Admissions Requirements

We consider how you balance outside activities and responsibilities with school work to be an indicator of your ability to deal with the rigors of life as a physician. The committee is interested in your motivation for attending medical school. As such, we require letters of recommendation and activity forms to better get to know you. See below for requirements in each area.

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. 

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.


Required Activities

Many preparatory experiences could reasonably be considered under more than one heading and you should list them in each applicable area so that you do not fall short of meeting the criteria in any areas. The Admissions Committee suggests that you make your decisions about where to list your activities based on the impact that they have had on you and on your personal development. Overlapping or "double dipping" experiences may be viewed negatively if done in excess.

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.

  • We require that you complete at least 36 total hours within the last 4 years. To be a competitive applicant, we recommend that you endeavor to complete at least 100 hours 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, the community, and school organizations including coaching, tutoring, and mentoring will satisfy this requirement.

  • We require that you have at least 1 leadership experience lasting 3 months within the last 4 years.  Competitive applicants will have 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.

  • We require that you participate in hypothesis-based research.  This may be part of a class where you answered or tested a hypothesis and received a grade. Examples: A writing project, laboratory work, etc.

Applicants with stronger research experience will have completed hypothesis-based research outside of the classroom 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 medical practice.

Shadowing must be done with an allopathic (MD) or osteopathic (DO) physician in their practice in the United States. Time spent shadowing medical students, interns, residents, fellows, physician assistants, podiatrists, veterinarians, nurses, EMTs, PhDs, 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.

  • We require that you shadow a physician for at least 8 hours.  Competitive applicants will have shadowed a variety of physicians for at least 24 hours.

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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 healthcare-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

  • We require that you complete at least 32 hours of direct patient care. Competitive applicants will have completed at least 48 hours.

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

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Letters of Recommendation

The University of Utah School of Medicine requires three letters of recommendation but will accept up to four letters. All letters should be dated. We strongly recommend that all letters be dated within a year of application.

Although we do not accept premedical committee letters, we will accept up to four individual letters that are included in the packet.  You will indicate the names of the letter writers on the secondary application and we will download those specific letters.

We recommend that applicants provide at least one ACADEMIC letter where the letter writer can speak to your academic ability and/or intellectual curiosity. This letter should be from someone who directly taught or supervised you in an academic setting. It can be from a professor you did research with or a professor that you worked with as a teaching assistant.

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

Letters from employers, military supervisors, athletic coaches, and/or religious leaders can also be part of the collection of 3 to 4 recommendations. Letters should be from someone who will address your intellectual curiosity or service or leadership ability.

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

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NOTICE: Due to guidance released and monitored by the University to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Admissions team is working remotely. The EHSEBoffice will be closed to the public until restrictions have changed.

Any questions can still be addressed via email. 

Phone: 801-581-7498
800-444-8638 extension 17498

Fax: 801-581-2931


Eccles Health Sciences Education Bldg
26 South 2000 East, #5900
Salt Lake City, UT 84112