The major attraction of AUA is that its medical education is recognised in the United States, UK, Canada, India and most European countries, writes Reshma Ravishanker
IN THE NEW GLOBALISED WORLD, the once-distant Caribbean islands have emerged as hubs of accessible medical education. Currently, the 13 island nations host 60 medical colleges and thousands of international students from around the world. Their main attraction is that degree issued by most of these medical colleges are recognised in the United States, UK, Canada, and most European countries.
Within this salubrious region renowned for its sunshine, white sand beaches and sparkling waters, the American University of Antigua College of Medicine (AUA, estb.2004) has become the most favoured institution of aspiring medicine practitioners from India and the transnational Indian diaspora. Sited in the Antigua and Barbuda Islands, AUA is owned and managed by the Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG), India’s premier education multinational which has also established state-of-the-art medical colleges-cum-teaching hospitals in Nepal, Malaysia, and a university in Dubai. In India, the MEMG includes the not-for-profit Manipal Academy for Higher Education (MAHE), routinely top-ranked among India’s private varsities in the EducationWorld India Higher Education Rankings, and the distance education Sikkim-Manipal University.
Currently, the AUA College of Medicine offers a Doctor of Medicine degree programme to 2,200 students including 660 of Indian origin mentored by 338 faculty. AUA graduates are eligible to practice in all 50 states of the US and in the UK, Canada, India, among other countries worldwide.
The major attraction of AUA is that it is accredited by medical education boards worldwide — the Caribbean Accreditation Authority of Education in Medicine and Other Health Sciences; Medical Board of California; New York State Education Department, and Florida Department of Education. Moreover the New York Board of Regents permits AUA students to be placed in long-term clinical clerkships in New York state. “We are approved by all major US state medical bodies and our students can apply for residency in any of the 50 states of America, the UK and Canada. We are also approved by GMC (UK) and are a member institution of the American Medical Students Alliance Association,” says an AUA spokesperson.
In 2022, the varsity’s medical graduates recorded excellent placements — 240 graduates were awarded residency positions at hospitals in the US. Moreover, the pass rate of AUA students in the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 — a prerequisite for clinical internship in the US — is 92 percent (average pass rate since the last 3 years) and USMLE Step 2 CK — mandatory for practising medicine in the US — 97 percent.
AUA was founded in 2004 with an initial batch of nine students. Four years later in 2008, it was acquired by the MEMG.
Antigua and Barbuda. A sovereign nation of the West Indies, Antigua and Barbuda is primarily known for these eponymous islands, though it includes several smaller ones. Antigua boasts a 95-miles coastline while Barbuda Island is protected by reefs and hosts the renowned Frigate Bird sanctuary. Crystal clear waters and warm sandy beaches make these islands a favourite vacation destination. St. John’s on Antigua serves as the capital and is the most populous (24,000) city of this independent island nation. The land area of both prominent islands is a mere 170 sq. miles. The weather is warm and sunny through the year with temperatures ranging between 230-350 C. English is the official language of this member nation of the British Commonwealth.
Campus facilities. Set on a scenic 27-acre campus overlooking Jabberwock Beach, AUA offers state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories and a well-stocked library replete with medical textbooks, biomedical eBooks, databases, clinical knowledge-bases, and eJournals. Academic facilities include a Simulated Learning Center equipped with sophisticated training equipment incorporating challenging clinical scenarios using latest interactive software; a contemporary clinical skills lab; anatomy labs with 3D V.H. dissector computer stations; and an Emergency Medicine Training Center. Moreover, the campus hosts a 400-seat outdoor amphitheatre, food court, health clinic, and a counseling centre.
The white sands Jabberwock Beach offers a walking stretch which also doubles as a popular study spot. Also on offer are excellent sports facilities including fields for soccer, beach volleyball, flag football, cricket, ultimate frisbee, tennis and basketball courts. Moreover, the International Cricket Association has approved AUA’s cricket ground for practice matches.
Admission. The minimum eligibility criterion for admission into the two-year pre-med programme of AUA is successful completion of Plus Two (science) with an average of 80 percent-plus. Moreover students are advised to write and submit scores of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) as a personal interview is also mandatory. Students have the option to complete the pre-med programme at MAHE, Manipal in India or at AICASA, Antigua. Students who successfully complete the pre-med course are guaranteed admission into AUA’s Doctor of Medicine (MBBS equivalent) degree programme.
For further information, email [email protected] or call +91-924-355-7788.
Residential accommodation. Students have the option of on and off-campus housing. AUA housing facilities comprise air-conditioned furnished flats (single and two bedroom) with fully equipped kitchen, and Internet facilities. Off campus accommodation options include villas and bedrooms with en suite facilities.
Degree programme. AUA offers a 6.5 year Doctor of Medicine programme (see box).
SCHOLASTIC OPTIONS AT AUA
- AUA offers a 6.5-year Doctor of Medicine programme (inclusive of a two-year pre-med programme).
- Pre-med programme. Class XII science stream school-leavers are qualified for admission into the university’s two-year pre-med programme. In the pre-med study programme, students must earn 60 credits. There’s an option to complete the pre-med programme at MAHE (India), or at AICASA campus in Antigua.
- Doctor of Medicine. The 4.5 year degree programme has two components: basic sciences taught in Antigua, and clinical sciences internship in approved affiliate teaching hospitals in the United States, Canada, and India. In the fifth semester (after 30 months), all students aspiring to intern in the US are obliged to write USMLE Step 1, an essential precondition to intern in American hospitals/clinics.
- AUA also offers three programmes in collaboration with Florida International University (see www.auamed.org)
- Tuition fees: US $186,514 (Rs.1.54 crore) for 6.5 years (board and lodging included for first two years of pre-med programme). Subsequently board and lodging expenses range $3,900-6,500 per semester.
Also Read: Interview: Mamta Purbey, Exec Director, Manipal’s American University of Antigua