Step 1 - Am I eligible to apply?
UC San Diego School of Medicine does not accept students in transfer from other medical schools.
Policy regarding Pass/No Pass and On-Line coursework due to COVID-19 impact
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.
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.
The UCSD School of Medicine will accept grades of Pass/No Pass for all coursework for Winter 2020, Spring 2020, the entire 2020 - 2021 academic year, and Summer 2021 We have always accepted grades from online courses and will continue to do so.
MCAT Policy – updated May 2021
Given the impacts on MCAT testing from the COVID pandemic over the past year, the following is our policy with regards MCAT for the 2021-22 admissions cycle:
We will accept applications from individuals who have been unable to take the MCAT due to COVID-related test cancellations. For these candidates, we will base secondary application decisions on the information that is available to us at the time of the application.
For all applicants, we will make decisions regarding interviews without consideration of the MCAT score.
We have a strong preference for applicants to have taken the MCAT before we make final, post-interview admissions decisions for the entering class of 2022. We may decide to consider an applicant for an admission decision without an MCAT, on a case-by-case basis, if they were prevented from taking it due to an insurmountable barrier or extenuating circumstance despite a good-faith effort, exclusively per our determination. We will vet applicants in this position for an admissions decision without an MCAT only after they have completed an interview and not beforehand.
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.
pOLICY ON APPLICATION UPDATES
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.
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
- 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 (ucsd.edu) to your safe list and make sure you regularly check your junk mail as the secondary application is time-sensitive.
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Applicants that have received a fee waiver from AMCAS will automatically have their secondary fee waived on the UCSD Secondary payment page. Applicants that were not given a fee waiver by AMCAS may still be able to receive a waiver. To inquire, email email@example.com with an explanation of why you would like to request a fee waiver. Please wait until after receiving a secondary application invitation to inquire.
All applicants to UC San Diego School of Medicine must submit an AMCAS application during the official application time period of May 27, 2021 to October 15, 2021. Applicants may begin working on their application as early as May 3, 2021, but will not be able to submit until May 27. Deadline extensions cannot be granted for submission of this application.
- $120 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
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 2021 - 2022 Application Year. Please visit the AAMC
for more details about this service.
- 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 to the MD/PhD program, please note that a minimum of two letters should be from research-related faculty
- 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.
POSSIBLE OUTCOMES AFTER THE ADMISSIONS COMMITTEE REVIEWS YOUR SECONDARY APPLICATION
- 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 2021-2022 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.
Step 5 - The Waiting Game
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 year...it 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: