The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) is the nationally recognized accrediting authority for medical education programs leading to the MD degree in the U.S. and Canada. The LCME is officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and is sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Medical Association (AMA).

In the U.S., the accreditation status of programs leading to the MD degree is determined solely by the LCME.

What is accreditation?

Accreditation is a process by which institutions and programs undergo an extensive peer-based evaluation of their compliance with the accepted standards for educational quality.

Through accreditation, the LCME provides assurance to medical students and graduates, the medical profession, healthcare institutions and the public that: (1) educational programs culminating in the award of the MD degree meet reasonable, generally-accepted and appropriate national standards for educational quality and (2) graduated of such programs have a complete and valid educational experience sufficient to prepare them for the next stage of their training.

The accreditation process is a voluntary, peer-reviewed process of quality assurance that determines whether the medical education program meets 12 standards consisting of 93 elements.

LCME criteria

The LCME’s review of the medical school will assess the accreditation standards according to the following criteria:

  • Satisfactory: The policy, process, resource or system is in place and there is evidence that it is effective.
  • Satisfactory with a Need for Monitoring: The policy, process, resource or system exists, but anticipated circumstances could impact performance.
  • Unsatisfactory: One or more aspects of the policy, process, resource or system exists, but it is not meeting its intended purpose.

The importance of LCME accreditation

Accreditation status ensures that national standards for structure, function and performance are met by a medical school’s education program leading to the MD degree.

LCME accreditation establishes eligibility for selected federal grants and programs, including Title VII funding administered by the Public Health Service.

Students and graduates of LCME-accredited medical schools are eligible to take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). These graduates also have eligibility to enter residencies approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

Graduating from an LCME-accredited U.S. school and passing the national licensing examinations are accepted as prerequisite for medical licensure in most states.