 2012. Representatives of both partner and sponsor organizations have met annually since 2013 to discuss details relating to the principles and operation of the World Directory, including the core data to be included on each medical school record, and the management and supervisory structure for the directory.

On April 4, 2014, the new World Directory of Medical Schools was published on this website. On June 1, 2016, a Subscription Service was created that allows sponsors and paying organizations to download the entire World Directory in XML or CSV format.

Today, the World Directory lists more than 4,000 medical schools in operation around the world. WFME and FAIMER continue to work together to collect new information about the world’s medical schools and add this information to the World Directory.

Page updated April 26, 2024.