Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates

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Through its program of certification, the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) assesses the readiness of international medical graduates to enter residency or fellowship programs in the United States that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

ECFMG acts as the registration and score-reporting agency for the USMLE for foreign medical students/ graduates, or in short, it acts as the designated Dean's office for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) in contrast to the American Medical Graduates (AMGs).

It conducts three examinations: Step 1, Step 2CK, Step 2CS. The ECFMG certificate is issued to a physician if he or she passes the above the three exams within a time period of seven years.

Medical schools in Canada that award the M.D. are not assessed by ECFMG, because the Liaison Committee on Medical Education historically accredited M.D.-granting institutions in both the U.S. and Canada (today, Canada has its own accrediting body that generally follows U.S. standards). M.D. graduates of American and Canadian institutions are not considered IMGs in either country.


The main pathway for international medical graduates who wish to be licensed as a physician in the United States is to complete a U.S. residency hospital program. The general method to apply for residency programs is through the National Resident Matching Program (abbreviated NRMP, but also called "the Match"). To participate in the NRMP, an IMG is required to have an ECFMG certification[1] by the "rank order list certification deadline" time (usually in February of the year of the match).[2]

To acquire an ECFMG certification, the main requirements are:[3]

In comparison, regular graduates from medical schools in the United States need to complete USMLE Steps 1 and 2 as well, but can participate in the NRMP while still doing their final year of medical school before acquiring their medical diplomas.[4] In effect, taking regular administrative delays into account, and with residency programs starting around July, there is a gap of at least half a year for IMGs between graduation from medical school and beginning of a residency program.

A pilot project has started for an electronic verification system of medical credentials from international medical schools, with participation from approximately 20 international medical schools. After completion of this pilot project, ECFMG will invite additional medical schools to participate.[5]


First established in 1956.[6]

Register in International Medical Education Directory[edit]

Before a medical school is considered for listing in IMED, the authorized agency of the government in the country where the school is located must write to FAIMER to provide the following information. The authorized agency may be the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, medical council or other authority.

That the specified medical school is recognized by the government of the country for award of either the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree or the other equivalent Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S) degree The date on which recognition was granted That the specified medical school has a physical campus in the country and the address of that campus. Whether instruction has begun at the school, and on what date. If instruction has not yet begun, the date classes are expected to begin. If applicable, the name of the university with which the medical college is affiliated. That graduates of the specified medical school eligible for medical licensure in the country The date on which graduates of the specified medical school became eligible for medical licensure

The letter must be received directly from the Ministry of Health or other authority, on letterhead stationery, with the signature and seal of the Minister or appropriate official.


International medical schools can send Medical Student Performance Evaluations (MSPEs), medical school transcripts, and letters of recommendation (LoRs) on behalf of their students and graduates to ECFMG by means of mail, or through digital documents by the ECFMG Medical School Web Portal (EMSWP).[7]


  1. ^ > Independent Applicants Updated 09/08/2010.
  2. ^ > 2012 Main Match Schedule Updated 05/19/2011
  3. ^ > Medical Education Credentials Last update: September 15, 2010
  4. ^ > U.S. Seniors > Registering with the NRMP Updated August 2010
  5. ^ ECFMG press release: ECFMG Launches Electronic Verification of Medical Credentials. February 28, 2012
  6. ^ "ECFMG Celebrates 50th Anniversary". Archived from the original on 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 
  7. ^ ERAS Support Services for International Medical Schools on the ECFMG homepage. Retrieved May 2012

External links[edit]