Saba University School of Medicine

Saba University School of Medicine is a medical school located on Saba, a special municipality of the Netherlands in the Caribbean. Saba University confers upon its graduates the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree.[1]


Saba University School of Medicine was founded in 1992 as an international alternative to U.S. and Canadian medical schools. Since its founding, more than 2500 students have earned their medical degree at Saba.[2] Saba University’s graduates practice primarily in the United States and Canada. The Saba website features graduates who have gone on to appointments at medical centers in the US and Canada including the Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan Kettering, the University of Toronto, Yale and more.[3] In recent years, 99% of Saba’s students have passed the USMLE Step 1 exam on their first attempt.[2] Class sizes are 80-100 students per matriculating class. Students complete the first 20 months (five semesters) of basic science medical education on the campus on Saba and return to the US and Canada to complete clinical rotations at hospitals affiliated with the school.


Basic Sciences Curriculum

Saba University School of Medicine campus

The first five Basic Science semesters of Saba’s curriculum follow an outline comparable to those of American medical schools. These semesters consist of lab work and course material following a progression beginning with foundational concepts in the basic and clinical sciences and leading to organ-systems-focused courses that relate each foundational discipline to human function and disease. Applications of basic science to clinical medicine are highlighted throughout the five semesters. All classes are taught in English.

Research Literature Review & Analysis Module

In the fifth semester of the Saba University curriculum, students complete a “Research: Literature Review and Analysis” module, designed to further develop the ability to evaluate and assimilate scientific evidence and reinforce the skills for critically appraising and communicating medical knowledge.

Students analyze a current and complex medical care question, develop a hypothesis, analyze the literature, and write a paper that is evaluated by a faculty committee. According to the school’s website, Saba students have had their papers published in medical journals and have also reported that their research played a role in obtaining a residency appointment.[4]

Clinical Curriculum

The clinical education at Saba University School of Medicine takes place primarily in the second half of the academic program, semesters 6 to 10—the final semesters before earning the medical degree and entering a residency program. The clinical program consists of:

  • 42 weeks of required core rotations in Surgery, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Obstetrics and Gynecology.
  • 30 weeks of elective clinical rotations that the student may select based upon their projected medical specialty.

During the clinical semesters, students go through a series of rotations (or clerkships) in teaching hospitals in the U.S. and Canada, while also absorbing new material through work that is assigned and supervised by the Saba clinical department.

Accreditation and Licensure

Saba University School of Medicine has received the accreditation and approvals that enable Saba graduates, who complete the requisite licensing examinations, to become eligible to practice medicine in all 50 states in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.[5]

Saba University has been approved by the following U.S. states which have a separate review process for the purposes of licensing or providing clinical rotations:

  • Saba is approved by the Medical Board of California[6]
  • Saba is approved by the New York State Board of Education[7] and by the Florida Department of Education’s Commission for the purpose of students participating in clinical rotations in those states.[8]
  • Saba is approved by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts (KSBHA).[9]

In July 2013, Saba University School of Medicine was approved by the United States Department of Education for participation in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. Qualified citizens and permanent residents of the United States are eligible to receive funding from the Direct Loan programs to help pay for the cost of their education.

Saba University School of Medicine is a legally recognized entity of higher education in the Netherlands and its program of medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO).[1] While it is located in the Caribbean, accreditation by the NVAO makes the university the 9th medical school in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.[10]

Student life

Travelers to Saba go through St. Maarten—one of the major islands of the Caribbean. Major airlines from North America, Europe and South America all have daily flights into St. Maarten. The trip to Saba from St. Maarten is via Winair (Windward Islands Airways), which makes several flights each day and takes about 15 minutes, or by ferry.Located approximately 28 miles (15 minutes by air) from St. Maarten, the island nation of Saba is small, quiet and extremely safe, known for its quaint villages, mountain hiking, pristine scuba diving and well-regarded inns and restaurants.

Housing options at Saba University include on-campus dormitories as well as homes and apartments off-campus, many with water views. All unaccompanied, first-semester students are required to live in the dormitories while second- through fifth-semester students live off campus.

Transportation on and around Saba takes places on about ten miles of concrete roads hugging the island’s steep mountainsides. The trip from the airport to the southernmost town, The Bottom, which is also home to the Saba University campus, can be made in less than 20 minutes. Taxis and small vans are readily available. Hitchhiking on Saba is common and safe.

Students are permitted to acquire private transportation—there is a turnover of vehicles with students leaving the island selling to the new members of the incoming classes.There is also a bus service to assist students living off-campus with regularly scheduled transportation to and from class.

Saba has a well-developed infrastructure for phone, Internet and cable TV. The U.S. dollar is accepted on the island. In addition, Visa, MasterCard and traveler’s checks are accepted. Electrical outlets on Saba are 110 V, 60 Hz—the same as in the U.S. and Canada.

Several student organizations exist at Saba, including the American Medical Student Association,[11][12] Student Government Association, Wilderness Medicine Society, Women in Medicine Society, Primary Care and Pediatrics Club, Global Health & Preventative Medicine Club, Gay-Straight Student Alliance, African Diaspora Association, Christian Student Association, Muslim Student Association, Southeast Asian Society, Athletics Club, and Journal Club.


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b “About Saba University”. Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  3. Jump up^ “Saba – Alumni Profiles”. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  4. Jump up^ “Saba Medical School – Research Module”. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  5. Jump up^
  6. Jump up^
  7. Jump up^ NYS Medicine Application Forms
  8. Jump up^
  9. Jump up^ “KSBHA”. KSBHA. 2002-01-01. Retrieved 2011-11-23.
  10. Jump up^ [1]
  11. Jump up^ “AMSA International Medical Schools”. Retrieved 2011-11-23.
  12. Jump up^ “Saba University AMSA – Home”. Retrieved 2011-11-23.