Q: Is AGUSM a recognized medical school? If so by whom and what is the nature of that accreditation?
A: American Global University School of Medicine is recognized in the same way as any other medical schools in the Caribbean. It is recognized by the Government of Belize and the Minister of Education – Belize.
WHO has been notified by the Government of Belize about the AGUSM establishment and the university will be listed in the next edition of the World Directory of Medical Schools.
AGUSM is enlisted by the Education Commission of Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) and World Health Organization (WHO) as an approved school so that our students are eligible to sit for the United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLE) as well as licensing examinations in other countries.
Residents of Canada are required to take the MCCEE licensing examination and upon it’s successful completion, graduates will be able seek residency in Canada.
Q: How was AGUSM established?
A: American Global University School of Medicine has been registered under the law of the Belize for the purpose of establishing American Global University School of Medicine. The founders are highly qualified, experienced and professional establishments with extensive experience in the medical education field by working at such institutions for several years.
Q: What states can AGUSM’s graduates be licensed in?
A: In general all our graduates are eligible for licensure in the United States. Each State in the four territories that make up the United States have individual State licensing requirements. All States require ECFMG certification for international medical school graduates, which includes passing Steps I and II of the United States Medical Licensing Exam, passing the clinical skills assessment tests, and having successfully completed three years of residency training.
Each State has individual requirements relating to such areas as number of undergraduate credits received, age of the applicant, moral character of the applicant, etc. AGUSM’s educational standards will provide you with the necessary skills to pass the requisite examinations and to obtain a residency training position and licensure in those States.
Q: What is the advantage of AGUSM over the other Caribbean medical schools?
A: We have honestly admit that as a new school we have a long way to go to create a reputation of a well established school, however there are still some advantages that AGUSM has over the others. Let us list them:
- Excellent curriculum and highest teaching standards
We have created a U.S. based curriculum and appointed most qualified faculty members to prepare students for passing a series of exams known as the United States Medical Licensure Exam (USMLE) in a first attempt. The school also offers elective USMLE review course at our teaching facility in Chicago, Illinois, an alternative to the Kaplan course, to directly assist you in preparation for this critical exam;
- Large in scope Clinical Rotation Slots Database
AGUSM has established cooperation with over 300 preceptors in 67 hospitals and training centers throughout US to provide its students with a wide selection of clinical clerkship locations with no waiting time;
- Competitive tuition fees and strong financial aid
As a new school, AGUSM offers very reasonable cost of attendance along with an exceptional scholarship program and easy accessible Financial Aid;
- Beautiful, safe and quiet study environment
Belize is an excellent place to study. The country is located outside of the hurricane belt with low crime rate, nice climate, convenient transportation, economic and political stability.
- Great Campus Building
American Global University is located in a US standard, A-class complex featuring classrooms, university offices, computer lab, library, and student lounge. It’s been designed to provide an outstanding teaching environment for up to 2000 students;
- Student Dormitories
We are proud to be among only few Caribbean Medical Schools that provide students with student housing. There are 30 unites within 20 minutes walking distance from the campus, available to students at a very competitive monthly rate. The rate includes room, wired and wireless Internet connection, cable TV, water, electricity, A/C, microwave, stove, small microwave and monthly cleaning.
- Innovative teaching methods
We have developed and are constantly improving our educational infrastructure including online Question Banks, Teacher Evaluation Forms, Live Lecture Streaming and other innovative solutions such as EduDesk, SIS and PubMed to allow the students to utilize the best education resources. On top of that we have created MYAGU service to let students effectively manage their course of study by viewing grades online, paying tuition fees, submitting forms and applications, evaluate teachers, scheduling clinical rotations and more;
Q: What is the time required to complete the MD Program?
A: MD Curriculum is comprised of 11 semesters: 4 semesters of Basic Medical Sciences taught in Belize with semester 5 (Bridge to Clinical Medicine Program) taught in Chicago, Illinois, and 6 semesters of clinical medical sciences taught at affiliated hospitals and approved training centers in the U.S. Each semester is about 16 weeks (4 months) long with 2 week vacation breaks between each semester.
Q: What is the average class size?
A: In order to maintain a proper interaction between the students and the faculty members, the rules created by the Board Members of the AGUSM Foundation prohibits the Administration to schedule lectures with more than 60 students in a classroom. Currently experiencing a great interest from prospective students, the University may conduct the same courses in more than one classroom at the time to fully comply with the Board regulations.
Because the majority of applicants are accepted directly into the MD Program, the Premedical Program class size is relatively small and consists of not more than 20 students.
Q: Are students provided with lecture notes from professors, or should they take their own?
A: Professors generally submit their lecture notes or Power Point slides. Most professors make their notes available through the library or “N” drive (accessible through the PCs in the Computer Lab). Note Service is equipped to post all notes online for students to access from any computer – anywhere. Wireless routers installed in all classrooms enable students with laptops, and wireless access, to download the day’s notes prior to lecture in the convenience of the lecture halls.
Q: Are professors available for extra help, if needed?
A: Yes, all professors have designated office hours when they are available to answer questions. Professors are also required to set up additional appointments with students if necessary.
Q: Quality of the Faculty Members?
A: The Faculty has been created from a group of highly qualified applicants, trained in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia, with a long teaching or clinical experience. Most of them hold M.D., Ph.D., MBBS., MRCP., MPH., ABFP. or FAAFP. degrees.
In addition, the University cooperates with dozens of excellent visiting faculty members and honorary professors from various Medical Schools and different countries.
To maintain satisfactory student-teacher ratio, AGUSM has to appoint more qualified personnel as the student population grows rapidly.
Q: Will the Basic Science Program fully prepare me for USMLE?
A: The Basic Science Program courses have been designed according to the USMLE requirements, particularly the USMLE Step 1. We require the students to take the USMLE Step 1 within the first 4 months of completing the Basic Sciences Program.
Seriously considering the fact that many students of Caribbean medical schools fail USMLE Step 1 exam many times, the Academic Committee has formed an unique Curriculum with USMLE Review Courses being offered in the fifth semester of Basic Science Program to put strong pressure on effective preparation the students for this important exam.
The USMLE Step 2 is a clinically oriented exam therefore the results strictly depend on the students’ performance while going through Clinical Science Courses, since the school only provides the opportunity for getting the knowledge to pass the exam.
Q Where will students conduct the Clinical Rotations?
A: AGUSM has clinical sites in United Stated teaching Hospitals and various clinical out-patient programs that are affiliated with US and Caribbean medical schools. Currently we have agreements with hospitals and preceptors in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Our Clinical Department constantly works hard to get affiliation with preceptors and hospitals from the other states.
Q Will the AGUSM Graduates be able to obtain residency in the United States?
A: Graduates of all international medical schools, who successfully complete Step I and Step II of the USMLE and who receive ECFMG certification are eligible for residency training in the United States. Either through the National Residency Match Program (NRMP) or out side of the Match that not have been filled by the Match.
Citizens of United States, who have graduated from an international medical school have distinct advantage in obtaining residency training if they had participated in Clinical Rotation at US Hospitals. It should be mentioned that there are approximately 23,000 first year residency position each year and only about 17,000 US medical school graduates, therefore, there is a great surplus of residency positions, that are available for international medical schools graduates.
The supervision of the foreign medical graduates come from the ECFMG in the US and the MCC in Canada. The examinations conducted by those organizations, the USMLE and the MCCEE respectively, constitutes a very effective regulatory mechanism of the quality of the medical training, therefore any student who passes aforementioned exams meets the requirements of the US and Canadian medical profession, and is eligible to compete for residency slots and internships.
Q What is the application process?
A: AGUSM application can be submitted online through our website. We also accept applications sent directly to the Admission Office by regular mail. The complete application should comply with the admission requirements and contain all submittals and fees in order to start the process of evaluation. A decision is usually communicated within 2-3 weeks of the application date.
You should check Admissionpage for detailed information.
Q How to find if I’m eligible?
A: There are admission counselors who can assist you in determining whether your academic preparation is acceptable for admission to the medical school. We encourage you to contact the Office of Admission for a preliminary evaluation of your eligibility. The office may request unofficial transcripts for the purpose of making such an evaluation.
Q Does the University require MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)?
A: While the University does not require MCAT scores, it is strongly recommended to enclose them if available to significantly improve the chances of being admitted.
Q Does the AGUSM accept transfer students?
A: Yes. However, applications for transfer/advanced standing are evaluated on an individual basis, by the Admission Committee. In general, the student must be transferring from a IMED listed medical school to qualify.
Please Note: AGUSM does not grant advanced standing to students for work done in schools of Podiatry, Allied Health, Chiropractic, Osteopaths, Dentistry, Physician Assistants or Nurses. Health professionals who wish to upgrade their skills and earn an MD degree may be admitted to the first semester of Medical Science Program.
Life at AGU
Q What is the the monthly cost of living in Belize?
A: The average apartment rent is about $500, with a range of about $400-$700 per month. Your monthly rent will depend on factors such as quality, location, Internet & TV fees, and whether or not utilities are included.
The cost of food is less compared to U.S. and Canada but all other products and services may cost a little bit more because of the fact that Belize is mostly a tourists destination.
The price of utilities can vary from $50 to $150, depending on where you live, and the frequency of use (especially air conditioning). You may want to consider a location that exposes your apartment to trade winds in order to reduce the need for air conditioning. Be sure to inquire about the cost of utilities with previous tenants of the same complex, and the landlord, prior to signing the lease.
Q How much is the airfare from the US or Canada to Belize?
A: A round trip ticket costs between $400-$800. This may vary according to season and availability.
Q What housing accommodations are available at AGUSM?
A: The AGUSM Office has a list of local apartment owners available to the student at $400-$600 per month. To reduce the living expenses we strongly encourage students to find a roommate and split some expenses.
Q Does AGUSM provide access to the Internet?
A: Yes, American Global University School of Medicine provides Internet access to students for study and personal use on the campus. Several computers and extra ports for laptops as well as wireless connections are available in the campus, accessible during the school hours. There are several Internet providers available for home use.
Q Would I be able to use my cell phone in Belize?
A: Yes, but the only requirement is to have a cell phone supporting SIM card that can be purchased locally at the phone company. The price is about $15 for the activation and initial credit to make phone calls.
Q What is the best way to communicate with the States or Canada?
A: There are several ways to communicate including e-mail, instant messaging, call-back, net-to-phone or Skype. Students choosing to utilize internet phone companies should realize that the internet connection speed on the island may not be comparable to what they got used to. Students may also purchase prepaid phone calling cards.
Q What is the average temperature in Belize?
A: The campus at American Global University School of Medicine is completely air-conditioned, but the local climate is warm all year round, day and night. Minimum temperatures are in the high 60s and maximum temperatures reach the low 90s. Moderate humidity is almost always tempered by trade winds.
Q What kinds of clothes are recommended?
A: Dress attire both on and off campus is generally informal for all occasions, but students are required to dress in a presentable manner in keeping with the standards of future physicians. At least one semi-formal outfit is suggested (e.g. jacket and tie for men, dress for women). Long sleeves and sweatshirt are occasionally worn, but coats are not needed.
Q What activities are available on the island?
A: The beautiful beaches in Belize are ideal for host of water sports such as snorkeling, jet skiing, kite surfing, wind surfing, parasailing, etc. Indoor activities include movie theatres, a variety of international restaurants, pool halls. Please refer to the official Belize website further ideas on recreation
Q Do students need lab coats, dissection kits, etc.?
A: Yes, students will need a lab coat, scrubs, and a dissection kit. All are required purchases at our Online Bookstore. Some students prefer to wear a white coat to lab because it allows them to attend school in regular clothes. Other students choose to wear scrubs instead of a lab coat. They are required to wear a (short) white lab coat for the White Coat Ceremony.
Q Is there a place students can study after/before classes?
A: Students can study in a number of places. They may choose to study in one of the outdoor tables, or in the cafeteria, library or computer lab. The library and computer lab are open from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. 5 days a week.
Q What is the best way to commute?
A: The school offers a bus that transports students between dormitories and the campus 2 times a day. There is also private taxi service available to students. Most students would agree that with the convenient location of the campus and housing, a car is not necessary with most of the stores, shops and other places are within walking distance from the campus.
Q Can I purchase, or lease, a car in Belize?
A: A typical car can be purchased for approximately $500-$2000. Often students buy cars together and sell it upon completing Basic Science Program.
Leasing a car may require a slightly higher initial investment, but the leasing company generally covers repairs and other maintenance. If you do lease, you may wish to begin on a month-to-month basis. The most economical option would be to split the price of the car with a few friends. It is important to note, however, that everyone’s name has to be on the insurance, while only one person’s name is permitted on the lease.
Q What type of Financial Aid AGUSM offers to its students?
A: Currently American Global University School of Medicine offers an affiliated student loan program, scholarships, payment plan, tuition deferment option and partial of full tuition waver for students required financial aid.
Q When do I start applying for residency?
A: You should start planning for your residency in the 3rd year of the MD Program. By then you should have narrowed down the areas of medicine in which you would like to apply for residency.
Q What is the application process for residency?
A: Currently the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) regulates the placements in a large percentage of the residency slots in the US. This is a central computerized matching program where students are matched to available residency slots around the country based on the students’ credentials and the requirements laid down by residency programs. Through this service the student may be granted several interviews, based on which the final selection is done by the individual program directors.
The Electronic Residency Application Services (ERAS) handles the application materials.
Q What is the role of the University in the residency application process?
A: The University provides you with final transcripts, recommendation letters from the preceptors (physicians) that you have worked with during your clinical rotations (you can obtain these directly from the preceptor as well). The main contribution from school authorities are the Medical Students Performance Evaluation (MSPE). This document summarizes the students performance throughout the entire MD Program both Basic Sciences and Clinical Science.
Faculty comments are also included and relied on heavily, therefore students are advised to maintain a good overall performance and to abide by the Honor Code during the course of study.