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Admissions Criteria and Application Tab

Admissions Criteria

The MD-PhD Program admissions criteria are the same as the MD Program, but have a greater emphasis on research experience. Please refer to the MD Preparing for Medical School website for details about premedical coursework, Grade Point Average (GPA), and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score requirements.

Candidates with higher MCAT scores than the minimum (500 total) will be considered more competitive.

In addition, candidates are evaluated on their engagement with outside activities including community engagement, clinical experience and intellectual curiosity. Candidates must have research experience to be considered for the MD-PhD Program.

Visit the MD Admissions Recommendations website for details about recommended activities.


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.

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. 

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

  • MD-PhD essay
  • Significant Research essay

Early Decision Program (EDP)

The Early Decision Program (EDP) was initially established for medical school only; however, applicants may petition to apply to the MD-PhD program after the School of Medicine Admissions Office has made a final decision. Acceptance offers must be sent by October 1.

If applying through the EDP, applications must be submitted to AMCAS no later than 11:59 pm EST on August 1. EDP applicants must take the MCAT no later than June 30. Applicants not accepted under the EDP will be automatically placed in the regular applicant pool, at which time applicants may still apply to the MD-PhD Program. 

Secondary Materials

Applicants invited to complete secondary materials will have 30 days from the date of the invitation to submit the required materials including letters of recommendation.

Application Fee - Waived

The application fee has been waived for all MD-PhD applicants. We also honor the AMCAS fee waiver. 

Letters of Recommendation

The University of Utah School of Medicine requires three letters of recommendation, but will accept up to four letters. It is strongly recommended that all letters be dated within a year of application.

All letters of recommendation must be on letterhead, have a valid signature and be submitted to the AMCAS Letter Service.

Individual letters included in a committee letter or letter packet can be submitted toward the four (4) letters of recommendation.

MD-PhD candidates should have at least one letter that speaks directly to their research experience, dedication, and accomplishments.

We recommend that applicants provide at least one ACADEMIC letter where the letter writer can speak to an applicant's academic ability and/or intellectual curiosity.

We recommend that applicants provide at least one MENTORING letter where the letter writer can speak to an applicant's commitment to service, leadership ability, growth as an individual, and/or interpersonal/teamwork skills.

These letters should be from individuals who directly taught or supervised you in an academic setting and can address your intellectual curiosity, service, and leadership ability.

We do not accept letters from University Regents/Trustees, University Administrators (i.e. President, Provost, Faculty Senate President) and Publicly Elected Officials. Avoid letters from family, friends, or parents' colleagues.

Activity Requirements

Community Engagement

Demonstrated leadership experience and volunteer community service.

Leadership experiences and volunteer community service experiences are vitally important for all medical school applicants, as the medical profession is strongly oriented toward leadership and service within one’s community.

Dedication, determination, and decision making with a willingness to contribute to the welfare of others are indicators of one's ability to succeed in medicine. Individuals with these attributes readily accept leadership positions and are assets to their community and the medical profession.

Activity Criteria: 

  • Leadership and volunteer community service experiences can be performed domestically or abroad, and should occur within the past 5 years.
  • Leadership experiences should last longer than 3 months.
  • Leadership experiences may include positions of responsibility of others through employment, school, religious groups, clubs, or community service.
    • Roles may include teaching, tutoring, mentoring, training.
    • Titles may include but are not limited to: President, Vice President, Lead, Supervisor, Manager, Teacher, Chairperson, Principal, Director.
  • Volunteer community service must be served without reward or compensation.


Clinical Experience

Demonstrated understanding of the typical day of a physician, interaction with different specialties, medical environments, and patients with meaningful experiences in a clinical setting.

Working alongside physicians and other healthcare professionals is helpful in determining future career goals, and it is important that the applicant has a thorough understanding of what it is like to work in a healthcare setting as a practicing physician. This includes having an idea of how science is involved in patient care, as well as being comfortable around individuals who are physically and/or mentally ill. This knowledge is best obtained through a combination of direct patient care services and physician shadowing.

Due to COVID-19 and other general patient privacy concerns, the committee recognizes that there are many barriers for pre-medical applicants to shadow health care professionals at this time.  

Activity Criteria:

  • Participation in activities must have occurred since high school graduation.
  • Patient care experiences can include international work, however, strong domestic (United States or Canada) experience is recommended.
  • Direct patient exposure is expected, and best obtained by volunteering or working directly one-on-one with patients.
    • Direct patient exposure experiences may include any shadowing or hands-on care where the applicant provided treatment or diagnostic evaluations, translating, or assistance with direct scheduling and instructions that impact patient care.
    • Other acceptable experiences may include being a medical scribe, a clinical research coordinator (if it includes interaction with patients), and telehealth providers (if supplementing a non-telehealth experience).
  • Indirect patient exposure experiences do not meet these criteria.
    • This includes tasks such as housekeeping, staffing the information desk, administration, or working in a pharmacy.
  • Caring for an ill family member does not meet these criteria.
  • Shadowing experiences must be conducted with a physician or healthcare professional in the United States or Canada.
    • Shadowing primary care physicians is encouraged when possible.
    • Other opportunities for healthcare professional shadowing may include allopathic and osteopathic physicians, interns, residents, fellows, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, EMT’s, and paramedics.
    • Locations may include hospitals, emergency rooms, clinics, nursing care facilities, hospice, group homes, home health, rehabilitation centers, humanitarian projects, etc.
  • Some applicants may have functioned as military medics, EMT’s, nurses, CNA’s, MA’s, etc. If these activities are listed, the Admissions Committee will consider whether the applicant has actually functioned in the role they are credentialed in. 


Intellectual Curiosity

Involvement in activities that demonstrate an applicant’s pursuits of intellectual curiosity, participation, and achievement.

The medical field is ever changing and physicians are required to keep up with current procedures, treatments and protocols.

Applicants should express their independent pursuit of intellectual growth through participation in activities that demonstrate their interest in continuous learning. Applicants should articulate how these activities will contribute to their preparation for medical school and ultimately their performance as a physician.  

Activity Criteria: 

  • Participation in activities must have occurred since high school graduation.
  • Activities should be identified as part of a class or an independent activity.
  • Applicants should be prepared to describe their specific role and the hypothesis or goal of the activity.
  • Include the number of hours involved and whether the activity resulted in a publication, poster, conference presentation, thesis, capstone project, patent, performance, distributed recordings, app or program development, awards or recognition, etc.
  • If your activity was published or “in press”, please provide the specific citation in the Activity Description and, if possible, a website link.


  • Research
    • Including, but not limited to biomedical, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, cultural awareness, social science, humanities, agriculture, ethics, fine arts studies, etc.
  • Academic Projects and Achievements
    • Thesis, capstone projects, poster presentations, awards or recognitions, academic endeavors or certifications outside of your degrees or minors that further your education or skills.
  • Creative Endeavors that Expand Cognitive Processes
    • Artistic or musical performance/pursuit, podcasts, creative endeavors, entrepreneurship, program development, teaching other skills and talents you have mastered, etc.



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.

UUSOM Secondary Application Short Essays

  • Why UUSOM Essay
    • Applicants will be asked to explain why they are choosing to apply to the University of Utah School of Medicine.
  • COVID-19 Essay
    • This essay will give applicants a designated space to reflect upon their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.


FAQs Tab

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 ($32,000 for Academic Year 2022-2023), and health, dental, and vision insurance for the entirety of the program.

Financial Support Tab

Students receive full tuition and a fellowship (stipend) for every year of the program. The fellowship amount for the 2022-2023 Academic Year is $32,000. Funding is also provided to attend MD-PhD meetings.

Students also receive health, dental, and vision insurance.

Review Process and Timeline Tab

Admissions Timeline

AMCAS Application Deadline

October 1 — 11:59pm EST

Interview Weekend

September 15-17, 2022

Interview Weekend

October 6-8, 2022

Interview Weekend

November 3-5, 2022

Interview Weekend

December 1-3, 2022

Student Offer Letters Sent

January 1–March 15

Second Look Day

To Be Determined

Deadline to Accept  

April 30

Start Date

June 1