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Starting in 2023, applicants for ECFMG Certification, which is required for international medical graduates to train or practice in the United States, must be from a medical school that is appropriately accredited. More specifically, the school must be accredited by an accrediting agency that is officially recognized by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME).

The 2023 Medical School Accreditation Requirement was established by ECFMG in 2010 to stimulate international accreditation efforts and enhance the quality of medical education worldwide. The requirement is intended to encourage the development and implementation of standards for evaluating undergraduate medical education, to provide greater assurance to both medical students and the public that they will be appropriately trained.

Four-Phase Implementation Plan

Since its announcement in 2010, ECFMG has developed a transition plan for the implementation of the 2023 Accreditation Requirement. This four-phase plan will provide medical students, graduate medical education (GME) program directors, and others with information to guide their decision making.

Phase 1 – 2018: New ECFMG web resource to help students make better decisions on medical school selection

• Guidance for students on selecting a medical school.
• Link to accrediting agencies recognized by WFME.
• Visit the new resource at

Phase 2 – 2020: World Directory of Medical Schools includes accreditation status of medical school

• Medical schools that are accredited by an organization recognized by WFME will be annotated in the World Directory of Medical Schools (

Phase 3 – 2021: ECFMG reports include information on accreditation status of medical school

• ECFMG physician reports to GME programs, employers, state boards, and medical regulatory authorities will include a statement on the accreditation status of the medical school. For example, “This medical school was accredited in [Year] by an organization recognized by WFME.”

Phase 4 – 2023: Eligibility for ECFMG Certification is tied to accreditation status of medical school

• Individuals will be eligible to apply for ECFMG Certification if their medical school is accredited by an organization recognized by WFME.

WFME Recognition Programme

The WFME Recognition Programme ( is the only program accepted by ECFMG at this time for the recognition of medical school accrediting agencies. WFME’s recognition criteria, based on guidelines developed by the World Health Organization and WFME, provide flexibility for the development of accreditation standards that fit the context of a country’s medical education system, while also ensuring that the schools being accredited by the agency meet rigorous quality measures.

Since the WFME program became available, a number of accrediting agencies have achieved recognition, including agencies in Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, Georgia, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States. To view countries served by accrediting agencies that are recognized or in the process of achieving recognition, see this map:

With 2023 approaching, ECFMG encourages accrediting agencies to visit the WFME website at to review the recognition criteria and begin the recognition process. Questions regarding the WFME Recognition Programme may be directed to

More Information to Come

ECFMG is committed to keeping all stakeholders informed moving forward with the 2023 Accreditation Requirement. We will provide additional details in the months ahead as to how the requirement will be implemented, and make them available on-line at Specific questions regarding the 2023 Accreditation Requirement may also be sent to

For more than 60 years, ECFMG has promoted quality health care for the public by certifying international medical graduates. The 2023 Accreditation Requirement is the next evolution of this mission. We firmly believe that formal recognition and accreditation processes lead to better physician education, improved patient care, and greater public trust.

SGD. William W. Pinsky, MD, FAAP, FACC
President and CEO, Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)
Chair, Board of Directors, Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER)
Professor (Hon.), University of Queensland

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