Applicant GPA is one of the most important factors for medical school admissions, which is why many students worry about medical school GPA requirements. The admissions committee look at your GPA and MCAT score to assess your academic readiness and to judge if you have an aptitude for medical sciences.

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How Important is Your GPA for Medical School? What are Medical School GPA Requirements? What Are the Most Common Medical School GPA Requirements? Can You Apply To Medical Schools With Higher GPA Requirements Than Yours? Is it Possible to Get Accepted Below the GPA Average? Is My GPA Competitive? How Does GPA Rank Among Other Characteristics? What To Do If You Have a Low GPA FAQs

How Important is Your GPA for Medical School?

So, just how important is your GPA? What should you be aiming for? How does your score compare with the score of others? Can you apply to medical schools where you do not meet the GPA requirement? Here’s the experience of our student Julia K., who was unfortunately unsuccessful in her first attempt at medical school applications due to her GPA:

“I did not meet the GPA requirement for this year's admission cycle as I was 0.2 % off.” – Julia K., BeMo Student

This kind of severity in admissions is not surprising. Dr. Jaime Cazes, MD and experienced member of the admissions board at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto suggests that your GPA can often be seen as better proof of your academic preparedness for medical school than your MCAT, since “a GPA is a good assessment of your accomplishment over time as opposed to a one-time standardized test.”

So having a high GPA is undoubtedly important. But Dr. Cazes also counsels that the weight of GPA “really does vary school to school”. As this article will illustrate, each medical school establishes its own policies regarding GPA assessment, which takes into account applicant background, the school’s mission to admit in-state or in-province applicants, and how many seats are available in each new class. “Each school has their own rules when it comes to MCAT and GPA calculation,” said Dr. Cazes, so you need to examine what those rules are before you apply.

What are Medical School GPA Requirements?

Every medical school in the US and medical schools in Canada have their own GPA requirements. To get an idea of what you’re up against, here’re some stats to indicate what kind of GPA requirements you must aim to meet and exceed:

11 MD Schools with the Lowest GPA Requirements

1. Meharry Medical College, TN

GPA requirements: 3.48

2. Howard University College of Medicine, DC

GPA requirements: 3.61

3. Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center

GPA Requirements: 3.64

4. Washington State University Elson S Floyd College of Medicine, MO\

GPA requirements: 3.64

5. Morehouse School of Medicine

GPA Requirements: 3.65

6. University of California, Davis School of Medicine, CA

GPA requirements: 3.67

7. Brody School of Medicine

GPA requirements: 3.67

8. University of California, Riverside, School of Medicine, CA

GPA requirements: 3.68

9. Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

GPA requirements: 3.68

10. San Juan Bautista School of Medicine

GPA Requirements: 3.69

11. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine

GPA requirements: 3.71

10 MD Schools with Highest GPA Requirements

1.      NYU Grossman School of Medicine, NY

GPA requirements: 3.84

2.      Perelman School of Medicine, PA

GPA requirements: 3.96

3.      Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, MD

GPA requirements: 3.96

4.      Harvard Medical School, MA

GPA requirements: 3.95

5.      Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, TN

GPA requirements: 3.94

6.      University of Virginia School of Medicine, VA

GPA requirements: 3.93

7.      Yale School of Medicine, CT

GPA requirements: 3.92

8.      Washington University at Saint Louis School of Medicine, MO

GPA requirements: 3.94

9.      University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences in the Pritzker School of Medicine, IL

GPA requirements: 3.93

10.   Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, MN

GPA requirements: 3.94

10 DO Schools with Highest GPA Requirements

1.      University of Texas Health Science Center College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC/TCOM)

GPA requirements: 3.81

2.      A.T. Still University of Health Sciences Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM)

GPA requirements: 3.73

3.      Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (SHSU-COM)

GPA requirements: 3.73

4.      Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (UP-KYCOM)

GPA requirements: 3.62

5.      Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM)

GPA requirements: 3.68

6.      Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (WesternU/COMP)

GPA requirements: 3.66

7.      Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MU-COM)

GPA requirements: 3.70

8.      Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM)

GPA requirements: 3.56

9.      Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM)

GPA requirements: 3.62

10.   Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM/MWU)

GPA requirements: 3.69

10 DO Schools with the Lowest GPA Requirements

1.      Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM)

GPA requirements: 3.59

2.      Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM-NY)

GPA requirements: 3.51

3.      DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM)

GPA requirements: 3.58

4.      Nova Southeastern University Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (NSU-KPCOM)

GPA requirements: 3.71

5.      California Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine (CHSU-COM)

GPA requirements: 3.47

6.      Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM)

GPA requirements: 3.52

7.      Pacific Northwest University College of Osteopathic Medicine (PNWU-COM)

GPA requirements: 3.55

8.      William Carey University, College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM)

GPA requirements: 3.53

9.      Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM)

GPA requirements: 3.58

10.   Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OSU-COM)

GPA requirements: 3.68

Want to know how to get into med school with a low GPA? Watch this video!

What Are the Most Common Medical School GPA Requirements?

Your GPA is an important consideration for medical school admissions committees, but there are so many others. Dr. Neel Mistry says “to optimize your chance of getting into medical school, you want to have a solid application,” but “this means not just having a stellar GPA and MCAT.” Dr. Mistry points to the fact that the University of Toronto determines your GPA by removing the lowest mark from your transcripts. So, while academic excellence is helpful, you should also focus on, according to Dr. Mistry, “being thoroughly involved with research, extracurriculars, and leadership experiences, along with awards and scholarships.”

As we mentioned, each university will have its own set of medical school prerequisites and many set minimum medical school GPA requirements to filter out applicants. Admissions committees have thousands upon thousands of applications to review each year, so setting minimum requirements helps to weed out those they do not feel are best suited to handle the difficulty of medical school. While there are some medical schools that don't require the MCAT, many schools do and also set minimum MCAT scores required for consideration, often along with the minimum GPA requirements.

Do All Schools Have a GPA Requirement?

Some medical schools, however, don't believe in assigning a minimum acceptable GPA because these schools place importance on reviewing applicants holistically and consider every application they receive regardless of GPA and MCAT scores. In line with these views, some schools send out medical school secondary essays to every single applicant, whereas others may screen using GPA and MCAT scores before sending out secondaries. It's important to note that just because a school doesn't set minimum GPA or MCAT requirements, it's not necessarily easier to get into and most accepted students still have very competitive scores.

So, What is the Most Common GPA Requirement?

In general, setting the minimum GPA requirement at 3.0 seems to be a common practice among medical schools that assign these standards. It's also common to see different GPA standards in place for in-state vs out of state applicants. For example, the University of Calgary sets different GPA requirements for in province vs out of province applicants, requiring a higher GPA for the non-resident group. There are also medical schools that set much higher minimum GPAs, like Virginia Commonwealth University, which sets their medical school GPA requirements at 3.3.

The following table shows the average accepted GPA for last year’s applicants, according to AAMC data (for medical schools in the US) and AFMC data (for medical schools in Canada).

Keep in mind that these numbers represent mean statistics, meaning that there were accepted students with both lower and higher scores than these. Also, matriculant data is always higher than applicant data – for example, the mean science and cumulative GPA of last year's applicants to US medical schools was 3.45 and 3.56 respectively. This shows how competitive medical school admissions are!

Also, calculating Canadian medical schools’ “average” GPA is a little difficult, as they tend to have different GPA requirements for out-of-province students and some schools have their own GPA scales. They re-calibrate student GPAs based on this scale, so it's difficult to calculate a precise average that takes all schools into account. The given figures are a rough estimate.

Can You Apply To Medical Schools With Higher GPA Requirements Than Yours?

Yes, you can but be strategic about it. You can apply to a couple of reach schools, but try to use MSAR and official school websites to select schools where you at least meet and preferably exceed the GPA requirements. Here’s how Dr. Monica Taneja, MD and our admissions expert, utilized MSAR when she was applying to medical schools:

“MSAR was a great resource as I built a list [of schools to apply to]. I utilized the GPA and MCAT ranges to make sure my statistics were within the 25-75 percentiles. I also noted the number of volunteer, work, and research experiences that accepted applicants had and focused on schools that had averages that matched my numbers.” – Dr. Monica Taneja, MD, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Our student Alison used the same method, eventually becoming a student at Dell Medical School. Alison’s experience shows that there is no such thing as a “safety” school when it comes to applying to medical school. In other words, even exceeding GPA and MCAT requirements does not guarantee “safety” from rejection:

“I basically went through just about every school in the country and figured out where what schools fit, as far as GPA and MCAT. [I figured out] my range. There's really no such thing as a safety school when applying to medical school. Yes, some [schools may] look better or feel better, but [for] every school you just gotta give your all.” – Alison, BeMo Student, current student at Dell Medical School

Do Medical Schools Look at Graduate or Postbacc GPAs?

Many schools will consider your graduate or postbacc GPAs, depending on a variety of factors. However, most medical schools will only consider undergraduate GPA in their MD application. On the other hand, some schools will give applicants with graduate degrees additional ranking points in their application, which can help their chances of getting accepted.

List of Medical Schools that Consider Graduate/Postbacc and Minimum Requirements

Canadian Medical Schools that Consider Graduate/Postbacc GPA

Is it Possible to Get Accepted Below the GPA Average?

So what does this all mean for you? That if you have a low GPA you won't be accepted and that if you have a high GPA you will be accepted? According to Dr. Mistry:

"I have seen many students over the years with perfect GPAs and MCAT not get in, while  those with less impressive statistics get in." -- Dr. Neel Mistry, MD

The truth is, yes, your GPA score is a very important factor when considering whether or not you will receive an interview and acceptance letter, but it’s not the only one. As Dr. Mistry pointed out, just because you have a certain GPA, whether it's a 3.5 GPA, 3.9 GPA or 3.0 GPA, it's impossible to determine your exact chances of getting into medical school, especially because each school has unique requirements. Dr. Mistry reiterates that “there is no set formula or algorithm for what makes a successful medical school applicant, certain factors play a bigger role than others.” That's because numbers are just numbers, and most admissions committees are interested in a variety of factors outside of your academics.

Admissions committees focus on admitting applicants with good grades and test scores, as well as those that demonstrate a strong dedication for helping others and those that can demonstrate suitability for the profession. Below, we discuss in detail how you can use each medical school application component to improve your acceptance chances if you are worried about your GPA.

Why we think GPA and MCAT should be banned from med school admissions:

Is My GPA Competitive?

You may have heard that a 3.5 GPA for med school is competitive, but that's not entirely accurate. What may be competitive for one school is not necessarily competitive for another. Indeed, applicants with GPAs above 3.5 who score well on the MCAT have better chances of acceptance than those with lower GPAs, even if they did exceptionally well on the MCAT. For example, students with GPAs between 3.40-3.59 who scored greater than 517 on the MCAT have a 70% acceptance rate compared with the 49.8% acceptance rate of those who scored the same on the MCAT but had GPAs between 3.00-3.19. While you can still get into medical school with a low GPA, it's a lot more difficult, and all other areas of your application need to really stand out.

If your GPA falls between 3.4-3.6, you can still get accepted, but in these cases, a good MCAT score can improve your chances of acceptance. Some of the easiest medical schools to get into report mean matriculant GPAs between 3.5-3.65 which means that even with a lower GPA, you can still be competitive at these schools. What's important is that you determine what the mean GPA and MCAT scores are at the schools you're considering so you can target your applications appropriately. Review medical school acceptance rates to find this information at all medical schools in the US.

How Does GPA Rank Among Other Characteristics?

GPA is not the only thing that matters when it comes to selection criteria for interviews. In fact, medical schools need to evaluate every applicant’s core competencies to ensure they are prepared for medical school. These competencies cannot be gleaned from GPA. Our student Moriah, now a student at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, who had a great GPA when applying, came to realize quickly that the admissions process is more than just numbers:

“I went to a relatively small undergrad and I was part of an Honors Program, so I was always kind of used to being a big fish in a small pond and then realizing the pond for people applying is absolutely massive ... so everyone's really competitive.” – Moriah, BeMo Student, current student at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine

Admissions officer must look at personal statements, letters of recommendation, volunteer/community service experiences, and extracurriculars to find evidence of the traits they deem important.

A study was conducted to find out what characteristics and competencies admissions officers care about the most. At the pre-interview stage, the study reported the following top ranked traits by mean importance to entering students’ success in medical school:

  1. Ethical responsibility to self and others
  2. Social skills
  3. Reliability and dependability
  4. Capacity for improvement
  5. Resilience and adaptability
  6. Service orientation
  7. Teamwork
  8. Oral communication
  9. Cultural competence

Take a look at these competencies and think about if you’ve thoroughly demonstrated them in your application materials. Remember, these were pre-interview characteristics, which means the admissions officers will be looking for them before they get a chance to meet you. For example, in your AMCAS most meaningful experiences, you can discuss areas such as capacity for improvement or cultural competence by describing a volunteer experience in a remote community. Your referees will also have a hand in corroborating evidence that you possess these traits, so make sure you choose them wisely.

What To Do If You Have a Low GPA

If you have a low GPA and are worried about your chances of acceptance at medical school, there are a few different strategies you can try to help your case. The avenues open to you will depend on where you are in the medical school application timeline. If you’re still in your undergrad or completing an alternative postgrad degree, you can focus on strategies for improving your GPA. Remember, schools look at the overall “trend” of your GPA as well, and if you can show a steady improvement, that works in your favor with admissions committees. Here are some strategies to improve your GPA:

#1 Be Strategic About Your Classes

Many students are under the mistaken impression that they need to focus only on challenging, high-level science courses to get accepted into medical school or take as many classes as possible to meet medical school GPA requirements, but this can have unintended consequences. Dr. Monica Taneja, a graduate of University of Maryland, says, “don't overload yourself on classes trying to knock out requirements.” The reason for this is not only that you may not perform well in challenging classes, but also that you will not have enough time to focus on other parts of your application. According to Dr. Taneja, “you don’t want to be spread too thin.” . While science courses do form a large part of common medical school prerequisite courses, there are also a few programs that do not ask for any coursework prerequisites or have a broader, more interdisciplinary coursework requirement, so Dr. Taneja recommends that “try and spread-out requirements over the 3-4 years of undergrad so that you can do your best in each class.”

#2 Build Good Study Habits

If you’re happy with your overall course load, and still find yourself struggling to improve your GPA, consider if you need to put in some work towards revamping your study habits. Remember, you will need good study habits and a disciplined, focused outlook to handle the challenging medical school curriculum. 

Keep in mind that the closer you get to the actual medical school application season, the less time you have for improving your GPA. The next few tips are applicable for students who are approaching or already in the medical school application season and don’t have much scope to improve their GPA before the application deadline.

#3 Do Well on Your MCAT

This is absolutely critical to keep your application competitive despite a low or average GPA. Medical school admissions committees are looking for proof of your academic readiness and ability to handle the tough medical school curriculum. Your GPA and MCAT are the two most important indicators of this ability, so if one is low, the other should be, at the very least, above average.

To get a good MCAT score, make sure you prepare well in advance for this challenging exam. Create an effective MCAT study schedule that helps you not only gain knowledge about required scientific concepts, but also hone the specific critical thinking skills required for this exam. Don’t forget to use question banks and take periodic practice tests in mock exam conditions so you can get used to the grueling MCAT format. You can also consider taking on an MCAT tutor or completing an MCAT prep course. Experts such as these can help you identify effective strategies in the following ways:

#4 Complete Advanced Research Work

Another avenue to help show your academic prowess and ability to handle advanced scientific work is to complete high-level research experience. This could be in the form of work experience on research projects in clinical or academic settings or work towards a research paper or presentation over and above your academic requirements. Develop your own research interests and focus on honing your research skills. The more rigorous and demanding the experience, the better. Here are a few of the reasons why pursuing premed research opportunities will improve your chances of getting accepted:

#5 Gain Outstanding Healthcare Experiences

Remember, with a low or average GPA, your best chance of acceptance is at schools that give more importance to a “holistic” application review. This means your medical school extracurriculars need to be spectacular and make you stand out from the crowd. Don’t just meet the minimum shadowing hours or clinical hours requirement. Take on additional responsibilities and complete more hours than the average premed student and try to cultivate the critical skills related to future success in medicine that admissions committees look for: leadership, empathy, performing under pressure, quick problem solving, and so on.

Make sure your volunteer experiences also help demonstrate these qualities. A robust medical school resume helps to show your interest and aptitude for medicine beyond the statistics and numbers. It can also help you get glowing letters of recommendation for medical school, another important aspect of a successful medical school application.

#6 Use Your Written Application to Communicate Your Strengths

If you have a low GPA, but plenty of other “strengths” in your application such as a good MCAT score, stellar extracurriculars, impressive research experience, great letters of recommendation, and so on, then make sure your application clearly highlights your greatest strengths. As Dr, Taneja says, “They (MCAT and GPA) won’t be the end all for you to get in or be rejected from a school.” For example, if you started with a low GPA of around 3.2 and then improved your grades over the years to achieve a 3.8 in the final semester, with an overall average of 3.5, make sure your medical school personal statement and medical school secondary essays clearly point towards a journey of growth and learning. If you’re unconvinced that other parts of your application are important, Dr. Taneja counsels, “the other pieces of your application are what differentiate you from a crowd and will ultimately be why a school chooses to accept you.”

If your GPA took a dip due to some specific personal circumstances, use the accommodations or diversity essay (as applicable) to talk about the extenuating factors. If you have some really impressive extracurriculars, your activity descriptions and personal statement /essays should emphasize the skills, achievements, and qualities related to those experiences. 

Remember, your secondary essays are avenue through which you can demonstrate admirable characteristics. While your PS should not focus solely on your GPA setbacks, secondaries may present you with an opportunity to own up to and explain any hurdles. Schools will send prompts that often ask you to address gaps in your academic resume or in your transcripts. Take this opportunity to discuss what you did during a gap year or why your grades were unsatisfactory during a specific time frame indicated in your materials.

#7 Consider if You Need a Gap Year

If your overall application components are strictly average or poor, and your GPA is low as well, and application season is rapidly approaching or already here, it might be time to consider if a gap year before medical school is actually the best option for you. Remember, applying to medical school is a costly and time-consuming process. You want to be sure of at least a reasonable chance of success if you’re applying in the current cycle. You can check the admission statistics in MSAR or use the BeMo medical school chance predictor to identify the schools where you have a competitive chance of acceptance based on your current stats and resume. If you’re not happy with the final list, consider taking a gap year to work on your application and make it more impressive.

For instance, many students opt to complete a post bacc program or complete a special masters program to complete medical school coursework prerequisites and/or to improve their GPA. If you have such a postgrad education with excellent grades, it can help to counter an average GPA record from your undergrad. However, make sure that the schools you plan on applying to will consider graduate school or postbacc GPA. Most of the schools that will require a certain number of course hours or a minimum undergraduate GPA to consider your post-graduate GPA. You can refer to the table above as you do your research.


1. How important is my GPA for medical school admissions?

Your GPA is one of the most important criteria for your medical school application. To drive home that point, Dr. Taneja says, “doing well in undergrad, maintaining a solid academic record, and a high MCAT score shows schools that you can handle rigorous academics.” Some schools even use a minimum GPA requirement (often along with minimum MCAT scores) to filter out applicants at the primary application stage. So, with a low GPA you may not even get a secondary application for some schools! At the same time, remember that GPA is not the only thing that matters. Schools consider your MCAT score, extracurriculars, letters of recommendation, CASPer test result, personal statement, secondary essays, and other such application components in conjunction with your GPA. Some schools prioritize “holistic” admissions, considering these other factors as important as your GPA. Once you’re past the primary application stage, most medical schools consider the larger context of your GPA as well as the specific figures. They give importance to your overall GPA trend, as well as the range and difficulty level of your courses.

2. What is the average accepted GPA for US medical schools?

According to the AAMC, the average accepted GPA for medical schools in the US is 3.71.

3. Can I be accepted to medical school with a low GPA?

While there’s no doubt that a high GPA can give you a competitive edge for medical school, it’s still possible to get into medical school with a below average or average GPA if you can prove your academic prowess and suitability for medical school via other application components. This includes your MCAT score, letters of recommendation, research experience, clinical and shadowing experience, medical school extracurriculars, personal statement, secondary essays, interview performance, etc.

4. Is my science GPA more important than my overall GPA?

This depends on the schools you’re applying to. While some schools ask for and emphasize the importance of your science GPA, others only look at your cumulative GPA. Some programs have unique requirements and in fact calculate their own GPAs, after asking you to input your transcript, based on various factors. Check the admissions websites of the schools you’re applying to so you can keep track of what kind of GPA they require.

5. What is considered a competitive GPA for medical school?

A GPA of 3.5 is the “average” for medical school so any GPA of 3.6 or above would be above average and hence, competitive. However, keep in mind that this number is not universally applicable, and the actual expectation can vary widely between schools. The most elite, competitive programs such as the ones at Ivy League medical schools would have higher average accepted GPAs, and to be competitive at such schools, you would need a GPA of 3.7 or above. On the other hand, the easiest medical schools to get into have lower average accepted GPA and a 3.5 GPA could be competitive for such schools, in combination with other impressive application components. You should check MSAR or the admissions websites of the medical schools to know the average accepted or matriculating GPA. This is what you can consider “competitive” for that medical school.

6. What GPA do I need for Canadian medical schools?

The average accepted GPA for medical schools in Canada is 3.62. Keep in mind that many Canadian medical schools have higher GPA requirements for out-of-province students. Also, some schools have their own GPA scales and re-calibrate student GPAs based on this scale, so it's difficult to calculate a precise average that takes all schools into account. The given figure is a rough estimate.

7. Should I take a gap year if I have a low GPA?

It depends on the strength of the rest of your application and the medical schools you’re targeting. If you have an overall weak application, with an average MCAT score, and you are not a competitive candidate for all the schools you’re targeting, then a gap year could provide you the opportunity to work on your application, and especially to improve your overall GPA. In the gap year, you can complete a post-bacc course, or additional postgrad coursework or degrees to boost your overall GPA and academic standing.

8. How can I improve my GPA?

If you want to improve your GPA, focus on building good study habits and pick your courses strategically so you can meet medical school requirements while also achieving and maintaining a high GPA. For example, consider taking courses where you’re familiar with the subject matter or mix in a few “easy A” options. If your GPA is low and it’s too late to improve it, make sure you do well on other med school application components such as the MCAT, extracurriculars, the interview, and so on.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting 

Disclaimer: Although we have made every effort to provide the most accurate information, admissions information changes frequently. Therefore, we encourage you to verify these details with the official university admissions office. You are responsible for your own results. BeMo does not endorse nor affiliate with any official universities, colleges, or test administrators and vice versa. If you see an error here, please notify us with the updated information, and we’ll send you a FREE copy of a BeMo ebook of your choosing! You can receive our Ultimate Guide to Med School Admissions, our Ultimate Guide to MMI Prep, our Ultimate Guide to Medical School Personal Statements & Secondary Essays or our Ultimate Guide to CASPer Prep! Please email us at [email protected] with any corrections, and we’ll arrange to send you your free ebook upon confirming the information.

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