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Admission Procedure

Online Application

Each applicant must complete the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) application: AMCAS Application

Please note:

  • MSTP applicants are required to provide additional information regarding their research experience and motivation to pursue a physician-scientist career in the AMCAS application
  • the number of applicants far exceeds the number of interview positions available

Applicants are thus encouraged to submit their AMCAS application as soon as possible. Applicants should be aware that we receive their application only after transcripts have been fully verified through AMCAS, a process that can take four weeks or longer. The process for the submission of all materials, including letters of recommendation, is the same for MSTP and MD applicants. Materials do not need to be sent separately to the MSTP Office. The UC San Diego SOM will send out Secondary Application information once an applicant's AMCAS application has been received. In order to be considered for the MSTP, you must receive a Secondary Application from the UC San Diego SOM. For more information about dates and deadlines, refer to UC San Diego SOM Application Process.

Letters of Recommendation

UC San Diego participates in the AMCAS Letters Service. A minimum of 3 letters are required from individuals who can provide a well considered evaluation of your qualifications for the medical profession:

  • A minimum of at least 1 letter of recommendation is required from a research-related faculty mentor, preferably your primary mentor.
  • It is strongly recommended that you submit at least 1 letter from a clinical faculty, practicing physician, or a supervisor/mentor who observed clinical shadowing or volunteer work you completed.
  • Please refrain from sending more than 7 letters of recommendation.


Selected candidates will be invited for a virtual interview. The admission process for the MSTP is integrated with the School of Medicine so one visit is sufficient for both. Application to the graduate programs are not required — acceptance to the MSTP includes acceptance to a graduate program. 

The interview day consists of interviews by 2 faculty members who are members of the admissions committee and 1 MSTP student. Interviews are non-confrontational and are conducted one-on-one. Faculty often ask about an applicant's research experiences, career goals and the desire to become a physician scientist. The School of Medicine also conducts MMIs during one of the interview days.

Contact Information

For additional information about the application process, admission, or about the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), contact us at:

Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)
UC San Diego School of Medicine
9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0606
La Jolla, CA 92093-0606

Phone: 858-534-0689