MD Program FAQ

MD Program Admissions

Prerequisites and Required Experience

Q:  Is shadowing experience required?
A:  We do not require shadowing experience, but applicants should have clinical experience that illustrates their interest in and knowledge of medicine.

Q:  What are your prerequisites?
A:  We require a minimum of one year of biology with lab, one year of chemistry with lab, at least one course in physics, and at least one course in biochemistry. While these courses represent the minimum prerequisites, most competitive applicants have taken above and beyond these courses.

Q:  Will only general coursework satisfy the prerequisite?
A:  No, applicants may enroll in advanced coursework to fulfill prerequisites.

Q:  Can I be in the process of completing coursework and still apply to medical school?
A:  Yes, applicants may be in the process of completing coursework but must show successful completion with receipt of a passing grade by June of the year they intend to matriculate.

Q:  Do you accept pass/no pass grading?
A:  Yes, we accept pass/no pass grading.

Q:  Are community college courses accepted?
A:  Yes, we accept coursework taken at accredited institutions, including accredited community colleges.

Q:  Is AP credit accepted?
A:  We accept AP credit for chemistry and physics provided that credit appears on your transcript. 


Q:  Is the MCAT required?
A:  Yes, the MCAT is required for consideration. Applicants should have scores from within three years of the year of matriculation and no later than September of the year they are applying.

Q:  How are multiple MCAT scores viewed?
A:  For applicants with multiple MCAT scores, the most recent exam score will be utilized.

Application Materials

Q:  How many letters of recommendation are required?
A:  We require a minimum of three and a maximum of five letters of recommendation. At least two of the letters should be from faculty who have taught you or supervised you in research. We expect to receive committee letters or letter packets, if available at your institution.

Q:  Do you accept application updates?
A:  Applicants invited to complete a secondary may include updated information in the secondary responses. After the interview invitation, applicants may provide updates to our office at

Q:  Does UCSF accept letters of interest or letters of intent?
A:  Letters of interest are not necessary and not included in applicant files.

Financial Aid

Q:  Is financial aid available for medical school?
A:  Yes, about 85% of UCSF medical students receive some type of aid in the form of scholarships, loans, or both. Financial aid is determined based on need and applicants should follow the UCSF Financial Aid instructions to apply for aid.

Q:  What is the average loan debt for a UCSF School of Medicine graduate?
A:  The average debt for a UCSF School of Medicine graduate in 2022 was $141,000, one of the lowest average debts among public medical schools.

Campus and Life in San Francisco

Q:  Do you offer campus tours?
A:  Currently we offer virtual tours of the Parnassus Heights and Mission Bay campuses. Explore two of our main campuses at

Q:  Does UCSF offer campus housing?
A:  Yes, UCSF offers housing to our graduate and professional students. More information about housing can be found at

Q:  Do students need a car to live in San Francisco?
A:  UCSF operates a shuttle system that connects the San Francisco locations (Parnassus, Mission Bay, Mount Zion, ZSFG, and the VAMC). The shuttles are free for students and many students take advantage of the UCSF shuttles. During Foundations 2, many students find it more convenient to own a car, as they may have rotations that take them to UCSF sites outside of San Francisco. Learn more on our Clinical Learning Sites webpage.