Admissions Criteria

feedbackWe evaluate applications against minimum and average standards in 7 specific areas. Applicants must achieve at least the minimum level of performance in all 7 areas and be average or above in 5 out of the 7 areas in order to be eligible for further consideration. The 7 areas are listed below.

For your assistance, we have created a Self Assessment, which is designed to assist you in evaluating whether a career as a medical doctor is right for you and to help you determine if your qualifications, personal characteristics, and goals are a good match for applying to the University of Utah School of Medicine. Complete the Self Assessment.

We strongly encourage students to meet with their premedical advisor as they prepare to apply to medical school. Premedical advisors are familiar with the admissions requirements of most medical schools.

Academic Requirements

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The minimum acceptable GPA is 3.2. Applicants with a science, non-science or overall GPA below 3.2 will not be considered. The average GPA is approximately 3.6 in science, non-science and overall.  All grades received for college credit are included in the AMCAS GPA calculation. If a course is repeated, both grades received for that course are calculated into the GPA.

To determine average criteria, the applicant's GPA is compared to the average GPA of students who have gone on to attend medical school from the applicant's undergraduate institution.  

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

All applicants are required to take the MCAT within 3 years of their application.

The minimum acceptable score for each section of the 2013, 2014 and January, 2015 MCAT is 7. The average overall score is 30. For tests taken in 2013, 2014 and January, 2015 only, the best score for each section will be considered.

If the test is taken after April 1, 2015, only the scores from the latest test will be accepted.  The minimum acceptable score is 123 in each of the four sections. 

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Required Activities

Community/Volunteer Service

male communit volunteerCommunity/Volunteer service is defined as involvement in a service activity without constraint or guarantee of reward or compensation. The medical profession is strongly oriented to service in the community. Applicants should demonstrate a commitment to the community by involving themselves in service and volunteer activities. Work performed in service learning courses and community service performed as part of employment does not satisfy this requirement.

  • The minimum requirement is 36 hours completed within the last 4 years.
  • The average  is 100 hours completed within the last 4 years.
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Leadership is defined as a position of responsibility for others, with a purpose to guide or direct others. Dedication, determination, ability to make decisions and a willingness to contribute to the welfare of others are indicators of one's ability to succeed in medicine. Individuals with these characteristics readily accept positions of leadership and are an asset to their community and profession. Leadership capacity can be demonstrated in a variety of ways. Positions in employment, church, community and school organizations including coaching, tutoring and mentoring will satisfy this requirement.

  • The minimum leadership requirement is 1 leadership experience lasting 3 months within the last 4 years.
  • The average applicant has 3 different leadership experiences each lasting 3 months within the last 4 years. 

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Research is defined as involvement in a scholarly or scientific hypothesis investigation that is supervised by an individual with verifiable research credentials. Research may be in any discipline and performed at any site. However, it must involve the testing of a hypothesis.

    • The minimum is part of a class where applicant answered or tested a hypothesis and received a grade.  Examples:  A writing project, laboratory work, etc.  NOTE:  Research completed as part of a premedical course requirement will not be accepted.
    • The average is hypothesis based research that is supervised by an individual with verifiable research credentials.  May include independent research or senior thesis.

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Physician Shadowing

Physician shadowing is defined as the observation of a physician as that individual cares for and treats patients and carries out the other responsibilities of a medical practice.

Shadowing must be done with an allopathic (M.D.) or osteopathic (D.O.) physician in their practice in the United States. Time spent shadowing medical students, interns, residents, fellows, physician assistants, podiatrists, veterinarians, nurses, EMT's, PhD's etc., will not be considered. It is our recommendation that applicants shadow several physicians who work in various specialties including primary care. Shadowing family members who are physicians is discouraged.

  • The minimum requirement is 8 hours shadowing a physician(s).
  • The average applicant spends 24 hours with a physician(s).
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Patient Exposure

Patient exposure is defined as direct interaction with patients and hands-on involvement in the care of conscious people in a health care related environment, attending to their health maintenance, progression or end of life needs. It is important that the applicant be comfortable working with and around people who are ill, sick, injured or diseased.

Direct patient exposure can be gained in a variety of ways e.g. volunteering or working in hospitals, emergency rooms, clinics or nursing care facilities, hospice or physical rehabilitation centers. Patient contact does not include indirect patient care such as housekeeping (cleaning operating or patient rooms) staffing the hospital information desk, or working in a pharmacy.

medical students examining patient

  • The minimum patient exposure requirement is 32 hours.
  • The average experience is 48 hours.

Note:  Physician shadowing and caring for friends and family members cannot be used to meet this requirement.

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