The Wayne State University School of Medicine has a distinguished history of producing the nation’s finest physicians and researchers. That reputation continues to be built upon today, making the university not only a center for medical education, but the source of groundbreaking clinical research put into practice around the world.
Originally founded as the Detroit Medical College in 1868, the School of Medicine was developed by five Detroit physicians ages 29 to 35 who believed the growing city required and deserved its own medical teaching institution.
To speed the school’s development, Harper University Hospital donated land and two buildings to the fledgling institution. The first 12 faculty members and 48 students began classes in 1868. Those first students came from Michigan, 11 others states and Ontario. Most were laborers and farmers. Tuition, including room and board, was $140 a year.
At the time, no license was required to practice medicine and no government regulations guided medical school curricula. Students could complete coursework in a single year, followed by a clinical apprenticeship.
Today, with more than 1,000 medical students, the Wayne State University School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the nation on one campus. Nearly two-thirds of all its graduates remain in Michigan to practice medicine. Nearly 40 percent of all practicing physicians in southeast Michigan received all or some of their training at the Wayne State University School of Medicine.
Graduates who leave the state share the preeminent knowledge they acquired at the School of Medicine with patients throughout the nation and around the world.
As a testament to the expertise of the School of Medicine’s educators and healers, one of every three “Best Doctors in America” in the metropolitan Detroit area is a faculty member. One in five is an alum of the Wayne State University School of Medicine.
The School of Medicine continues to thrive and expand, bringing academic medical expertise to the seven million people in southeast Michigan and beyond with highly skilled physicians, and serving as a regional and international center of scientific and medical exploration.