Step by Step Through the Application Process

Step 1 - Am I eligible to apply?


You must be a United States Citizen, or have Permanent Resident status, to be eligible for acceptance to the UCSD School of Medicine.


It is recommended that students enter medical school after four years of undergraduate study; the absolute minimum requirement is attendance for three academic years at an accredited college of arts and sciences, with at least one full year at an accredited 4-year institution in the United States. Students who have attended a foreign school must have completed at least one year of study at a four-year college in the United States prior to applying.

You must complete the following lecture courses with a grade of "C" or better to be eligible to apply to the UCSD School of Medicine. Typically, each of these required courses must be completed at an accredited U.S. institution.

  • One year (2 semesters or 3 quarters) of college-level Biology (excluding botany & biochemistry).
  • One year (2 semesters or 3 quarters) of college-level General Chemistry (biochemistry is acceptable).
  • One year (2 semesters or 3 quarters) of college-level Organic Chemistry.
  • One year (2 semesters or 3 quarters) of college-level Physics.
  • One year (2 semesters or 3 quarters) of college-level Math (only calculus, statistics, or computer science will be considered).
  • UCSD does not require any laboratory coursework.
  • UCSD does not require English coursework, but competence in spoken and written English is required.

AP credit with a score of 4 or 5 can be used to satisfy some of the requirements:

  • The full year of Math.
  • One semester of Physics (meaning you would need to complete ONE semester or TWO quarters to complete the requirements).
  • One semester of General Chemistry (meaning you would need to complete ONE semester or TWO quarters to complete the requirements).

AP credit can NOT be used to meet the Biology or Organic Chemistry requirements.

MCAT test date

You must have taken the MCAT within the 3 calendar years prior to your planned matriculation date.  Applicants for the entering class of 2015 (submitting AMCAS applications in 2014) must have taken an MCAT exam in the years 2012 - 2014.  MCAT scores for exams taken in early 2015 will not be considered.  

Selection Criteria

The Admissions Committee selects applicants for matriculation who have demonstrated the personal qualities of intelligence, maturity, integrity, dedication to the ideal of service to society and who are best suited for meeting the educational goals of the school, whether in a field of primary care specialization or other discipline of medicine. The school desires students with diverse interests and backgrounds and is committed to expanding opportunities in medical education for individuals from socioeconomic and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Admissions Committee has no preference for an undergraduate major field of study, but does prefer students with evidence of broad training and in-depth achievement in a particular area of knowledge, whether in the humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences.

Candidates for admission are evaluated on the basis of their undergraduate academic record, performance on the MCAT, nature and depth of scholarly and extracurricular activities undertaken, letters of recommendation from premedical committee or professors, personal interviews with members of the Admissions Committee, and other standards of comparison that may be established by the faculty. Personal interviews with members of the Admissions Committee are required of all qualified applicants. The interview evaluates the applicant's abilities and skills necessary to satisfy the nonacademic or technical standards established by the faculty and the personal and emotional characteristics that are necessary to become an effective physician.

Student Characteristics – ENTERING CLASS, 2013

  • Average overall GPA: 3.75
  • Average science GPA: 3.71
  • 33.6 Q Composite Avg. MCAT (VR: 10.5; PS 11.5; BS 11.6; Writing Q)
  • 48% female / 52% male
  • 84% Residents of California
  • 74% Biology/Chemistry majors, remainder in physical and social sciences and humanities

Step 2 - Primary Application (June 1 - November 1)


All applicants to the UCSD School of Medicine must complete the application available through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS).Visit AMCAS at Site / New Window

AMCAS will be available to applicants in June of the year prior to the year you want to enter medical school. Applications submitted to AMCAS by November 1 will be considered. Extensions to this deadline are not granted.

Possible Outcomes after the Admissions Committee reviews your AMCAS application

  1. Invited to submit a "secondary application" (proceed to Step 3).   You will receive an e-mail informing you that you have been invited to submit a secondary application.   If you somehow miss this e-mail, our status check page: will be updated...if you see an active link to complete a secondary application, this means you have been approved/invited.
  2. Not initially invited to submit a secondary application.    You may not receive notification from the admissions office immediately.   All applicants that are not invited to submit a secondary application will be  re-evaluated by the admissions committee in January and we may decide do invite additional applicants to submit a secondary application at that time. Applicants not invited to submit a secondary application at that time will be notified by e-mail that they are no longer under consideration.

Step 3 - Secondary Application (mid-July through December)

Invitations to submit secondary applications are sent by e-mail.  If you somehow miss this e-mail, our status check page: will be updated...if you see an active link to complete a secondary application, this means you have been approved/invited.

The deadline for submitting secondary application materials is one month after the invitation is sent (e.g. if you receive an e-mail from the Admissions Office on August 25, you must return the completed materials by September 25).   The application is a web-based application, please do not send hard copies of supplementary materials.

Materials that we will ask for in submitting the secondary application:

  • $90 fee
  • Biographical sketch (distinct from the personal comments on the AMCAS application)
  • Statement regarding criminal conviction
  • Personal background information
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Academic/work/research experience
  • Publications, presentations, fellowship experiences
  • Medical/clinical experiences
  • Volunteer/community service experiences
  • Indication of potential interest in Dual Degree programs
  • Letters of Recommendation
    UCSD will be participating in the AMCAS Letters Service for the 2014-2015 Application Year.  Please visit for more details about this service.  We will not accept documents via hard copy.   All applicants should use the AMCAS Letters Service for all letters of recommendation. 
  • A minimum of three letters are required from individuals who can provide a well considered evaluation of your qualifications for the medical profession.  We will also accept a single "Committee Letter" compiled by your undergraduate school's pre-med advising office in lieu of the three letter minimum.   We accept a maximum of five letters.
  • Letters from faculty at your four-year undergraduate institution are encouraged but not required. Letters can come from any source, including but not limited to:  course instructors, research mentors, clinical faculty, work supervisors, non-faculty practicing physicians.  IF YOU ARE APPLYING TO THE MD/PHD PROGRAM, PLEASE NOTE THAT A MINIMUM OF TWO LETTERS SHOULD BE FROM RESEARCH-RELATED FACULTY

Possible Outcomes after the Admissions Committee Reviews your Secondary Application

  1. Invited to interview at UCSD (proceed to Step 4).
  2. Placed "on hold" for an interview. Throughout the application season, candidates that were originally placed "on hold" may be invited to interview at UCSD.  Interview scheduling typically runs through the end of March each year.   Applicants who are originally placed "on hold" but ultimately not invited to interview will be notified by e-mail that they are no longer under consideration. This notification will typically occur in mid-March.
  3. Not invited to interview.   Applicants who are not invited to interview will be notified by e-mail that they are no longer under consideration. This notification can occur at any time in the application cycle.

Step 4 - Interview

Possible Outcomes after the Interview

Offers of acceptance will not be made until after October 15. Approximately 4 weeks after their interview date, applicants will be contacted regarding one of three possible outcomes:

  1. An offer of acceptance.  Initial contact is typically made by e-mail, with a hard copy of the offer letter sent subsequently.
  2. An e-mail notification that they've been placed on the "Waiting List". The Waiting List is unranked.  For further details, see Step 5.
  3. An e-mail notification that their application is no longer being considered.

Step 5 - The Waiting Game

Accepted applicants

 Accepted applicants will receive an "Intent to Matriculate" form in the envelope with their offer letter. Per AAMC "traffic rules" applicants may hold acceptances at more than one school until May 15, so if you are undecided between two or more offers, you can actually say yes to all schools until you are comfortable making a final decision. As a courtesy to other applicants, it is recommended that you contact any school as soon as you are certain you will not be going there.  (Proceed to Step 6.)

Acceptable pool

UCSD will typically offer between 30- 50 acceptances to students who are initially placed in the "waiting list". Most of these offers of acceptance will be extended after May 15 each year.

Step 6 - Congratulations!

Welcome to the UCSD School of Medicine!

Accepted applicants will have a lot of things to take care of prior to matriculation.

Financial Aid

After we receive your signed Intent to Matriculate form, the Admissions Status Check page will allow you to download our Financial Aid Application. You can access the general Financial Aid website at: to view a brochure, sample budgets, and other useful information.

Student Affairs/Orientation

The Office of Admissions will now pass you along to our Office of Student Affairs (OSA). The OSA will be in touch with each of you regarding health clearance, personal information, and Orientation week. Please keep your contact information current with us, and check your e-mail often.

Summer Program

Information on the Summer Program can be found at:

Housing information for University-owned apartments.

UCSD apartments are one of the least expensive options for UCSD students who want to live close to campus.   Because of this, there is almost always a waiting list to get into these apartments.   The School of Medicine does have a limited number of apartments reserved for our students, but not enough room for all. It is recommended that you put yourself on the waiting list as soon as you have received an acceptance offer from UCSD.   More details about housing can be found at:


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