There are three medical schools in Arizona; two are colleges as part of the University of Arizona – Tuscon and Phoenix. The third is the Mayo Medical School – specifically the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine – which is based in Rochester, Minnesota, but has a training location in Phoenix.

Whether you are from Arizona or just looking at going to school there, you will want to know all you can about these two institutions to maximize your chances for acceptance. It’s also crucial to know the kind of school you are looking for, and so you will want to see if these schools are right to become the type of physician you want to be.

How to prepare for your medical school application requires knowledge of institutions you’re looking at attending. The more you know, the stronger you can make your application.

In this article, we will look at the kinds of applicants that Arizona’s medical schools are looking for, the kinds of academic and non-academic achievements they value, and the kind of doctor you can become by attending a medical school in Arizona.

Please note: 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 content [at] with any corrections, and we’ll arrange to send you your free ebook upon confirming the information.

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Article Contents
5 min read

Preferred Types of Applicants for Medical Schools in Arizona Preferred Academic and Non-Academic Achievements at Medical Schools in Arizona What Kind of Doctor You Can Become at Medical Schools in Arizona Conclusion FAQs

List of Medical Schools in Arizona

Preferred Types of Applicants for Medical Schools in Arizona

Acceptance Rates, In-State and Out-of-State

Generally-speaking, the schools in Arizona show very little favoritism. Applicants with strong academic credentials of any background will find equal footing here. With that said, there is a slight preference towards in-state applicants in contrast to out-of-state.

In-state applicants, across the three schools, have an average acceptance rate of 7.19%, while out-of-state applicants face an average rate of 1.05%. Tuition is also, generally, more expensive for out-of-state applicants. Tucson caps its out-of-state acceptance at 50%.

Each school’s rates vary between in-state and out-of-state applicants.

Phoenix has a rate of 7.02% for in-state and 0.97% for out-of-state applicants. In a recent year, sixteen international students applied, but none were selected.

Tucson’s in-state rate is 11.44%. Out-of-state is accepted at a rate of .23%, and international students saw an 85 to 0 application to success rate in a recent year.

Finally, Alix had an in-state application rate of 3.10% and an out-of-state rate of 1.96%. Interestingly, however, the exact numbers put the clinic at accepting 11 Arizona students and 94 students from other states. It is the difference in numbers of applicants that drives the percentages to their final forms. Alix also accepted an international student – just one – which puts their international acceptance rate up to 0.55%

What you can do as an out-of-state applicant is to focus on your scientific background. Arizona schools greatly favor research and the scientific approach to medicine. Spend some extra time in the lab, really push for a job that gives you scientific experience, and participate in research as much as possible to wow the admissions committee.

Scientific Background

Arizona medical schools will give you a strong scientific and research component, so they will enjoy an applicant who has a strong research background and is game for scientific inquiry.

Handling the heavier tuition will mean seeking out extra scholarships and sources of funding.

The Mayo Clinic is the exception here. Taking on greater numbers of out-of-state students, and with tuition parity in-state and out, if you are looking at this school you will find fewer barriers to out-of-state access. With that said, you will still want to increase your chances. The scientific approach is still valued, and of course, scholarships are helpful for tuition.

Diversity and Rural Populations

Although Arizona’s medical schools mention diversity and inclusion, they don’t have specific application programs for diverse students. Phoenix does have a scholarship fund available for Black and African-American applicants, but as far as official tracks or pathways for diverse students, they don’t have a specific program.

These schools do mention diversity as part of their mission statements. Therefore, we can conclude that a medical student from an underrepresented population should make mention of this somewhere in the application process. All of the schools have secondary essays which will allow students to discuss diversity, their approaches to diversity, and their own status if they are members of an underrepresented population group.

Making mention of this can help the admissions committee to see where you align with their values and increase your desirability as a candidate.

Check out these tips for making your med school application stand out:

Preferred Academic and Non-Academic Achievements at Medical Schools in Arizona

What Kind of Doctor You Can Become at Medical Schools in Arizona


Research or thesis required comes up as “yes” for all three medical schools in Arizona. During your studies in an Arizona medical school, there is an expectation that you will be applying yourself to the scientific aspects of the profession.

What this means for your application is that you should emphasize your scientific knowledge wherever possible. If there are gaps in your CV or resume, you should fill those gaps. You could try to find work at a laboratory, for instance, or pick up some extra research credits. Even volunteering to help with research for somebody else would be one extra piece that will make your application shine in any place that values research.

What this means for your goals is that, if you plan to become a physician scientist, you will find yourself at home in an Arizona school. All three schools offer MD-PhD programs. If you are considering that route, find out if the MD-PhD vs. MD is best for you.

Additionally, Phoenix also offers and MD-MPH (Master of Public Health) degree, which might appeal if you are looking to get into a field that affects the outcomes of healthcare on large populations.

Rural Regions

The University of Arizona, both Phoenix and Tucson, have programs available to serve rural and underserved regions of the state. In keeping with their missions, they seek to serve Arizona, and recognize that Arizona has many rural-specific needs.

Are you from one of those regions? Or, if you are out-of-state, did you come from a remote or rural area? If you are, you might find time to mention this in a secondary application essay. This might let these schools know you can fill a critical area of their mission.

Even if you are a student who hails from an urban background, perhaps you would love the adventure of practicing medicine in a remote area, or you feel passionately about doing so as a way to best serve as a physician. Again: let Phoenix and Tucson know this through aspects of your application like the secondary essays. They might give your application the edge because they know they have a place for you.

Match Rate

Approximately one third of students that were matched did so with Arizona colleges. This number is slightly higher if we include students who were staying in Arizona for their first year but then moving elsewhere to continue their match.

This means, for you, that if you are looking to practice or do your residency in Arizona, there is a reasonable chance that you can get there from an Arizona school, naturally.

According to match data, we can see that Mayo Clinic matched the majority of the time in the West or Midwest regions (65%).

Comparing match data between the three schools, we see that, expectedly, primary care areas had the greatest number of matches – with placements such as internal or family medicine – while neurology was a low match rate. Emergency medicine found a mid-level match rate, so if you are considering emergency medicine, Arizona schools have a reasonably good match rate.

Looking for help with your AMCAS application? Check out this video:


In Arizona, medical schools value scientific, rigorous research and community involvement. Tuning your work and volunteer experiences around these ideas will surely give you a leg up against the competition in what is a very competitive area.


1. What are the costs of medical schools in Arizona?

Tuition varies by school.

Tucson’s tuition is $35,942 for in-state students; others will pay $56,076 USD.

Phoenix costs $35,408 for in-state, and $55,542 for out-of-state students.

Interestingly enough, Mayo is a flat rate of $60,700 whether the student is in-state or out-of-state. While this medical school is more expensive than the others, the rate doesn’t change based on the background of the student.

2. How long does it take to write a letter of reference?

Some could take longer than others depending on the kind of reference you need and the writer. A few days, at least. So, if you log in to AMCAS and see that your letters haven’t come in, don’t worry, it’s probably just a referee making sure they’ve written the perfect letter. If it’s still hasn’t come through the day before the due date, you might send a reminder email, as long as you are polite and not demanding. Even under the pressure of the last minute, there is no reason to be rude or discourteous.

3. How does AMCAS work?

AMCAS is a centralized system for submitting applications to multiple schools to save you time and streamline the process. It gives you a hub from which you can track your application’s progress and receive updates once submitted.

AMCAS stands for the American Medical College Application Service.

4. What expenses are involved in applying to med school?

Medical school costs have a tendency to add up fast. There is a small fee for submitting through AMCAS. There are also MCAT costs – a fee for sitting. The application is not terribly expensive, however, compared to the fees for medical school.

How to schedule medical school interviews can involve some expenses as well, particularly if you have to travel. These can include hotel costs, transportation, and parking.

In fact, if you calculate out the MCATs, application fee, and throw in medical school admissions consulting, and you’re still not even close to the tuition for the schools themselves. If you think about it, with the earning potential, these expenses are closer to investments than costs.

5. How many schools should I apply to?

We recommend between 8 and 10 schools, which will give you enough schools to cast a fairly wide net, but not so much that you get overwhelmed.

6. If my initial application is successful, what’s next?

Next up is the interview phase of the application, wherein you will either have a multiple mini-interview (or MMI) or you will have two, virtual, one-on-one interview sessions.

The multiple mini-interview consists of several, smaller stations, which vary in exact content, and are designed to test a range of your skills, knowledge, and interactive abilities. Tucson and Phoenix use MMI format.

Only if you are moving forward with Alix will you encounter a non-MMI interview in Arizona. Alix’s present format is to use two sessions, online, which are you and an interviewer. Either way, it is a good idea to go through some medical school interview prep. The best form of preparation takes the form of a mock interview, in which you will simulate what it is really like to participate in your medical school interview. This not only gives you a chance to work through your answers, but also to go through a small fac simile of the anxiety that the interview day will bring.

7. What if I don’t have the grades?

There are things you can do if you find yourself lacking grades. Don’t give up just yet. How to get into medical school with a low GPA is difficult, but not impossible by any means. Some things you can do might seem more obvious, like retaking some courses. But other things are more application-dependent.

8. Do these schools take international applicants?

The university of Phoenix does not take any international applicants; only US citizens or residents are eligible.

Tucson takes Canadian transcripts, but Canadians would still need to have resident status to qualify for admission.

Mayo Alix has some caveats allowing small, minor exceptions. While they require US citizenship or residency, they allow for those who qualify for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Canadian provincial or federal aid support. Mayo Alix also allows those with refugee or asylee status, or DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – persons.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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