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Admissions Criteria and Application

Admissions Criteria

The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) admissions criteria are the same as the MD Program, but have a greater emphasis on research experience. Candidates are evaluated on their academic achievements as well as their engagement with outside activities including community engagement, clinical experience, and intellectual curiosity.


The SFESOM employs a matrix model when considering an applicant's GPA and MCAT scores.

Applicants with MCAT scores and undergraduate GPA within the following ranges are encouraged to apply to our program:

  • An MCAT Total of 494-497 and an undergraduate GPA of 3.80 or higher
  • An MCAT total of 498-499 and an undergraduate GPA of 3.60 or higher
  • An MCAT total of 500 and an undergraduate GPA of 3.00 or higher

AAMC PREview Exam

Beginning the 2023-2024 application cycle, all SFESOM applicants are required to complete the AAMC PREview exam (formerly known as the AAMC SJT) in order to be considered for an interview invitation.  

Please refer to the MD Admissions Requirements page for additional details about application and activity requirements.


All applications must be submitted to the American Medical College Application Services (AMCAS) between May 1 and October 1 at 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time. Applications to the MD-PhD Program should submit their applications prior to October 1. Applications to the MD-PhD Program are available for US citizens or permanent US residents only. We encourage applications from qualified students nationwide.

AMCAS requires two 2 additional essays for MD-PhD Program applications.

  • MSTP essay
  • Significant Research essay

Current University of Utah MD students who wish to apply must submit their application prior to October 1 of the second year of medical school, and must have approval from the School of Medicine Dean of Student Affairs.

Secondary Materials

Applicants invited to complete secondary materials will have 14 days from the date of the invitation to submit the required materials including letters of recommendation.

Letters of Recomendation

Applicants are required to submit a minimum of three (3) letters.  

  • Individual letters, letter packets, and committee letters are all accepted by SFESOM. Please refer to the  letter types accepted by AMCAS for more information.
  • All letters must be submitted to the AMCAS Letter Service and must be submitted in order to be eligible to receive a secondary application. 
  • If an applicant is having difficulties obtaining their letters within the provided timeline, or has any questions regarding letter requirements, please contact the MSTP Office at for assistance. 
  • MSTP candidates should have at least one letter that speaks directly to their research experience, dedication, and accomplishments.

Additional information:  

  • Letters are recommended to be dated within a year of application.
  • Letters are recommended to include a signature from the letter writer. Electronic or digital signatures are accepted.
  • Use of letterhead is preferred but not required.
  • Applicants are encouraged to consider requesting letters from those who may know them well, who can speak to their abilities and experience (academic and otherwise – leadership, service, personal growth, etc.), and can write a strong letter. The Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at the University of Utah requires a minimum of three letters of recommendation. All letter types are It is strongly recommended that all letters be dated within a year of application.

Please see the MD Admissions website for additional letters of recommendation requirements.

Activity Requirements

Please see the MD Admissions website for additional information on activity requirements and secondary application essays.


Applicants are required to submit a variety of statements and short answer essays throughout the application process. We encourage applicants to pull from all corners of their experiences - past and present - and focus on how those experiences have directed you toward medicine and shaped you into the physician you hope to become.

SFESOM Secondary Application Short Essays

  • Why SFESOM Essay
    • Applicants will be asked to explain why they are choosing to apply to the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at the University of Utah and how they may contribute to the school's learning culture.
  • Reapplication Essay 
    • Reapplicants to the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at the University of Utah will be asked to share how they have reshaped and reaffirmed their goals to become a physician and what motivates them to reapply to the SFESOM.

Financial Support

Students receive full tuition and a fellowship (stipend) for every year of the program. The fellowship amount for the 2023-2024 Academic Year is $35,000. Funding is also provided to attend MSTP meetings.

Students also receive health, dental, and vision insurance.

Q: Is this program funded by a Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) grant?

The program submitted an application for MSTP funding May 2022. Students will receive full tuition coverage, an annual fellowship ($35,000 for Academic Year 2022-2023), and health, dental, and vision insurance for the entirety of the program.