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American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine
Established 1978
Type Medical School
Chancellor Paul Tien
Faculty 75 (on main campus)
Students 700 (approx. 350 on main campus)
Location Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles, Coral Gables, Florida
Website American University of the Caribbean
American University of the Caribbean main campus on Sint Maarten

The American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) is an international, for-profit, U.S. curriculum-based medical school with a main basic science campus on Sint Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles, and is based in Coral Gables, Florida. AUC is fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission on Colleges of Medicine (ACCM), meets the requirements of the federally guaranteed student loan program, and is therefore approved for participation in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and other federal financial aid programs. The United States Department of Education has determined that the commission’s accreditation standards are comparable to those applicable to U.S. medical schools [1], and has recognized AUC as having standards comparable to medical schools of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), which accredits all traditional (M.D.−granting) medical schools in the United States. [2]

After completing 18 months of study in the basic sciences on AUC's St. Maarten campus, students conduct their two clinical years at AUC's affiliated teaching hospitals, whereby the students may choose between teaching hospitals in the United States, The United Kingdom, or Ireland. Both the required core rotations (Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, and Psychiatry) and elective rotations in any specialty may be taken at one or several different clinical sites. After a total of four years of training, students are awarded the degree of Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and obtain U.S. medical residencies. Until today the school has graduated over 3,500 physicians practicing in all medical specialties.

The school's main campus was originally on the island of Montserrat, after its foundation in 1978, but was forced to move to its present location by the eruption of the previously dormant Soufriere Hills volcano. The founder and current chancellor of the school is Paul Tien.[3] Dr. Paul Schnatz was appointed Executive Dean/Chief Academic Officer in 2001 after joining AUC's clinical medical sciences faculty in 1990, following his position as Director of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Chairman of Reproductive Biology at Case Western Reserve University.[4] Since 1996, Dr. Bruce Kaplan has served as the school's U.S. Clinical Dean, whereas Dr. Douglas Model holds this position for AUC's clinical training sites in the U.K.. Although the majority of AUC's basic science faculty on its main campus in Sint Maarten comes from U.S. and Canadian universities, AUC maintains an internationally diverse faculty, which includes professors from The United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, and The Netherlands.

Universities attended by AUC's faculty, who all hold an M.D. and/or Ph.D., include Cambridge University, Stanford, University of Paris, Harvard, Duke, Otago University (New Zealand), McGill University, University of British Columbia, Karolinska Institute (Sweden), Erasmus University Rotterdam, Northwestern University, Georgetown, The University of Pennsylvania, among others. [1]



The American University of the Caribbean is an M.D. degree-awarding institution, whereby the school's medical curriculum is structured similarly to U.S. medical schools. If all course work is taken consecutively, students can graduate within only 38 months due to AUC's accelerated program, which offers three semesters per year during the first two years.

Student Profile

Based on the 2009 admissions statistics:

Class of 2011 USMLE Step 1 performance (as of 09/30/09): 93% first time pass rate


A plaque placed in the rotunda at AUC

In 1977, the son of Dr. Paul Tien, Yife Tien, enrolled as an international student at a medical school in the Dominican Republic. Tien went with his son to visit the school in the summer of 1977, where he saw many American citizens studying medicine, even though the curriculum was entirely in Spanish. Tien saw an opportunity to create an English language medical program based in the West Indies that would be geared specifically toward American citizens who intended to return to the United States to practice medicine. He then went island hopping to find a suitable location for his medical school. Tien first flew to St. Lucia, but the Prime Minister was ill and could not see him. He then flew to Antigua, where the government would agree to the proposal if the medical school would cater to the citizens of Antigua and other West Indian nations. Tien did not agree to these terms. He then flew to the British island of Montserrat, where the local government was pleased to accept the proposal because of the development opportunities a medical school would bring to their small island. The American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine was chartered January 30, 1978, in Montserrat. The local government agreed to do everything within its power to accommodate their new medical school.


Cincinnati, Ohio

While a medical campus was being constructed on Montserrat, AUC started conducting classes under its Montserrat charter in a rented space on the campus of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio. The first class, with 107 students, started on August 14, 1978.


The government of Montserrat granted AUC a 25-acre (100,000 m2) parcel of land near Plymouth, where a new campus of 17 buildings was built. AUC began conducting classes at its new campus in Montserrat in January 1980.

On September 17, 1989, Hurricane Hugo hit the island, severely damaging the campus. Students and faculty were evacuated.

Plainview, Texas

While the Montserrat campus was being rebuilt, AUC operated at a temporary location in Plainview, Texas, where classes started again on October 17, 1989.


Soufrière Hills volcano

The Montserrat campus was rebuilt and AUC reopened it for classes in September 1990. Long thought to be dormant, the Soufrière Hills volcano on Montserrat erupted on July 18, 1995, rendering much of the island uninhabitable, including the entire city of Plymouth. Students and faculty were evacuated, and the campus was buried under volcanic ash.

Belize and St. Maarten

AUC reopened its operations in September 1995. 250 students were sent to a temporary location in Belize and 280 students were sent to a temporary location on St. Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles. However, on September 5, 1995, Hurricane Luis hit St. Maarten, destroyed much of its infrastructure, and delayed the opening of the St. Maarten operation by three weeks. In September 1996, AUC transferred all students and faculty in Belize to its temporary facilities on St. Maarten.

St. Maarten

AUC purchased a parcel of land in the village of Cupecoy on the Dutch side of St. Maarten and construction of a permanent campus began in July 1996. The new campus opened on May 1, 1998. AUC's new campus consists of a multi-million-dollar teaching and learning facility featuring state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories, a virtual imaging anatomy lab, a microbiology lab, and a comprehensive medical library.

Student Life

In 2002, AUC finished construction of a modern one and two-bedroom student apartment-style dormitory. Off-campus housing is abundantly available in close proximity to the campus. Designed by a South Florida architectural firm, the new facilities are designed to meet South Florida Hurricane Building Code standards for Category 4 hurricanes. The campus has its own electricity generation and desalination facilities, and AUC stockpiles two weeks worth of food, water, and fuel in case of emergency.

AUC dormitories

Student Clubs and Campus Organizations:

Tuition and Fees

Although subject to change, the approximate cost per semester is around $16,000. Not including other student fees, travel expenses, books and other misc fees.

Medical Curriculum

Medical education at the American University of the Caribbean is delivered over four calendar years. This includes two years of basic medical sciences at the St. Maarten campus, followed by two years of clinical training at affiliated hospitals in the United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland.

AUC has 25 affiliated teaching hospitals in the United States, whereby most of its students rotate at Providence Hospital, Michigan, Nassau University Medical Center, New York, Staten Island University Hospital, New York, Wyckoff Heights Hospital, New York, and Union Memorial Hospital, Maryland, which also serves as an affiliated teaching hospital of Johns Hopkins Medical School and the University of Maryland.

Accreditation and Licensure

AUC is listed with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and in the ECFMG IMED/FAIMER database of medical schools. These listings permit AUC students to register with the ECFMG, take the USMLE, obtain a residency in the United States, and practice medicine in the United States.

The American University of the Caribbean is fully recognized and approved by the governments of Sint Maarten and the Netherlands Antilles to confer the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree to students who complete the AUC curriculum. AUC is accredited by the Accreditation Commission on Colleges of Medicine (ACCM), an independent organization based in Ireland that accredits medical schools on behalf of several governments, including the governments of Sint Maarten and the Netherlands Antilles.

The US Department of Education's National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA) reviewed the ACCM and determined that the standards used to accredit AUC were comparable to the standards used to accredit medical schools in the United States. Because of this, American citizens who attend AUC are eligible for student loans.

Some states have their own approval processes for medical schools.

  • AUC is approved by the Medical Board of California.
  • AUC is approved by the Texas Medical Board.
  • AUC is approved by the New York State Board of Medicine.[5]
  • AUC is approved by the Florida Department of Education's Commission for Independent Education.

AUC graduates who meet subsequent requirements such as passing the USMLE and moral character determinations are eligible to practice medicine in all 50 US states.

AUC graduates may apply to the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom for registration (residency training) in the UK without prejudice. The only stipulation associated with AUC graduates are for students who, "... transferred to the American University of the Caribbean following a period of study at another medical school." [6]

Residency Placements

Between 2006 and 2009, AUC graduates have obtained U.S. residencies in the following specialties (not including specialties attained through post-residency fellowships, e.g. cardiology, nephrology, oncology, etc.):


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Directory. American University of the Caribbean website. accessed 18 Nov 2007
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^

Coordinates: 18°3′1″N 63°7′37″W / 18.05028°N 63.12694°W / 18.05028; -63.12694


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