Medical School FAQ

What makes St. Matthew's University unique among Caribbean medical schools?

St. Matthew’s School of Medicine offers quality education with unmatched student support services on a beautiful, safe, modern island. We maintain small class sizes that have a maximum of 50 students and have the lowest tuition of any similarly recognized Caribbean medical school.

Our Basic Science campus is on Grand Cayman which is only an hour flight from Miami. Students spend five semesters on the island completing Basic Science classes with highly credentialed and experienced faculty. Our small class sizes and dedicated faculty ensure that our students receive an unprecedented level of support. Our graduates are placed in outstanding residency programs, including recent placements at the Mayo Clinic, Brown University, the University of Florida, Johns Hopkins, and Duke University.  

Our state-of-the-art campus is located on Grand Cayman, which boasts one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. The island is modern and has an economy similar of that of the U.S. which allows students to easily assimilate into the lifestyle of the island. Grand Cayman has one of the lowest crime rates of any country in the Caribbean, and the local residents are hospitable and inviting. St. Matthew's University is just steps away from the famous Seven Mile Beach. Students can literally walk out of their class for a quick swim, snorkel, sunset volleyball game, or even to study on the beach.

For more information on the St. Matthew’s University difference, please click here.

Are St. Matthew's University graduates easily able to obtain residency positions and practice medicine in the United States?

Yes. St. Matthew's University graduates are eligible to practice medicine in the United States once they pass the requisite licensing examinations. More than a thousand of our graduates are licensed and practicing or in residency in the United States.

How is St. Matthew's University accredited?

The accrediting body for St Matthew's University is the Accreditation Commission on Colleges of Medicine (ACCM). The United States Department of Education recognizes the ACCM as using accrediting standards similar to the accrediting body for medical schools in the United States.

St. Matthew's University is one of only a small number of non-U.S. medical schools to be approved in both New York and Florida.

The Government of the Cayman Islands, British West Indies has fully chartered St. Matthew's University.

For more information on SMU's credentials, please click here.

 

FAQs about Academics and Curriculum

Can you explain your semester/program breakdown?

St. Matthew's University School of Medicine has three semesters per year. We have a Fall semester, culminating prior to the middle of December, a Spring semester that ends in mid April and a Summer Semester which ends in mid August. There are approximately two to three weeks for students to have a break between semesters.  The program takes ten semesters to complete. The first five semesters of Basic Science courses are taught on the island of Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. Medical students then complete their clinical rotations at one of more than 100 affiliated hospitals in the U.S., Canada, or United Kingdom.

What is the USMLE pass rate?

Our students’ USMLE pass rates are comparable to the pass rates of students from U.S. medical schools and significantly above the average level of students from other non-U.S. schools. During calendar year 2016, SMU students had a 97% first time pass rate on USMLE Step 1.

Does St. Matthew's University have shelf exams?

Yes. St. Matthew's University is authorized by the National Board of Medical Examiners to provide students with both subject specific and comprehensive shelf examinations.

As a Canadian St. Matthew's University graduate, will I be allowed to practice or conduct residency in Canada?

Yes. We have had numerous graduates obtain residency in Canada. For additional information regarding residency and clerkship placements in Canada, please contact our Clinical Sciences department via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Where are the clinical clerkship sites?

St. Matthew's University, School of Medicine has affiliation agreements for clerkships with numerous teaching hospitals in Canada, the United States, and United Kingdom. For a partial list of major affiliated hospitals where our students have completed core clinical rotations, please click here.

How many students are in each new, entering class?

The size of incoming classes at St. Matthew's University is limited to a maximum of 50 students. Our small class sizes provides our students with an unprecedented level of faculty support.

What is the student to teacher ratio at St. Matthew's University School of Medicine?

The student to teacher ratio is less than 6:1 for Basic Science classes and less than 3:1 overall.

Is there a specialty focus at St. Matthew's?

No. St. Matthew's students study a comprehensive medical curriculum and go on to practice in all areas of medicine. 

Is there research conducted on the St. Matthew's University campus?

Yes. St. Matthew's University School of Medicine faculty is focused on providing the highest quality education for our students.  The importance of research to our educational mission is emphasized in our Mission Statement. We encourage both faculty and students to engage in research activities which further their knowledge of the process of science, improve the art of medicine, and increase their appreciation of the balance between research and the artful practice of medicine.

What tests will I need to take to get licensed in the U.S.?

In order to be licensed and practice medicine in the United States, the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) requires students to take and pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).

St. Matthew's University students and graduates are eligible to sit for these exams. The USMLE has three steps, two of which are taken by students while in medical school. Students must take and pass USMLE Step 1 prior to beginning the Clinical Sciences curriculum. USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (Step 2 CS) and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (Step 2 CK) are taken prior to graduation. Step 3 of the USMLE, the final step for licensing, is taken after graduation, during, or at the conclusion of residency training.

FAQs About Admissions

Can I transfer to St. Matthew's University from another medical program?

Yes. Transfer students undergo the same admissions process as first-time applicants, in that they must submit a complete application packet to ensure a timely review. Acceptance of transfer credits is at the discretion of the University. St. Matthew's University School of Medicine only provides advance standing to qualified transfer students from medical schools recognized by the World Health Organization.

What is your MCAT Policy?

The MCAT is required only of citizens and permanent residents of the United States. Admitted students from the United States are to submit their test results prior to enrolling into St. Matthew's University. St. Matthew's University Admissions committee will use MCAT scores to assist in the admissions decision, but does not base decisions solely on MCAT scores. There is no minimum score below which an application is automatically rejected.

St. Matthew's MCAT code is 919. If using the MCAT (THx) system, please use the school name. MCAT scores should be submitted to the Admissions Office in Orlando, Florida.

How many times may students take the MCAT exam?

You may take the MCAT exam as many times as you like.  However, any applicant who has taken the test more than once must submit all results prior to enrollment.

Is there an application deadline?

We do not have application deadlines. We have a rolling admissions process with three new classes forming each year. Semesters begin in September, January, and May. If an application is received after the class has closed, the application is automatically reviewed for the next available semester.

How long does it take to process an application?

Once we have received your completed application and a personal interview has been conducted, the admissions decision is typically made within 3-5 business days for students applying for enrollment in the subsequent semester.

How can I find out my application status?

In order to obtain accurate information about the status of your file, you can log into your online account 24-hours a day, seven days a week. If you need assistance, call our Admissions Office toll-free at 800.498.9700. Our Enrollment Specialists are available to assist you Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:30am and 5:00pm (Eastern Time).

May I still apply if I am missing coursework?

The successful completion of all pre-requisite coursework is required prior to enrollment. If you are missing only one pre-requisite course, or you are in the process of completing coursework, you may apply now. Simply indicate the course(s) in-progress upon submission of your application. This will be taken into consideration while reviewing your application. Often, if the remainder of the application (overall academic performance, recommendation letters, personal interview, etc.) is acceptable, the student is admitted and his or her file is placed on "Academic Hold" until he or she has submitted the grade(s) for the missing coursework. The student, although admitted, is not permitted to enroll in St. Matthew's University courses until all coursework requirements are fulfilled. If you have additional questions, contact an Admissions Counselor, toll-free at 800.498.9700.

Does it matter where I take my undergraduate courses?

Undergraduate coursework can be taken at any accredited college or university in the world. Students with academic transcripts from outside the United States and Canada must have them evaluated on a course-by-course basis by an evaluation service such as World Evaluation Services (www.wes.org), Josef Silny & Associates, Inc.(www.jsilny.com) or a service that is a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) member (www.naces.org).

Do you have a supplemental application process, such as through AMCAS?

St. Matthew's University is not affiliated with the AMCAS application process.  However, you can email or fax the AMCAS application in lieu of our online application. 

Do I need a Bachelor's degree to apply?

No.

What is the Admission Committee looking for in letters of recommendation?

The Committee seeks comments about the applicant's character, integrity, work ethic, intelligence, motivation, people skills, and problem-solving skills.

Does an advisor have to write a letter of recommendation?

No, however it is helpful if letters of recommendation are written by a pre-medical professor acquainted with the applicant's academic and research background or by a physician who is familiar with the applicant's experience in a health care setting, if available. All letters can be mailed, emailed or faxed to St. Matthew's University as long as they are written on letterhead and include a signature and contact information.

Do you accept applicants over 30 years of age?

Yes. St. Matthew's University will consider any qualified applicant for admission, regardless of age. Some of our most successful students and graduates have had prior careers.

Who is interviewed?

Applicants invited for an interview are selected from a pool of those applicants the committee deems to be promising candidates.  If you are invited for an interview, it is likely that you are being strongly considered for admission.  However, an interview is not a guarantee of admission. 

Are scholarships available?

St. Matthew's University offers scholarships to our most promising students. Each semester, the University reviews applications and awards the following Scholarships:

Academic Scholarships
Cayman Islands Scholarships
Jha Family Scholarship

For more information on scholarship opportunities, please click here.

FAQs About Life at St. Matthew's University

What Student support services exist on the Grand Cayman campus?

The Associate Dean of Student Affairs works closely with the Dean of Basic Sciences as well as with all faculty to provide support to students experiencing academic and/or personal difficulties. Short-term counseling, crisis counseling and general counseling relating to academic difficulties are available. If longer-term counseling and support is required, referrals can be made to professionals in the community. Academic counseling, including test-taking skills, time management skills and study skills are available through the Center for Learning Enhancement. For more information, please click here.

What is the make up of your student body?

Although the majority of our students are U.S. residents, St. Matthew's University School of Medicine boasts an extremely diverse student population. 25% of our students are from Canada and more than 5% are from Europe. Over 40 countries are represented among our students and alumni.

What about schooling for my child(ren)?

Grand Cayman boasts some of the best primary school options in the Caribbean. For further information regarding primary schools, contact the Cayman Island Ministry of Education.

What about taking my family or a companion to The Cayman Islands?

Many family members and companions choose to join their loved ones in The Cayman Islands. Children range in age from infants to late adolescents. The Cayman Islands can issue a visa which permits companions to work and reside in The Cayman Islands. There is plenty of housing available for couples and families, both close to campus and more centrally located in Georgetown.

What must I do to bring a pet with me to The Cayman Islands?

Pets are allowed to be brought to Cayman. An import permit or valid animal passport issued by the Department of Agriculture and an official health certificate issued by a government employed or accredited veterinary inspector in the country of origin is required for the importation of dogs and cats.

How is housing arranged for incoming students?

New students are assigned to either of our two student residencies, Residence Hall or Residence Suites

New students arriving on the island live in the St. Matthew's University Residence Hall or Residence Suites for at least one semester, and are welcome to stay as many semesters as they wish. This arrangement makes your arrival in and transition to living in another country smooth and comfortable. Single and double rooms are available.

How is apartment living in The Cayman Islands?

The housing market on Grand Cayman is strong and presents many opportunities for student tenants to find homes.

Most rental units come furnished (i.e., stocked with standard hard and soft furnishings, such as beds, tables, appliances, couches, window dressings, etc.) or fully furnished (i.e., everything but your own clothes and personal belongings is included). 

Off-campus housing advice and support is available to all St. Matthew's University students. The Office of Student Services provides all prospective and enrolled students with 24-hour 7-days-a-week access to an online housing service that they can use to help find the perfect home. Off-campus housing resource lists are also available for students who want to search the rental market on their own.

Is it easy to travel to and from The Cayman Islands?

Yes. Grand Cayman is far and away the most easily accessible Caribbean Island. The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory located in the Western Caribbean. By jet, the Cayman Islands are only a 70-minute direct flight from Miami.

There are more than 55 weekly flights into the Cayman Islands including 28 flights each week between Miami and Grand Cayman. U.S. cities with direct flights to Grand Cayman include Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Houston, Miami, New York, Washington D.C., and Tampa. Please check this link for more information: http://www.caymanislands.ky/getting_there/

What language is spoken on The Cayman Islands?

The island is English-speaking.

What is the weather like on The Cayman Islands?

Beautiful. The weather in Grand Cayman is pleasant year round with temperatures ranging from 70 to 90 degrees.

What is the accepted currency in The Cayman Islands?

Although the U.S. dollar is not the official currency of The Cayman Islands, it is widely accepted throughout stores as well as money orders and credit cards. Many merchants quote their prices in both Cayman Island dollars and U.S. dollars and you can pay in either currency. If you pay in U.S. dollars, you will receive your change in Cayman dollars.

What banking services are available?

As the fifth largest financial district in the world, banking options in Cayman are endless. Butterfield Bank, Cayman National Bank, Fidelity Bank, FirstCaribbean International Bank, Scotiabank and Royal Bank of Canada offer electronic and online banking.

Are there ATMs?

Yes, ATMs are plentiful on the island and very near to campus.

What kind of transportation is available on The Cayman Islands?

Taxi service is readily available, as are small buses or vans.  You may also choose to buy a car or motorcycle.  Many students also use bicycles as a primary mode of transportation

Can I bring any meat (including seafood) to the Cayman Islands?

Small quantities of meat and seafood can be imported into the Cayman Islands as long as it is for personal consumption only. Seafood from all countries may be imported, but anything in excess of 20lbs must be accompanied with a Certificate of Wholesomeness, which can only be obtained by a prior application for an Import Permit from the Cayman Islands Department of Agriculture. Small quantities of meats (up to 25lbs.) can be brought in by passengers in their luggage as long as the meat is from an approved country (see below) and is pre-wrapped under a brand name and has the Official Seal of Inspection of the country's Meat Inspection Authority. Meats allowed:

    1. Only swine products are allowed from the UK and Ireland
    2. All types of approved meats are allowed from the USA, Canada, CARICOM States, Australia and New Zealand.

No fruit or vegetables can be imported into the Cayman Islands. No plants, fresh cut flowers or plant cuttings can be brought in either unless a proper import permit has been obtained prior to shipping.