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Medical Education

Getting Started

What to do

  1. Visit the AMCAS site to submit your application and create Transcript Request Forms to send to the registrars of all colleges you have attended.
  2. Make sure you will have completed all course requirements for admission to the UCSF School of Medicine by June of the year of entry.
  3. Be sure that you have taken the MCAT by September of the year before intended entry into medical school.

Important Information

Course Requirements

We strongly recommend that premedical students pursue a four-year undergraduate curriculum and obtain a baccalaureate degree before entering medical school.

However, we only require completion of three years (135 quarter units or 90 semester units) of acceptable transfer college credit from an accredited institution, including the required college-level courses listed below. Only 105 acceptable quarter units can be transferred from a junior or community college.

Required Courses  

General Chemistry, one year with laboratory  
Organic Chemistry, minimum of two quarters
Physics, one year with laboratory
General Biology, one year with laboratory, including the study of vertebrate zoology 

Courses in vertebrate embryology, genetics, cell physiology, or comparative vertebrate anatomy, with laboratory, will satisfy the biology requirement for admission.

Advanced Placement credit will be accepted for the general chemistry and general physics requirements for admission if the credit is verified on your college transcript.

We also recommend that premedical students take mathematics courses, upper-division biological science courses, humanities courses, and English composition courses.

Undergraduate Majors

We welcome applicants who have pursued a wide range of undergraduate disciplines. Students who elected to major in the humanities and social sciences are also expected to complete the required science courses. This does not mean that we encourage students to pursue a smattering of knowledge in a great many subjects. Rather, we believe that you gain the richest, most satisfying intellectual experience from the in-depth study of a subject that captures your passion.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), required of all applicants, is administered multiple times per year. We encourage applicants to take the MCAT in the spring rather than the summer. This way, you can take the test again if you feel that your initial test scores do not reflect your ability. For applicants who decide to take the MCAT more than once, the committee looks at the most recent scores. We require the new MCAT for applications submitted by October 15, 2017, and the latest MCAT we will consider will be the September 2017 exam.

Commitment to Diversity

The School of Medicine welcomes all applicants without discrimination. The School of Medicine has a long-standing commitment to increasing the number of physicians from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic populations. As a result, over the last 35 years, UCSF has had one of the highest enrollment and graduation rates of underrepresented medical students in the U.S. UCSF’s commitment to diversifying the physician workforce also includes LGBT populations, socio-economically disadvantaged populations, and individuals with disabilities.

Academic Performance

Academic excellence is one of several ways students may demonstrate a high degree of motivation and capability for the medical profession. At UCSF, academic performance is evaluated in the context of other factors, such as the difficulty of the course of study selected, the number of units attempted, and an individual's background. Although applicants who have a grade-point average (GPA) below 3.20 generally are not considered favorably for admission, applicants who have nontraditional backgrounds should not be discouraged. In addition, students should not select courses only for the purpose of raising their GPA.

Selection Factors

Selection is based on an appraisal of those intellectual and personal characteristics that the admissions committee regards as desirable for prospective medical students and physicians. Both cognitive (primarily academic) and non-cognitive factors, such as the applicant's statement and extracurricular activities play an important part in the selection process. Based on the evaluation of these factors, a limited number of applicants (500) are selected for interview.

Alternatives to Medical School

There are many alternatives to medical school. We recommend working with your undergraduate institution to explore matches for your grades, abilities and interests.