Application Process

Step 1 - Am I eligible to apply?

UC San Diego School of Medicine does not accept students in transfer from other medical schools.

The UC San Diego School of Medicine will consider applications from U.S. citizens, permanent residents of the U.S. (green card holders), and DACA recipients. Applicants that do not satisfy one of these three eligibility requirements will not be considered.


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.  Exceptions may be made for students from Canadian schools - please contact to inquire.

UCSD does not have requirements regarding coursework that must be completed. The following courses are recommended to make our evaluation of your application easier, and to better prepare you for the MCAT and for medical school:

  • One academic year (2 semesters or 3 quarters) of college-level Biology
  • One academic year (2 semesters or 3 quarters) of college-level General Chemistry
  • One term (1 semester or 1 quarter) of college-level Biochemistry
  • One academic year (2 semesters or 3 quarters) of college-level Organic Chemistry.
  • One academic year (2 semesters or 3 quarters) of college-level Physics.
  • One academic year (2 semesters or 3 quarters) of college-level Calculus or Statistics
  • Laboratory coursework for all courses that offer corresponding labs.

    Applicants that are missing any of these courses will still be considered.
Policy regarding Pass/No Pass and On-Line coursework due to COVID-19 impact
The UCSD School of Medicine will accept, without prejudice, grades of Pass/No Pass for all coursework for Winter 2020, Spring 2020, the entire 2020  - 2021 academic year, and Summer 2021     For coursework outside of these time frames, Pass/No Pass are accepted but we would not recommend more than one course per academic year be taken Pass/No Pass.

We have always accepted grades from online courses and will continue to do so.

MCAT Policy – updated June 2023 

Given the impacts on MCAT testing from the COVID pandemic over the past years, the following is our policy with regards MCAT for the 2023-24 admissions cycle (entering class of Fall 2024):  

  • MCAT "Expiration":  We will accept MCAT scores from January 2019 through December 2023.   Applicants that only have scores from prior to 2019, we will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact and include your MCAT scores.
  • We will not consider MCAT scores taken in early 2024
  • Applicants will not be invited to submit a secondary application unless they have an MCAT score available
  • For all applicants, we will make decisions regarding interviews without consideration of the MCAT score (i.e. the MCAT score will be hidden from the applications that our screeners will review)    
  • If an applicant was able to sit for an MCAT exam but feels their MCAT performance or ability to take the MCAT was significantly adversely affected by a pandemic-related issue, we will allow a short statement describing that hardship or adversity to be appended to their secondary application.

Step 2 - Primary Application
(MAY 27 - OCTOBER 15)

American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS)

All applicants to the UCSD School of Medicine must complete the application available through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS).

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 October 15 will be considered. Extensions to this deadline are not granted.


The UCSD SOM Admissions Committee does not consider updates to grades or activities or any other documents outside of the AMCAS application and secondary application process.   Please do not send additional materials supporting your application.

Possible Outcomes after the Admissions Committee reviews your AMCAS application

  • 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.
  • 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 to 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 nOVEMBER)

Invitations to submit secondary applications are sent by e-mail. All communication is through e-mail. Please add the UC San Diego domain ( to your safe list and make sure you regularly check your junk mail as the secondary application is time-sensitive.
+ Expand All


Do not send any letters of recommendation directly to the Admissions Office. UC San Diego will be participating in the AMCAS Letters Service for the 2022 - 2023 Application Year. Please visit the AMCAS Letter Service site​ for more details.

  • 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 for the MD program, and a maximum of seven letters for the MD/PhD program.  If you are applying for the MD/Ph.D program, please note that a minimum of at least one letter of recommendation is required from a research-related faculty mentor, and it is strongly recommended that you submit at least one letter from a clinical faculty, practicing physician, or a supervisor/mentor who observed clinical shadowing or volunteer work you completed.
  • Letters from faculty at your four-year undergraduate institution are encouraged but not required. We do not have any requirements re: the sources of your letters (e.g. you don't need a specific number from "science" vs. "non-science" experiences).   Letters can come from any source, including but not limited to: course instructors, research mentors, clinical faculty, work supervisors, non-faculty practicing physicians.


  • Invited to interview at UCSD (proceed to Step 4).
  • 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.
  • 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

We use the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format.   For the 2023 - 2024 cycle, we will conduct all interview "virtually" and will not be hosting applicants on campus.  Applicants will rotate between 8 different rooms, referred to as a station. At each station you will be given a written vignette discussing a problem, an ethical dilemma, or a patient case. You will have 2 minutes to read the vignette before and think before entering the room, where a member of our admissions committee will be waiting. You will spend 8 minutes at each station discussing the situation portrayed in the vignette. Due to limited space and interviewers, applicants will go through the MMI in two different groups. Thus, during your interview day, you will have approximately 90 minutes of “down time” either before or after your interviews (i.e. while the other group is being interviewed). During this down time, you will be allowed to stay in a conference room, or you may walk around and explore the campus.

Approximately one week before your scheduled interview date, you will receive an email from us with instructions on how to join the virtual MMI setting, as well as information about your expected time commitment for the interview day.       

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:

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


Accepted applicants

Accepted applicants will initially be asked to indicate they accept the offer of admission via our online application portal.  Per AAMC "traffic rules" applicants may hold acceptances an unlimited number of schools until April 15.  On April 15, applicants can only hold 3 acceptances, and on April 30, applicants can only hold one acceptance.   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 or until these deadlines arrive. 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.)


UCSD will typically offer between 15 - 30 acceptances to students who are initially placed in the "waiting list". Most of these offers of acceptance will be extended after May 1 each year.

Explanation of "rolling" admissions

We are aware that the perception of many applicants is that if you don't apply very early in the cycle, you are hurting your chances for admission.   This is not true and in fact has never been true for UCSD.   
We do have "rolling" admissions.   But, what rolling admissions means from our perspective is that we plan to make a small number of offers spread throughout the does NOT mean that we make all of our offers in October and November and reject any applicants that happen to be reviewed later.   
It is very much in our interest to try to form the best possible incoming class, and thus we do not make any decisions based on how early or how late we receive or review an application.   We leave plenty of room for strong applicants that apply later in the cycle.

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.

Click Here if you are an accepted applicant: